August 18, 2012

Luxor Museum

Luxor Museum
The Museum at Luxor, opened in March 1976, is situated on the river’s edge about half-way between the great temples of Luxor and Karnak. It has been designed by one of Egypt’s leading architects Mahmoud el Hakim to display works of art from three main sources: from the temples of Luxor and Karnak, from storehouses containing treasures excavated from both sides of the Nile in Luxor, and some selected pieces from the Cairo Museum. The Brooklyn Museum was consulted regarding the selection of objects, and was also active, in an advisory capacity, in their installation.
Luxor Museum
Visitors to this air-conditioned Museum, on two levels under a single roof (a ramp leads to the upper gallery), will be attracted by effectively illuminated works of art, offset against near-black walls. The creation of individual vistas at strategic positions encourages an organised, uninterrupted flow of people through the Museum, and prevents the tendency to double back and congest the space.

The first focal point is the recently found red granite head of Sesostris I, followed by a well to the right, where the magnificent gold-leaf head of the cow-goddess, Hathor, from Tutankhamun's tomb, is displayed. Effective lighting encourages visitors to make their way to the stairway to the rear of the main hall, which leads to a long gallery flanked by displayed objects.

After the major work of art and the major relief, the next focal point is the magnificent alabaster statue of Amenhotep III, seated beside, and under the protection of, Sobek, the Crocodile-god. This, the largest free standing statue in the Museum, is half-way up the gallery. In approaching it visitors pass on the right the famous stele narrating how Kamose conquered the Hyksos (page 37), and various other works of art from the Theban area on the left.

From the centre of the gallery, attention is drawn once more towards illuminated objects at the end of the gallery, where a ramp leads to the upper floor and commands an excellent view of the lower gallery.

The first important work of art on the upper floor is one of the two famous statues of Amenhotep, son of Hapu; it is individually illuminated. On the short wall are some blocks, carved in relief, from the famous quartzite shrine of Hatshepsut, taken from the restricted area of Karnak Temple (see Plan 4); and, as one makes the tiim, one’s attention is immediately drawn to the two heads of the Pharaoh Akhenaten which introduce the Amarna Period (pages I44/I4S)-

On the upper gallery of Luxor Museum is one of the finest reconstructions of modern times: the famous ‘Akhenaten Wall’, an 18-metre wall reconstructed from 300 of the 6,000 blocks of Akhenaten’s Sun Temple extracted by the Franco-Egyptian Centre at Karnak from Haremhab’s ninth pylon (page 60). The wall is a record of some aspects of everyday life during the period of sun worship and has been so constructed that newly-discovered or identified pieces can be systematically added to the wall.

A display area for small objects, such as jewellery, faience vessels and items of adornment, is situated immediately above the circular display area on the ground floor. The second ramp leads the visitors downwards towards the entrance hall, past Coptic reliefs.

A new, well-illuminated gallery has now been opened on the ground floor to the south, i.e. the right, of the entrance doorway. It was specially designed by Egyptian and Italian architects to accommodate statues, each secure in its modem niche, discovered in Luxor Temple (page 30).

The discovery was one of the most exciting finds in recent years. During a routine soil test in the Court of Amenhotep III extraordinary statues in near-perfect condition came to light. They had been carefully hidden in antiquity, perhaps by priests to prevent their destruction when the temple was transformed into a Roman camp in the third century. Among the most impressive monuments on display are a standing statue of Amenhotep III, 2.5 metres high, wearing the Double Crown and represented as a cult statue on a sledge, a pair statue of the gods Mut and Amon, three diorite statues of Haremhab (one kneeling before the seated statue of Amon), Tutankhamun in the form of a sphinx, and a seated-pair statue of the goddesses Hathor and Iunet.

One of the unique features of Luxor Museum is the huge slab, or slatted wall, along its outer face, which separates and enhances the building proper. This serves to keep the Museum cool and creates, at the same time, a colonnade where statues are displayed and illuminated at night. Several large stone works are also exhibited in the grounds of the Museum, as for example the famous stele of Amenhotep one of the finest single examples of relief (photo on page

Another important feature of the Museum, apart from the various storage areas, offices, reference library and study areas, is the Staging ea where the majority of works are prepared for mounting and ticket-booth leads to an outdoor cafeteria overlooking e e on the south side of the Museum.

August 11, 2012

Action In Luxor

Action In Luxor

The legendary ‘hundred-gated Thebes’ has never before seen so much activity. Not only are there archaeological missions excavating, restoring and conserving monuments from environmental contamination, from humidity, sub-soil water and flood threat, but the city of Luxor itself is also being upgraded. There is a new promenade and arrangements have been made to improve the docking facilities for cruisers. In order to accommodate the influx of tourists, hotels of different grades have sprung up, a new resthouse has been opened near the Valley of the Kings. There is also Luxor National Day which is celebrated in November; it features a spectacular reenactment of the ancient Opet festival along with public lectures on archaeological and related subjects as well as folkloric entertainment.

Egyptian Luxor
Strict ground rules have been laid down for tour groups, such as limiting size in relation to the tomb, and alternative itineraries have been worked out in order to ease the pressure on some of the most famous monuments. More options are also available as new tombs have been opened for the first time, three in the Valley of the Kings: Ramses VII (1) and Siptah (47) in the main valley, and Ay (23) in the western valley (page 106); the famous tomb of Nefertari in the Valley of the Queens (page 133); and six noblemen’s tombs (page 165).

The need for a bridge to transport tourists across the Nile at Luxor has long been recognised. Nevertheless, its construction caused concern to environmentalists until the Minister of Culture officially declared the west bank of the Nile at Luxor as a protected area. The area runs from south of the bridge to well beyond Dra Abu el Naga to the north; no housing will be allowed here and kiosks and other tourist facilities will be strictly controlled.

The community of Sheikh abd el Kurna, whose houses lie beside, and on top of, ancient tombs, will be offered alternative accommodation at el Tarif, to the north of the protected area. Resettling them will be difficult, because this is not the first attempt made to move them. In 1945, for example, a royal decree was issued to relocate them and architect Hassan Fathi was commissioned to design an ternative village. However when it was completed the people retus to move and Fathi’s ‘ideal community’ .was never inhabited. Even during the winter of 1995 when some of their houses were flooded and many collapsed, the residents refused to move; they chose to rebuild their old houses instead. One reason they gave for wishing to remain where they are, is that they earn their livelihood on the sale of alabaster artifacts and trade directly with tourists. An unvoiced motive appears to be the desire to hunt for relics for sale ‘under the counter’. Some of the Kurna residents have inhabited ancient (undecorated) tombs since before the Napoleonic expedition to Egypt.

The tragedy of modern-day plunder is that the antiquities are lost to the world of art and scholarship, as they too often make their way out of the country, through antique dealers, and into private collections. The Egyptian government have clamped down on illicit digging, and have seized hordes of rare antiquities before they could be smuggled out of the country.

August 10, 2012

Work In Progress In Luxor In 1996

Work In Progress In Luxor In 1996
All archaeological missions in Luxor, Egyptian and foreign, work under the auspices of, or in joint-collaboration with, the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA). Excavation and documentation run hand in hand with reconstruction and conservation. In addition, more in-depth studies are now being made than ever before; for example, there is a tendency today to check the records of earlier scholars in an effort to trace details of decorative elements that might have been overlooked, or to excavate beyond a point earlier reached. Some revelations have been surprising.

Egyptian Luxor
1 Resulting from a new initiative of the American government via The American Research Centre in Egypt (ARCE), several major projects are underway in collaboration with the University of Chicago’s Epigraphic Survey of the Oriental Institute (see No. 7). These include a series of studies on flood control and water dam age in the Valley of the Kings (pages 103 ff); the conservation of stone fragments belonging to the upper reaches of the Colonnade in Luxor Temple (page 28 ff); full documentation and conservation of the Temple of Medinet Habu as well as preparation of the site for tourism by installing the necessary walk-ways and signs. ARCE is also funding the excavation and conservation of Tomb KV-55 in the Valley of the Kings (see No. 6).

