A LEADING Egyptologist has claimed that he is weeks away from discovering the long-lost body of Queen Nefertiti.
Zahi Hawass, who was previously Egypt's Minister of State for Antiquities Affairs, reckons a mummy he is currently studying will turn out to be that of the elusive ancient monarch.
If true then Hawass, who has decades of experience studying Egyptian history and excavating ancient tombs, has stumbled across one of the archaeological finds of the century.
The researcher told Spanish newspaper El Independiente: "I'm sure I'll reveal Nefertiti's mummy in a month or two."
The final resting place of Nefertiti, who was queen alongside Pharaoh Akhenaten over 3,000 years ago, is one of Egypt's greatest mysteries.
It's believed the powerful monarch was the mother of King Tutankhamun's wife, and that she briefly ruled Egypt outright after the death of her husband in 1335 BC.
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Archaeologists have never found her remains and her final resting place is a topic of hot debate.
Hawass' search has taken him to the world-famous Valley of the Kings near the city of Luxor.
He said: "We already have DNA from the 18th dynasty mummies, from Akhenaten to Amenhotep II or III and there are two unnamed mummies labeled KV21a and b.
"In October we will be able to announce the discovery of the mummy of Ankhesenamun, Tutankhamun's wife, and her mother, Nefertiti. There is also in tomb KV35 the mummy of a 10-year-old boy.
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"If that child is the brother of Tutankhamun and the son of Akhenaten, the problem posed by Nefertiti will be solved."
Hawass added: "I am sure that I will reveal which of the two unnamed mummies could be Nefertiti."
Backed by a crack team of Egyptologists, Hawass launched his project to find Nefertiti's remains in 2017.
The archaeologist is putting together an exhibition called "Daughters of the Nile" that will focus on women in Ancient Egypt.
"The team of Egyptian archaeologists tasked with finding Nefertiti’s tomb is an entirely Egyptian mission, he said last year.
"This is the first time that an Egyptian mission leads [the excavation] works at the archaeological site of the Valley of the Kings, where foreign missions have always worked."
Nefertiti was believed to have been queen alongside Pharaoh Akhenaten from 1353 to 1336 BC and may have gone on to rule Egypt herself after her husband.
The pair wielded power over one of the largest and most powerful empires ever seen during its most prosperous period.
Nefertiti was made famous by the beautiful bust of her head, which is believed to have been sculpted around 1340 BC.
The artefact was rediscovered in 1912 and is now on display at the Neues Museum in Berlin.
Despite decades of searching, Nefertiti's mummy has yet to be discovered.
Plenty of Egyptologists have spuriously claimed to have found her remains, though without conclusive proof.
One popular theory is that she was buried in a secret compartment within her son-in-law King Tut's tomb.
The Boy King died aged just 19 and his burial complex is exceptionally small for a monarch, leading some experts to speculate that parts of it remain undiscovered.
However, Hawass has rubbished such claims.
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He said last year: "There is no scientific evidence proving the theory that Queen Nefertiti was buried inside Tutankhamun’s tomb.
"We believe that Nefertiti could be buried in the western valley next to the tomb of King Amenhotep III."
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