Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Tuesday, December 16, 2008

There are some recent photos on Kick Splinter's new blog of the ongoing activity surrounding the ongoing excavations for KV64 / KV65, although they only show the situation above ground and don't show any excavation per se.


Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Friday, December 12, 2008

I thought I had got to grips with the main theories concerning who may be burried in KV64 & KV65 but one more surfaced while I was offline (my apologies again for the delay). In Issue 920 of Al-Ahram Weekly, Dr Hawass says:

As soon as we started our excavation we could feel that the area was
promising. We discovered a cut in the mountain, followed by stairs ending in a
hole in the ground. It looks like the entrance to a tomb, and it is exactly
similar to the entrance of KV63. We recorded many inscriptions nearby, some of
which were already known and others that were found for the first time. One
tells us that a man named Userhat built a tomb for his father, the vizier

You can read the full article on the Al-Ahram site; however, this seems to suggest that the tomb could be for the vizier Amennakht.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Sunday, December 07, 2008

I've been away and offline longer than I intended. (I hadn't expected Bangkok international airport to be blockaded.) I am now back online. So far I am not aware of any news but I'll post again once I have brought myself fully up to date.


Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Monday, October 13, 2008

A news story which links two of the most written-about pharaohs is news indeed. Dr Hawass on his Plateau web site has announced his belief that Akhenaten is Tutankhamun's father. Having read the story I wouldn't say it was entirely conclusive so I suggest you take a look for yourself.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Monday, October 06, 2008

A blog is a good format for posting articles on breaking news, but "the story so far" can be hard to pick out. Unlike, Blogger doesn't allow multiple page blogs so I've set it up separately as a Squidoo lens at If you aren't familiar with Squidoo, then suffice to say it's just a single (free) web page.

Over the next couple of days I intend to add a couple more lenses and - pretty obvious what they will cover! They aren't live yet so wait a couple of days, but I have reserved the URLs.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Sunday, October 05, 2008

Although KV64 and KV65 have now been recognised, poring over all the news there seems to be speculation that 3 tombs have been found - the third would probably be KV66. Since KV66 doesn't seem to have been designated yet, it suggests that evidence for it remains sketchy - it may be a features which does not turn out to be an entrance or tomb.

Similarly, the speculation on the possible burials within KV64 and KV65 remains that: speculation. However, there is a report that an ostracon of Queen Isetnofret was found in the area. Isetnofret was a wife of Ramesses II and mother of Merentptah. Following the death of Nefertari, she became chief wife.

It would surprise me though, if Isetnofret, wife of Ramesses II, was burried in the Kings' Valley as Nefertari was burried in the Valley of the Queens - and her tomb QV66 is the most magnificent in the Queens' Valley. Still, as a major queen of Ramses II, her tomb if/when it is found is likely to be a very major discovery. It is also possible that the Isetnofret ostracon refers to a previously unknown queen of that name, or may be unrelated to the entrance found. Indeed, Dr Hawass has reportedly said that KV65 is the tomb of a late 18th Dynasty Queen and that there is evidence (of an unspecified nature but possibly it's exact location), that it was covered over during the 19th Dynasty.

It's unclear whether there is anything so far to associate KV64 with Ramesses VIII other than that his tomb remains unlocated and is of the right period for the style of entrace found. There are, however, other missing tombs including a number of queens and princesses and the discovery of a tomb of a high priest cannot be discounted. To my mind, the attribution to Ramesses VIII seems somewhat speculative.

The tenative, unconfirmed (and quite possibly wrong) rumours therefore suggest:

KV64 - Rameside = Ramesses VIII?
KV65 - unknown queen (Isetnofret?)
KV66 - ????

And this leaves aside the radar anomaly reported by Nicholas Reeves.

PS There are many alternative spelllings of Isetnofret including Isisnofret, Isetnofred and Isisnofred!

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Friday, September 26, 2008

... and hopefully the start of an exciting season in the Valley.

