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Archaeologists start dig to uncover Tutankhamun's 'missing' wife

(AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

The wife of the Ancient Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun might have been found in the Valley of the Kings, as archaeologists excavate a tomb which might contain her remains.

The tomb was first detected in July last year, but archaeologist and former Egyptian minister for antiquities, Zahi Hawass has begun a dig this month.

Researchers are now digging near the tomb of Ay, Tutankhamun’s successor – who also married Ankhesenamun.

The discovery could solve a mystery about the final fate of the boy king’s wife.

This reconstructed image of King Tutankhamun, when he was 19, was created under the leadership of Zahi Hawass, secretary general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities and National Geographic Society using the Siemens CT scan data of the mummy to create the most accurate forensic reconstruction ever of Egypt’s famous boy pharaoh.
This reconstructed image of King Tutankhamun, when he was 19, was created under the leadership of Zahi Hawass, secretary general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities and National Geographic Society using the Siemens CT scan data of the mummy to create the most accurate forensic reconstruction ever of Egypt’s famous boy pharaoh.

Ankhesenamun was married to her half-brother Tutankhamun, who reigned from 1332 to 1327 BC – then married his successor Ay, who ruled from 1327 to 1323 BC.

But after that, she vanished from the historical record, and archaeologists have been unsure of her fate.

Tutankhamun mask at the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, Egypt
Tutankhamun mask at the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, Egypt

Some evidence suggests that she also married her father Akhenaten and her maternal grandfather before dying at aged 26.

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Zahi Hawass, launched a dig this month, with his team saying in a statement: ‘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.

This shot of the Valley of the Kings shows the tomb entrances at Thebes in Egypt.
This shot of the Valley of the Kings shows the tomb entrances at Thebes in Egypt.

‘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.’