Coordinates : 25°44′27″N 32°36′8″E / 25.74083°N
32.60222°E / 25.74083; 32.60222 Location of the valley in
the Theban Hills, west of the Nile, October 1988 (red arrow shows
The VALLEY OF THE KINGS (Arabic : وادي الملوك Wādī
al Mulūk), the
Valley of the Gates of the Kings (Arabic : وادي
ابواب الملوك Wādī Abwāb al Mulūk), is a valley
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 Eighteenth to the Twentieth
Dynasties of Ancient
The valley stands on the west bank of the
Nile , opposite Thebes
Luxor ), within the heart of the
Theban Necropolis . The wadi
consists of two valleys, East
Valley (where the majority of the royal
tombs are situated) 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 (ranging in size from
KV54 , a simple pit, to
KV5 , a
complex tomb with over 120 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. Almost 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, and 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 (with its rumours of the
Curse of the Pharaohs ), and is
one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. In 1979, it
World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site , along with the rest of the Theban
Necropolis. Exploration, excavation and conservation continues in the
valley, and a new tourist centre has recently been opened.
* 1 Geology
* 1.1 Hydrology
* 2 History
* 2.1 Royal Necropolis
* 3 Exploration of the valley
* 4.2 Eighteenth Dynasty
* 4.3 Nineteenth Dynasty
* 4.4 Twentieth Dynasty
* 4.5 Twenty-first Dynasty and the decline of the necropolis
* 4.6 Minor tombs in the
Valley of the Kings
* 5 Tourism
* 6 See also
* 7 Notes and references
* 7.1 References
* 7.2 Bibliography
* 8 External links
Stratigraphy of the valley
The types of soil where the
Valley of the Kings is located are an
alternating sandwich of dense limestone and other sedimentary rock
(which form the cliffs in the valley and the nearby
Deir el-Bahri )
and soft layers of marl . The sedimentary rock was originally
deposited between 35–56 million years ago during a time when the
precursor to the
Mediterranean Sea covered an area that extended much
further inland than it does today. During the
Pleistocene the valley
was carved out of the plateau by steady rains. There is currently
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
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 also 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 when
constructing the tombs. 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 Ramesses
III and his father
Setnakhte started to excavate
broke into the tomb of
Amenmesse , so construction was abandoned and
he instead usurped the tomb of
KV14 . When looking for a
Ramesses III extended the partly-excavated tomb started by his
father. The tomb of
Ramesses II returned to an early style, with a
bent axis, probably due to the quality of the rock being excavated
(following the Esna shale).
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.
Panorama of the valley, looking north
The area of the Theban hills is subject to infrequent violent thunder
storms, 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, and 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 later dynasties leveled the floor of the valley,
making the floods deposit their load further down the valley, and the
buried tombs were forgotten and only discovered in the early 20th
century. This was the area that was the subject of the
Tombs Project ground scanning radar investigation, which showed
several anomalies, one of which was proved to be KV63.
al-Qurn dominates the valley.
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, and 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 also resulted
in reduced access, and special tomb police (the
Medjay ) 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, and 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
Ahmose I , the Theban rulers began to construct elaborate tombs that
reflected their newfound power. The tombs of Ahmose and his son
Amenhotep I (their exact location remains unknown) were probably in
the Seventeenth Dynasty necropolis of Dra\' Abu el-Naga\' . The first
royal tombs in the valley were those of
Amenhotep I (although this
identification is also disputed), and
Thutmose I , whose advisor,
Ineni , notes in his tomb that he advised the king to place his tomb
in the desolate valley (the identity of this actual tomb is unclear,
but it is probably
I saw to the excavation of the rock-tomb of his majesty, alone, no
one seeing, no one hearing.
Valley was used for primary burials from approximately 1539 BC to
1075 BC. It contains at least 63 tombs , beginning with
Thutmose I (or
possibly earlier, during the reign of
Amenhotep I ) and ending with
Ramesses X or XI , although non-Royal burials continued in usurped
Despite its name, the
Valley of the Kings also contains the tombs of
favorite nobles as well as the wives and children of both nobles and
pharaohs. Therefore, only about 20 of the tombs actually contain the
remains of kings. The remains of nobles and of the royal family,
together with unmarked pits and embalming caches, make up the rest.
Around the time of
Ramesses I (ca. 1301 BC) construction commenced in
Valley of the Queens .
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 (see below for the hieroglyphic
spelling), or Ta-sekhet-ma'at (the Great Field).
At the start of the Eighteenth Dynasty , only kings were buried
within the valley in large tombs. When a non-royal person was buried,
it was in a small rock cut chamber, close to the tomb of their master.
