Akhenaten was related to his wife Nefertiti

Tutankhamun, Nefertiti and a branched family tree

If hidden chambers are discovered in Tutankhamun's tomb during the new explorations, this may include the tomb of Nefertiti, the lost queen who was related to the young pharaoh over two lines. If so, another mummy may soon join this fascinating, ramified family.

Over the course of more than a hundred years, excavations in the Egyptian Valley of the Kings and its surroundings have unearthed 64 tombs and other associated chambers. The most famous among them is the treasure-filled burial chamber of Tutankhamun, also known as KV62. But many other royal tombs and mummies from the 18th and 19th Dynasties of Ancient Egypt were also discovered.

In 2007, Egyptian scientists began performing genetic tests on 16 royal mummies. Shown here are his closest relatives: the grandparents, parents, his wife, and two mummified fetuses that were found in his grave and believed to have been his daughters.

But a legendary mummy from this period, whose name is mentioned every time a new discovery is made in this royal cemetery, is missing: the beautiful Queen Nefertiti. She was the main wife of Tutankhamun's father Akhenaten. His mother was another woman whose name is not known. This makes Nefertiti Tutankhamun's stepmother.

Tutankhamun's relationships were further complicated by the royal custom of incest during this period. He himself married his half-sister Ankhesenamun, a daughter of Nefertiti and Akhenaten. So Nefertiti is also his mother-in-law.

Article published in English on September 29, 2015