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Discovery Channel is filming digging for body of Tutankhamun's wife Ankhesenamun

Thursday 12/April/2018 - 10:26 AM
Sada El Balad
Edited by: Yara Sameh

Archaeologists hunting for the lost tomb of King Tutankhamun's teenage wife، Ankhesenamun، may have found her final resting place، daily mail reported.

The teen bride is believed to have had a tragic life، marrying her father، her grandfather and her half-brother، Tutankhamun. 

Since January، around 100 Egyptian workers have been excavating an area in the untouched western area of Egypt's Valley of the Kings. 

Now، a new photo released shows archaeologists have begun excavating a spot which previous radar readings pinpointed as a potential entrance to the royal tomb. 

The Discovery Channel - which is funding the research - has announced they have 'exclusive' access to film the excavations which they plan to make into a documentary later this year. 

This، according to LiveScience، suggests that a big discovery could soon be annouced.

Researchers are keeping tight-lipped about what they have found so far but say there could be several tombs in the area. 

If it does turn out to be the burial chamber of Ankhesenamun، it could help to unravel the final fate of the boy king's wife، who suddenly disappeared from historical records after her second marriage. 

Lead archaeologist Zahi Hawass، a former antiquities minister who is leading excavations told Live Science he will discuss his findings in a lecture on 20 April in Tucson، Arizona.

'Led by renowned archaeologist Dr Zahi Hawass، the crew of more than one hundred Egyptian workers are digging in the largely untouched western portion of the valley، where leading archaeologists believe several royal tombs lie hidden،' a spokesperson for the Discovery Channel said. 

The series is due to premiere later this year on Discovery Channel and Science Channel.

In January Dr Hawass announced the start of the dig on his website.

He discovered the suspected burial plot near the tomb of the pharaoh Ay in July 2017، using ground penetrating radar.

In a written statement in January، a spokesman for Dr Hawass' research team said: 'In January 2018، Zahi Hawass launched his own excavations at the Valley of the Monkeys، a side valley in the area of the Valley of the Kings. 

'The focus of the excavations is in the area in close proximity to the tomb of Ay، Tutankhamun's successor. 

'The radar scans in the area detected the presence of a possible entrance to a tomb at a depth of five metres (16 feet). 

'It is believed that the location of the tomb of Ankhsenamun، Tutankhamun's widow، who married Ay after Tutankhamun's death، is still hidden somewhere in the Valley of the Monkeys.'

Ankhesenamun، who was married to Tutankhamun، who reigned from 1332 to 1327 BC، was wed with Ay after Tutankhamun's sudden death.

Ay ruled immediately after King Tut، from 1327 to 1323 BC. 

Evidence of foundation deposits، caches of pottery، food remains and other tools، suggest the construction of a tomb at the site.

Dr Hawass' team plan to excavate the newly discovered chamber to determine exactly who is inside.

Speaking to LiveScience at the time of its discovery، Dr Hawass said: 'We are sure there is a tomb there، but we do not know for sure to whom it belongs.

'We are sure there is a tomb hidden in that area because I found four foundation deposits.

'The ancient Egyptians usually did four or five foundation deposits whenever they started a tomb's construction.

'[And] the radar did detect a substructure that could be the entrance of a tomb.' 

Ankhesenamun was the third child of Pharaoh Akhenaten and Nefertiti and was born in around 1348BC.

She was originally called Ankhesenpaaten، but her change of name reflects changes in Ancient Egyptian religion during her lifetime.

She was the half sister and cousin of Tutankhamun، with the pair sharing the same father. 

Tutankhamun's mother، believed to have been Nefertiti، is thought to have been Ankhesenamun's aunt.

The queen is said to have married King Tut when he took the throne at the age of nine، when she was just a few years older.

After their marriage the pair changed their names in honour of the old monotheistic religion that they reverted back to.

Some records suggest she married her grandfather after the death of King Tut.

Others that she was briefly the wife of her father beforehand. 

King Tut became pharaoh in around 1332 BC and ruled for just nine years until his death. 

Tutankhamun's significance stems from his rejection of the radical religious innovations introduced by his predecessor and father، Akhenaten. 

