It's all happening at present. This is a photo taken by LanyonM on 20th January showing archaeologists working at one of the Tombs of the Nobles.
I'll not follow this in detail but it's worth mentioning since Abydos is once again a common day trip from Luxor. The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology have put up a page describing what they will be doing during their 2009 season in Abydos, both in terms of new digging and their conservation effort.
There seemed to be a problem with Firefox and on Macs. I've fixed the Firefox problem - I can only hope I've fixed the Mac issue to. The new third party template looked good in the demo. It looked good on screen without live content - but it's proving a bit of a nightmare as its full of bugs. I'm working my way through them so sorry if you've had problems, and thanks for your patience.
There is still a problem with the new Google Chrome browser and so far I'm unable to find a fix. I'll keep looking but it's not a priority as very few people are using it yet and it's probably a feature in the browser.
PS The embedded Fora TV for the Hawass video was causing a problem so I've deleted that post - the link to the Fora TV site is still in the first post and that's better anyway.
There's a page of 2009 photos up on the KV63 site. One shows the opening to the tomb which I'd not seen before. This clearly shows that KV63 is divided from the current central area excavation only by a thin wall.
The SCA inspector specifically mentioned Queen Isisnofret to the JHU team, and her name has cropped up before as a possibility for one of the (possibly three?) tombs in the cliffside excavation. The map above is taken from The Lost Tomb by Kent Weeks, published in 1999. (The version linked is from the Spanish copy - see below.)
Weeks relates that in 1902 Howard Carter found an ostracon in debris somewhere near the entrance to KV5 which mentions several tombs:
From tr(t)yt [Kate: willow tree] to the general in chief 30 cubits; (and to) the tomb of the Greatest of Seers, Meryatum, 25 cubits. From Tr(t)yt (and? to?) tomb ofAnd on the other side:
the oils to my Greatest of Seers, 40 cubits. Downstream on the
northern path where the old tomb is, 30 cubits to the general-in-chief.
(From?) tomb of Isisnofret to the tomb of my Greatest of Seers, Meryatum,Following the translation, Weeks comments on possible interpretation. There's quite a bit I could say in comment on the first face, but for Isisnofret the second face is the important one. Weeks confidently identifies the tomb of Meryatum as KV5 (for details please refer to the book) and it seems reasonable to accept this. The diagram then represents the overlapping of circles: one of 200 cubits centred on KV and one of 445 cubits centred on the Water of the Sky, which Weeks suggests refers to one of the waterfalls where flood waters spilled over the cliffs into the Valley. The intersection of these circles identifies the probable location of these tombs - as shown in the diagram. For unspecified reasons, Weeks suggests that the black dots near KV16 and KV8 represent the most likely locations.
200 cubits. From the end of the Water of the Sky to the tomb of
Isisnofret 445 cubits.
The theory seems sound but I have reservations about his execution. Firstly, it is clear that the Valley of the Kings during the New Kingdom, while probably still relatively arid, was considerably wetter than today. The first face indicates a willow tree growing in the valley - and willows are a tree requiring considerable water. The reference to a waterfall suggests that its appearance was at least semi-regular and Hawass's latest excavation has also discovered a channel [which he presumes was] cut to divert water away from KV8, which suggests that water also came down that side valley. There are therefore more possible waterfall sites than the diagram suggests - and therefore more intersections between the small circle and the large ones.
We must also consider what is meant by a distance in the osatracon. Is a line of sight distance as the diagram suggests or was it, more likely, a distance measured along the ground, which would have the effect of shrinking the circles (particularly the large ones) and making them less regular. I think that would push the intersection of the circles near KV8 south of that tomb rather than north as marked. It would also push the intersection near KV16 back onto the cliff face. Ignoring the lower valley intersections, that suggests two probably locations for the tomb of Isisnofret: one in the cliffs near KV16 and the other just north of the entrance to KV8 - right where Hawass is digging with such energy.