Amenhotep III 's tomb was constructed in the Western Valley, and
while his son
Akhenaten moved his tomb's construction to
Amarna , it
is thought that the unfinished
WV25 may have originally been intended
for him. With the return to religious orthodoxy at the end of the
Tutankhamun , Ay , and
Horemheb returned to the
The Nineteenth and Twentieth Dynasties saw an increase in the number
of burials (both here and in the
Valley of the Queens), with Ramesses
II and later
Ramesses III constructing a massive tomb that was used
for the burial of their sons (
KV3 respectively). There are
some kings that are not buried within the valley or whose tomb has not
Thutmose II may have been buried in Dra\' Abu el-Naga\'
(although his mummy was in the
Deir el-Bahri tomb cache ),
Smenkhkare's burial has never been located, and
Ramesses VIII seems to
have been buried elsewhere.
In the Pyramid Age , the tomb of the king was associated with a
mortuary temple located close to the pyramid. As the tomb of the king
was hidden, this mortuary temple was located away from the burial,
closer to the cultivation facing toward Thebes . These mortuary
temples became places visited during the various festivals held in the
Theban necropolis. Most notable is the Beautiful festival of the
valley , where the sacred barques of
Amun-Re , his consort,
Mut , and
Khonsu , left the temple at
Karnak in order to visit the funerary
temples of deceased kings on the West Bank and their shrines in the
Theban Necropolis .
The tombs were constructed and decorated by the workers of the
Deir el-Medina , located in a small wadi between this
valley and the
Valley of the Queens , facing Thebes . The workers
journeyed to the tombs through various routes over the Theban hills.
The daily lives of these workers are quite well known and are recorded
in tombs and official documents. Amongst the events documented is
perhaps the first recorded worker's strike, detailed in the Turin
strike papyrus .
EXPLORATION OF THE VALLEY
Main article: Exploration of the
Valley of the Kings View of
the central East Valley, showing area around
KV62 Entrance to
a Royal Tomb, drawn in 1821
The area has been a major focus of modern
for the last two centuries. Prior to this time it was a site for
tourism in antiquity (especially during Roman times). This area
illustrates the changes in the study of ancient Egypt, starting as
antiquity hunting, and ending as scientific excavation of the whole
Theban Necropolis . Despite the exploration and investigation noted
below, only eleven of the tombs have actually been completely
Many of the tombs have graffiti written by these ancient tourists.
Jules Baillet has located over 2,100 Greek and
Latin instances of
graffiti, along with a smaller number in Phoenician , Cypriot , Lycian
, Coptic , and other languages. The majority of the ancient graffiti
is found in KV9, which contains just under a thousand of them. The
earliest positively dated graffiti dates to 278 B.C.
In 1799, members of Napoleon\'s expedition to
Dominique Vivant ) drew maps and plans of the known tombs, and for the
first time noted the Western
Prosper Jollois and
Édouard de Villiers du Terrage located the tomb of
Amenhotep III ,
WV22 ). The Description de l\'Égypte contains two volumes (out of a
total of 24) on the area around Thebes.
European exploration continued in the area around Thebes during the
nineteenth century, boosted by
Champollion 's translation of
hieroglyphs. Early in the century, the area was visited by Belzoni ,
working for Henry Salt , who discovered several tombs, including those
of Ay in the West
WV23 ) in 1816 and
Seti I (
KV17 ) the
following year. At the end of his visits, Belzoni declared that all of
the tombs had been located and nothing of note remained to be found.
Working at the same time (and a great rival of Belzoni and Salt) was
Bernardino Drovetti , the French Consul-General.
Gaston Maspero was reappointed as head of the Egyptian
Antiquities Service, the nature of the exploration of the valley
changed again. Maspero appointed English archaeologist Howard Carter
as the Chief Inspector of Upper Egypt, and the young man discovered
several new tombs and explored several others, clearing
KV42 and KV20.
Around the start of the 20th century American explorer Theodore M.
Davis had the excavation permit in this valley. His team (led mostly
Edward R. Ayrton ) discovered several royal and non-royal tombs
KV57 ). In 1907 they discovered the
Amarna Period cache in KV55. After finding what they thought
was all that remained of the burial of
Tutankhamun (items recovered
KV54 and KV58), it was announced that the valley was completely
explored and that no further burials were to be found. Davis's 1912
publication, The Tombs of Harmhabi and Touatânkhamanou closes with
the comment, "I fear that the
Valley of Kings is now exhausted."
Entrance to Horemheb's tomb, soon after discovery in 1908
After Davis's death early in 1915, Lord Carnarvon acquired the
concession to excavate the valley, and he employed
Howard Carter to
explore it. After a systematic search, they discovered the actual tomb
Tutankhamun (KV62) in November 1922.