2 An Australian mission from Macquarie University led by Boyo Okinga has been investigating the tomb of Amenmope, the ‘third prophet of Amon’ under Ramses III, in Dra Abu el Naga. The tomb contains large seated statues of the tomb owner and his wife carved in the bedrock. A number of hitherto unknown chambers have been discovered.

3 An archaeological team from the Brooklyn Museum in New York, under the direction of Richard Fazzini, have been excavating the Temple of Mut at Karnak since 1977 (page 65). The concession area covers 22 acres and the site includes the main Mut Temple, a temple belonging to Ramses III, and a Ptolemaic shrine. The aim of the mission is to determine the earliest history of the site, and it has so far been established that it extended from the 18th Dynasty through to Ptolemaic times. Ramses II was particularly active, and massive additions were made to the temple under the 25th Dynasty Pharaoh Taharka.

Of the Sekhmet statues in situ, only 100 of the estimated 730 today remaining, have been restored and erected. They were made for Amenhotep II’s funerary temple on the necropolis.

4 The University of California at Berkeley started the first scientific mapping of the necropolis under Kent R. Weeks in 1978 in an ambitious project that continues today. The aim is to carry out detailed measurements and recording of all known tombs, and map their positions and subterranean contours with the aid of the most sophisticated surveying equipment. The first stage of what has become known as the Berkeley Theban Mapping Project included a three-dimensional map of the Valley of the Kings, which has now been published as the first volume of the Theban Atlas. Finding ‘lost’ tombs on the Theban necropolis is another aim of the project; at least 50 were known to early travellers in the 19th century, and have subsequently been filled with sand or debris. Among them was tomb No. 5 (now known as KV 5) believed to belong to Ramses II’s sons. In 1994 it was decided to start excavating this much-ruined tomb, filled with flood-borne debris and wind-blown sand and, moreover, badly affected by a sewer line from the neighbouring resthouse before it was removed. The tomb has proved to be the largest ever found in Egypt and has made headlines around the world. In the first season, Weeks an his team cleared part of the tomb and revealed a huge 16-pillare hall; in 1995 the team tunnelled through a corridor to the rear o the hall which was almost filled to the ceiling with accumulate rubble and discovered a corridor flanked by 20 chambers t at leads to a huge statue of the god Osiris. ,1

Further clearance revealed two transverse corridors, each flanked by twenty more chambers where fragmentary objects have been identified with several of Ramses’ 52 sons. At this point it seemed certain that what had been cleared was a mausoleum built for their burial. Further excavation this time at the front corners of the 16-pillared hall led to the discovery of two further corridors, also flanked by chambers, whose number had risen (by January 1996) to one hundred. This irregularly-shaped, multiple tomb clearly holds more secrets in store, and work will continue in the coming seasons.

5 A University of Cambridge mission under Nigel Strudwick continues conservation of the tomb of Sennofer (No. 99) at Kurna, which was later usurped for subsequent 25th Dynasty burials. Parts of an 18th Dynasty statue of Amenhotep have been recovered.

6 The Canadian Institute in Egypt (CIE) is involved in several projects in Luxor. The on-going Akhenaten Temple Project directed by Donald Redford of the University of Toronto is aimed at exposing the remains of a temple to the Aten, the solar orb worshiped by Akhenaten, constructed to the east of the Temple of Amon; it was destroyed probably during the time of Haremhab. Excavation shows that it was over 200 metres north to south, with an entry near the centre of the west wall. In endeavouring to unravel the different chronological periods of the site, it has been discovered that it was subsequently occupied during successive phases: in Ramesside times and in the Saite and Late Periods. The project’s concession includes two Late Period structures lying to the south of the Akhenaten Temple site. Work continues.

In a joint Memphis University/CIE project, Otto Shaden is clearing the corridors of the unfinished tomb of Amen-Messes in the Valley of the Kings. Fragments of the canopic jars bearing the name of a late New Kingdom queen, Takhat, have been found.

A study of royal Sarcophagi of the post-Amarna period in the Valley of the Kings by Edwin Brock, originally sponsored by the University of Toronto, also continues. The Royal Sarcophagi Study Project, as it is known, involves recording the remaining royal stone sarcophagi in the Valley of the Kings, from the end of the 18th Dynasty to the end of the 20th. It is a time-consuming task since many of the monuments are in fragmentary condition. Clearance operations in the tombs of Merenptah, Ramses VI and Ramses VII are also being carried out in conjunction with the sarcophagi project, and have revealed additional information about architectural elements, as well as the subsequent history of the tombs. Various items of the original burial equipment have been found.

In the Valley of the Kings, Lyla Pinch Brock recleared Tomb KV 55, the so-called ‘tomb of Queen Tiy’, now believed to belong to Akhenaten. A quantity of archaeological material not removed by the original excavator T.M. Davis in 1907 has been found. This includes pottery, which appears to be original to the tomb, and a tomb-plan drawn by the ancient Egyptians 011 an ostracon.

7 The University of Chicago’s Epigraphic Survey of the Oriental Institute (‘Chicago House’) under the directorship of Peter Dorman continue to record the reliefs in the processional colonnade, the great Opet festival, of Luxor Temple (page 28). Stone fragments found in the foundations of village houses have been found to belong to the upper registers of this colonnade, and they are being conserved prior to positioning on the wall. At Medinet Habu (page 92 ff) epigraphic recording of the inner rooms of the sanctuary, and sanctuary facade of the small 18th Dynasty temple of Hatshepsut continues. It is a difficult task, compounded by the fact that the reliefs destroyed during the reign of Akhenaten were consequently restored under Haremhab and Seti I. Work also continues on other structures within the Medinet Habu complex that date from periods earlier and later than the main Ramses III temple. This includes the chapels of the Saite Period princesses (25th-26th Dynasty).

8 Egyptian missions of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) are hard at work 011 numerous projects, one of the most important of which is conservation of Amenhotep Ill's Solar Court in Luxor Temple (page 30). The leaning columns were dismantled in 1995 in an effort to stabilise them and new bases are now being constructed. A unique method of preventing water from seeping into the new foundations has been devised by Ali Sabri, the project’s manager: two metre wide cement rings, filled with stones and sand, have been placed in the ground beneath the columns to absorb any ground moisture.

On the necropolis, flood protection measures are nearing completion 111 the Valley of the Kings where new waterproof entrances to several tombs in the path of future floods have been installed. Also a wall around the temple of Seti I (page 72) has been rebuilt for the same purpose. The SCA is also recording the inscriptions and decorations of numerous monuments, including the Saite tombs of Padineath (1977) and Mentu-emhat (34) near the Temple of Hatshepsut.

The French Institute of Oriental Archaeology (IFAO) has been excavating in Egypt for over a century. Among their most important projects in Luxor is the one being carried out by the Franco-Egyptian Centre at Karnak, sponsored by the Egyptian Government and the Centre of Research for France (CNRS) which is now into its third decade of research and reconstruction at the site. Egyptian and French scholars are actively engaged in studies on the progressive deterioration of monuments through water seepage, humidity and salt erosion. They have managed, during the last two years, to reduce the underground water level at Karnak thus curbing to some extent this chronic problem. To the south of the main temple, the thousands of talatat from the Sun Temples of Akhenaten excavated from the ninth pylon of Haremhab (page 60) are still being reassembled. Some 3,000 have already been assembled with the aid of computer technology in France. The project to reconstruct the pylon itself is well underway, for which the SCA is using mechanical equipment including a huge winch for handling massive blocks of stone.

Meanwhile, an equally important project that comes under the annual programme of the Centre is to store information on about 30,000 artifacts at present on computer disks in storerooms at Karnak. The objects include fragments of statues, columns, walls, painted reliefs and offering tables; computerised documentation of such diverse objects will be the first of its kind in Egypt.