I can't wait!

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Wednesday, September 03, 2008

If like me you find descriptions of locations hard to follow, you may appreciate this photo by Charles Tierney labelled to show the locations on the cliff wall of the Valley of the Kings. Interestingly, a man-made wall is shown as a third location.

Readers should also note that I believe the photo was posted in March 2008, before the Hawass commented in public in July 2008. (Wikipedia's reference to discovery in August 2008 are clearly wrong and sometime I may get round to editing the KV64 and KV65 pages there.)


Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Kent Weeks has posted a progress report on the Theban Mapping Project site. There is nothing major to report but if you are interested in the ongoing clearing of KV5 the full report is here.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Saturday, August 30, 2008

While researching my article on KV64 & KV65, I came across a report that Dr Hawass believes KV63 was originally the tomb of Kiya but was later reused as an embalmers' workplace.

Kiya was the second wife of Akhenhaten (Nefertiti was of course the Royal Wife) and many suspect her to be the mother of Tutankhamun. According to one tradition she was a Mittanian princess sent to marry the ageing Amenhotep III. As Amenhotep died before she arrived, she was instead married to his son Amenhotep IV, who soon changed his name to Akhenaten. Indeed Kiya's entire history is one of taking second place. A temple, Matu Aten, in her honour was established at Amarna but was later re-dedicated to Meritaten, the favourite of Akhenaten's daughters by Nefertiti. Similarly, much her funerary equipment, including her coffin and canopic jars, was reused in the enigmatic tomb KV55, with her name erased.

It is unclear whether she died in Egypt. She disappeared before the end of Akhenaten's reign. It is possible she died (and was interred in KV63?) but some people conjecture that she returned to Mitanni on the death of her father, Tushratta. Personally I like to believe that was the case and that her funerary equipment and tomb were redundant. The alternative is that after her death her tomb was robbed by her family to provide tomb goods for the occupant of KV55 and her tomb converted into an embalmers' workshop. One further theory is that Kiya died giving birth to Tutankhamun. As many believe that the occupant of KV55 is Akhenaten, it seems unlikely to me that Tutankhamun would desecrate the grave of his mother to provide funeral goods for his (disgraced) father. Moreover, Akhenaten's canopic jars remained in his royal tomb in Amarna (where he was orginally interred) and it seems odd that Kiya's would be brought from Amarna. Indeed, it seems unlikely that if Kiya did die before Akhenaten, that he would have ordered her burial in the Theban Valley of the Kings.

If Dr Hawass is correct, however, that Kiya was burried in KV63, it suggests that one member of the Amarna royal family was burried in the Valley of the Kings lending hope that further Amarna region burials could be found in the region.

The BBC Web site has a reasonable profile of Kiya. I'll add a full update on KV63 when I have time.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Saturday, August 30, 2008

In an interview with Dr. Andrew Bayuk on 28th July 2008, reported here in Guardian's Egypt, Dr Zahi Hawass announced two new tombs. (Refer to the text of the full interview for Hawass's thoughts on which tombs may remain to be discovered in the Valley of the Kings.)

Zahi: At Saqqara we have just found a pyramid of a queen, she was one of the queen’s of King Teti but we didn’t announce this formally yet. We also found other tombs that we haven’t yet announced at Saqqara.At the Valley of the Kings, we are excavating now, we found the entrances of 2 tombs, KV 64 and KV 65 and in October we will start the excavation.

Andrew: Do you believe that one of these tombs belonged to Ramesses VIII?

Zahi: Yes, the one between Merneptah and Ramesses II could be the Tomb of Ramesses VIII.

In October we will continue with these two tombs, KV 64 and KV 65, and we found a tomb that’s coming from up down, and we found in the cliff a man made wall, and the bottom area to be like the entrance of a tomb, and working in the Tomb of Seti. This winter the Valley of the Kings will be so busy that no one really can believe what will happen.

