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Researcher Shares Hypothesis About Location Of Queen Nefertiti's Tomb

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The location of Queen Nefertiti's tomb has been unknown, but Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves thinks it could be behind a wall of one of the most famous and studied tombs ever discovered.

The resting place of Egyptian Queen Nefertiti, known for her beauty and power, has been unknown to the world. But one researcher has a hunch about where she was buried.

Nicholas Reeves, resident scholar at the School of Anthropology at the University of Arizona, has been studying laser scans of King Tutankhamen's tomb. (The scans were commissioned to create an exact replica to reduce damage from tourist traffic in the real tomb.)

Reeves used the scans to see the bumpy terrain of the walls behind the gilded frescoes that decorate it.

Reeves spoke with NPR's Renee Montagne about where he found clues he thinks lead to Nefertiti's tomb.

"There's information on two of the four walls," Reeves said. "The first lot of information is on the west wall. I believe that it's possible to see traces of a doorway there which leads into a room very similar to the annex."

But, Reeves said, the really interesting stuff is going on beneath the north wall.

"The tomb of Tutankhamen's was a staircase going down, then turning to the right, which identifies it, I think, as a tomb of a queen because a king's tomb normally turns to the left and a queen's turns to the right — that's the first indication that we're dealing here with the burial of a queen.

"The second indication is that this corridor has been enlarged. And we know why that enlargement took place in the case of Tutankhamen, because they needed to introduce through it the huge panels of the gilded shrines which surround his sarcophagus and coffin.

"So that's the second thing. It's a queen who had obvious pharaonic prerogatives in that she seems to have been buried within a nest of gilded wooden shrines similar to those of Tutankhamen."

The Guardian writes that small size of Tutankhamen's chamber has perplexed researchers ever since it was discovered in 1922. "It gives the impression of being an antechamber, rather than a tomb fit for a king."

Reeves said that a radar survey of the north and west walls of the tomb would reveal whether there's another room behind the walls.

"If I'm wrong, I'm wrong," he said. "But if I'm right, we're now faced with the extraordinary prospect of coming face to face with an intact pharaonic tomb."

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