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Valley of Kings

Valley of the kings at night

The Valley of the Kings: the facts behind the most important location in Ancient Egypt

The valley of the Kings; Once part of the ancient city of Thebes is the burial site of almost all of Egypt’s Pharaohs from the 18th, 19th and 20th dynasties. Archaeologists have found around sixty-three tombs (with the latest discovery being in 2008) at this burial complex located in the hills of Dayr- al-Bahri.

Even though most of the tombs that are located in this valley have been robbed and luted the remains of these ancient burial sites give archaeologists and historians an estimate of the power of ancient Pharaohs and noblemen. This archaeological site has been the center of attention for researchers since the eighteenth century and even today scholars rush to ancient Thebes to study and explore the history behind one of the most important locations in ancient Egypt.



The Facts and History

  • The valley of the Kings: the facts behind the impost important locations in Ancient Egypt
  • The official name for the site in ancient times was The Great and Majestic Necropolis of the Millions of Years of the Pharaoh, Life, Strength, Health in The West of Thebes. Or also, Ta-sekhet-ma’at (the Great Field).
  • The first tomb discovered was of pharaoh Ramses VII designated KV1
  • Most of the tombs of the Valley of the Kings are not open to the public.
  • Researchers state that the quality of the rock in the Valley is quite inconsistent, ranging from finely grained to coarse stone.
  • Builders took advantage of available geological features when constructing the tombs; due to the lack of specific tools, the builders had to look out for any advantage that could help them achieve their goal.
  • The peak of al-Qurn which watches over the valley is an iconic feature of the region; the tomb police, known as the Medjay, watched over the valley from this location.
  • The tomb of Akhenaten was originally intended to be located in the Valley of the Kings; Archaeologists point toward the unfinished WV25 as the intended burial chamber for Akhenaten.
  • During Roman times the valley of the kings was a very attractive touristic location.
  • Many of the tombs have graffiti written by ancient tourists; researchers have located over 2100 ancient graffiti, mostly Latin and Greek.
  • Archaeologists have found that most of the ancient graffiti are located in KV9, which contains just under a thousand of them. The earliest positively dated graffiti dates to 278 B.C.
  • The mark “KV” actually stands for “Kings Valley” while WV stands for Western Valley.
  • There is a number of unoccupied tombs in the Valley of the Kings and their owners remain unknown.
  • The most imposing tomb of this period is that of Amenhotep III, WV22 located in the West Valley.
  • The burial site of Tutankhamun is one of the most famous in the entire Valley of the Kings.
  • The tomb of Tutankhamun was one of the first royal tombs to be discovered that was still largely intact, even though robbers had already accessed it in the past.
  • The tomb of Horemheb is one of the most unique tombs in the Valley of the Kings exhibiting unique features compared to other tombs in the Valley, it is rarely open to the public.
  • The first ruler of the twentieth dynasty, Setnakhte, had two tombs constructed for himself.
  • The tomb of Ramesses III is one of the largest and most visited tombs in the Valley of the Kings.
  • The first unknown tomb since the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb is dubbed KV 63; even though it has a sarcophagus, pottery, linens, flowers, and other materials it is unoccupied.

Sources and references: National Geographic, Wikipedia, Ancient Code.
Image Credit: National Geographic. Photograph by Kenneth Garrett

tomb-discovery-aug-4

The Tomb of a Pharaoh’s Jeweler Reveals Some Very Fancy 3,500-Year-Old Mummies

Sarah Cascone (artnet), September 11, 2017

The drumbeat of Egyptian archaeological discoveries continues, with that country’s Ministry of Antiquities revealing that it has uncovered an ancient tomb belonging to an Egyptian goldsmith named Amenemhat. The site is just the latest archaeological find in the Draa Abul Naga necropolis, located near the Valley of Kings in the city of Luxor, some 400 miles south of Cairo on the Nile River.

Egyptian archaeologists unearthing mummies at a newly-uncovered ancient tomb in Luxor. Courtesy of the Egyptian Antiquities Ministry.

“We found many objects of the funerary equipment inside and outside the tomb,” said Minister of Antiquities Khaled al-Anani in a statement, as reported by the BBC. “We found mummies, coffins, funerary combs, funerary masks, some jewellery, and statue.”

Lead archaeologist Mostafa Waziri stressed that an Egyptian team, rather than foreign professionals, was responsible for the find.

“We used to escort foreign archaeologists as observers, but that’s now in the past,” Waziri told the Daily Mail. “We are the leaders now.”

About 3,500 years old, the tomb is thought to date to the 18th dynasty. Amenemhat was a jeweler, and his tomb was dedicated to Amon-Re, the main Egyptian deity. Inside, archaeologists found a statue of Amenemhat and his wife, featuring a portrait of their son between them. The site also contained 150 small carved wood, clay, and limestone funerary statues.

Archaeologists found two separate burial shafts, both of which contained mummies. Later sarcophagi, from the 22nd and 21st dynasties, were also excavated.

“We are not sure if these mummies belong to Amenemhat and his family,” Waziri told the New York Times.

Egyptian archaeologists unearthing mummies at a newly uncovered ancient tomb in Luxor. Courtesy of Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images.

Waziri also pointed out that he and his team are not the first to have found the ancient crypt, which, he revealed, was likely disturbed long ago. “Others have clearly reused this tomb and poked around in ancient times,” he said. “That’s probably why their heads are uncovered.”

The latest find follows other recent discoveries in the region. Last November, archaeologists discovered a lost city thought to be Egypt’s first capital. In April, a Japanese team unearthed a 3,500-year-old tomb belonging to an ancient Egyptian nobleman named Userhat. It was work on the latter site that first offered clues about the whereabouts of Amenemhat’s tomb, according to CNN.

The country hopes excitement over archaeological sites can help boost tourism levels, which have remained low in the years following the 2011 ousting of former president Hosni Mubarak. Egypt has since struggled with political instability, as well as car bombings and other terrorist attacks.

The spate of recent discoveries has led to a 170 percent increase in tourism between January and July, according to the Times.

“This is not the end,” said Waziri of the latest find. “This will lead to more discoveries in the future.”