IFAO is collaborating with a Cairo University team to clear and document noblemen’s tombs on the necropolis and with the Polish mission to continue to study and document the inscriptions of Deir el Bahri temple. Other projects include work on settlement remains east of Thutmose I’s structures at Karnak, (under Jean and Helen Jacquet) and documentation of the architectural remains of a settlement in the precincts of the temple of Montu, north of the main temple at Karnak, by Luc Gabolde. On the necropolis IFAO activities include recording and documenting private tombs at Deir el Medina excavated earlier this century.

A Franco-Egyptian team from the Egyptian Documentation Centre under Christian Leblanc are restoring and documenting the Ramasseum, the mortuary temple of Ramses II (page 85 ff), where work proceeds in the second court. Columns are being consolidated and cleaned, with spectacular results. Work is also being carried out in the Valley of the Queens, in the tombs of Towy, mother of Ramses II, and Princess Meritamen, one of Ramses II’s favourite daughters.

11 The German Archaeological Institute continues to carry out comprehensive restoration and recording of the mortuary temple of Seti I (page 72 ff), which started in 1991 under the direction of Rainer Stadelmann. A University of Hamburg mission, under the direction of Hartwig Altenmuller, has investigated the construction chronology of the tomb of the late 19th Dynasty ruler, Queen Tausret. Altenmuller recently cleared the tomb of Chancellor Bay (13), an important official under Siptah, the last male ruler of the 19th Dynasty. Work on Bay’s tomb revealed the stone sarcophagi of two royal males, Amen-Hir-Khopschef and Montu-Hir-Khopschef.

German archaeologists have also cleared and restored tomb No. 85 at Kurna, belonging to Amenemheb, military commander under Thutmose III. The director of the project, Dr Heike Guksch, chose the tomb because of its historical importance and for the reliefs. She subsequently directed work on recording the architectural and decorative elements of the tomb of Pehsukher, No. 88. Andrea Gnirs directed clearance and documentation of the tomb of Meri, No. 95. A joint mission of the German Archaeological Institute and the University of California at Berkeley, under the direction of Daniel Polz, is investigating 17th Dynasty rock-cut tombs of the upper terrace at Dra Abu el Naga. One large tomb, usurped by the 20th Dynasty high priest Ramses- Nakht, may belong to Amenhotep I.

12 A Hungarian team from Budapest University is clearing and investigating several tombs on the necropolis under the direction of Laszlo Kokosy. They include the tomb of Nefermenu (No. 184), Djehty-mes (No. 32) and the 19th Dynasty tomb of Imiseba (No. 65) which was discovered to be a reused 18th Dynasty tomb.

13 Italian archaeologists are active in Egypt, especially following the formation of the Italian-Egyptian Centre of Restoration and Archaeology in 1988. Work in the Asasif area of the Theban necropolis includes a mission from the University of Rome, which is studying and conserving the tomb of steward Sheshonk, No. 27. A University of Rome mission under Alessandro Roccati is collaborating with the SCA 011 the tomb of Mentuemhet, No. 34.

14 A Japanese mission from Wasenda University, which starte excavations to the south of Malqatta, south-west of MedinetHabu four years ago and found part of the Heb-Sed Court of Amenhotep III, continues to restore the monument. They have also carried out the clearance and recording of several noblemen and royal tombs. In the West Valley they are reclearing and conserving the decoration in the Tomb of Amenhotep III (22). Great interest has been generated in this pharaoh in recent years following the discovery of statues in the Court of Amenhotep III (the Solar Court) in Luxor temple (now in Luxor Museum) and exhibitions dedicated to him abroad, in the USA and Paris.

15 The tomb of Suemniwet (No. 92) at Kurna, is being excavated by Betsy Bryan of Johns Hopkins University. In the court and one of the shafts, a great deal of 18th Dynasty debris has been recovered, and a new, previously unrecorded, tomb discovered to the north.

16 The Pacific Lutheran University of Washington has been at work on the Theban necropolis in a small wadi that leads into the Valley of the Kings. Director of the project Donald Ryan has rediscovered a tomb (No. 60), originally uncovered by Howard Carter, containing two mummies, the damaged coffin of one bearing the name of a woman known to have been the royal nurse of Queen Hatshepsut. Ryan found one unidentified female mummy still in the burial chamber along with grave goods.

17 A mission of The Polish Institute of Mediterranean Archaeology under the direction of Janusz Karkowsky continues its long-term project to restore and carry out an epigraphic survey of the Mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut at Deir el Bahri (page 75 ff). It is now approaching its half-centenary. Work on the upper most terrace continues. Plaster casts of blocks taken to the Metropolitan Museum in New York between the years 1911-1931 will be incorporated in the structure. The temple is now illuminated at night. is The Swiss Institute of Archaeology, under the directorship of Horst Yaritz, is now entering its 7th season of work on the Temple of Merenptah on the Theban necropolis. This temple is particularly interesting because blocks from the various other monuments were reused in its construction, including some from the adjacent Mortuary Temple of Amenhotep III. Evidence is also coming to light of the different phases of its construction. The copying of the reliefs is well underway. A new subterranean museum has been built to house the reliefs. A large number of Anu- s sphinxes, which may have once lined the avenue leading up to the temple, have been found.

August 8, 2012

The Temple of Deir el Medina

The Temple of Deir el Medina
This small, graceful Ptolemaic temple, completely surrounded by a brick wall, lies in a barren hollow and was dedicated to Hathor and Maat. It took shape under the Ptolemies. Within its precincts Christian monks built a monastery the remains of which can be seen to the left and right of the temple. It was these monks who gave it its name.

Temple of Deir el Medina
Deir el Medina is often overlooked by visitors in favour of the larger, more impressive monuments. This is a pity as it is a temple of considerable beauty and in an excellent state of repair. It is thought to have originally been founded by the architectural genius under Amenhotep III, known as Amenhotep son of Hapu, who, like the architect Imhotep, builder of Zoser’s Step Pyramid, was deified in Ptolemaic times. In fact, there are two representations, of Imhotep and Amenhotep son of Hapu, on the pillars at the end of the screen wall separating the two parts of the building.

The temple consists of a large vestibule (/) containing two elaborately adorned palm-columns with floral capitals and a screen wall dividing it from a central hall (2) and the back of the temple where there are three shrines. Here, as in so many temples in the Nile valley, the pure lines of Egyptian work and the elaborated Graeco-Egyptian style are found side by side.

Passing through the entrance doorway of the temple we notice steep rocks. The facade, which has a hollow cornice, bears names which attest to the many Copts and Greeks who visited the temple. Facing us are the two palm columns and behind them the screen walls with pillars bearing heads of Hathor. Near the top of the wall on the left is a window which once lighted a staircase.

In the left-hand shrine on the left-hand wall (a) is a chapter from the Book of the Dead showing Osiris seated (near the end of the wall) and before him four genii of the dead upon a lotus flower. Thoth inscribes the verdict. To the left the heart of the decease (Philopator) is weighed by Anubis and Horus in one of the most complete representations of this scene to be found, and also one of the most beautiful. With the 42 judges of the dead (upper row) the deceased is led to the scene of the judgement by Maat who, in another representation and joined by Anubis and Horus, weighs the heart of the deceased against the feather of truth. Note that Anubis and Horus not only measure the weight but test the scales; Horus himself checks the balance; Thoth records the result. If it proves satisfactory then the deceased enters the underworld, if unsatisfactory he will be devoured by the hippopotamus-like monster before him.

On the rear wall (b) the deceased offers incense to Osiris and Isis. On the right-hand wall (c) is the sacred boat with standards, etc. Above the doorway (d) is a four-headed ram representing the God of the Four Winds and above this strange creature a flying vulture worshipped by four goddesses. On the jambs of the doorway the Pharaoh is represented with three hawk-headed and three jackalheaded genii.

In the centre shrine (j) are representations of the deceased before the various Theban deities.

In the right-hand shrine on the right-hand wall (e) are fine carvings of seated deities: Osiris with Hathor, Isis, Horus, Nephthys and Anubis behind him. On the left-hand wall (d) are Mut, Amon-Ra, etc.

South of the temple of Deir el Medina is the settlement of tomb and temple workers (page 70). The cemetery lies to the west.

