Tutankhamun Death Mask was Made for Nefertiti, Archaeologist says
A new analysis of Tutankhamun’s golden death mask has led to a radical new theory – the mask was originally made for Nefertiti, step mother of Tutankhamun, as a co-regent to her husband king Akhenaten.
Ahram Online reports that archaeologist Nicholas Reeves was examining the back of Tutankhamun’s death mask when he noticed that the face did not match the opposite side – the type of gold and the material used for the blue color are different between the front and the back. Reeves also noted that the ears contain holes used to hang earrings.
“There is no image of any ancient Egyptian king wearing earrings,” Reeves told Ahram Online, citing this as evidence that it was made for a female.
The mask contains holes in the ear lobes used for hanging earrings ( Wikipedia)
During a press conference held at the State Information Authority in Heliopolis, Reeves said that the inscription had been changed:
“Looking at the mask again I can see that the inscription on the cartouch has been changed, meaning that all these treasures found in Tutankhamun’s tomb were originally made for Nefertiti as a co-regent to her husband king Akhenaten, and not for Tutankhamun as previously thought,” Reeves said [via Ahram Online].
Dr Reeves is involved in the current search for hidden chambers within Tutankhamun’s tomb. The British archaeologist claims that two extra rooms have been identified hidden in the walls of the tomb, one of which Reeves maintains is the long-lost burial chamber of Nefertiti.
- The Mysterious Disappearance of Nefertiti, Ruler of the Nile
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- The Search Continues: Scientists to Use Radar in Hunt for the Tomb of Nefertiti
Theban Mapping Project's diagram of King Tutankamun's known tomb, in gray, and two possible new rooms in yellow and red, one of which, a researcher says, cold be Queen Nefertiti's burial chamber.
Nefertiti was the chief consort of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten (formerly Amenhotep IV), who reigned from approximately 1353 to 1336 BC. Known as the Ruler of the Nile and Daughter of Gods, she acquired unprecedented power, and is believed to have held equal status to the pharaoh himself. However, much controversy lingers about Nefertiti after the twelfth regal year of Akhenaten, when her name vanishes from the pages of history. Despite numerous searches, her final resting place has never been found.
Next month, radar and thermal imaging will be used to scan the tomb to confirm whether Reeves’ theory is correct. Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh Eldamaty is quoted as saying: “When we find Nefertiti, I think it will be more important than the discovery of King Tutankhamun himself".
Featured image: Tutankhamun’s death mask ( Harry Potts / flickr )