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.)
This interview takes forward news in a May 2008 press release on The Plateau, Dr Hawass's own site
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.
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
- 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.
- KV64 lies between KV7 and KV8 and is Ramesside - possibly Ramesses VIII
- KV64 was probably covered in rubble early on but looks disturbed; KV65 at present looks undisturbed.
- 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.