Editors' Choice

Turns Out There’s No Hidden Mystery in King Tut’s Tomb

Diana Rolland / May 17, 2018

In what’s sure to be a blow to budding Indiana Joneses around the world, archaeologists have confirmed that there are no hidden chamber or secret doors in King Tutankhamun’s Tomb. Researchers were hoping to find the final resting place of Queen Nefertiti, King Tut’s mother.

The famous tomb has been the subject of myths and urban legends for decades, ever since it was discovered by Egyptologist Howard Carter in 1922. Inside were uncounted riches, treasures, and archaeological wonders that had remained unspoiled for over 3000 years. Scientists have always wondered—maybe even longed—to discover something else hidden inside the tomb. Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves had speculated that Queen Nefertiti’s tomb was located behind the walls of her son and successor; in 2015, Hirokatsu Watanabe bolstered Reeves’ theory when he detected radar signals behind the north and west walls of the central burial chamber!

Based on the previous radar signals, archaeologists from the Polytechnic University of Turin led by Professor Franco Porcelli in 2017 were hoping to find doors or empty spaces behind the walls of Tutankhamun’s funeral chamber. Unfortunately, three independent teams failed to detect anything using ground-penetrating radar. It turns out that the original signals were stray radar reflections or “ghosts,” not hidden passageway. Porcelli revealed their depressing findings at the fourth annual International Tutankhamun Grand Egyptian Museum Conference in Giza at the beginning of May.

No secret doors, no deadly traps, no scarab beetles or buried mummies—this time. Budding archaeologists will have to wait and see what happens next.