Radar Nerds Search for Nefertiti
The beautiful Queen Nefertiti’s tomb has never been found, but a special radar could change that.
Her name means “the beautiful one has come”, but nobody knows how beautiful Nefertiti really was, as the powerful queen’s earthly remains have never been discovered. Italian archaeologists headed by Professor Francesco Porcelli from the University of Turin are going to change that, using groundpenetrating radar to map out the Valley of the Kings. The Nile valley contains 64 royal tombs from the New Kingdom (1550-1070 BC), and according to archaeologists, there could be more, including Nefertiti's. The queen was the mother or step mother of Tutankhamun, and so, the project began near his tomb, from where the radar experts will cover the 9 km2 tomb area in an operation that might take the rest of the year.
The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities has ordered Porcelli’s team to remain silent about the project, but the scientists use three different radar systems, which can spot tombs as deep as 9 m into the rocky ground.
POTENTIAL: Finding the most powerful woman in Egypt and settling her relationship with Tutankhamun.
CHALLENGE: Complex subsurface conditions could affect radar measurements.
1 The radar sends electromagnetic waves into the ground. 2 As the waves encounter an object, the energy is sent back to the surface. The time passing from the waves are reflected until they reach the surface tells archaeologists how deep insde the ground the object is located. 3 The radar registers and interprets the information. Scientists use 3D technology to produce an image of the objects' shapes and locations. Nefertiti, who was married to Pharaoh Akhenaten, ruled Egypt in 1353-1336 BC.
The Valley of the Kings is located 800 km down the Nile near Thebes.