King Tut's Tomb Doesn't Have Hidden Chambers

In probing King Tut's tomb, researchers used radar technology that can scan as deep as 32 feet. Steve Evans/flickr

Tutankhamun, also known as King Tut, is perhaps the most famous of Ancient Egypt's pharaohs, due in large part to the 1922 discovery of his nearly intact tomb.

For years, researchers believed there were hidden chambers surrounding his tomb, and a team of Italian researchers started investigating in 2017. However after months of testing and speculation, they revealed that in fact there are no "secret chambers" in King Tut's tomb.

"The studies...have shown that no chambers exist, or even an indication of any threshold or door frames, which contradicts the previous theory that had assumed the existence of passages or chambers adjacent or inside the burial chamber," said Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Mostafa Waziri in a statement.

Prior to this announcement, the Italian researchers were certain that they would find a chamber.

In late February 2017, the researchers from the Polytechnic University in Turin entered the tomb and used radar technology that is capable of scanning depths as much as 32 feet. This was the third probe into the tomb in the past three years.

But the project director physics professor Franco Porcelli told Seeker in 2017 that this probe will reveal once and for all if King Tut's tomb hides a secret chamber.

"This will be the final investigation," Porcelli said. "We will provide an answer which is 99 percent definitive."

The recent investigations into the tomb were prompted by a 2015 claim by British Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves that there was a hidden chamber in the tomb, according to

King Tut's tomb, though elaborately decorated, is small considering Tut's status, which has led to speculation among Egyptologists that it was originally intended as a grander royal tomb, perhaps for someone else. Since Tut died at such a young age, 19, it's possible that his burial was rushed and that his tomb merely represents the outer chamber of a more extensive mausoleum.

High hopes in the past

King Tut tomb discovery
Crates are brought out of the newly-discovered tomb of Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings, Luxor, circa 1923. Hulton Archive/Getty Images

According to Reeves in 2017, high-resolution images of the tomb revealed what appear to be straight lines that were previously hidden by color and the stones' texture. Lines such as these could indicate the presence of a sealed chamber.

Reeves believed this hidden chamber may even house the remains of another of Egypt's storied characters, Nefertiti, the Egyptian queen known for her exceptional beauty, and recognized by her famous 3,300-year-old bust.

Nefertiti was the primary wife of the Pharaoh Akhenaten, who was Tut's father. Akhenaten was succeeded by a pharaoh referred to as Smenkhare until Tut eventually took over. Interestingly, some Egyptologists, including Reeves, suspect that Smenkhare was really Nefertiti, adding to the historical intrigue of this legendary royal family.

Researchers previously said there was a 90 percent chance that there were hidden chambers in Tut's tomb.

The findings could even stir up old rumors about the "curse of the pharaohs," which is believed to haunt those who disturb ancient Egyptian tombs. This fable is most associated with the original excavation of King Tut's tomb, which saw several of the researchers who first entered the tomb meet early deaths. Although later statistical analysis found no direct connection between these deaths and entry into the tomb, any eerie coincidences surrounding further exploration of the tomb could certainly entertain further speculation.