A quest by Egyptian authorities to discover a secret chamber in the tomb of Tutankhamun has ended with a frank admission -- that it doesn't exist.
The investigation was launched after British Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves had suggested that a secret tomb, possibly belonging to Queen Nefertiti, was concealed behind the north and west wall paintings of Tutankhamun's burial chamber.
Reeves had theorized in 2015 that the tomb belonged to Nefertiti, the wife of Tutankhamun's father, King Akhenaten.
But according to a statement from Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities, months of tests carried out by Italy's Polytechnic University in Turin, which used ground-penetrating radar (GPR), provided "conclusive evidence of the non-existence of hidden chambers adjacent to or inside Tutankhamun's tomb."
"The studies...have shown that no chambers exist, or even an indication of any threshold or door frames, which contradicts the previous theory that had assumed the existence of passages or chambers adjacent or inside the burial chamber," the statement quoted Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, as saying.
Officials had previously said they were "90% sure" of a hidden chamber behind the wall of Tutankhamun's 3,000-year-old tomb.
The remains of Tutankhamun, who died at the age of 19, were found in 1922.
Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2010 showed that King Tut may have died of malaria, possibly after suffering an infection in his broken leg.
Nefertiti's remains have never been discovered and remain the subject of huge speculation.