Giovanni Battista Belzoni
Giovanni Battista Belzoni, sometimes known as The Great Belzoni, was a prolific Italian explorer and pioneer archaeologist of Egyptian antiquities. He is known for his removal to England of the seven-tonne bust of Ramesses II, the clearing of sand from the entrance of the great temple at Abu Simbel, the discovery and documentation of the tomb of Seti I, the first to penetrate into the second pyramid of Giza. Belzoni was born in Padua, his father was a barber. His family was from Rome and when Belzoni was 16 he went to work there, saying that he studied hydraulics, he intended taking monastic vows, but in 1798 the occupation of the city by French troops drove him from Rome and changed his proposed career. In 1800 he moved to the Netherlands. In 1803 he fled to England to avoid being sent to jail. There he married Sarah Bane. Belzoni was a tall man at 6 feet 7 inches tall and they both joined a travelling circus, they were for some time compelled to find subsistence by performing exhibitions of feats of strength and agility as a strongman at fairs and on the streets of London.
In 1804 he appears engaged at the circus at Astley's amphitheatre at a variety of performances. Belzoni had an interest in phantasmagoria and experimented with the use of magic lanterns in his shows. In 1812 he left England and after a tour of performances in Spain and Sicily, he went to Malta in 1815 where he met Ismael Gibraltar, an emissary of Muhammad Ali, who at the time was undertaking a programme of agrarian land reclamation and important irrigation works. Belzoni wanted to show Muhammad Ali a hydraulic machine of his own invention for raising the waters of the Nile. Though the experiment with this engine was successful, the project was not approved by the pasha. Belzoni, now without a job, was resolved to continue his travels. On the recommendation of the orientalist J. L. Burckhardt he was sent by Henry Salt, the British consul to Egypt, to the Ramesseum at Thebes, from where he removed with great skill the colossal bust of Ramesses II called "the Young Memnon". Shipped by Belzoni to England, this piece is still on prominent display at the British Museum.
This weighed over 7 tons. It took 130 men to tow it to the river, he used levers to lift it onto rollers. He had his men distributed with 4 ropes drag it on the rollers. On the first day he only covered a few yards, the second he covered 50 yards deliberately breaking the bases of 2 columns to clear the way for his burden. After 150 yards, it sank into the sand, a detour of 300 yards on firmer ground was necessary. From there, it got a little easier, and, on 12 August, he made it to the river where he was able to load it on a boat for shipment to the British Museum in London, his excavation and removal of the Young Memnon and other stones during this expedition was explicitly authorized by a firman from Muhammad Ali himself, the Pasha of Egypt. He expanded his investigations to the great temple of Edfu, visited Elephantine and Philae, cleared the great temple at Abu Simbel of sand, made excavations at Karnak, opened up the sepulchre of Seti I, he was the first to penetrate into the second pyramid of Giza, the first European in modern times to visit the oasis of Bahariya.
He identified the ruins of Berenice on the Red Sea. In 1819 he returned to England and published an account of his travels and discoveries entitled Narrative of the Operations and Recent Discoveries within the Pyramids, Temples and Excavations in Egypt and Nubia, &c the following year. During 1820 and 1821 he exhibited facsimiles of the tomb of Seti I; the exhibition was held at the Egyptian Hall, London. In 1822 Belzoni showed his model in Paris. In 1823 he set out for West Africa. Having been refused permission to pass through Morocco, he chose the Guinea Coast route, he reached the Kingdom of Benin, but was seized with dysentery at a village called Gwato, died there. According to the celebrated traveller Richard Francis Burton he was robbed. In 1829 his widow published his drawings of the royal tombs at Thebes. A medal depicting a profile of Belzoni created by William Brockedon was cast in 1821 by Sir Edward Thomason. Belzoni's friend Sir Francis Ronalds had introduced subject. Years in 1859 in Padua, Ronalds advised sculptor Rinaldo Rinaldi on the large medallion he was creating to commemorate Belzoni in his hometown.
Belzoni was portrayed by Matthew Kelly in the 2005 BBC docudrama Egypt. Alberto Siliotti has done the unique scholarly edition of his travels and it has been the subject of the Horus expedition in 1988. Horace Smith, a poet in the circle of Percy Bysshe Shelley, wrote " Address to the Mummy in Belzoni's Exhibition." List of megalithic sites Howard Carter Flinders Petrie Anastasini Circus Lane-Poole, Stanley. "Belzoni, Giovanni Baptista". In Stephen, Leslie. Dictionary of National Biography. 4. London: Smith, Elder & Co; this article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Belzoni, Giovanni Battista". Encyclopædia Britannica. 3. Cambridge University Press. Catholic Encyclopedia article 2001, Belzoni’s Travels, by Alberto Siliotti, The British Museum Press, ISBN 0-7141-1940-7 Mayes, Stanley; the Great Belzoni: The Circus Strongman Who Discovered Egypt`s Treasures. Tauris Parke Paperbacks. ISBN 978-1-84511-333-9 N
Tomb KV6 in Egypt's Valley of the Kings was the final resting place of the 20th-dynasty Pharaoh Ramesses IX. However, the archaeological evidence and the quality of decoration it contains indicates that the tomb was not finished in time for Ramesses's death but was hastily rushed through to completion, many corners being cut, following his demise, it is located in the central part of the Valley. Its unusually wide entrance stands between, above, those of two other interesting tombs: KV5 and KV55. Running a total distance of 105 metres into the hillside, the tomb begins with a gate and a shallow descending ramp. Following on from the ramp come three successive stretches of corridor; the first of these has four side chambers – two on each side – but none of these are decorated or finished. At the end of the corridors come three chambers; the first of these is decorated with the Opening of the Mouth ritual, it is possible that a well shaft would have been dug here had the builders been afforded more time.
