New scans of King Tut’s tomb to begin Thursday: statement
File photo showing the golden sarcophagus of King Tutankhamun in his burial chamber in the Valley of the Kings, in Luxor - REUTERS
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CAIRO: A new round of scans of the tomb of Tutankhamen will start Thursday, the Antiquities Ministry announced Wednesday.

“Digital ground-penetrating radar (GPR) works at the tomb are to start on Thursday at 5:00p.m., right after the official visiting hours of the Valley of the Kings,” according to the statement.

Antiquities Minister Khaled Al Anany will hold a news conference in front of the tomb at the Valley of the Kings Friday at 2:00 p.m. to announce the results of the GPR, the statement added.

In late November, a Japanese team of radar specialists started a non-invasive radar survey on the pharaoh’s tomb to verify a theory by British archaeologist Nicholas Reeve that Queen Nefertiti’s crypt may be hidden behind King Tutankhamen’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor.

“There is, in fact, an empty space behind the wall based on radar, which is very accurate, there is no doubt,” head of the Japanese team Hirokatsu Watanabe said in a news conference in late November.

The scan has revealed the presence of two empty spaces behind two walls in King Tut’s burial chamber, former Antiquities Minister Mamdouh al Damaty announced March 17.

“The scan points to different things behind the walls, different material that could be metal, or could be organic,” he said.

Reeves believes that Tutankhamen’s tomb was originally occupied by Nefertiti and that she lies undisturbed behind what he believes is a partition wall.

Reeves’s theory was developed after he examined ultra-high resolution images published by Factume Arte; an art replication establishment that created a facsimile of Tutankhamen’s burial chamber in 2014.

In the images, Reeves noted some cracks in the northern and eastern walls of the tomb. He suggested they mark two passages leading to Nefertiti’s tomb that were blocked, plastered and painted.

“The construction of Tutankhamen’s tomb was not completed when the young Pharaoh unexpectedly died at the age of 19, thus the tomb of Nefertiti who had died 10 years earlier, was partially adopted for Tutankhamen’s royal burial,” Reeves said briefing his theory to reporters at the Egyptian State Information Service (SIS) in September 2015.

Among the other clues is that neither the tomb nor the mummy of Nefertiti has been found.

“We said earlier there was a 60 percent chance there is something behind the walls. But now after the initial reading of the scans, we are saying now its 90 percent likely there is something behind the walls,” Damaty said earlier this year.

If the scholars were able to prove their theory, “this would be a new step that could lead us to a most significant archeological discovery in the 21st Century,” he added.

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