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