Undiscovered Rooms in King Tut’s Tomb?

SCIENCE

Radar scans have revealed not only the presence of hidden rooms adjacent to the burial chamber of King Tut, but also unidentified objects that lie within these rooms. One theory: the tomb of Queen Nefertiti. (Nat Geo News)

Use our resources to learn more about the discovery of Tut’s tomb.

Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers’ Toolkit.

Tutankhamun’s dazzling funeral mask was probably made for a female relative—possibly his stepmother, Nefertiti. The solid gold mask is inlaid with blue glass, painted ceramic, quartz, lapis lazuli, and obsidian. Photograph by Kenneth Garrett, National GeographicPhotograph by Kenneth Garrett, National Geographic

Tutankhamun’s dazzling funeral mask was probably made for a female relative—possibly his stepmother, Nefertiti. The solid gold mask is inlaid with blue glass, painted ceramic, quartz, lapis lazuli, and obsidian.
Photograph by Kenneth Garrett, National Geographic

This breathtakingly beautiful bust of Nefertiti is made of limestone and covered in painted stucco. Stucco is a plaster that is painted when wet and hardens to a dense, brittle solid as it dries. Photograph by Giovanni, courtesy Wikimedia. CC-BY-2.0

This breathtakingly beautiful bust of Nefertiti is made of limestone and covered in stucco. Stucco is a plaster that is painted when wet and hardens to a dense, brittle solid as it dries.
Photograph by Giovanni, courtesy Wikimedia. CC-BY-2.0

Discussion Ideas

  • The intriguing new evidence of hidden chambers in King Tut’s tomb was revealed through extensive use of radar technology. What is radar?
    • Radar is a method of determining the presence, location, and even the velocity of an object using radio waves or microwaves.
      • First, a radar transmitter releases radio waves, which reflect off any object in their path.
      • Then, a radar receiver (usually the same system as the transmitter) processes these reflected waves to determine the properties of the object.
    • The term radar was invented in 1940 by the United States Navy as an acronym for RAdio Detection And Ranging.

 

  • Why is the speculation that the hidden chambers hold metals and organic materials so exciting? What might those metals and organic materials be?
    • Why is that exciting? Are you kidding?! Look at that top photo! Now look again!
    • Metals might include natural deposits of ore . . . or gold, silver, or iron funerary items.
    • Organic materials might include the natural remains of plants and animals . . . or mummies and the cloths they are wrapped in.

 

  • Why do some Egyptologists think the (possible) hidden chambers might be the tomb of Queen Nefertiti?
    • Nefertiti, wife of the fascinating pharaoh Akhenaten, was Tutankhamun’s stepmother. She died just seven years before her stepson. Tutankhamun died unexpectedly, and many Egyptologists think artisans did not have time to prepare a typically ornate pharaonic burial for him. The grave goods found in his tomb—including that dazzling funeral mask—may have actually been made for a female relative, possibly Nefertiti.
    • Nefertiti may have governed Egypt as the pharaoh “Neferneferuaten” after the death of her husband. Akhenaten and Nefertiti were extremely controversial in their religious beliefs, and some experts think Neferneferuaten was forced from the throne by supporters of Tutankhamun. Her funerary goods may have simply been repurposed for her successor.

 

TEACHERS’ TOOLKIT

Nat Geo: Scans of King Tut’s Tomb Reveal New Evidence of Hidden Rooms

Nat Geo: How was King Tut’s Tomb Discovered? article

Nat Geo: Pharaohs of the Sun article

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