The second chamber contains four large columns, but neither the stonecutting nor the decoration work were completed. At the far end of this chamber, a ramp slopes down to the actual burial chamber, where the pharaoh's sarcophagus was placed; the ceiling is vaulted, is decorated with splendid pictures of the goddess Nut. The side walls show scenes from the Book of the Earth; the far wall depicts Ramses on his barque, surrounded by a host of gods. The yellows, dark blues, blacks used to decorate this chamber are visually striking and unusual among the tomb decorations in the Valley. While the sarcophagus itself has long since vanished, Ramesses IX's mummy was one of those found in the Deir el-Bahri cache in 1881. KV6 has been open since antiquity, as can be seen by the graffiti left on its walls by Roman and Coptic visitors. Ramesses IX Tomb-plan Ostracon 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 KV6
Tomb KV43 is the tomb of Pharaoh Thutmose IV in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, Egypt. It has typical of the layout of early 18th Dynasty tombs. KV43 was rediscovered in 1903 by Howard Carter. Located high in the cliffs above the valley floor, it had been spared the extensive flood-water damage suffered by other tombs, its wall decorations are very well preserved; the pharaoh's outer stone sarcophagus is still in place in the burial chamber. Two of the pharaoh's children, Prince Amenemhat and Princess Tentamun were buried here. Theban Mapping Project: KV43 - Includes detailed maps of the tomb
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
Tomb KV9 in Egypt's Valley of the Kings was constructed by Pharaoh Ramesses V. He was interred here, but his uncle, Ramesses VI reused the tomb as his own; the layout is typical of the 20th dynasty – the Ramesside period – and is much simpler than that of Ramesses III's tomb. The workmen accidentally broke into KV12; the entrance is decorated with a disk containing a scarab and an image of the ram-headed Ra between Isis and Nephthys who are kneeling. The jambs and thicknesses, mentions the name of Ramesses VI; the jambs are usurped from Ramesses V. On both sides are images of Ramesses VI before Osiris; the scenes depicted Ramesses V but were usurped. On the south wall of the corridor are scenes from the Book of Gates, while the North wall is decorated with scenes from the Book of Caverns; the corridor ends in a hall, decorated with an intricate astronomical ceiling. On the left wall the Book of Gates is continued; the decorations show divisions 10 and 11 including Nun holding up the bark of Ra with Nut above the scene.
On the right side of the hall the Book of Caverns scenes continue. Above the entrance to the next corridor the king is shown libating before Osiris. Ramesses Vi is shown is a variety of scenes before gods and goddesses such as Meretseger, Khonsu and Ptah-Sokar-Osiris. In the descent to the second corridor the decorations show scenes from the Book of the Imi-Duat; the ceiling depicts the barks of Ra and the Books of the Night. Ramesses VI is shown before Hekau, Maat; the last hall contains scenes from the Book of Aker. In the Graeco-Roman period, the tomb was identified as that of Memnon, the mythological king of the Ethiopians who fought in the Trojan War; as a result, it was visited. 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: KV9 - Includes description and plans of the tomb. Views of KV9 & KV12
Tomb KV26, located in Egypt's Valley of the Kings, was visited by James Burton, probably by Victor Loret. Nothing is known about its occupant or occupants, but it is believed to be an 18th Dynasty tomb because of its similarities to others of that period. Although it is exceptionally short, with a total length of less than 12 metres, it has not yet been cleared or excavated. 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: KV26 - Includes detailed maps of most of the tombs
Tomb KV5 is a subterranean, rock-cut tomb in the Valley of the Kings. It belonged to the sons of Ramesses II. Though KV5 was excavated as early as 1825, its true extent was discovered in 1995 by Kent R. Weeks and his exploration team; the tomb is now known to be the largest in the Valley of the Kings. Weeks' discovery is considered the most dramatic in the valley since the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922. Standing near the entrance to the Valley, KV5 was robbed in antiquity. In addition, over the centuries, it suffered the fate of other low-lying tombs, to be filled with rubble washed down in the flash floods that accompany thunderstorms over the Valley; the tomb was examined several times once exploration of the Valley in modern times started, first in 1825, in 1902. However, they were not able to penetrate past the first few rooms, thus saw nothing unusual about the tomb, it was not until the Theban Mapping Project, under Kent R. Weeks, decided to clear the tomb that the stage was set for the discovery of its true extent and nature.
Although the works had begun in 1987, the first substantial finding came in 1995, after extensive clearing in the outer chambers of the tomb: 70 rooms, lined along long corridors, running back into the hillside. The number of the rooms corresponds to the number of sons the Pharaoh sired; this discovery caused reignited popular interest in Egyptology. Findings so far include thousands of potshards, faience beads, hieratic ostraca, glass vials, inlays and a large statue of Osiris, the god of the afterlife. Further excavations have revealed that the tomb is larger than was first thought, as it contains more corridors, with more rooms, running off from other parts of the tomb. At least 130 rooms or chambers have been discovered as of 2006, work is still continuing on clearing the rest of the tomb. In the proximity to the tomb of Ramesses II, this tomb contained most of his children, both male and female, including those who died in his lifetime in particular; the skull fragments of Amun-her-khepeshef, among others, were reconstituted.
Kent R. Weeks, The Lost Tomb. New York: William Morrow, 1998. Includes a description of the discovery and excavation of KV5. ISBN 0-688-17224-5 Kent R. Weeks, KV 5: A Preliminary Report on the Excavation of the Tomb of the Sons of Ramesses II in the Valley of the Kings. Cairo: American University Press, 2000 ISBN 977-424-574-1 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, Dr M. Swales, Theban Mapping Project – Plan of the tomb and other details. KV5 Progress Reports – Considerable detail of the work performed each year