Valley of the Kings
The Valley of the Kings known as the Valley of the Gates of the Kings, is a valley in Egypt where, for a period of nearly 500 years from the 16th to 11th century BC, rock cut tombs were excavated for the pharaohs and powerful nobles of the New Kingdom. The valley stands on the west bank of the Nile, opposite Thebes, within the heart of the Theban Necropolis; the wadi consists of East Valley and West Valley. With the 2005 discovery of a new chamber and the 2008 discovery of two further tomb entrances, the valley is known to contain 63 tombs and chambers, it was the principal burial place of the major royal figures of the Egyptian New Kingdom, as well as a number of privileged nobles. The royal tombs are decorated with scenes from Egyptian mythology and give clues as to the beliefs and funerary rituals of the period. All of the tombs seem to have been opened and robbed in antiquity, but they still give an idea of the opulence and power of the pharaohs; this area has been a focus of archaeological and egyptological exploration since the end of the eighteenth century, its tombs and burials continue to stimulate research and interest.
In modern times the valley has become famous for the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun, is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. In 1979, it became a World Heritage Site, along with the rest of the Theban Necropolis. Exploration and conservation continues in the valley, a new tourist centre has been opened; the Valley of the Kings is situated over 1,000 feet of limestone and other sedimentary rock, which form the cliffs in the valley and the nearby Deir el-Bahri, interspersed with soft layers of marl. The sedimentary rock was deposited between 35–56 million years ago during a time when the Mediterranean Sea sometimes extended as far south as Aswan. During the Pleistocene the valley was carved out of the plateau by steady rains. There is little year-round rain in this part of Egypt, but there are occasional flash floods that hit the valley, dumping tons of debris into the open tombs; the quality of the rock in the Valley is inconsistent, ranging from finely-grained to coarse stone, the latter with the potential to be structurally unsound.
The occasional layer of shale caused construction and conservation difficulties, as this rock expands in the presence of water, forcing apart the stone surrounding it. It is thought that some tombs were altered in shape and size depending on the types of rock the builders encountered. Builders took advantage of available geological features; some tombs were quarried out of existing limestone clefts, others behind slopes of scree, or were at the edge of rock spurs created by ancient flood channels. The problems of tomb construction can be seen with tombs of his father Setnakhte. Setnakhte started to excavate KV11 but broke into the tomb of Amenmesse, so construction was abandoned and he instead usurped the tomb of Twosret, KV14; when looking for a tomb, Ramesses III extended. The tomb of Ramesses II returned to an early style, with a bent axis due to the quality of the rock being excavated. Between 1998 and 2002 the Amarna Royal Tombs Project investigated the valley floor using ground-penetrating radar and found that, below the modern surface, the Valley's cliffs descend beneath the scree in a series of abrupt, natural "shelves", arranged one below the other, descending several metres down to the bedrock in the valley floor.
The area of the Theban hills is subject to infrequent violent thunderstorms, causing flash floods in the valley. Recent studies have shown that there are at least seven active flood stream beds leading down into the central area of the valley; this central area appears to have been flooded at the end of the Eighteenth Dynasty, with several tombs buried under metres of debris. The tombs KV63, KV62, KV55 are dug into the actual wadi bedrock rather than the debris, showing that the level of the valley was five meters below its present level. After this event dynasties leveled the floor of the valley, making the floods deposit their load further down the valley, the buried tombs were forgotten and only discovered in the early 20th century; this was the area, the subject of the Amarna Royal Tombs Project ground scanning radar investigation, which showed several anomalies, one of, proved to be KV63. The Theban Hills are dominated by the peak of al-Qurn, known to the Ancient Egyptians as ta dehent, or "The Peak".
