Did an Egyptian archaeologist find legendary Queen Nefertiti's tomb?

Nefertiti was one of the most famous women of ancient Egypt alongside Cleopatra, Hatshepsut and Nefertari. Some say she even ruled as pharaoh. But her mummy and tomb have never been found.

 A bust of ancient Egypt's Queen Nefertiti. Has her tomb finally been found? (Illustrative). (photo credit: Egisto Sani/Flickr)
A bust of ancient Egypt's Queen Nefertiti. Has her tomb finally been found? (Illustrative).
(photo credit: Egisto Sani/Flickr)

The long-lost mummy of ancient Egypt's legendary Queen Nefertiti might have finally been discovered after thousands of years, according to Egyptologist and archaeologist Zahi Hawass.

As reported widely in both Egyptian media and internationally, Hawass, the former Egyptian minister of antiquities, is currently preparing an exhibit on the women in ancient Egypt called "Daughters of the Nile." As part of this, he claims that he is certain as to the location of the famous Egyptian queen's remains.

Who was ancient Egypt's Queen Nefertiti?

Nefertiti lived in ancient Egypt during a period of great wealth and prosperity in the New Kingdom, in what was arguably ancient Egypt's golden age, as part of the 18th dynasty in the 1300s BCE.

She was married to Pharaoh Akhenaten, thought by some to be the pharaoh of Exodus, and the two of them are known to have led a religious revolution, changing Egypt's religion to monotheism, worshiping the sun disc, Aten. This changed after Akhenaten's death, however.

Former Tourism Minister Zahi Hawass, explaining paintings on the newly renovated tomb wall of boy pharaoh King Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor (credit: REUTERS)Former Tourism Minister Zahi Hawass, explaining paintings on the newly renovated tomb wall of boy pharaoh King Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor (credit: REUTERS)

Afterwards, many speculate that Nefertiti actually ruled Egypt as pharaoh under the name Neferneferuaten before the rise of Pharaoh Tutankhamen, also known as King Tut, though this is something historians continue to debate. For his part, Hawass says she ruled for at least three years under the name Smenkhkare. 

Regardless, she is one of the most famous female figures in ancient Egypt, alongside Nefertari, Cleopatra and Hatshepsut. 

Where is Queen Nefertiti supposedly buried?

According to Hawass, Nefertiti is likely among the bodies in the massive ancient Egyptian tomb complex known as the Valley of the Kings. In particular, Hawass told Spanish outlet The Independent that there are two unidentified mummies there, currently designated KV21A and KV21B. He is certain that these two are Nefertiti and her daughter Ankhesenamun. 

"In October we will be able to announce the discovery of the mummy of Ankhesenamun, Tutankhamun's wife, and her mother, Nefertiti,"

Zahi Hawass

"In October we will be able to announce the discovery of the mummy of Ankhesenamun, Tutankhamun's wife, and her mother, Nefertiti," Hawass told The Independent.

If true, it would solve a long-standing mystery of what happened to Nefertiti's remains.

Is this really Nefertiti?

One issue with Hawass's claims is that there have been several other supposed discoveries of her remains over the years, with three others having happened within the last seven years. 

But time will tell once Hawass announces his findings in October.