This interview takes forward news in a May 2008 press release on The Plateau, Dr Hawass's own site
The team that I have appointed to search for the tomb of Ramesses VIII is headed by Afifi Rohiem, who has worked with me for many years at Giza. We began our work to the north, south, and west of the tomb of Merenptah. We have rediscovered ancient graffiti recorded by the great scholar Jaroslav Czerny. One of these was written by the 18th Dynasty vizier Userhat, who says that he built a tomb for his father, Amennakht, in this area. The site is littered with large blocks, which we are moving in our search for lost tombs – and we are finding tantalizing clues that something is hidden here. In the area to the south of Merenptah’s tomb, we found a cutting in the bedrock, but the rubble at the entrance to whatever lies beyond has been disturbed. If there is a tomb here, it is unlikely to be intact. However, another cutting, to the north, appears to be undisturbed. We have also found workmen’s huts, which we have recorded carefully. We are planning to bring in very sophisticated radar that can see 20 meters down, and hope that this will help guide us in our work.

This suggests that KV64 (the tomb Dr Hawass hopes to be that of Ramesses VIII) has probably been disturbed or robbed but that KV65 may be intact. This was confirmed by Dr Hawass in a lecture at the O2 Dome on 19th August. Notes by Paul Rymer are reproduced on Andie Byrne's excellent blog. An extract is shown below - refer to Andie's blog for the full version.

Zahi and the team he first worked with at Saqqara have been clearing space in the VOK that has not been explored before. They have found two tomb entrances. The first found was near the tomb of Merneptah and is of Ramesside style. The tomb entrance here is being designated KV64. The slides that came with this part of the talk were new to me; this dig is not really in the area people speculated it was (judging from online pics) the other dig (nearer KV62/63) is the really interesting one. Zahi's team found part of an ancient man made wall, and evidence that debris from the Pharonic period had been dumped there (he mentioned this was the situation with Tut's tomb - it had been undiscovered because the area had been covered over and used.

The second tomb entrance is of 18th Dynasty style. I expected him to mention Tuthmosis II but he said he is expecting it to be someone related to Tut or Nefertiti. Some debris found in the clearance included mention of a queen so far not known to
Egyptology (so he said!). A slide was VERY briefly shown of a fragment of something beige in colour with glphs on it. I meant to ask Zahi for the name of this queen (which he deliberately did not mention I'm sure) but did not have the chance.

Carl Graves has also posted brief notes on this lecture, including this in relation to the Valley of the Kings

It was believed that the area between Ramesses II and Merenptah could hold new
tombs of un found pharaohs. And so a clearing of rubble was started in November
last year. Once large amounts of rubble had been moved a rock cut wall was found
and some steps. This tomb was probably sealed naturally by falling rocks in antiquity, if there is a tomb there. Exactly the same has occured in another
area, with rock cut walls and steps. So potentially a KV65 too! much graffiti in
the areas has been found and pottery of the 19th Dynasty all pointing to big

In summary:

  1. Two new cuttings (tomb entrances?) have been found and designated KV64 and KV65. Detailed reading of the interviews hints that further tombs may exist in the same area.
  2. KV64 lies between KV7 and KV8 and is Ramesside - possibly Ramesses VIII
  3. KV64 was probably covered in rubble early on but looks disturbed; KV65 at present looks undisturbed.
  4. Work resumes in October

The importance of these (and ongoing work in KV17 which I will cover in another post) is underlined by Dr Hawass's decision to move his office from Cairo to Luxor in November. As there are, I understand, new tombs found at Saqqara to be announced and an intention to send a robot into the Great Pyramid again (and Hawasss hs said he believes Khufu's burial chamber remains undiscovered) it is clear that Hawass is very excited by the 2008/9 season in the Valley of the Kings.

