Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Saturday, February 21, 2009

Deir-el-Bahri is the short wadi facing Karmak temple across the Nile which is famous as the site as the Temple of Hatshepsut. The Valley of the Kings lies behind. Deir-el-Bahri is also where the DB320 cache which was discovered in 1881, containing some 40 mummys, many of the royal including such notable pharaohs as Seti I and Ramesses the Great. The tombs in the cliffside are famously inaccessible, these days requiring ropes and a lot of exertion.

For a number of years a Polish team have been search the cliffs for another tomb, either a third cache or perhaps a burial for a single royal. Reports on their work have been very hard to come by but the have recently given a lecture at the Mummification Museum in Luxor and Jane Akshar was present to take notes for her blog.

It is a fantastic post by Jane of what must have been a brilliant lecture by Prof, dr hab. Andrezej Niwinski. There is also a Polish Website. An English version is underway but for now I have linked to a Google translation. The best bit about the Website anyway are the photos so the translation is perfectly sufficient for viewing those.

Jane confesses to excitement at what the lecture covered and I have to agree. So what as got me excited? Well the clear suggestion that there is something underground at Deir-el-Bahri.

  • Butehamun the Elder (an inspector from the time of the 21st Dynasty - and possibly another inspector of a similar name) visited the cliffside eerie. Clearly he had some reason to go to such effort (and possibly in those days some danger) to reach somewhere so inaccessible.
  • There are robber tunnels. What were they looking for?
  • A 100 ton boulder has been moved by Ancient Egyptian workers and apparently placed on top of something.
  • There is system of drains diverting water away from something.
  • The Egyptian form of concrete, disguised as rock, has been used to seal two fissures to protect against water penetration.
  • Radar(?) has detected a void 10m - 12m below the surface.

Jane's post has the details but it does look as though a tomb is hidden here. The theories seem to be:

  • The tomb of Amenhotep I as this matches the location in the Abbott Papyrus
  • The tomb of Herihor - perhaps re-using the tomb of Amenhotep I
  • A third mummy cache

Personally I don't think a Middle Kingdom tomb could be entirely ruled out either.

The bad news? Moving the massive boulder is too dangerous to consider...


Geoff Carter said...

Some very interesting details, but the situation appears not to have changed much in 10 years see:

The Activity of thé Polish-Egyptian Archaeological and Geological 'Cliff' Mission at Deir el-Bahari in thé Season 1999.
see P185

Moving the boulder is just a matter of resources and technology. The boulder is not an archaeological artefact as such and could be broken in situ, and removed in small pieces.

Whether Dr Hawass wants a foreign team to make a major discovery at this time is another question.

dave said...

Fantastic photographs on the Polish web site,going back years but wish they had captions on explaining the significance of each image. Will be very disappointed now if the work stops as is hinted at because of perceived risks to the temples below. They have done so much work on these cliffs and appear to be close to a significant discovery.


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