French Egyptologist Asserts that the Younger Lady is Really the Mummy of Nefertiti
French Egyptologist Marc Gabolde, specialist in the Eighteenth Dynasty and the Amarna period, argues that the mummy known as the "Younger Lady" discovered almost a century ago, is actually the famous and much sought after Queen Nefertiti.
As Ancient Origins reported on Monday, the British researcher Nicholas Reeves is currently located in Luxor, Egypt. Reeves says that inside the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun, discovered by Howard Carter 93 years ago, there is access to a secret chamber which contains the long sought after tomb of the beautiful Nefertiti. The renowned Egyptologist, member of the University of Arizona, says he arrived at this conclusion after observing high resolution images of the tomb of the famous pharaoh, where he saw some fine cracks that correspond to the sealed entrance to what he believes is a hidden chamber - in which the mortal remains of the wife of the revolutionary pharaoh Akhenaten may rest.
However, for Marc Gabolde, French Egyptologist specialist in the Eighteenth Dynasty and the Egyptian Armana period, the mummy of Nefertiti was discovered almost a century ago in the Valley of the Kings by fellow Frenchman Victor Loret – a mummy currently found in the Egyptian Museum and which is known as the Younger Lady or KV35YL mummy.
Limestone relief that was probably part of a family worship altar. Akhenaten holding up his firstborn Meritaten and, in front of both, Nefertiti holds Meketaton, her second daughter (who died prematurely), in her lap. On her left shoulder is Anjesenpaaton her third daughter, who later would marry Tutankhamen. Berlin Museum. (CC BY SA 3.0)
Royal Tombs Smaller than Usual
In statements to the Spanish newspaper ABC, Gabolde claims that the existence of two chambers in the tomb of Tutankhamen is nothing out of the ordinary, in view of other royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings, such as those of Amenhotep II (KV 35), Thutmose IV (KV 43), Amenhotep III (WV 22), and even that of Horemheb (KV 57). He also believes that the burial chamber of Tutankhamun being noticeably smaller simply indicates that the chamber was made “reasonable” to the size necessary for Tutankhamun. He continues that it is no wonder, given the economy of the time, that four secondary chambers were reduced to two. “There is absolutely nothing abnormal,” says the scholar and member of the University of Montpellier.
Images of the plan of the KV57 tomb belonging to Horemheb, made from a three-dimensional model. (CC BY SA 3.0)
The researcher also explained that there are other tombs of Egyptian pharaohs like Ay, successor of Tutankhamun, in which all auxiliary chambers are absent, and also recalls how when Ramses I died, workers had barely begun the second ramp to his tomb. In fact his son Seti I:
“Simply extended the corridor to be a burial chamber provided with two annexes and a half and not the four required. If there was not much time, digging all adjoining areas did not seem to be a priority. Considering all this, the presence of additional chambers in the tomb of Tutankhamun is less "obvious" than Reeves suggests that it is,” Gabolde said.
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Furthermore, the signs discovered by Reeves do not necessarily, according to Gabolde, need to be traces of sealed doors, instead they:
“Could be marks left by two teams of carvers or have been part of a project to create additional chambers, abandoned in a hurry, with slits hastily recapped. I sincerely hope that Reeves is partially right and does find a sealed room with the remains of a pharaoh queen behind the paintings because it may clarify the identity of the pharaoh’s queen. However, this is more likely to be Meritaten than Nefertiti.” According to the Egyptologist in his statements published in ABC.
The Mummy of the Younger Lady
In September 2010, National Geographic announced the results of an investigation conducted by an interdisciplinary team led by the famous and controversial Egyptologist Zahi Hawass. With it, it was verified through DNA tests that the KV35 mummies were actually the grandmother and the mother of Tutankhamun.
Marc Gabolde believes that the mummy identified in these studies as Tutankhamun's mother - or the Younger Lady - is really the mummy of Queen Nefertiti. “Nefertiti was Akhenaten's cousin, both by paternal and maternal ancestry and is identical to the mummy KV35YL. She is the mother of Tutankhamun.”
According to the French Egyptologist’s hypothesis, strong inbreeding probably would have caused "genetic mixing to have been quite weak, which would explain the genetic heritage of Akhenaten and Nefertiti having the appearance of a brother and a sister."
Profile picture of the “Younger Lady” mummy who, according to genetic studies, corresponded to the mother of Tutankhamun. According to Marc Gabolde it is really the mummy of Nefertiti. (Public Domain)
Gabolde indicates in his latest book, focused on the figure of Tutankhamun, that Nefertiti would have died a few months before her husband “never having been pharaoh.” Not that she would have ruled Egypt between Akhenaten and Tutankhamun anyway, as it would have been Meritaten, the oldest of the six daughters born of the marriage between Nefertiti and Akhenaten, who would have done so.
“Bolstered by her prestigious heritage and the fact that she was, for some months, the “great royal wife” of her father - probably only honorary title after the death of Nefertiti, Meritaten reigned about two full years,” according to Gabolde. The tomb of the eldest daughter of Akhenaten has not yet been discovered.
These are hypotheses, studies, and absolutely exciting and interesting opinions, that perhaps within hours, may come collapsing down, if the British Nicholas Reeves is right and behind the walls of the tomb of Tutankhamun are the remains of Nefertiti.
Bust of Meritaten, daughter of Nefertiti and Akhenaten and Great Royal Wife of the Eighteenth Dynasty. Louvre, Paris. (CC BY SA 1.0)
Featured image: Front view of the mummy of the "Younger Lady". (Public Domain)
Author: Mariló TA
This article was first published in Spanish at https://www.ancient-origins.es and has been translated with permission.