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Arts

Egypt vows to step up hunt for Nefertiti

Egyptian authorities have given credence to a theory that Nefertiti's tomb lay behind a wall in Tutankhamun's burial chamber, by vowing to investigate. Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves first made the claims in August.

It's the mystery which has beguiled many: Where was Nefertiti laid to rest? The legend of the Egyptian queen, notorious for her beauty, has continued to gain momentum over the centuries, and her striking 3,300-year-old bust at Berlin's New Museum (pictured) remains its leading attraction.

In August, Nicholas Reeves, a British archaeologist from the University of Arizona in the US, published what he says is evidence that "ghost doors" from Tutankhamun's tomb lead to a more substantial burial chamber: potentially the resting place of the Queen known as the "Lady of Two Lands."

Now, Egypt's Antiquities Minister, Mamdouh el-Damaty, has announced plans to begin radar exploration of the site within three months, giving hope to many that Nefertiti's mysterious whereabouts may finally be solved.

"If it is true, we are facing a discovery that would overshadow the discovery of Tutankhamun himself," el-Damaty said at the site of the Valley of the Kings, near Luxor.

Neues Museum in Berlin - the bust of Nefertiti. Copyright: Michael Sohn/dpa.

The Nefertiti bust can be seen in Berlin

King Tutankhamun died around 1323 BC, and his tomb, including his famous golden burial mask, was discovered in the Valley of the Kings in 1922 by pioneering British Egyptologist, Howard Carter. The potential treasures and artifacts that could accompany the discovery of such a high ranking Queen as Nefertiti would prove invaluable.

Nefertiti was the main wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten, and is widely believed to be the mother-in-law of Tutankhamun - although some speculate she may indeed be his birth mother. Following Akhenaten's death, it's believed Nefertiti went on to rule Egypt in her own right, as pharaoh Neferneferuaten, before Tutankhamun would eventually ascend to the throne.

jgt/kbm (Reuters, AP)

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