Researchers will continue their search for secret chambers in King Tutankhamun's tomb this year, harnessing sophisticated radar technology to find out if another burial is hidden at the famous site.
Experts from the Polytechnic University of Turin will use radar to investigate the Egyptian tomb and its surrounding area, Seeker reports.
Franco Porcelli, the project’s director and a professor of physics at the Polytechnic University of Turin, told Seeker that the research could take weeks. “Three radar systems will be used and frequencies from 200 Mhz to 2GHz will be covered,” he said.
The research is part of a broader study to perform geophysical mapping of the Valley of the Kings, where the tomb is located. In addition to ground-penetrating radar, the Polytechnic University of Turin team will harness electric resistance and magnetic induction data to scan depths of up to 32 feet.
The possibility that King Tut’s tomb contains hidden chambers has been a contentious topic for archaeologists in recent years.
In 2015 British archaeologist Nicholas Reeves put forward the theory that Tutankhamun’s tomb contains two hidden doorways. The “ghosts” of the hitherto unrecognized doorways could lead to an unexplored western storage chamber and Queen Nefertiti’s final resting place behind the chamber’s northern wall, he said.
Scans conducted in 2015 suggested the tomb contains two open spaces, although a radar scan organized by National Geographic last year failed to replicate the results.
Some archaeologists also believe the mummy of Nefertiti, fabled for her beauty, has already been found in a different tomb.
Famed Egyptologist Zahi Hawass has rejected the theory that undiscovered chambers lie behind the tomb and likely contain the tomb of Queen Nefertiti. Speaking at a conference last year Hawass also questioned the effectiveness of radar scanning. "In all my career ... I have never come across any discovery in Egypt due to radar scans," he said, suggesting the technology would be better used to examine existing tombs that are known to contain sealed-off chambers.
Porcelli told Seeker that the latest probe will reveal whether secret chambers are present in King Tut’s tomb. “This will be the final investigation," he said. "We will provide an answer which is 99 percent definitive."
The Polytechnic University of Turin team plans to conduct the first preliminary survey of the tomb by the end of February.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.