Various expeditions have continued to explore the valley, adding
greatly to the knowledge of the area. In 2001 the Theban Mapping
Project designed new signs for the tombs, providing information and
plans of the open tombs.
Further information: List of burials in the
Valley of the Kings
A map of the
Valley of the Kings with locations of tombs marked
The earliest tombs were located in cliffs at the top of scree slopes,
under storm-fed waterfalls (
KV43 ). As these locations were
filled, burials descended to the valley floor, gradually moving back
up the slopes as the valley bottom filled with debris. This explains
the location of the tombs
KV63 buried in the valley floor.
Architecture The tomb of
The usual tomb plan consisted of a long inclined rock-cut corridor,
descending through one or more halls (possibly mirroring the
descending path of the sun god into the underworld ) to the burial
chamber. In the earlier tombs, the corridors turn 90 degrees at least
once (such as
KV43 , the tomb of
Thutmose IV ), and the earliest ones
had cartouche -shaped burial chambers (for example,
KV43 , the tomb of
Thutmose IV ). This layout is known as 'Bent Axis', After the burial
the upper corridors were meant to be filled with rubble and the
entrance to the tomb hidden. After the
Amarna Period , the layout
gradually straightened, with an intermediate 'Jogged Axis' (the tomb
KV57 is typical of this and is one of the tombs that is
sometimes open to the public), to the generally 'Straight Axis' of the
late Nineteenth and Twentieth Dynasty tombs (
Ramesses III 's and
Ramesses IX 's tombs,
KV6 respectively). As the tombs' axes
straightened, the slopes also lessened. They almost disappeared in the
late Twentieth Dynasty. Another feature that is common to most tombs
is the 'well', which may have originated as an actual barrier intended
to stop flood waters from entering the lower parts of the tomb. It
seems to have developed a 'magical' purpose later on as a symbolic
shaft. In the later Twentieth Dynasty, the well itself was sometimes
not excavated, but the well room was still present. Decoration
Ancient Egyptian funerary texts Detail of
The majority of the royal tombs were decorated with religious texts
and images. The early tombs were decorated with scenes from Amduat
('That Which is in the Underworld'), which describes the journey of
the sun god through the twelve hours of the night. From the time of
Horemheb, tombs were decorated with the
Book of Gates , which shows
the sun god passing through the twelve gates that divide the nighttime
and ensures the tomb owner's own safe passage through the night.
These earliest tombs were generally sparsely decorated, and those of a
non-royal nature were totally undecorated.
Late in the Nineteenth Dynasty the
Book of Caverns
Book of Caverns , which divided
the underworld into massive caverns containing deities as well as the
deceased waiting for the sun to pass through and restore them to life,
was placed in the upper parts of tombs. A complete version appears in
the tomb of Ramesses VI. The burial of
Ramesses III saw the Book of
the Earth , where the underworld is divided into four sections,
climaxing in the sun disc being pulled from the earth by
The ceilings of the burial chambers were decorated (from the burial
Seti I onwards) with what became formalised as the Book of the
Heavens , which again describes the sun's journey through the twelve
hours of night. Again from Seti I's time, the
Litany of Re , a lengthy
hymn to the sun god began to appear. Pillar in Seti I's tomb
Each burial was provided with equipment that would enable a
comfortable existence in the afterlife. Also present in the tombs were
items used to perform magic rituals, such as Shabtis and divine
figurines. Some equipment was what the king may have used during his
Tutankhamun 's sandals for example), and some was specially
constructed for the burial.
The modern abbreviation "KV" stands for "Kings' Valley", and the
tombs are numbered according to their order of 'discovery', from KV1
(Rameses VII) to
KV64 (discovered in 2012). Since the early 19th
century AD, antiquarians and archaeologists have cleared and recorded
tombs, with a total of 61 sepulchers being known by the start of the
KV5 was only rediscovered in the 1990s after being
dismissed as unimportant by previous investigators. The West Valley
tombs often carry the prefix "WV", but they follow the same numbering
system. Some of the tombs are unoccupied, others remain unidentifiable
as regards to their owners, and still others are merely pits used for
storage. Most of the open tombs in the
Valley of the Kings are located
in the East Valley, and this is where most of the tourist facilities
KV34 Typical 'Bent axis' early Eighteenth
The Eighteenth Dynasty tombs within the valley vary quite a bit in
decoration, style, and location. It seems that at first there was no
fixed plan. The tomb of
Hatshepsut has a unique shape, twisting and
turning down over 200 metres from the entrance, so that the burial
chamber is 97 metres below the surface. The tombs gradually became
more regular and formalised, and those of
Thutmose III and Thutmose IV
KV43 , are good examples of Eighteenth Dynasty tombs, both
with their bent axis, and simple decoration.
