Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Friday, November 13, 2009

A couple of weeks ago I linked some fabulous photos of KV63 by Sandro Vannini.  Today they are supplmented by an Heritage Key video in which Dr Hawass explains his own theories about KV63, and a blog post which covers substantially the same material as the audio track in the video.

Some people have problems playing videos if I link them here (and I have problems getting the aspect ratio right), and personally I prefer to watch videos on YouTube rather than embedded on any site (use the link above), but for those who prefer to watch here ...  (if you are reading the newsfeed, you need to click through to the site).

Increasingly there is a consensus that KV63 was orginally an 18th Dynasty burial re-used in the 19th Dynasty as an embalmer's cache.  Dr Hawass theorises that the tomb was robbed and that it was originally the tomb of Kiya.  His reasoning is that she is believed to have died bearing Tutankhamun and that KV63 was dug by Tutankhamun so that his own tomb was close to his mother.

It is possible, and I am aware of no evidence which contradicts the theory; however:

1. It is not clear whether Queen Kiya was the mother of Tutankhamun. There is a credible theory that Tutankhamun was the son of Neferiti, or one of her daughters. (See my page on Nefertiti - Mother of Tutankhamun, but don't link through to the page on Nefertiti herself as I still haven't written it!)

2. Tutankhamun was born during the Amarna period and if Kiya died giving birth to him then her orginal burial should be among the Royal Tombs at Amarna. Most believe that the Amarnan royal mummies were transferred back to the Valley of the Kings but (leaving aside the highly ambiguous mummy in KV55), none of them have been definitively identified.  It seems more likely that they were interred together in a cache.

3. Dr Hawass in the video says that the workmen from Deir-el-Medina could have dug KV63 "in a few days".  That might be a slight exaggeration, but it was probably dug quickly.  Even if it was robbed, there is no evidence that it was ever decorated.  If Tutankhamun was so keen to venerate his mother that he chose to be buried next to her, isn't it curious that she was provided with a hastilly-dug, shallow tomb devoid of decoration?

4.  If Tutankhamun felt that strongly about his mother, it would have seem more likely that he would have asked for her to be buried in a side chamber of his own tomb.

5.  There is no evidence that KV63 was robbed.  It is possible.  It is also possible that it was a cache tomb dug in haste to accommdate royal mummies transferred from the insecure tombs at Amarna, before the mummies were moved into permanent resting places - or that the tomb was the final resting place of all (or most of) the Amarnan mummies and later cleared by robbers of all it's contents.

6.  If a robbery took place, then it clearly occured before the end of Dynasty 18 or early in Dynasty 19 - ie before it was re-used as an embalmers' cache.  There is no record of a robbery.  Robbers in Ancient Egypt also tended to take valuables, ripping the bandages off mummies to get to amulets etc.  The mummy itself was usually left behind.  No mummy has been found in KV63.  Most ancient robberies also left some traces.  They were crimes conducted in a hurry.  Fragments of coffin etc would have expected to be left behind.  These have not been found.  It is possible that the tomb was cleaned before it was re-used as a cache, but a thorough cleansing seems unlikely, or that any remains left behind were organic and have totally disintegrated.  It seems however that the balance is against such a robbery.

7. Few believe that KV62 was the tomb he intended for himself - more likely WV23 which Ay usurped was originally dug for Tutankhamun.  The propinquity of the two tombs would then be irrelevant.

For all these reasons I do not believe that KV63 was the tomb of Kiya.  I'd like to advance an alternative theory of my own, that KV63 was a temporary tomb.  Whatever the cause of Tutankhamun's demise, there is no doubt that his death was unexpected and his tomb was probably not ready (or was nicked by Ay).  He needed to be provided with a royal tomb in a hurry.  One tomb which was available was KV62 which could perhaps have been the resting place of Smenkhare (or even a royal Amarna re-interrment).  The orginal occupant needed to be moved out quickly so a temporary tomb, KV63, was dug next door to secure this mummy (or mummies).   Once Tutankhamun's tomb was sealed, this mummy was moved again to a final resting place, perhaps consolidated into an Amarna cache.  If the tomb-hopping mummy of this theory was Smenkhare, then it would also fit with many of his grave goods been sorted through and re-assigned to Tutanhamun.  Again it's just a theory, but for me it fits the evidence rather better than KV63-as-Kiya.

Finally, there blog article includes a mention of KV64 ...

And of course, there's the question how KV63 helps the search for KV64.
Not exactly a definitive statement but it keeps the subject alive.


Dennis said...

The problem I have with the Hawass statements is that a major flood occurred shortly after KV-62 was sealed, robbed and resealed. The flood debris produced a dense floor to the valley and caused the hiding of KV-62 (perhaps KV-64 also). Best guesses are that the flood happened prior to the death of Horemheb. To me it seems more likely that KV-63 was cut after the flood and continued to be used in the 19th dynasty. This would date the tomb to well after any Amarna mummies were moving about. Could it have been used for for Ankhesenamun??? Some think that the flood was the reason for Ay's use of the West Valley tomb.

marty said...

Your (and everyone else's) embedded YouTube videos play fine in Google reader btw, and right clicking offers a "Watch on YouTube" option.

Thanks for your blog!

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