August 7, 2012

Tomb Of Queen Titi

Tomb Of Queen Titi
This is not Queen Titi, consort of Amenhotep III and mother of Akhenaten, but a queen of the Ramesside era. The tomb is damaged but some of the murals still retain startling freshness of colour. The figures of the gods and demons in the tomb chamber defy the years with their brightness.

Tomb Of Queen Titi
The tomb is simple, comprising an ante-chamber (I), a long passage (2) and the tomb chamber (I), which is flanked by three small chambers.

On the rear wall of the chamber flanking the tomb chamber to the right (a) is a representation of Hathor who appears in the form of ''a cow in a mountainous landscape. In front there is a sycamore from which Hathor, now represented in human form, pours out Nile water to revive the queen.

The chamber on the opposite side (b) contains the mummy shaft. The rear chamber (c) shows genii of the dead and various gods seated at offering tables while the queen prays to them (to left and right). On the rear wall Osiris sits enthroned with Neith and Selket before him and Nephthys, Isis and Thoth behind him.

Tomb Of Amon-Hir-khopshef

Tomb Of Amon-Hir-khopshef
In this charming tomb Ramses III himself leads his son Amon-hir-khopshef into the presence of the divine gods of the underworld. The nine-year-old boy wears the side-lock of youth and carries the feather of truth as he obediently follows his father. The reliefs are of fine quality painted low relief, in excellently preserved colour. In fact the murals of this tomb are amongst the finest on the necropolis.

Tomb Of Amon-Hir-khopshef
The tomb comprises a large entrance hall with an unfinished annex to the right and the tomb chamber (unfinished).

On the left-hand wall, travelling clockwise, we see the young prince following the Pharaoh Ramses III, who offers incense to Ptah (a) and then introduces his son. Afterwards he presents the boy to Duamutef and to Imseti (b), who conducts the pair to Isis. Note that Isis (c) looks over her shoulder to the advancing Pharaoh. She holds him by the hand.

On the right-hand wall (continuing clockwise) Ramses and his son are conducted to Hathor (d), Hapi, Kebhsnewef (e) Shu (d) and Nephthys (g) who puts her hand beneath the chin of the bereaved Pharaoh.

The corridors bear scenes from the Book of the Dead.

There was no mummy of the boy in the sarcophagus but in its place was a foetus of six months’ development. Perhaps the mother miscarried due to grief at the loss of the boy. One can only speculate. The foetus is preserved in a small hermetically sealed glass in the tomb.

August 5, 2012

Tomb Of Khaemaust

Tomb Of Khaemaust
This tomb, which is situated at the southeastern corner of the Valley, at the end of a narrow pathway, belongs to another son1 o Ramses III. He too died too young to pass into the presence o gods of the underworld unaccompanied and it is Ramses " introduces him to them. The tomb was never completed and so of the undecorated white plaster coating can be seen.

Tomb Of Khaemaust
The first corridor (I) is decorated on both sides with representations of the king introducing his son to the different gods and goddesses. It is in the two side chambers, however, that we find the most interesting scenes. Since they are similarly decorated, only one will be described. In the right-hand chamber (2), on either side of the doorway, are the goddesses Isis and Nephthys on one side, and Neith and Selket on the other. Moving clockwise, the left-hand wall (a) shows the young prince standing alone adoring four demi-gods in turn. The first one is Hapi the Nile-god who has been given a jackal head by mistake! On the rear wall (b) Isis and Nephthys talk to two seated figures of Osiris on behalf of the prince. On the right- hand wall (c) the prince worships four more demi-gods; Duamutef has here been given the head of an ape instead of a jackal!

The long corridor (j), which is vaulted and decorated with scenes to right and left, once again shows Ramses introducing his son to demi-gods. In the rear chamber, however, Ramses III stands alone before the gods interceding for his son.

The rear wall (d) repeats the scenes of the four goddesses addressing Osiris. Selket and Nephthys to the right, Isis and Neith to the left. From a lotus flower in front of Osiris, four genii arise.

Tomb Of Nefertari

Tomb Of Nefertari
Nefertari or ‘Beautiful Companion’ has a magnificent tomb comprising an entrance hall (/) with a side chamber (2) leading off to the right. A corridor stairway (j) leads to the burial chamber (4) which has four square pillars and, in the centre, a few stairs leading to what was once the site of the sarcophagus, sunk slightly lower than the ground rock. The walls throughout the tomb are elaborately worked In relief, partly filled with stucco and painted.

Tomb Of Nefertari
The first thing that strikes one on entry into the tomb is the extravagant use of colour and its astounding brilliance. The flesh hues, white robes, black hair, bright friezes give the impression of having been newly painted. And the second thing is the realism with which the queen herself has been painted. She is graceful and sensitive and extremely beautiful. Her form, as she appears before the various deities, is accompanied by only a modest amount of text. This, despite the excessive detail of the drawings, gives the impression of simplification, somewhat as though the presence of one so beautiful spoke for itself.

On the left-hand wall of the first chamber (a) is a series of magical formulae with the queen playing at a board game. At (b) the ka worships the rising sun between two lions which symbolise the immediate past and the immediate future. To the right at (c) and (d) the goddesses Neith and Selket receive the queen. Maat, goddess of truth, is represented at each side of the entrance to the annex (e).

In the side chamber (2) on the right-hand wall (/) the queen adores seven sacred cows, the bull and four steering oars of the sky. On the facing wall (g) she makes offerings to Osiris (on the left) and Atum (on the right). On the left-hand wall (h) she stands before the ibis-headed Thoth while Heket the frog squats before him.

In the staircased corridor (j) Nefertari makes offerings to Isis (on the left) and Hathor (on the right) while guardian deities protect and guide her.

The murals of the tomb chamber (4) are not in such perfect condition but represent the deceased queen again with the deities.

As usual, demons guard the gates of the underworld and the queen passes by with the aid of the sacred formulae and emblems. In this tomb the safeguards and warnings against evil, and examples of possible sufferings to those not pure in heart, seem to have been used to the minimum. One is conscious of a path of purity through the underworld, as though the journey of Ramses II’s beloved was a mere formality.

The Necropolis and Valley Of The Queens

The Necropolis and Valley Of The Queens

Background
In this valley by no means all the queens of the New Kingdom were buried. It appears that a special burial ground for the royal consorts was started only in the reign of Ramses I and royal offspring were also buried here. There are signs that previously the queens were laid to rest beside their husbands in the Valley of the Kings, but pillage of the royal tombs makes it difficult to confirm this.

Valley Of The Queens
There are over twenty tombs in the Valley of the Queens. Many are unfinished and entirely without decoration, resembling caves rather than sacred tomb chambers. The most impressive is that of the wife of Ramses II, Queen Nefertari, his favorite.

Tomb of Nefertari
Restoration of this tomb, carried out by an international team of experts, has now been completed (see page 175). The tomb is officially open, but not yet to group travelers. Experts feel that time is needed to give restorers an opportunity to observe the long term effects of the work done before large masses of people are admitted.

August 4, 2012

Tomb Of Haremhab

Tomb Of Haremhab
This tomb, which was plundered in antiquity, has an unimpressive entrance with steps through two corridors and is followed by the well-room (j) and by a hall (4) that was completed to resemble the tomb chamber. The stairway on the left-hand side of this hall, though carefully concealed, was nevertheless found by robbers who, following the corridor (5), passed through the ante-chamber (6) and plundered the tomb chamber (7).

Tomb Of Haremhab Entrance
This tomb is worth a visit for four reasons. First for the extremely high quality of the reliefs of the well-room (3) and the ante-chamber (6). Secondly, to see the stages of mural execution in some of the corridors where the work has not been completed and especially in the burial chamber (7). Thirdly, because in the six-pillared burial hall the sarcophagus is a fine piece of work in red granite with beautifully carved figures of the various deities along with the religious formulae. At the corners goddesses spread their wings to guard the deceased. Their protection was inadequate, for when the American archeologist Davis excavated the tomb in 1905 the mummy was in such poor condition as even to prevent confirmation of its sex Fourthly, because on the higher reaches of the tomb chamber are the symbols for north, south, east and west and it is n cresting to observe that these were instructions for the workers, who were given appropriate decorations for each.