Perhaps the most imposing tomb of this period is that of Amenhotep
WV22 , located in the West Valley. It was re-investigated in
the 1990s by a team from
Waseda University ,
Japan , but it is not
open to the public.
At the same time, powerful and influential nobles began to be buried
with the royal family; the most famous of these tombs is the joint
KV46 . They were possibly the parents of
Tiy . Until the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun, this was
the best-preserved of the tombs that had been discovered in the
Typical 'Jogged axis' post-
The return of royal burials to Thebes after the end of the Amarna
period marks a change to the layout of royal burials, with the
intermediate 'jogged axis' gradually giving way to the 'straight axis'
of later dynasties. In the Western Valley, there is a tomb
commencement that is thought to have been started for
Akhenaten , but
it is no more than a gateway and a series of steps. The tomb of Ay ,
Tutankhamun 's successor is close by. It is likely that this tomb was
Tutankhamun (its decoration is of a similar style) but
later usurped for Ay's burial. This would mean that
KV62 may have been
Ay's original tomb, which would explain the smaller size and unusual
layout for a royal tomb.
Amarna period tombs are located in a smaller, central area
in the centre of the East Valley, with a possible mummy cache (
that may contain the burials of several
Amarna Period royals—
Akhenaten . Decoration of the burial chamber in
In close proximity is the burial of Tutankhamun. This is perhaps the
most famous discovery of modern Western archaeology . It was
discovered here by
Howard Carter on November 4, 1922, with clearance
and conservation work continuing until 1932. This was the first royal
tomb to be discovered that was still largely intact, although tomb
robbers had entered. And until the excavation of
KV63 on 10 March
2005, it considered the last major discovery in the valley. The
opulence of his grave goods notwithstanding,
Tutankhamun was a
relatively minor king, and other burials probably had more numerous
In the same central area as
KV62 and KV63, is
KV64 ,a radar anomaly
believed to be a tomb or chamber announced on 28 July 2006. It is not
an official designation, and the actual existence of a tomb at all is
dismissed by the
Supreme Council of Antiquities .
The nearby tomb of
Horemheb , (
KV57 ) is rarely open to visitors. But
it has many unique features and is extensively decorated. The
decoration shows a transition from the pre-
Amarna tombs to those of
the 19th dynasty tombs that followed.
Typical 'Straight axis' Nineteenth/Twentieth Dynasty tomb
The Nineteenth Dynasty saw a further standardisation of tomb layout
and decoration. The tomb of the first king of the dynasty, Ramesses I
, was hurriedly finished due to the death of the king and is little
more than a truncated descending corridor and a burial chamber.
KV16 has vibrant decoration and still contains the
sarcophagus of the king. Its central location makes it one of the more
frequently visited tombs. It shows the development of the tomb
entrance and passage and of decoration.
His son and successor,
Seti I 's tomb,
KV17 (also known as Belzoni's
tomb, the tomb of Apis, or the tomb of Psammis, son of Necho), is
usually regarded as the finest tomb in the valley. It has extensive
relief work and paintings. When it was rediscovered by Belzoni in
1817, he referred to it as "..a fortunate day.."
The son of Seti, Ramesses the Great , constructed a massive tomb, KV7
, but it is in a ruinous state. It is currently undergoing excavation
and conservation by a Franco-Egyptian team led by Christian Leblanc .
The tomb is vastIt is a vast size, about the same length, and a
larger area, of the tomb of his father.
Merenptah 's stone
At the same time, and just opposite his own tomb, Ramesses enlarged
the earlier small tomb of an unknown Eighteenth Dynasty noble (
for his numerous sons. With 120 known rooms, and excavation work still
underway, it is probably the largest tomb in the valley. Originally
opened (and robbed) in antiquity, it is a low-lying structure that has
been particularly prone to the flash floods that sometimes hit the
area. Tonnes of debris and material has washed in over the centuries,
ultimately concealing its vast size. It is not currently open to the
Ramesses II's son and eventual successor,
Merenptah 's tomb has been
open since antiquity; it extends 160 metres, ending in a burial
chamber that once contained a set of four nested sarcophagi . Well
decorated, it is typically open to the public most years.
The last kings of the dynasty also constructed tombs in the valley,
all of which follow the same general pattern of layout and decoration.
Notable amongst these is the tomb of
Siptah , which is well decorated,
especially the ceiling.
The first ruler of the dynasty,
Setnakhte , actually had two tombs
constructed for himself. He started excavating the eventual tomb of
Ramesses III , but broke into another tomb and abandoned it
in order to usurp and complete the tomb of the Nineteenth Dynasty
Twosret . Therefore, this tomb has two burial
chambers, the later extensions making the tomb one of the largest of
the Royal tombs, at over 150 metres.
