On March 17, antiquities ministry officials in Egypt published radar data that support the theory of hidden chambers inside King Tutankhamun's tomb. However, radar experts doubt the claims and ask for more data.
Hirokatsu Watanabe, a radar technologist from Japan, took the radar scans. The data suggested the existence of not only one, but two empty cavities just beyond the tomb's West and North walls.
The radar data also suggested the presence of organic and metallic substances, as well as door beams that further indicate the existence of doorways.
British Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves theorized that these hidden chambers may have been the lost burial site of Queen Nefertiti, King Tut's stepmother.
However, some radar specialists said the Valley of the King's geology has various natural voids. This means, radar scans will have difficulty in setting apart the archaeological features from the natural features.
According to Michele Pipan, a University of Trieste's Geosciences professor, the radar scans released by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities reveal various features of interest. However, the scans lacked horizontal and vertical scales. These lacking elements make it hard to analyze how many feet behind the wall these features are located.
"I may only say that cavities and metals may fall within the reasonable detection range of a survey like that," said Pipan who added that she has no information on the type of interpretation procedure used by Watanabe in the study. Like other radar experts, Pipan also called for more data on radar velocity.
Recent events have taken its toll on Egypt’s tourism numbers. There was the 2011 revolution when then-president Hosni Mubarak was driven from power. There was also the October 2015 Islamic State group’s attack on Russia's Metrojet Flight 9268, which crashed in the Sinai Desert and killed 224 on board.
Egyptologists hoped that if King Tut's tomb really holds Nefertiti's tomb, the news could help revive the suffering tourism, as well as bring income and jobs back.
Reeves, who also highlighted the drop in tourist destination prices, said that this is a good time to plan a trip to Egypt, especially for people who are greatly interested in knowing more about its ancient history. Unlike the pre-revolution years, current tourists will not get "jostled" by other tourists.
Photo: Mark Fischer | Flickr