Tomb Of Haremhab

Tomb Of Thutmose III

Tomb Of Thutmose III
This is the tomb of the world’s first empire builder. A steep flight of stairs across a dramatic ravine between sheer mountain faces leads to the remote entrance. It was excavated in the 18th Dynasty when the Pharaoh’s chief aim was concealment. When it became evident that these precautions were useless, the tombs of the 19th Dynasty were grouped together under an armed guard.

Tomb Of Thutmose III
The design is simple. After the stairway a sloping corridor descends to a staircase which has broad niches on both sides (/). Beyond this is another corridor leading to a rectangular shaft (crossed by a hand-bridge) and into a chamber (2) which has two undecorated pillars and a ceiling covered with stars. The walls bear the names of 741 different deities.

The tomb chamber (j) is approached by a stairway and is in the form of an oval. The scenes of the underworld are mostly in excellent condition. The representations on the pillars are delightfully simplified black drawings. On the face of the first is a religious inscription and on the left-hand face (from top to bottom) are Thutmose and his queen-mother Isis in a boat, the king being suckled by Isis in the form of a tree and (below) the king being followed by his three wives and the princess Nofretete. On the third face of the pillar are demons. Demons and religious inscriptions adorn the other pillars. The sarcophagus, on an alabaster pedestal, was made of red sandstone and was found to be empty. The Pharaoh’s mummy was safely in the Deir el Bahri shaft.

Tomb Of Ramses III

Tomb Of Ramses III
This tomb is second in size only to that of Seti I and has become known as the Tomb of the Harpists. Its construction differs from the regular tomb in that five small chambers lead off either side of the first and second corridors, making ten in all. Each is devoted to aspects of the Pharaoh’s life. It is also interesting that the first part of the tomb up to the third room was built by Setnakht, father of Ramses III, and in places where the paint has fallen off his cartouches are revealed. This is the tomb, it will be remembered, where the third corridor was diverted to the right after its builders had broken into an adjacent tomb by mistake (see page 105).

Tomb Of Ramses III
Although the wall decorations may not be considered of the best artistic quality, their variety and richness are certainly unsurpassed. The entrance door is at the foot of a flight of steps on each side 0 which are small pillars with bulls’ heads. Over the door is representation of Isis and Nephthys worshipping the sun-disc. Along the first corridor are figures of Maat, goddess of integrity and truth, kneeling and sheltering with her wings the deceased Pharaoh as his body enters the tomb. On the walls are Praises of Ra. The pharaoh himself can be seen on the left-hand wall before Harmaches (one of the forms of the Sun-god), followed by the familiar sacred serpent, crocodile and two gazelles’ heads.

We now turn to the five small chambers leading off the left-hand side of the corridor. The first chamber (a) contains various scenes of cooking, slaughtering and baking. The second chamber (b) has, on the entrance wall to the left, the kneeling god of the Nile bestowing his gifts to seven gods of fertility which have ears of corn on their heads. On the wall to the right the Nile-god is seen before the serpent-headed goddess Napret, five apron-clad royal snakes and two gods of fertility. The third chamber (c) is largely decorated with male and female local deities with offerings. In the bottom row are kneeling Nile-gods. The fourth chamber (d) has representations of the guardian spirit of the deceased on either side of the entrance, each bearing a staff ending in a royal head. The other walls show double rows of rowers, sacred serpents and sacred cattle. The fifth chamber (e) contains the representations that gave the tomb its name: on the left wall are two harpists, one before Anhor and the hawk-headed Harmaches, and the other before Shu and Atum. The text on either side of the doorway is the song they sing asking that the blessed Pharaoh might be received.

As already stated, there are five chambers on the right-hand side of the corridor. The first (/) contains a double row of sailing ships: those in the upper row ready to set sail and those in the lower with sails furled. The second chamber (g) is the Pharaoh’s armoury. The walls have representations of all the royal weapons and standards. At the top of the left-hand wall are standards with heads of sacred animals. At the top of the right-hand wall are standards with gods’ heads. On the rear wall are a multitude of bows, arrows and quivers, The third chamber (/;) is particularly interesting if we remember that this was a very wealthy Pharaoh, for it contains his treasury. On the walls are representations of furniture and ornaments, utensils and jewellery, elaborate head-rests, cushioned benches and comfortable couches that are attained by steps. The fourth chamber (i) as rural scenes. The Pharaoh sails along a canal watching plough- ng, sowing and reaping. In the fields are sacred animals. The last on the right-hand side (j) is notable for its twelve different forms of Osiris, the god of the underworld.

Tomb Of Ramses III
The following corridor (8) is badly damaged, as are the antechambers that precede the tomb chamber itself (10). This is a long oblong room with four pillars on each side and an extra chamber at each of the four corners. The actual sarcophagus is now in the Louvre, its lid is in Cambridge, and the Pharaoh’s mummy, amongst those taken from the shaft at Deir el Bahri, is now in the Cairo Museum.

August 3, 2012

Tomb Of Ramses IX

Tomb Of Ramses IX
This tomb is constructed on fairly classical lines and comprises three chambers, one following the other in a straight line. It is approached by an inclined plane with steps on either side. Flanking the doorway are representations of the deceased standing before Harmaches and Osiris (a), and Amon and a goddess of the dead (b). The two pairs of chambers in this part of the corridor have no decorations.

Tomb Of Ramses IX
On the right-hand wall, over the second chamber on the right (c) are demons of the underworld including serpents and ghosts with the heads of bulls and jackals. At this point is the beginning of the text of the sun’s journey through the underworld. On the left-hand side of the corridor (d) a priest pours forth the symbols for life, wealth, etc. on the deceased Pharaoh, who is dressed like Osiris. The priest wears the side-lock of a royal prince and is probably a son of the deceased.

The roof of the second corridor (2) is decorated with constellations. To both left and right (?) serpents rear themselves. Note the recesses for figures of the gods, followed on the left-hand wall (/) 'k J16 beginning of another text from the Book of the Dead and the deceased Pharaoh before the hawk-headed Sun-god. On the opposite wall(g) are demons and spirits.

On the left-hand wall (j) are the boats of the Sun-god (centre) travelling through the second and third hours of night bearing protective divinities.

We now enter a chamber (4). Beyond, at (k) and (/), are priests with panther skins and side-locks, sacrificing and making offerings before a standard. The next chamber (5) is rough and unfinished and slopes downwards to the burial chamber through another corridor (6). In the burial chamber (7) there are traces (on the floor) of the sarcophagus. On the walls are gods and demons. The goddess Nut, representing the morning and evening skies, is shown across the rough ceiling in two figures. Below are constellations, boats of the stars, etc. On the rear wall (m) the child Horus, seated within the winged sun-disc, is symbolic of rebirth after death.

Tomb Of Ramses IX
A - entrance stairs-ramp
B - 1st corridor (scenes from Litany of Re and the Book of Caverns)
C - four niche-like side rooms
D - 2nd corridor (scenes from the Book of the Dead and the Book of Caverns, astronomical ceiling)
E - 3rd corridor (images of king as Osiris, scenes from the Amduat)
F - well room (image of deity)
G - 4-pillared hall (undecorated)
H - sloping passage leading to the burial chamber
I - burial chamber (king in divine barque and scenes from the Book of the Earth, Book of Caverns and Amduat, scenes from the Book of Heavens on ceiling)

Tomb Of Ramses VI

Tomb Of Ramses VI
This tomb was started by Ramses V and was usurped by his successor. It has three entrance halls, two chambers, a further two corridors, an ante-chamber and the tomb chamber. The wall representations are carried out in low painted relief. The standard of craftsmanship is not high but the tomb chamber itself has one of the most important ceilings in the Valley of the Kings. In fact names and mottoes in Coptic and Greek show that this Golden Hall was an attraction from the first century a.d.