Ramesses III , KV11
The tomb of
Ramesses III (known as Bruce's
Tomb or The Harper's Tomb
due to its decoration) is one of the largest tombs in the valley and
is open to the public. It is located close to the central
'rest–area', and its location and superb decoration make this one of
the tombs most visited by tourists.
The successors and offspring of
Ramesses III constructed tombs that
had straight axes. They all had similar decorations. Notable amongst
KV2 , the tomb of
Ramesses IV , which has been open since
antiquity, containing a large amount of hieratic graffiti. The tomb is
mostly intact and is decorated with scenes from several religious
texts. The joint tomb of
Ramesses V and
Ramesses VI ,
KV9 (also known
Tomb of Memnon or La Tombe de la Métempsychose) is decorated
with many sunk-relief carvings, depicting illustrated scenes from
religious texts. Open since antiquity, it contains over a thousand
examples of graffiti written in ancient Greek,
Latin and Coptic. The
spoil from the excavation and later clearance of this tomb, together
with later construction of workers huts, covered the earlier burial of
KV62 and seems to have been what protected that tomb from earlier
discovery and looting.
Ramesses IX ,
The tomb of
Ramesses IX ,
KV6 , has been open since antiquity, as can
be seen by the graffiti left on its walls by Roman and Coptic
visitors. Located in the central part of the valley, it is between
and slightly above
KV5 and KV55. The tomb extends a total distance of
105 metres into the hillside, including extensive side chambers that
were neither decorated nor finished. The hasty and incomplete nature
of the rock-cutting and decorations (it is only decorated for a little
over half its length) within the tomb indicate that the tomb was not
completed by the time of Ramesses' death, with the completed hall of
pillars serving as the burial chamber.
Another notable tomb from this dynasty is
KV19 , the tomb of
Mentuherkhepshef (son of
Ramesses IX ). This small tomb is simply a
converted, unfinished corridor, but the decoration is extensive. The
tomb has been newly restored and opened for visitors.
TWENTY-FIRST DYNASTY AND THE DECLINE OF THE NECROPOLIS
By the end of the New Kingdom,
Egypt had entered a long period of
political and economic decline. The priests at Thebes grew more
powerful, and they effectively administered Upper Egypt, while kings
ruling from Tanis controlled Lower Egypt. Some attempt at using the
open tombs was made at the start of the Twenty-first Dynasty , with
the High Priest of
Pinedjem I , adding his cartouche to
Valley began to be heavily plundered, so during the Twenty-first
Dynasty the priests of
Amun opened most of the tombs and moved the
mummies into three tombs in order to better protect them. They removed
most of the treasure in order to further protect the bodies from
robbers. Most of these were later moved to a single cache near Deir
el-Bari (known as TT320 ). Located in the cliffs overlooking
Hatshepsut 's famous temple, this mass reburial contained a large
number of royal mummies. They were found in a great state of
disorder, many placed in other's coffins, and several are still
unidentified. Other mummies were moved to the tomb of
Amenhotep II ,
where over a dozen mummies, many of them royal, were later relocated.
During the later
Third Intermediate Period and later periods,
intrusive burials were introduced into many of the open tombs. In
Coptic times, some of the tombs were used as churches, stables, and
MINOR TOMBS IN THE VALLEY OF THE KINGS
Main article: Minor tombs in the
Valley of the Kings
The majority of the 65 numbered tombs in the
Valley of the Kings can
be considered as minor tombs, either because at present they have
yielded little information or because the results of their
investigations were only poorly recorded by their explorers. Some have
received very little attention or were only cursorily noted. Most of
these tombs are small, often consisting of only a single burial
chamber accessed by a shaft or staircase with a corridor or a series
of corridors leading to the chamber. But some are larger,
multiple-chambered tombs. These minor tombs served various purposes:
some were intended for burials of lesser royalty or private burials,
some contained animal burials, and others apparently never received a
primary burial. In many cases these tombs also served secondary
functions, and later intrusive material has been found related to
these secondary activities. While some of these tombs have been open
since antiquity, the majority were discovered in the 19th and early
20th centuries during the height of exploration in the valley.
Almost all of the tombs have been ransacked. Several papyri have
been found that describe the trials of tomb robbers. These date mostly
from the late Twentieth Dynasty. One of these,
Papyrus Mayer B,
describes the robbery of the tomb of
Ramesses VI and was probably
written in Year Nine of Ramesses IX:
The foreigner Nesamun took us up and showed us the tomb of King
Ramesses VI ... And I spent four days breaking into it, we being
present all five. We opened the tomb and entered it. ... We found a
cauldron of bronze, three wash bowls of bronze ...
