Ground-penetrating radar scans have failed to confirm any hints that King Tutankhamun’s tomb in Egypt’s Valley of the KIngs contains a hidden chamber.
The announcement from Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities brought a disappointing end to a scientific investigation that began more than two years ago, after British archaeologist Nicholas Reeves put forth the claim.
Reeves said he saw hints of covered-over doorways in high-resolution images of the 3,300-year-old tomb’s main chamber. He suggested that the chamber’s walls concealed a blocked-up entryway to the tomb of Queen Nefertiti, who is thought to have been Tutankhamun’s stepmother.
Preliminary rounds of thermal infrared imaging and radar scanning seemed to confirm that there were anomalies behind the wall.
But in a news release issued on Sunday, the ministry said more detailed scans provided “conclusive evidence on the non-existence of hidden chambers adjacent to or inside Tutankhamun’s tomb.”
An intensive survey was conducted in February, using ground-penetrating radar. The readings were analyzed by experts from the University of Turin and two Italian companies, Geostudi Astier and 3DGeoimaging.
No marked discontinuities or telltale reflections were found, according to the science team’s leader, Francesco Porcelli.
“It is maybe a little bit disappointing that there is nothing behind the walls of Tutankhamun’s tomb, but I think on the other hand that this is good science,” the BBC quoted Porcelli as saying.
King Tut’s treasures are being transferred to a new museum that’s being built on the outskirts of Cairo, near the Giza Pyramids. Parts of the $795 million Grand Egyptian Museum — including exhibits focusing on Tutankhamun and his time — are due to open this year, with a grand opening planned in 2022.