Tomb Of Ramses VI
The first three corridors carry texts and representations from the Praises of Ra. On both sides of the first corridor, at {a) and (b), the deceased Pharaoh stands before the deities Harakhte and Osiris. On the right-hand side of the second corridor (r) is the barge of the Sun- god with the twelve hours of night. Towards the end of the left-hand wall (d) is the figure of Osiris before whom is the boat of the Sun- god. A pig (representing evil) is being driven away from it by sacred dog-headed apes. We now pass into the third corridor.

On the roof there is a painting of the goddess Nut which extends from the beginning of the corridor (j), through the ante-chamber (4) where her body curves to the right of the roof, and ends in the chamber (5). On the right-hand wall of the third corridor is a superb representation of Osiris under a canopy (e).

The chamber (5) has four columns and a sloping passage at the rear which is guarded by sacred winged snakes. The columns show the Pharaoh making offerings to the deities. The roof is rich m colour. On the rear walls (/) and (g) are representations of the enthroned Osiris before whom the deceased burns incense. Though the colour is well-preserved, the reliefs are inferior when compared to those in the tomb of Seti I.

The following corridor (6) takes us further along the road to the underworld. On the left-hand side (1) is the journey in the fourth hour with the sacred cow (centre row) and the crocodile in a boa (second row).

The sloping corridor (7) has sacred and protective emblems an religious formulae from the book of ‘That which is in the Under world’, and leads to an ante-chamber (8). On the right-hand wall (1) is the deceased Pharaoh with Maat. The left-hand wall (j) has texts from the Book of the Dead.

Dark blue and gold predominate in the tomb chamber (9). Across the vaulted ceiling the goddess Nut is twice represented along its entire length, in a graceful semi-circle with backs touching. This represents the morning and evening skies. Her elongated body curves to touch the earth with finger and toe, head to the west, loins to the east.

The entire chamber is a complex of appropriate texts from the Book of the Dead. For example, on the right-hand wall (k) is a small representation (second row) of the boat of the Sun-god, who is represented in the shape of a beetle with a ram’s head. The boat is being worshipped by two human-headed birds and the souls of Kheper and Atum (forms of the Sun-god). Below this scene (to left and right) are the beheaded condemned and above is a representation of the goddess Nut with upstretched arms.

In the niche at the rear of the tomb chamber (/) is the barge of the Sun-god held aloft in upstretched arms.

The smashed sarcophagus of the Pharaoh was left on site by the grave-robbers and priests restored the damaged mummy, which was found in 1898 in the tomb of Amenhotep II.

Tomb Of Ramses VI

A - entrance (solar disc adored by goddesses)
B - first corridor (king before Re-Horakhty and Osiris; scenes from the Book of Gates and the Book of Caverns)
C - second corridor (scenes from the Book of Gates and the Book of Caverns)
D - third corridor (scenes from the Book of Gates, the Book of Caverns and the Books of the Heavens)
E - well chamber (scenes from the Book of Gates, the Book of Caverns and the Books of the Heavens)
F - pillared room (scenes from the Book of Gates, the Book of Caverns and the Books of the Heavens)
G - fourth corridor (scenes from the Amduat; images from the Books of the Heavens on ceiling)
H - fifth corridor (scenes from the Amduat; images from the Books of the Heavens on ceiling)
I - antechamber (king before deities; scenes from the Book of the Dead)
J - burial chamber (scenes from the Book of the Earth; astronomical ceiling with Nut and scenes from the Books of the Heavens)
K - rear room

Tomb Of Amenhotep II

Tomb Of Amenhotep II
This tomb was excavated in 1898. The attention of Loret, the prominent French archeologist, was drawn to it by local felaheen. It was a remarkable find. For one thing it was the first tomb ever opened in which the Pharaoh was found where he had been laid. Secondly, there was a windfall of mummies in a sealed-off chamber, including nine of royalty. Thirdly, the burial chamber proved to be one of the most beautiful, certainly the most original, in the entire Valley of the Kings. But more important, the tomb was nearly complete and contained a complete and unspoiled set of texts from the Book of the Dead.

Tomb Of Amenhotep II
The first corridors are rough and undecorated. They lead to a shaft (now bridged), a false burial chamber (/) created to confuse robbers, and finally to the actual tomb chamber (2). This is supported by six pillars and the sarcophagus of the Pharaoh lay in the crypt-like section at the rear. The mummy was festooned and garlanded and the sandstone sarcophagus was all that the grave-robbers had left. Everything else had been ruthlessly plundered.

As one enters the tomb chamber one is immediately struck by the originality and beauty of the decorations. The figures on the columns for the most part depicting Amenhotep and the gods of the underworld are outlined in black with only his crown, jewellery, belt and the- surrounding decorations in colour. The drawing is exquisitely fine and the blue roof is covered with stars. The walls are painted yellow and the traditional religious formulae are so drawn as to give the impression of papyrus texts having been pinned to the walls. There is not too much detail and the use of the pigment is beneficially restrained. As already explained, the Book of the Dead was a development of the magical formulae inscribe on the inside of the coffins of the Middle Kingdom. With the aid of these formulae the deceased would overcome the foes to eternal triumph in the underworld. Only with the magic inscription could he hope to make his heart (conscience) acceptable in the awesome presence of Osiris when it was weighed against the feather of truth; and only thus could he hope to live securely forever.

On each side of the chamber are two small rooms. Three mummies lay in the first to the right (j), and in the second (4) were nine royal mummies including Thutmose IV, Amenhotep III, Seti II and Ramses IV, V and VI. All have been taken to Cairo Museum. Not surprisingly this quickly became known as the Safety Tomb and this is undoubtedly what the priests had intended it for. When they found that Amenhotep II’s tomb had been violated they reasoned that the robbers would not return to its ravaged corridors. In fact they never did. The royal personages remained in peace for centuries.

When Loret excavated the tomb quite a controversy arose as to whether the mummy should be left on site or whether it should be removed with the others to the museum. It was finally agreed that it should remain on site but with an armed guard. Nearly three years later the tomb was rifled when, deliberately or otherwise, the backs of the guards were turned. The mummy of Amenhotep was found on the floor, in a very much poorer condition as a result of delving and prying hands in search of overlooked treasures in the folds of the cloth. There was now no question about it. The mummy of the Pharaoh was placed in Cairo Museum. The marvellous sandstone sarcophagus stands on site.

Tomb Of Amenhotep II
A - entrance steps
B - 1st descending corridor
C - shaft with the steps
D - 2nd descending corridor
E - well shaft (undecorated)
Ea - side chamber on the bottom of shaft (undecorated)
F - 2-pillared hall (antechamber) (undecorated)
G - descending corridor
J - 6-pillared burial chamber (walls decorated with scenes from Amduat, pillars with king before Osiris, Anubis and Hathor, gold stars on blue ceiling)
Ja-Jd - four side chambers

Tomb Of Amenhotep II

August 1, 2012

Tomb of Seti I

Tomb of Seti I
Note: This is a classical tomb that far surpasses all others in the Valley of the Kings both in size and in the artistic execution of the sculptured malls. Every inch of wall space of its entire 100-metre length is covered with representations which were carried out by the finest craftsmen.

Tomb of Seti I
Giovanni Belzoni, who discovered the tomb in 1817, was a circus strong man who originally came to Egypt to market an irrigation pump he had designed in England. The project fell through but he arranged the successful transportation of the colossal head of Ramses II from the Ramasseum to the British Museum in London, and by the standards of the day he was forthwith an archeologist! He turned his energies to the Valley of the Kings and made this remarkable find just one year later. When the Turkish officials in Egypt heard of the discovery they straightway made for the tomb, bent on the delightful thought of acquiring priceless treasure. Down the corridors they went, ransacking every corner only to find to their disappointment that the tomb contained no more than an empty sarcophagus.

A steep flight of stairs leads to the entrance of Seti’s tomb which is covered with sacred texts along its full length from the highest reaches down to the bed rock. The first corridor (/) is carved in high relief. On the left-hand wall (a) the sun-disc bearing a scarab, and the ram-headed Sun-god can be seen between a serpent, a crocodile and two cows’ heads. The texts which start on the left are continued to the right (b). The roof is painted with flying vultures.