It has a pyramid-shaped appearance, it is probable that this echoed the pyramids of the Old Kingdom, more than a thousand years prior to the first royal burials carved here. Its isolated position resulted in reduced access, special tomb police were able to guard the necropolis. While the iconic pyramid complexes of the Giza plateau have come to symbolize ancient Egypt, the majority of tombs were cut into rock. Most pyramids and mastabas contain sections which are cut into ground level, there are full rock-cut tombs in Egypt that date back to the Old Kingdom. After the defeat of the Hyksos and the reunification of Egypt under Ahmose I, the Theban rulers began to construct elaborate tombs that reflected their newfound power; the tombs of Ahmose and his son Amenhotep I were in the Seventeenth Dyna
Tomb KV18, located in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt, was intended for the burial of Pharaoh Ramesses X of the Twentieth Dynasty. The tomb consists of two sections of corridor separated by gates; the entryway was used by Howard Carter in the early 20th century as the site of the Valley's first electricity generator. After penetrating the hillside for a distance of some 43 metres, it ends at the rock face into which a series of rough steps have been carved. Little is known about this tomb, the final section of corridor was properly cleared of the voluminous flood débris filling it only recently. Reeves, N & Wilkinson, R. H; the Complete Valley of the Kings, 1996, Thames and Hudson, London. Siliotti, A. Guide to the Valley of the Kings and to the Theban Necropolises and Temples, 1996, A. A. Gaddis, Cairo. Theban Mapping Project: KV18 - Includes description and plans of the tomb
Tomb KV36, located in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt, was used for the burial of the noble Maiherpri from the Eighteenth Dynasty. Rediscovered by Victor Loret in his second season in the Valley of the Kings, on 30 March 1899, the tomb was found to be undisturbed, but as it has for a long time not been properly published, it is not as well known as other burials in the valley. All the objects found were taken to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo where they were published in the Catalogue General; the only source for the arrangement of the objects in the burial chamber was a short article by Georg Schweinfurth. He visited the tomb before its contents were brought to Cairo; however the notebooks of Loret were found and published, providing a detailed list and description of the objects found and their arrangement in the tomb chamber. The tomb of Maiherpri is a small shaft tomb with a chamber at the bottom on its west side; the burial chamber was undecorated, as with all burial chambers of non-royals in the Valley of the King.
It is 4.10 m wide. Not much is known about Maiherpri. Only two titles appear on the objects within the burial: child of the nursery and fan-bearer on the right side of the king; the mummy showed. Maiherpri was placed in a set of three coffins; the outer one is rectangular, painted black with gilded decoration. It is more a shrine than a coffin. Inside it there were two anthropoid coffins in black with gilded decoration. There is a third anthropoid coffin found next to this coffin ensemble with its lid placed next to the box; this caused some discussion in Egyptology. It seems that the'extra' coffin was intended as the innermost one, but was too big to fit into the set and was therefore left unused next to it. A similar situation was found in the burial of Tutankhamun, where his second coffin was slightly too large for the outermost one. There the coffin was shortened directly in the tomb chamber, while in the burial of Maiherpri a new coffin was obtained. Maiherpri mummy was adorned with a mummy mask.
At the foot end of the rectangular coffin, on the east side was found his canopic box with the four canopic jars still in it. Next to it there was the Book of the Dead of Maiherpri and there were found several boxes with mummified pieces of meat. At the head of the coffins were found too many pottery vessels. Other objects from this tomb are stone vases, a senet game, a nicely painted faience bowl, a quiver, a glass vase and a funerary bed with the shape of Osiris laid out in wheat. Christian Orsenigo: La tomba di Maiherperi. In: La Valle dei Re Riscoperta, I giornali di scavo Vitor Loret e altri inediti. Mailand 2004, pp. 214–221, 271–281 Reeves, N & Wilkinson, R. H; the Complete Valley of the Kings, 1996, Thames and Hudson, London. Siliotti, A. Guide to the Valley of the Kings and to the Theban Necropolises and Temples, 1996, A. A. Gaddis, Cairo. Rice, Michael. Who's Who in Ancient Egypt. Routledge. Theban Mapping Project: KV36 - Includes detailed maps of most of the tombs
Located in the Valley of the Kings, Tomb KV12 is an unusual tomb, used in the Eighteenth Dynasty of Ancient Egypt, again in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Dynasties. It was used for multiple burials of royal family members, rather like KV5; the builders of KV9 broke into KV12 whilst excavating that tomb. During the excavation, rumors of the second tomb had circulated throughout the camp, leading scientists dismissed the idea and continued on. Little did they realize the mistake, about to be made; the tomb diggers broke through the ground into the tomb only to find the remains of multiple family members in the new tomb. Researchers are still working on identifying the family members and collecting the other artifacts in the tomb. Reeves, N & Wilkinson, R. H; the Complete Valley of the Kings, 1996, Thames and Hudson, London. Siliotti, A. Guide to the Valley of the Kings and to the Theban Necropolises and Temples, 1996, A. A. Gaddis, Cairo. Theban Mapping Project: KV12 - Includes description and plans of the tomb.