The valley also seems to have suffered an official plundering during
the virtual civil war , which started during the reign of Ramesses XI
. The tombs were opened, all the valuables were removed, and the
mummies were collected into two large caches. One in the tomb of
Amenhotep II , contained sixteen, and others were hidden within
Amenhotep I 's tomb. A few years later most of them were moved to the
Deir el-Bahri cache, containing no fewer than forty royal mummies and
their coffins. Only tombs whose locations were lost (
KV46 , although both
KV46 were robbed soon after their actual
closure ) were undisturbed during this period.
Most of the tombs are not open to the public (18 of the tombs can be
opened, but they are rarely open at the same time), and officials
occasionally close those that are open for restoration work. The
number of visitors to
KV62 has led to a separate charge for entry into
the tomb. The West
Valley has only one open tomb—that of Ay—and a
separate ticket is needed to visit this tomb. The tour guides are no
longer allowed to lecture inside the tombs, and visitors are expected
to proceed quietly and in single file through the tombs. This is to
minimize time in the tombs and prevent the crowds from damaging the
surfaces of the decoration. Photography is no longer allowed in the
In 1997, 58 tourists and four Egyptians were massacred at nearby Deir
el-Bahri by Islamist militants from Al-Gama\'a al-Islamiyya . This led
to an overall drop in tourism in the area.
On most days of the week an average of 4,000 to 5,000 tourists visit
the main valley. On the days that the
Nile Cruises arrive, the number
can rise to over 9,000. These levels are expected to rise to 25,000 by
2015. The West
Valley is much less visited, as there is only one tomb
that is open to the public.
Valley of the Queens – Nearby burials of queens and offspring of
Wadi and tombs – Burial place of
Akhenaten and his royal
Naqsh-e Rustam – Persian "
Valley of the Kings" royal tombs.
* Ming and Qing Imperial Tombs – Royal tombs of the Ming and Qing
NOTES AND REFERENCES
* ^ Reeves and Wilkinson (1996), p.6
* ^ Maspero (1913), p.182
* ^ "Theban Mapping Project". Theban Mapping Project. Retrieved
* ^ Siliotti (1997), p.13
* ^ Zahi Hawass. "Spotlight Interview: 2008". The Plateau: Official
Website for Dr. Zahi Hawass. Retrieved 2008-08-15.
* ^ "
Valley of the Kings". Theban Mapping Project. Retrieved
* ^ "Egypt\'s "King Tut Curse" Caused by
Tomb Toxins?". National
Geographic. Retrieved 2006-12-08.
* ^ "Ancient Thebes and its necropolis". UNESCO Work Heritage
Sites. Retrieved 2006-12-04.
* ^ A B C "Geography and Geology of the Valley". Theban Mapping
Project. Retrieved 2006-12-04.
* ^ Sampsell (2003), p.78
* ^ Weigall (1910), p.194
* ^ "KV 7 (Rameses II)". Theban Mapping Project. Retrieved
* ^ "Ancient
Egypt Resource". NicholasReeves.com. Retrieved
* ^ Cross (2008) p.303
* ^ Cross (2008) p.307
* ^ Cross (2008) p.310
* ^ Hirokatsu Watanabe, Masanori Ito and Nicholas Reeves (2000).
"ARTP Radar Survey of the
Valley of the Kings". Nicholas Reeves.
* ^ A B C D E "Historical Development of the
Valley of the Kings in
the New Kingdom". Theban Mapping Project. Retrieved 2006-12-13.
* ^ Dodson (1991), pp.5-7
* ^ Reeves and Wilkinson (1996), p.17
* ^ Bierbrier (1993) p.39
* ^ "Historical Development of Royal Cemeteries outside Thebes and
inside Thebes (Early Dynastic-Second Intermediate Period)". Theban
Mapping Project. Retrieved 2008-08-08.
* ^ Baines and Malik (2000), p.99
* ^ Strudwick and Strudwick (1999) p.94
* ^ Reeves and Wilkinson (1996), p.89
* ^ A B Weigall (1910), p.186
* ^ A B C "History of the
Valley of the Kings (Third Intermediate
Period-Byzantine Period)". Theban Mapping Project. Retrieved
* ^ Siliotti (1996), p.29
* ^ Siliotti (1996), p.70
* ^ A B Siliotti (1997), pp.12-13
* ^ Reeves and Wilkinson (1996), p.116
* ^ "Development of Tombs, Part I". Theban Mapping Project.
* ^ "KV 5 History". Theban Mapping Project. Retrieved 2008-08-07.