When King Tut was aged 12 the backlash against the new religion was so intense that the young pharaoh changed his name from Tutankhaten to Tutankhamun. 

A year later، the royal court moved back to the old capital at Thebes، now called Luxor، which was the centre of worship of the god Amun and the power base of the Amun priests. 

King Tut is considered a minor phaorah. 

However، his fame arose when his tomb was found in 1922 by Howard Carter. 

It was almost intact and remains the most complete ancient Egyptian royal tomb ever found.

And the tomb continues to reveal hidden secrets even today.

In February 2017، archaeologists announced plans to resume the search for lost burial chambers in King Tutankhamun's tomb.

The news follows more than a year of speculation after British Egyptologist، Nicholas Reeves، said he found signs of a hidden doorway in King Tut's tomb.

At the time، he said one of the secret rooms could be the burial place of Queen Nefertiti. 

WHO WAS KING TUT'S WIFE ANKHESENAMUN?
Ankhesenamun، who was married to Tutankhamun، who reigned from 1332 to 1327 BC، was wed with Ay after Tutankhamun's sudden death.

Ay ruled immediately after King Tut، from 1327 to 1323 BC.

Ankhesenamun was the third child of Pharaoh Akhenaten and Nefertiti and was born in around 1348BC.

She was originally called Ankhesenpaaten، but her change of name reflects changes in Ancient Egyptian religion during her lifetime.

She was the half sister and cousin of Tutankhamun، with the pair sharing the same father.

Tutankhamun's mother، believed to have been Nefertiti، is thought to have been Ankhesenamun's aunt.

The queen is said to have married King Tut when he took the throne at the age of nine، when she was just a few years older.

After their marriage the pair changed their names in honour of the old monotheistic religion that they reverted back to.

Some records suggest she married her grandfather after the death of King Tut.

Others that she was briefly the wife of her father beforehand.

WHAT IS THE VALLEY OF THE KINGS?
The Valley of the Kings in upper Egypt is one of the country's main tourist attractions، situated next to the Giza pyramid complex.

The majority of the pharaohs of the 18th to 20th dynasties، who ruled from 1550 to 1069 BC، rested in the tombs which were cut into the local rock.

The royal tombs are decorated with scenes from Egyptian mythology and give clues as to the beliefs and funerary rituals of the period.

Almost all of the tombs were opened and looted centuries ago، but the sites still give an idea of the opulence and power of the Pharaohs.

The most famous pharaoh at the site is Tutankhamen، whose tomb was discovered in 1922.

Preserved to this day، in the tomb are original decorations of sacred imagery from، among others، the Book of Gates or the Book of Caverns.

These are among the most important funeral texts found on the walls of ancient Egyptian tombs.

WERE KING TUTANKHAMUN'S PARENTS ALSO COUSINS?
The complex family arrangements of Tutankhamun has been one of the great mysteries surrounding the young king.

While his father was known to have been Pharaoh Akhenaten، the identity of his mother has been far more elusive.

In 2010 DNA testing confirmed a mummy found in the tomb of Amenhotep II was Queen Tiye، the chief wife of Amenhotep III، mother of Pharaoh Akhenanten، and Tutankhamun's grandmother.

A third mummy، thought to be one of Pharaoh Akhenaten wives، was found to be a likely candidate as Tutankhamun's mother، but DNA evidence showed it was Akhenaten's sister.

Later analysis in 2013 suggested Nefertiti، Akhenaten's chief wife، was Tutankhamun's mother.

However، the work by Marc Gabolde، a French archaeologist، has suggested Nefertiti was also Akhenaten's cousin.

This incestuous parentage may also help to explain some of the malformations that scientists have discovered afflicted Tutankhamun.

He suffered a deformed foot، a slightly cleft palate and mild curvature of the spine.

However، his claims have been disputed by other Egyptologists، including Zahi Hawass، head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities.

His team's research suggests that Tut's mother was، like Akhenaten، the daughter of Amenhotep III and Queen Tiye. 

Hawass added that there is 'no evidence' in archaeology or philology to indicate that Nefertiti was the daughter of Amenhotep III.

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