I could not believe my ears when I heard Antiquities Minister Mamdouh al-Damaty saying on television that Nicholas Reeves, who claims the tomb of Queen Nefertiti is behind the tomb of Tutankhamun, worked before in the Valley of the Kings and discovered tomb no. 63.
I must refute this and reveal the truth in order not to allow the ilk of Reeves to claim fake archaeological discoveries in search of fame at the expense of our history.
Nicholas Reeves was working with the mission of the British Egyptologist Jeffrey Martin in the Valley of the Kings. He brought with him a team of Japanese radar experts. After Martin stopped the excavation, he claimed that the radar detected a tomb behind Tutankhamun's tomb that he called tomb no. 63, given that the last tomb discovered was no. 62, that of Tutankhamun. He even drew a sketch of the entrance to the tomb as depicted by the radar survey.
I worked with an Egyptian excavation mission in the place spotted by Reeves to look for the tomb, but found out that the sketch was but a crack in the ground.
As for tomb no. 63, it is actually a cache for material used in mummification. It was discovered by the American archaeologist Otto Schaden from the University of Memphis.
I wrote about this discovery in my book “Discovering Tutankhamun: From Howard Carter to DNA” that was translated into English and German.
The American Research Center was working on a project to protect the tombs in the Valley of the Kings from rain. Since there were not enough funds to transport the sand that was removed from the place, Ali al-Asfar, the director of west bank antiquities in Luxor, asked Schaden to put the sand next to the cache, or tomb 63.
At that time, Reeves claimed that it was he who spotted the location of tomb no. 63, which prompted Schaden to refute his claim with proof and evidence.
Reeves never worked with us in any excavations. When the US Attorney General provided me with evidence of his involvement in the evaluation of smuggled antiquities, the Standing Committee of Antiquities banned him from working in Egypt for three years. He was also dismissed from the Egyptology Department of the British Museum for the same reason.
He was allowed to work again in Egypt at the request of Jeffrey Martin. Martin had to stop his excavations when Reeves brought the Japanese team so as not to implicate the mission in problems.
This is Nicholas Reeves, whom I have repeatedly warned that he only seeks fame and false glory for himself at the expense of Egypt’s credibility.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm