Egyptian Tomb Reveals Thrilling Secrets

ByABC News
June 28, 2006, 3:44 PM

June 28, 2006 -- -- After discovering the first intact tomb in Egypt's Valley of the Kings in more than 80 years, archaeologists are giving researchers and members of the media a chance to explore the ancient burial chamber.

The tomb -- designated KV 63 -- was found in February, just feet away from the final resting place of ancient Egypt's young celebrity pharaoh Tutankhamen.

Since then, the team of archaeologists have unearthed a trove of seven wooden coffins, more than 20 storage jars, and more than a few oddities that are still being figured out.

All of this, even though many experts have argued that the Valley of the Kings -- the elaborate final resting places of the ancient society's kings and queens -- has nothing left to offer archaeology and Egyptology.

"When you least expect it sometimes, something just pops up," said professor Otto Schaden, field director of the Amenmesse Tomb Project of the University of Memphis. He also discovered the tomb.

"We can only find what they leave us, you know? When you're digging, you never know what you're going to see next."

The dig had many excited, not just because it was the first tomb uncovered in the Valley since 1922, but because Schaden and his team had hoped to find a mummy in one of the tomb's seven coffins.

Those hopes were dashed, but replaced with excitement over the discovery of embalming materials, necklaces woven from flowers, and other religious artifacts when the last sarcophagi was opened.

Of the seven coffins discovered, one had yet to be opened when the researchers and media were invited in.

Schaden and others in the archaeology community were hoping to find an important, perhaps royal mummy.

"One suggestion is that it may be the mummy of his wife, or [Egyptian Queen] Nefertiti, or possibly Tut's mother Kia," said James Phillips, professor of anthropology at the University of Illinois and an archaeologist with the Field Museum in Chicago, before the final coffin was opened.