Images showing KV12 and KV9
Tomb KV8, located in the Valley of the Kings, was used for the burial of Pharaoh Merenptah of Ancient Egypt's Nineteenth Dynasty. The burial chamber, located at the end of 160 metres of corridor held a set of four nested sarcophagi; the outer one of these was so voluminous that parts of the corridor had to have their doorjambs demolished and rebuilt to allow it to be brought in. These jambs were rebuilt with the help of inscribed sandstone blocks which were fixed into their place with dovetail cramps; the pillars in Chamber F were removed to allow passage of the sacrophagus, only two were replaced. The other two pillars may have been stolen by Paneb, a worker in the craftsman's village, for use in his own tomb. Reeves, N & Wilkinson, R. H; the Complete Valley of the Kings, 1996, Thames and Hudson, London Siliotti, A. Guide to the Valley of the Kings and to the Theban Necropolises and Temples, 1996, A. A. Gaddis, Cairo Theban Mapping Project: KV8: Includes description and plans of the tomb
Upper Egypt is the strip of land on both sides of the Nile that extends between Nubia and downriver to Lower Egypt. Upper Egypt is between the Cataracts of the Nile above modern-day Aswan, downriver to the area of El-Ayait, which places modern-day Cairo in Lower Egypt; the northern part of Upper Egypt, between Sohag and El-Ayait, is known as Middle Egypt. In Arabic, inhabitants of Upper Egypt are known as Sa'idis and they speak Sai'idi Egyptian Arabic. In ancient Egypt, Upper Egypt was known as tꜣ šmꜣw "the Land of Reeds" or "the Sedgeland" It was divided into twenty-two districts called nomes; the first nome was where modern-day Aswan is and the twenty-second was at modern Atfih just to the south of Cairo. The main city of prehistoric Upper Egypt was Nekhen, whose patron deity was the vulture goddess Nekhbet. By about 3600 BC, Neolithic Egyptian societies along the Nile had based their culture on the raising of crops and the domestication of animals. Shortly after 3600 BC, Egyptian society began to increase in complexity.
A new and distinctive pottery, related to the Levantine ceramics, appeared during this time. Extensive use of copper became common during this time; the Mesopotamian process of sun-drying adobe and architectural principles—including the use of the arch and recessed walls for decorative effect—became popular during this time. Concurrent with these cultural advances, a process of unification of the societies and towns of the upper Nile River, or Upper Egypt, occurred. At the same time the societies of the Nile Delta, or Lower Egypt underwent a unification process. Warfare between Upper and Lower Egypt occurred often. During his reign in Upper Egypt, King Narmer defeated his enemies on the Delta and merged both the Kingdom of Upper and Lower Egypt under his single rule. For most of pharaonic Egypt's history, Thebes was the administrative center of Upper Egypt. After its devastation by the Assyrians, its importance declined. Under the Ptolemies, Ptolemais Hermiou took over the role of Upper Egypt's capital city.
Upper Egypt was represented by the tall White Crown Hedjet, its symbols were the flowering lotus and the sedge. In the 11th century, large numbers of pastoralists, known as Hilalians, fled Upper Egypt and moved westward into Libya and as far as Tunis, it is believed that degraded grazing conditions in Upper Egypt, associated with the beginning of the Medieval Warm Period, were the root cause of the migration. In the 20th-century Egypt, the title Prince of the Sa'id was used by the heir apparent to the Egyptian throne. Although the Kingdom of Egypt was abolished after the Egyptian revolution of 1952, the title continues to be used by Muhammad Ali, Prince of the Sa'id; the following list may not be complete: Sa'idi people Upper and Lower Egypt Geography of Egypt Edel, Elmar Zu den Inschriften auf den Jahreszeitenreliefs der "Weltkammer" aus dem Sonnenheiligtum des Niuserre Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen, OCLC 309958651, in German. Media related to Upper Egypt at Wikimedia Commons
Tomb KV10, located in the Valley of the Kings near the modern-day Egyptian city of Luxor, was cut and decorated for the burial of Pharaoh Amenmesse of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Ancient Egypt. However, there is no proof that he was buried here; the decoration was replaced with scenes for Takhat and Baketwernel—two royal women dating to the late 20th dynasty. It was visited by Richard Pococke, Jean-François Champollion and Karl Richard Lepsius, studied by Edward R. Ayrton before being properly examined by a team from the University of Memphis in the United States under Otto Schaden in 1992. Reeves, N & Wilkinson, R. H; the Complete Valley of the Kings, 1996, Thames and Hudson, London. Siliotti, A. Guide to the Valley of the Kings and to the Theban Necropolises and Temples, 1996, A. A. Gaddis, Cairo. Theban Mapping Project: KV10 - Includes description and plans of the tomb. KV-10 The Tomb of Amenmesse Project