Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Monday, February 09, 2009

My thanks to Sherry Stockwell for altering me that Dr Otto Schaden has posted a major update on the KV-63 site. You can read the full post on his site, but as a taster:


In January, as the conservation work began in earnest on the coffins, the KV-63 team also began opening some of the remaining storage jars. Jar number 13 was the first to be examined and proved to contain some of the most interesting items…. including a wooden bed. The bed had been broken into many pieces to fit inside the jar, but is now completely restored. The bed features the customary lion head decorations at the head end and the raised footboard on the other; its length is 170 cm. There are no “feet” to speak of, so it may have been used simply to hold a coffin or mummy “off” the ground during the embalming process. Some strange boards covered with linen and adorned with possible “feet” were also in Jar 13. When these items are conserved, we will see if they have any possible connection with the bed as
supports.

There are also even more 2009 photos on the site.

The storge jar count is now up to nearly 40 and Dr Schaden says they are nearly identical to those found in KV54 (that's the cachette/tomb used for Tutankhamun's embalming goods). That's very interesting. As Sherry said in her message to me, it's looking practically certain that KV63 is an Amarna era tomb (or immediately post-Amarna depending on how one views these things). These clearly aren't the embalming goods for Tutankhamun - they are in KV54. So there has to be at least one other Amarna era tomb in the Valley. At present, all we have is KV55 (in terms of identified, major tombs) so KV63 could be linked with KV55 (as KV54 is linked with KV62). That in itself would be interesting as KV55 is one of the most enigmatic tombs in the Valley.

But this certainly raises the possibility that there is an undiscovered Amarna era tomb in the Valley. Maybe Reeves is right and Nefertiti has a tomb in the Valley of the Kings, but there are other candidates such as Meritaten, the daughter of Akhenaten and Queen Nefertiti.

It also raises interesting questions about burial practices. Why are embalming caches being found for the Amarna period but not earlier or later? Were practices different in the Amarna era? That would suggest that KV63 and KV54 were cut during the Amarna period itself when the court was based at Amarna, rather than once the court had returned to Thebes (Luxor) as by then supposedly the old ways were re-instated. Or were they? But even the practices themselves are interesting. Was there a production line of funerary goods prepared against need then only assigned to a member of the family (and suitable inscriptions added) when he or she died? Or does KV63 represent a cache of coffins for children who didn't need them because they grew up - or perhaps different stages in the life of one or two children? Or were they for members of the family who ultimately were denied a royal burial.

While KV63 doesn't seem as exciting as if a mummy had been found interred, maybe in the long run it will prove to be one of the most revealing finds in the Valley.

(PS Dr Schaden refers to tombs with a hyphen. I prefer without. Unfortunately Google doesn't recognise the two as the same so I've now added hyphenated versions to the tags. I'll sort out a way of filtering posts in due course - I've now fixed the bug that meant you couldn't browse back to older posts so things are slowly improving.)

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