When we find a pound down the back of the sofa, it usually reminds us to have a good dig around there to find out if there are any other unexpected riches lurking in its dark regions. But apparently when you're an archaeologist, if you find something amazing, you just think 'Yeah, that's probably everything, onto the next dig site, lads".
In October last year, radar scans at the tomb of the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun, who ruled as a child and died when he was just 18, revealed that there was the possibility of a secret chamber connected to the main room. Now, at a press conference in Cairo, Egyptian antiquities minister Mamdouh Eldamaty has announced that detailed analysis of the data has revealed not only the existence of hidden rooms, but also that these chambers contain objects comprised of metal and organic materials.
Eldamaty stated: "It could be the discovery of the century."
Japanese radar specialist Hirokatsu Watanbe conducted the scans of the west and north walls of Tutankhamun's burial chamber and has now released his full report, with outside experts describing the data set as "tight".
Semiconductor and microelectronics expert Remy Hiramoto told National Geographic, “It validates the initial hypothesis that there is a non-natural occurring chamber or cavity on the other side of that wall. Based on the signatures that are in the data, there’s a void, and there’s definitely something that’s within the void. There’s something in there.”
Perhaps we're missing something here, but why did no one ever check this before?
The tomb was famously discovered by Howard Carter and George Herbert in 1922, with interest in the 3,340-year-old tomb - whose secrets were thought to have been exhausted - rekindled by British archaeologist Nicholas Reeves in 2014.
Working at the University of Arizona, he believed that the physical evidence at the site that suggested that passageways and door openings had been plastered and painted over during the hasty creation of Tutankahmun's chamber showed "indications of two previously unknown doorways, one set within a larger partition wall and both seemingly untouched since antiquity...'To the north (there) appears to be signalled a continuation of tomb KV 62 [the official name for Tutankhamun's tomb], and within these uncharted depths an earlier royal interment – that of [Queen] Nefertiti herself.'"
Some theories suggest that Nerfertiti could have been Tutankahmun's mother - current thinking holds that his father was Akhenaten, and his mother was Akhenaten's sister and wife Ankhesenamun, while Nerferiti was his step-mother.
If the chambers do indeed contain the tomb of Queen Nefertiti, they would be heralded as one of the most important historical finds of the 21st century. A more advanced scan is due to take place at the end of this month, which should confirm for certain whether the chambers exist.
Eldamaty told the press conference "We can say more than 90 percent that the chambers are there, but I never start the next step until I'm 100 percent."
If proof is found, then the next steps of how and when they will access the rooms will begin.
Next time, just have a proper check round first OK? It would save everyone a lot of effort.