The second corridor (2), which is staircased, has thirty-seven forms of the Sun-god depicted on the upper part of the recesses on both sides. As we descend to the third corridor, Maat, goddess of truth, faces us with outstretched wings above the doorway (f). Isis is represented on the left-hand side (d), and Nephthys on the right W, and they both kneel on the hieroglyph for ‘gold’ and place their hands upon a seal ring. Above them, on each side of the corridor, t e jackal-god Anubis can be seen. The wall reliefs here have not been, competed but we can see the outlines in black, the master’s ouch in red, and the accuracy with which the relief is carved from the bottom upwards.

Proceeding beneath Maat with her outstretched wings we pass fifth V 6 corridor (j), which has dramatic representations of the fifth hour of night from the fifth chapter of the Book of the Dead. Towards the middle of the left-hand wall (/) the sun-boat (damaged) ii4 is driven through the netherworld by seven gods and seven goddesses and in front of it march four gods and the goddess Isis. On the right-hand wall (g) the Sun-god and his retinue are drawn through a land inhabited by demons and monsters (top and bottom rows) and we see a serpent with three heads, wings and human legs. But the Sun-god is safe, drawn by Horus and Thoth (middle row) who carry an eye as a protection against evil. The ceiling is blackened from the candles of the early Christians who hid in the tomb.

From the third corridor onwards the quality of the colour on the reliefs is superb. We now come to a small ante-chamber (4). The walls, both to left and right, show the Pharaoh between Harmachis and Isis offering wine to Hathor.

We now enter a square chamber with four pillars (5). On the pillars themselves the Pharaoh is shown before the various deities: Isis and Nephthys the sister-wife and the sister of Osiris, Hathor the goddess of joy and love who was also the goddess of Dendera to whom the cow was sacred, Selket the goddess to whom the scorpion was sacred, Horus the national Sun-god, and Harsiesis and Harmaches who were special forms of Horus; also of course Anubis, the jackal-god of embalming. The walls, especially those at the sides, have marvellous representations of the sun travelling through the fourth region of the underworld. On the rear wall (h) Osiris is enthroned before Hathor while the Pharaoh is led into his presence by the hawk-headed Horus. This is a superb mural with intricate detail and rich colour. Near the corner of the left-hand wall (*) the four chief races of men known at the time stand before Horus: these are Egyptians, Asiatics with pointed beards and coloured aprons, four negroes and four Libyans with feathers on their heads and tattooed bodies.

The chamber (6), situated to the right and entered via a narrow flight of steps, was never completed. Whether this was because it was discovered that the w alls were of inferior material, or as a blind to mislead grave-robbers, is not known, but the sketches on the walls are bold and compelling and show the touch of a master craftsman. The original sketch was done in red. The corrections in black were probably the work of the senior artist, after which the carvers took over. The left-hand wall (j) shows the journey during the ninth hour of the underworld: the sacred cow, ram, bird and human head guarding the procession against the fiery serpents. On the rear-w (k) is the tenth hour with the hawk joining the protective deities and the spirits carrying arrows and lances. On the right-hand wall (/)is the eleventh hour with the condemned in the lower row. The enemies of the Sun-god are being burned under the supervision of the hawk-headed Horus in strange furnaces, whilst fire-breathing goddesses stand watch with swords.

We retrace our steps to the chamber of pillars (5), to the left of which a stairway, carefully concealed by the builders of the tomb descends to the fourth corridor (7). To the left of this corridor (m) is a figure of the Pharaoh (destroyed) seated at an offering table. Above him hovers a hawk and before him stands a priest.

We descend a few more steps into a small corridor (5) which is decorated with texts of the ceremonies performed before the statue of the deceased Pharaoh in order that he may eat and drink in the hereafter. On the right-hand wall (n) is a list of offerings.

The ante-chamber (9) is decorated with the gods of the dead including Anubis, Isis, Hathor, Harsiesis and Osiris. Finally we come to a large hall (/o). Here a slight incline with steps at the sides takes us to the burial chamber, which comprises two portions. The front portion has pillars and the rear portion a vaulted ceiling. It was in the rear section that the alabaster sarcophagus of the Pharaoh stood when the tomb was discovered. It was made out of a single piece of alabaster, carved to a thickness of two inches and with the exquisite reliefs filled in with blue paste. This magnificent piece is comparable only to the alabaster vase found in Tutankhamun's tomb which is today in the Cairo Museum. The mummy, which was one of those found at Deir el Bahri, is in the same museum. The sarcophagus lies in the Soane Museum in London. When Belzoni effected its transportation to England, the Trustees of the British Museum considered the price set too high and the treasure was without a buyer until 1824 when Sir John Soane paid Henry Salt £2,000 for it.

The decorations on the walls of the pillared portion of the hall show the journey through the first region of the underworld on the left entrance-wall (0) and through the fourth region of the underworld on the left-hand wall (p). In a small recess at the end of this wall (q) is a beautiful representation of Anubis performing the opening-of-the-mouth ceremony before Osiris. On the right-hand entrance wall (r) and the right-hand wall (s) are representations o the journey through the second region of the underworld.

The vaulted ceiling has been painted with astrological figures. From early times, of course, the Egyptians had mapped out heavens, identified some of the fixed stars and were able to determine the positions of others. This ceiling is unusual in that it has no been painted in the familiar balanced, repetitive form.

Adjoining the tomb chamber are four side-rooms. The first one on the right (//) has the text of a myth that concerns the rebellion of mankind against the Sun-god, their punishment and final rescue. On the rear wall is a magnificent relief of the heavenly cow of the myth supported by Shu, the god of the atmosphere, and bearing on its back two boats of the sun.

The chamber on the left (12) has a shelf decorated with a cornice running round the three main walls. It contains more dramatic representations of the Pharaoh’s progress through various provinces, safeguarded by the spells of Isis, the sacred ibis and the ostrich feather symbol of justice and truth. Spirits and demons (left-hand wall (t), middle row) greet the procession. The foes of Osiris are beheaded by a lion-headed god (top row), and dwellings of the deceased gods and spirits open their doors as the Sun-god approaches (rear wall (u), middle row), showing the dead restored to life, and serpents with heads of genii of the dead upon their backs, or with swords in their hands, rising in unison to annihilate the foes of the Sun-god at the end of the journey.

The Pharaoh will overcome. With the help of the Sun-god the doors of the hereafter are open to him. He will enter with his valuables and possessions; with the ability to eat and drink; and imbued with life so as to reign again.

This is his ultimate hope.
Thirty-five years ago Sheikh Abdel Rasool, a descendant of the Rasool family of Deir el Bahri fame, told the Antiquities Department that he considered it his duty to share with them an intelligence that had come down by word of mouth for generations: that beyond the burial chamber in the tomb of Seti I was another chamber.

Although such an extension beyond the burial chamber would be completely irregular, excavations were nevertheless enthusiastically commenced in the hope that if there were such a chamber it would contain some of the funerary furniture of the deceased. The passage was cleared and continued on a steep decline. The walls bore no decoration. Nearly ninety metres were dug before work was to be abandoned when it was noticed that fissures had appeared in the burial chamber, doubtless caused by the vibration, temperature an humidity changes from the workers.

Although excavations were halted, visitors were not. All were intent on seeing the largest, most beautifully decorated and well preserved tomb in the Valley of the Kings. Sometimes groups of tourists would overlap, adding to the humidity. There would be jostling in the corridors, with people pressing against the unprotected reliefs For some reason countless tourists trail their fingers, often damp from the heat, along the outlines of carvings. Little wonder that such abuse should take its toll. Seti’s tomb became a victim of tourism and is periodically closed to control damage. (See Chapter 10 ‘Action in Luxor’).