* ^ "KV 3 (Son of Rameses III)". Theban Mapping Project. Retrieved
* ^ A B "Cachette of the Royal Mummies, TT320". Russian Academy of
Sciences - Network of the Centre for
Egyptological Studies. Retrieved
* ^ Strudwick and Strudwick (1999) p.78
* ^ "Introduction to the
Deir el-Medina Database". The Deir
el-Medina Database. Leiden University. Retrieved 2006-12-04.
* ^ Strudwick and Strudwick (1999) p.187
* ^ Pascal Vernus. "Affairs and Scandals in Ancient Egypt". Bryn
Mawr Classical Review. University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved
* ^ Reeves and Wilkinson (1996), p.51
* ^ Siliotti (1997), p.16
* ^ "Description de l\'Égypte – text of the 2nd edition".
Bibliotheque nationale de
France (in French). Gallicia. Retrieved
* ^ "Bernardino Drovetti". Travellers In Egypt. Retrieved
* ^ Reeves and Wilkinson (1996) p.71
* ^ Davis (2001) p.37
* ^ Reeves and Wilkinson (1996) p.81
* ^ A B C "
Valley of the Kings".
Egypt and the Nile. Retrieved
* ^ Strudwick and Strudwick (1999), p.117
* ^ A B C Reeves and Wilkinson (1996) p.25
* ^ Wilkinson (1993), pp 10-20
* ^ Strudwick and Strudwick (1999), p.98
* ^ Reeves and Wilkinson (1996), p.25
* ^ Rossi (2001), p.75
* ^ "KV-10 tomb diagram".
Amenmesse Project. Retrieved 2008-08-19.
* ^ A B C Reeves and Wilkinson (1996) p.37
* ^ Reeves and Wilkinson (1996) p.160
* ^ Reeves and Wilkinson (1996) p.43
* ^ Ruhli, Frank (2015). "New Ancient Egyptian Human Mummies from
Valley of the Kings, Luxor: Anthropological, Radiological, and
Egyptological Investigations" . BioMed Research International. 2015:
530362. PMC 4544442 . PMID 26347313 . doi :10.1155/2015/530362 .
* ^ Reeves and Wilkinson (1996) p.105
* ^ El-Aref, Nevine (2004-02-11). "Sleuthing in a royal tomb"
(676). Al-Ahram Weekly Online. Retrieved 2006-12-04.
* ^ "Interim Report on the Re-Clearance at the Royal
Amenophis III". Research in
Egypt 1966-1991. Institute of Egyptology
at Waseda University. 1991. Retrieved 2006-12-04.
* ^ Reeves and Wilkinson (1996) p.174
* ^ Strudwick and Strudwick (1999) p.104
* ^ Davis (2001), p.XV
* ^ "
Egypt offers first look at newly discovered tomb: First such
Valley of the Kings since Tutankhamun’s in 1922".
MSNBC. 2006-02-10. Retrieved 2006-12-04.
* ^ El Mahdy (2001), p.131
* ^ Vergano, Dan (2006-08-14). "Egyptian tomb digs up controversy".
USA Today. Retrieved 2006-12-04.
* ^ "KV 57 (Horemheb)". Theban Mapping Project. Retrieved
* ^ Reeves and Wilkinson (1996) p.134
* ^ Reeves and Wilkinson (1996) p.137
* ^ Christian Leblanc. "The
Ramesses II and Remains of His
Funerary Treasure". Le Ramesseum: Temple de Millions d'Années de
Ramsès II à Thèbes-Ouest. Archived from the original on September
19, 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-04.
* ^ "Recherches et travaux dans la tombe de Ramsès II:
Aujourďhui". Recherches et Travaux Tombe Ramsès (in French).
L'Institut d'Egyptologie Thébaine du Musée du Louvre. Retrieved
* ^ "KV 5 Excavation". Theban Mapping Project. Retrieved
* ^ Weigall (1910), p.202
* ^ Reeves and Wilkinson (1996) p.212
* ^ Davis (2001), p.1
* ^ "KV 14 (Tausert and Setnakht)". Theban Mapping project.
Archived from the original on March 11, 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-07.
* ^ Weigall (1910), p.206
* ^ Weigall (1910), p.196
* ^ "KV 9 (Rameses V and Rameses VI)". Theban Mapping project.
Archived from the original on October 31, 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-04.
* ^ Reeves and Wilkinson (1996) p.122
* ^ Weigall (1910), p.198
* ^ Reeves and Wilkinson (1996) p.168
* ^ "KV 19 (Mentuherkhepeshef)". Theban Mapping project. Archived
from the original on March 11, 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-07.
* ^ Mark Andrews. "KV19, the
Tomb of Prince
Ramesses-Mentuherkhepshef". Tour Egypt. Retrieved 2008-08-07.
