Radar experts are casting doubt on claims that King Tutankhamun's tomb contains hidden, undiscovered chambers — and they're calling for more data to be released.
At a March 17 newsconference, officials at Egypt's antiquities ministry released radar data that they said showed the presence of hidden cavities inside the tomb of King Tut. The scans, carried out by Japanese radar technologist Hirokatsu Watanabe, "suggest the presence of two empty spaces or cavities beyond the decorated North and West walls of the burial chamber," they said in a statement. The scans also suggest the "presence of metallic and organic substances," and show what could be door lintels that indicate the presence of doorways, they said.
However, Live Science contacted radar experts not affiliated with the project, and they said they doubt the validity of these claims. Some of these experts noted that the geology of the Valley of the Kings, which contains many natural voids, makes it difficult for radar to distinguish archaeological features from natural ones.
"It does not appear that these GPR [ground-penetrating radar] data have been processed, or that any of the so-called anomalies are visible in the raw data that are provided," said Lawrence Conyers, a professor of anthropology at the University of Denver. Conyers literally wrote the book (now in its third edition) on the use of ground-penetrating radar in archaeology.