Tomb Of Tutankhamun

Tomb Of Tutankhamun
Tutankhamun was the young Pharaoh who succeeded Akhenaten towards the end of the 18th Dynasty. During his nine year rule he restored Thebes as the capital and started the restoration of the worship of Amon. Apart from this all we know of him is that he met a sudden end. Egyptologists did not seem worried that his tomb had never been found. If there were a tomb, they reasoned, it would probably be poor in content. In any case the notable American archeologist Davis had said that the Valley of the Kings had long since yielded all that it had to yield.

Tomb Of Tutankhamun
Howard Carter, working for Lord Carnarvon, the wealthy Englishman with a passion for ancient Egypt, thought otherwise. He was convinced not only that there was a tomb but that there was a great possibility of its being intact. Carter, in charge of the team, toiled year after year in the desert of the necropolis. For these two, one fruitless year merely built up hope for the next. After six seasons, during which time it was estimated that some 200,000 tons of rubble were moved, Howard Carter was finally forced to accept the fact that his predecessor had probably been right and that the valley had no tomb to yield. It was a depressing decision and one that he could not bring himself to take. For there was one last, very remote possibility: the site immediately beneath the tomb of Ramses VI. It was covered with roughly-constructed workmen’s huts. On instructions from Carter his men set about demolishing them.

It was 1922. At the bottom of the steps was the doorway of a tomb. As yet it was too early to tell whose, but the seals seemed intact. Cables were sent to Lord Carnarvon in England while preparations were made for the opening.

Whatever had been expected, or hoped for, there is no doubt that the tomb’s actual contents surpassed the wildest dreams. When we gaze at the contents which now lie in Cairo Museum we can almost reel the agony of suspense, exhilaration and utter amazement that must have overwhelmed the first to see the fabulous treasures. The opening was attended by Lord Carnarvon himself who unhappily never lived to see the full richness of the contents of the tomb, as well Lady Evelyn Herbert, Professor Breasted and Dr Alan Gardiner.

The tomb proved to be small, but packed to bursting with furniture, emblems, utensils, ornaments, bows, arrows and walking-sticks. Comforts for the Pharaoh in the hereafter included a flywhisk trimmed with ostrich feathers and a camp-bed folded in three parts. There were necklets, pendants, rings and ear-rings, to say nothing of the shrines and sarcophagi. According to Carter who spent ten years cataloguing the contents, there were 171 objects in the first room alone. When he had made a small opening in the door of the tomb chamber, he had been faced with what appeared to be a wall of solid gold. It turned out to be an enormous gilded shrine within which, one after another, lay no less than three others. Within these were a stone sarcophagus and three mummy coffins The one holding the Pharaoh’s remains was in solid gold and alone weighed 2,488.8 lbs (1128.9 Kg).

Whilst the world press was focussed on Thebes it was not surprising that one imaginative journalist should attribute the death of Lord Carnarvon to ‘The Pharaoh’s curse a sting from a mosquito entombed for centuries’. It added spice to an already fermenting excitement and a growing tourist trade. Vendors and photographers had a heyday in the sacred valley, while forgers were turning out ‘antiquities’ wholesale.

The mummy was found to be resplendent in gold, with a solid gold mask on the head. There were bracelets, chains, collars, gold beads and necklets of precious and semi-precious stones, engraved scarabs and garlands of flowers. Only the outer mummy case, which contains the Pharaoh’s mummy, has been left on site. The rest are in the Cairo Museum. But it is as well to bear these treasures in mind as we enter this, the smallest tomb in the Valley of the Kings, for the walls of the first chamber (Plan 16 A) which measure a mere eight by four metres, are shockingly bare. Bare, too, are the walls of the small annex (B) which contained vessels and containers for oils, baskets of fruit and seed, wine jars and pottery, all decorated in alabaster, ebony, turquoise, gold, lapis-lazuli and ivory.

The only chamber with decorated walls is the burial chamber itself (C). The paintings are in almost perfect condition. The religious scenes and inscriptions retain the vivid colour of the day they were painted. There are full-length figures on three of the walls standing beneath a dark band which represents the sky. The wall on the left (a) has representations from the Book of the Dead. One is immediately struck by the proportion of the figures, which appear top-heavy. This was of course a characteristic of the Amarna period.

Questions spring to the mind. Why should the walls, apart from the tomb chamber, have been so devoid of decoration when it was believed to be imperative for every stage of the journey to the underworld to be faithfully followed? Why were the contents placed in the disorder indicated in the photographs taken just after the opening of the tomb? And how could so vast an array of splendid provisions have been completed in the short span of nine years during which the boy-king ruled? Would a young monarch have been anything but sure that time was in his favour?

The provisions for the hereafter can be easily explained. Tutankhamun was the last in the family line and his tomb was filled not merely with his own but with family treasures. Many of the pieces had been taken from the royal temples of Tel el Amarna. The priceless royal throne in Cairo Museum, for example, shows the young king being anointed by his wife against a background of the life-giving Aten, symbol of his father-in-law’s heresy. So even though Tutankhamun had completely renounced the teachings of Akhenaten he carried his symbols to his grave. Many of the glazed vases and sceptres clearly originated in the other capital. In addition some of the funerary objects were proved to have been made, not for Tutankhamun, but for Semenkare, Akhenaten’s son-in-law and coregent. These included one of the larger shrines, some of the mummy ornaments and the miniature canopic coffins which had for some reason been usurped and used in Tutankhamun’s tomb.

The disorder is undoubtedly indicative of hurry, as is the lack of decoration on the tomb walls. It is clear that the young king met a sudden death and was buried in haste. Murder? Suicide? Until 1969 the mummy revealed no secrets. But the results of an anthropological and skeletal examination of the Pharaoh’s mummy, carried out by the Departments of Anatomy of Cairo and Liverpool Universities, are now at hand and it appears that death could have been caused by a blow on the head. Nearly half a century ago Howard Carter had said that there was a ‘scab’ on the Pharaoh’s head. Now Professor Harrison of Liverpool University claims that the unusual thinness of the outer skull of the mummy could have resulted from a haemorrhage beneath the membranes overlying the brain. The X- ray examination has ruled out the theory that Tutankhamun died of tuberculosis.

If the young Pharaoh proves to have been murdered after all, it raises another question. Who was guilty? Was it his tutor Ay, who coveted his young wife and probably married her after Tutankhamun’s death? Or was it General Haremhab who had designs on the throne and actually succeeded in seizing it from the blue-bloods at the beginning of the 19th Dynasty?

Tomb of Ramses VII, Siptah, Ay in Egyptian Luxor

Newly-opened Royal Tombs
In the autumn of 1994, the Valley of the Kings was deluged by the heaviest rains since 1916 and numerous tombs suffered its effects. Steps are now being taken to better predict when and where flooding is likely to occur in the future (see Work in Progress Nos. 1 & 8). Meanwhile three royal tombs have been restored and opened to the public, two in the main valley, and one in the western valley. A fourth tomb, that of Amenhotep II (22) is also in the western valley. This is expected to be opened shortly (see Work in Progress No. 14).

Tomb of Ramses VII

Tomb of Ramses VII
This tomb lies to the north of the main road as one approaches the Valley of the Kings. It is a classical tomb in design and decorated throughout. Although known to have been opened as early as the Ptolemaic period, it was never seriously considered as a tourist attraction in view of other longer and more elaborately decorated tombs within walking distance.

Tomb of Siptah
Siptah is one of the lesser-known pharaohs of Egypt who ruled briefly at the end of the 19th Dynasty. When first opened in 1908, his tomb, which lies to the south of the main valley, was found to contain a pink granite sarcophagus. As the walls were largely undecorated, it was left unattended and subsequently became filled with sand. Now it’s 106 metre long corridors (it is one of the longest tombs in the Valley of the Kings) have been cleared.

Tomb of Ay
This tomb, and that of Amenhotep III, lie in the western valley of the Valley of the Kings. It has become known as the ‘tomb of the apes because of the deities depicted at the beginning of the Amduat (the ac count of the hidden space’ more familiar to us as the Book of t e Dead). Ay was Tutankhamun's tutor who briefly succeeded the boy king on the throne of Egypt. He married Tutankhamun's widow an ruled for only three years, during which time he constructed this tomb.
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