Monthly Archives: April 2010

Excavations in the Valley of the Kings

One of the most famous sites in Egypt has always been the Valley of the Kings, which has revealed to us such wonders as the tomb of Tutankhamun. However, all of the major discoveries of the past were made by foreign archaeologists. I was determined that Egyptian archaeologists should become part of the process of excavation and discovery, so in November 2007, the first all-Egyptian team to ever work in the Valley began excavating the area behind the tomb of Merenptah.

In the cliffs behind the tomb we discovered channels that the ancient Egyptians dug to redirect the “tears of the gods,”the flood, in order to preserve the tombs. In the course of our excavations, we recorded many new graffiti in the Valley and found many ostraca, which are pieces of limestone or pottery with drawings and inscriptions. The inscriptions found were very interesting, including a picture of an old lady, the cartouche of Ramses II and many descriptions and other things.

The second site we excavated was the area in front of the tomb ofTutankhamun, KV 62. Many people have been looking for a new tomb in the Valley, especially since the discovery of KV 63 in 2005. Nicholas Reeves had conducted radar survey and the results showed a crack in the mountain, which he said could indicate a tunnel in the mountain that could end in a burial chamber. He thought that KV 64 would be located in front of the tomb of Tutankhamun. However, as we know from a study of the geology of the Valley of the Kings, there are many cracks in the mountain, and when we excavated, we found nothing. Another scholar, Lyla Brock, indicated that a “KV C” would be found near the antiquities office. We demolished the antiquities office and investigated that area and the area in front of Tutankhamun’s tomb, but we found no evidence of any tomb.

Another of our excavation projects in the Valley rediscovered the workmen’s huts found by Howard Carter. We excavated them and found that they were huts where the workmen lived temporarily while they were constructing tombs in the Valley, and they were reused in Dynasty 19 as storage magazines. The most important work that we have done in the Valley of the Kings is to make a study of the levels in the Valley from Dynasty 18 to 20 for the first time.

We are also excavating in the Valley of the Monkeys, which is right next to the Valley of the Kings. Our finds there included many ostraca and pottery from the time of Amenhotep III in front of his tomb. The most important things we found in the Valley of the Monkeys are four foundation deposits, each containing pottery, weapons, tools, animal bones and other artifacts. Kent Weeks has published that foundation deposits were not placed before the tomb was built, as they were with temple deposits, but were deposited after the construction. If we study all of the tomb foundation deposits in the Valley of the Kings, we find that some tombs have five deposits while others have four. Therefore, the discovery of four foundation deposits near each other in the Valley of the Monkeys indicates that there could be a tomb nearby, and we hope to find it. I would be very happy if it is the tomb of Ankhesenamun, the wife of Tutankhamun, who married King Ay after Tut’s death. Another exciting possibility is the tomb of Queen Tiye, the wife of Amenhotep III, whose mummy we have recently identified. Both of these queens would be likely to be buried in the Valley of the Monkeys, near the tombs of their husbands. We continue our excavations in this area in the hopes of revealing the secrets of this fascinating place.

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Posted by : Yasmine Aladdin

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