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Egypt approves radar to find Nefertiti's tomb

| Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015, 6:24 p.m.

CAIRO — The Egyptian Antiquities Ministry granted preliminary approval for the use of a non-invasive radar to verify a theory that Queen Nefertiti's crypt may be hidden behind King Tutankhamun's 3,300-year-old tomb in the famous Valley of the Kings, a ministry official said Tuesday.

A security clearance for the radar's use will probably be obtained within a month, said Mouchira Moussa, media consultant to Antiquities Minister Mamdouh el-Damaty.

“It's not going to cause any damage to the monument,” Moussa said.

Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves recently published his theory, but it has yet to be peer-reviewed. He believes that Tutankhamun, who died at 19, may have been rushed into an outer chamber of what was originally the tomb of Nefertiti, which has never been found.

British archaeologist Howard Carter discovered Tut's tomb in Luxor's Valley of the Kings in 1922 — intact and packed with antiquities including Tut's world-famous golden mask.

In his paper, Reeves claims high-resolution images of King Tut's tomb include lines underneath plastered surfaces of painted walls, showing there could be two unexplored doorways, one of which could potentially lead to Nefertiti's tomb.

He argues that the design of King Tut's tomb suggests it was built for a queen, rather than a king.

The Japanese radar, which will be operated by an expert who will accompany the equipment from Japan for the inspection once the final approval is granted, will look beyond the walls that Reeves says may be leading into the suspected tomb and the other chamber, Moussa said.

Reeves, who has been in contact with the minister, will arrive in Cairo on Saturday, Moussa said, and he and el-Damaty will travel to Luxor to inspect the tomb.

“We're very excited. It may not be a tomb belonging to Nefertiti, but it could be a tomb belonging to one of the nobles,” said Moussa. “If it is Nefertiti's, this would be very massive.”

There's a mummy in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo that has strong DNA evidence of being Tut's mother. DNA testing has provided strong evidence suggesting that Tut's father likely was the Pharaoh Akhenaten, the first pharaoh to try switching Egypt to monotheism. The DNA testing brought a discovery: that Tut's mother was Akhenaten's sister.

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