Finally, unsubstantiated rumours are suggesting that KV65 may be the tomb a formerly unknown princess. If that is the case then no artefacts from her tomb have ever circulated, suggesting strongly that this tomb may indeed by intact.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Saturday, August 23, 2008

Well while I've been on holiday it looks as though a tomb as indeed been located and designated as KV64. It's near the tomb of Merenptah and so far has not been entered. Dr Hawass is tenatively identifying it as the tomb of the Pharaoh Ramses VIII.

A second tomb, possibly of an unknown queen, has been apparently been designated as KV65.

I'll catch up on all the reports and post a fuller article shortly.


Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Thursday, June 26, 2008

The first announcement of a new tomb in the Valley of the Kings came in August 2005 when the Egyptian State Information Service announced that an Egyptian Polish team had been given to excavate the tomb of the New Kingdom Pharaoh Amenhotep I in the Valley of the Kings. As I describe below, unfortunately this was mis-reported by the press how announced the stunning find of an intact tomb.

Amenhotep I was the second pharaoh (1526-1506 BC) of the 18th Dynasty. His tomb was mentioned in the Abbott Papyrus, one of the highlights of the British Museum. The papyrus dates from around 11ooBC (about 400 years after the death of Amenhotep I) and describes an investigation into the looting of royal tombs. Amenhotep's tomb was found to be intact but his mummy was moved by priests to cache in the cliffs of Deir el Bahri (TT320, the Tomb of the Royal Mummie) where it was discovered on 6th July 1881 among 36 assorted royal and anonymous mummies by egyptologist Emile Brugsch . The cache was probably discovered as early as 1860 by the infamous Rasaul brothers.

His mummy remains wrapped to this day.

Presumably, once his mummy had been safely transferred, his original tomb was re-sealed. And the tomb's location remained a mystery although it is variously thought to be either KV39 in the Valley of the Kings or at Dra' Abu el-Naga, although neither has definitively been identified as his tomb. Indeed Niwinski, the leader of the Polish expedition, believes the tomb remains undiscovered in the cliffs of Deir el Bahri above the magnficent Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut as Zahi Hawas reports in December 2005. Unfortunately due to a translation error, Pravda reported with great excitement that his tomb had been found intact.

The search to identify the tomb of Amenhotep I continues.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Thursday, June 19, 2008

I know this isn't in the Valley of the Kings but if like me you are also interested in the search for the tomb of Cleopatra - and possibly Mark Anthony as well if Dr Zahi Hawass is correct - then this article from the Sunday Times may interest you.

The gist is that the team of archaeologists led by Dr Hawass is exploring beneath the temple of Taposiris Magna, 28 miles west of Alexandria. Hawass says, "We’ve found tunnels with statues of Cleopatra and many coins bearing her face, things you wouldn’t expect in a typical temple.”

Work on the site is now suspended until November.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A good foundation always helps so it's worth saying that at the end of the 21st century there were 86 identified tombs in the Valley of the Kings and many believed that the canon was complete at that. Those 62 tombs are numbered in the order of their discovery from KV1, the tomb of Ramses VII, up to KV62, the tomb of Tutankhamun famously discovered by Howard Carter in 1926.

The definitive guide to these tombs is the Atlas of the Valley of the Kings from the Theban Mapping Project at

It's worth noting a few things:

1) As several tombs were robbed in antiquity, for safekeeping Egyptian priests moved the mummies of a number of pharoahs into caches containing several mummies.

2) For this reason the identification of several mummies and tombs remains in dispute.

3) The tombs of certain pharoahs and their queens have not yet been found but quite which remain to be discovered is open to a degree of debate.


Image of the tomb of Tutankhamun by tonayo

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Wednesday, June 11, 2008

There is news coming out of Egypt of the possible discovery of new tombs in the Valley of the Kings. It's fragmentary and confusing and has to be pieced together. In this blog I will do that and try to keep you, my readers, up to date with any breaking news of KV64.

Kate Phizackerley


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