* ^ Reeves and Wilkinson (1996), p.208
* ^ "The Finding of the Pharaohs". TravellersInEgypt.org. Retrieved
* ^ Weigall (1910), p.221
* ^ "
Valley of the Kings, finds in the Petrie Museum". Digital
Egypt. UCL. Retrieved 2006-12-04.
* ^ Reeves and Wilkinson (1996), p.192
* ^ Weigall (1910), p.191
* ^ "
Tomb Raiders of KV 46!". The Theban Royal Mummy Project.
* ^ "KV Condition Surveys" (PDF). Theban Mapping Project. Retrieved
* ^ "Visitor Management in KV" (PDF). Theban Mapping Project.
* ^ Ambros (2001), p.181
* ^ "Tourists massacred at temple". BBC News. 1997-11-17. Retrieved
* ^ "The
Valley Today". Theban Mapping Project. Archived from the
original on October 31, 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-04.
* Ambros, Eva (2001). Egypt: an up-to-date travel guide with 145
color photos and 21 maps. Hunter Publishing. ISBN 3-88618-140-5 .
* Baines, John; Jaromir Malik (2000). Cultural Atlas of Ancient
Egypt. New York: Facts on file. ISBN 0-8160-4036-2 .
* Baillet, Jules (1920–1926). Inscriptions grecques et latines des
tombeaux des rois ou Syringes à Thèbes. Cairo: Institut Français
d'Archéologie Orientale du Caire, Mémoires publiés par les membres.
* M. L. Bierbrier (1993). The Tomb-Builders of the Pharaohs. Cairo:
American Univ in Cairo Press. ISBN 977-424-210-6 .
* Cross, Stephen W. (1993). "The Hydrology of the
Valley of the
Kings". JEA. 94: 303–310.
* Davis, Theodore M. (2001). The
Tomb of Siphtah with The
Queen Tiyi. London: Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd. ISBN 0-7156-3073-3 .
* Davis, Theodore M. (2001). The Tombs of Harmhabi and
Touatânkhamanou. London: Duckworth Publishing. ISBN 0-7156-3072-5 .
* Dodson, Aidan (1991). Egyptian Rock-cut Tombs. Buckinghamshire:
Shire Publications Ltd. ISBN 0-7478-0128-2 .
* El Mahdy, Christine (2001). Tutankhamen: The Life and Death of the
Boy-King. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-28064-5 .
* Maspero, Gaston (1913). Manual of Egyptian Archaeology, Sixth
English Edition. H. Grevel and Co. ISBN 1-4219-4169-4 .
* Reeves, Nicholas (1990).
Valley of the Kings: The Decline of a
Royal Necropolis. Keegan Paul. ISBN 0-7103-0368-8 .
* Reeves, Nicholas; Richard H. Wilkinson (1996). The Complete Valley
of the Kings. Thames and Hudson. ISBN 0-500-05080-5 . – Details of
all the major tombs, their discovery, art and architecture
* Romer, John (1981).
Valley of the Kings. Henry Holt. ISBN
0-8050-0993-0 . – Covers the history of the exploration of the
Valley in chronological order
* Rossi, Corinna (2001). "Dimensions and Slope in the Nineteenth and
Twentieth Dynasty Royal Tombs". The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology.
The Egyptian Exploration Society. 87: 73–80. ISSN 0307-5133 . JSTOR
3822372 . doi :10.2307/3822372 .
* Sampsell, Bonnie M. (2003). A Traveler's Guide to the Geology of
Egypt. Cairo: American University Press. ISBN 977-424-785-X .
* Siliotti, Alberto (1997). Guide to the
Valley of the Kings. Barnes
and Noble. ISBN 88-8095-496-2 . – A good introduction to the valley
* Strudwick, Nigel; Helen Strudwick (1999). Thebes in Egypt. Cornell
University. ISBN 0-8014-8616-5 .
* Weeks, Kent R. (2001).
Valley of the Kings. Friedman/Fairfax. ISBN
88-8095-712-0 . – Spectacular photography of the best tombs
* Weeks, Kent R. (2000). 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. ISBN 977-424-574-1 .
* Weigall, Arthur (1910). A Guide to the Antiquities of Upper Egypt.
London: Mentheun & Co. ISBN 1-4253-3806-2 .
* Wilkinson, Richard H. (1994).
Valley of the Sun Kings: New
Explorations in the Tombs of the Pharaohs. Tucson: University of
Arizona Egyptian Expedition. ISBN 0-9649958-0-8 . – chapters by
archaeologists working in the valley from an international conference
Valley of the Kings
* Wilkinson, Richard H. (1993). "The paths of Re: Symbolism in the
royal tombs of
Wadi Biban El Moluk". KMT. 4 (3).
Wikimedia Commons has media related to VALLEY OF THE KINGS .
* "Theban Mapping Project". Retrieved