Research & Innovation

Mystery of Nefertiti unveiled: there is no "secret chamber"

11 May 2018


Legends and hypotheses surrounded the now unveiled mystery: the "secret chamber" ofNefertiti has not been found inside the Tomb of Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor. Research started to examine the thesis of the British Egyptologist, Nicholas Reeves, for whom, behind the wall paintings of the north and west walls of the pharaoh's tomb there could be a larger part perhaps belonging to the famous Queen. Previously there had already been attempts to resolve the issue, but the results had been contradictory, failing to establish the existence of the room due to inaccuracies and contradictions of the data collected.

And precisely to solve the difficulties encountered by the two previous investigations, three different state-of-the-art georadar systems were used to scan the walls: no discontinuity that could correspond to doors, compartments and voids was found.

The case is therefore closed: this answer can be considered 99% certain, according to Professor Franco Porcelli, coordinator of the research group led by the Politecnico di Torino.

“The message we have to convey is not disappointing, but rather positive for the value of the project and the research we conducted. A strong signal: Geophysics applied to Egyptology can make an important contribution. This project is a step forward towards the promotion of a multidisciplinary approach, which brings together different scientific communities: not only geophysicists and archaeologists, but also geologists and geomaticians. This is the result that counts. It could be the beginning of a new era for Egyptology in the third millennium.”

A result that was achieved thanks to the synergic work of a team of highly prestigious experts belonging to two departments of the Politecnico di Torino (the Department of Applied Science and Technology and the Department of Environmental, Land and Infrastructure Engineering), in collaboration with the personnel of the University of Turin (Department of Earth Sciences) and of two private companies, 3DGeoimaging of Turin and Geostudi Astier of Livorno. The Italian Archaeological Centre in Cairo also participated in the research in the capacity of Egyptology consulting. The project also made recourse to the collaboration of experts from the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities under the guidance of the former Minister Mamdouh Eldamaty. The research project, supported by the Politecnico di Torino, is sponsored by the Novara Development Foundation, Geostudi Astier and National Geographic.