The scan of the diagram came from a Spanish message board with a thread discussing KV64. Google does a passing job of translation - just navigate forwards or backwards in the thread from the link and it should remain in pigeon English. Some of the photos are interesting. Perhaps the most interesting comment is from someone recently in the Valley where he (I think!) says that digging is now concentrated in four areas - lending further credence to the reports that 3 potential tombs have been found in the area around KV8.
It's perhaps also worth adding that the workmen's huts in the central area are more interesting that I'd initially thought as some people believe huts were built on top of tombs to hide them (or, less charitably, so that the worker could rob them more easily).
PS - thanks to Geoff Carter for straightening up the image for me.
The team from John Hopkins University have a report of their recent visit to the Valley of the Kings, accompanied by Inspector Ali Reeda. I'd not expected too much since if they were told anything they'd be under reporting restrictions, but the report still contains a couple of interesting titbits.
The first location is below the tomb of Merneptah (son of Ramesses II). The photograph shows the ancient rainwater course cut to accommodate flash flooding in the Valley. At the top of the photo (which is above and behind the tomb) is a cliff that produced a water fall when it rained, and at the bottom of the photo you can see a deliberately cut winding path that brought the water safely away from Merneptah’s tomb. As they are digging they are looking for the tomb of Merneptah’s mother, Isisnofret. Both the waterfall and the queen’s burial place were mentioned in an ancient inscription found in the Valley.
... and in relation to the central excavation:
Ali points out that Howard Carter cleared down through most of this during the period of searching for Tutankhamun’s tomb. But now the SCA is beneath Carter’s debris and found a cut floor.
There's a full set of high quality photos of the excavations.
PS Their site also reproduces some Google Earth shots of Karnak Temple and the Mut Temple.
This article by Dr Hawass in Al-Ahram Weekly is a couple of weeks old, but I'd missed it. I've reproduced the key paragraph below, but this link will take you to the full article.
Some people believe that Tut was the son of Amenhotep III because he is mentioned on monuments found at Thebes. Also, the hieroglyph for "king's son" can be translated as "son-in-law" or "grandfather". But it is important to understand that when Tut became king and moved to Thebes, he could not mention the name of Akhenaten. The priests of Amun hated Akhenaten for changing the religion to the worship of only one god, Aten, and for moving the capital from Thebes to Tel Al-Amarna. After the death of Akhenaten the religion returned to the old ways and the priests of Amun regained power. Therefore it is most probable that Tut, on his monuments, wanted to identify himself with his powerful grandfather Amenhotep III. Hence, the hieroglyphs on the monuments found in Thebes that read: " son of the king " can be translated as " grandson of the king ".
Brian Yare has posted his pictures from 14th January of the cliffside excavation by tomb KV8 (Merenptah). There are of the same high quality as his photos of the central excavation. I've not had time to study them yet as I wanted to get link up quickly but they are definitely worth viewing.
I've now had a chance to look through them carefully. The first observation is that they seem intent on removing all the rubble down to bedrock: if there's something there to be found, it should be. Dennis also drew my attention to a strange red box in a couple of the photos. It's sort of like an upside down wheelbarrow with cables attached to it. Does anybody know what it is as I'm stumped? A generator? Or a survey instrument. It's hard to make out, but there may in fact by two linked by cables?
There's little new today. All I have found is a photo on Ferrell Jenkin's travel blog which shows workers reconstructing one of the large earthenware jars we've seen in a couple of earlier pictures. He also has a photo of the ongoing excavations taken 22nd/23rd January. They don't show anything new that I can spot but we can be sure that the excavations are still continuing.
I've linked just the Valley of the Kings article but if you are interested in Egypt generally you might want to read some of his other posts. Until his retirement, Ferrell was the chair of the Bublical Studies department at a college in Florida. He now leads study tours. His present tour is through Egypt and some of his articles and photos of places like Edfu are a nice read.
The blue jeans look was clear on my laptop but it was quickly apparent by the comments that on some screens it was hard to read. I've therefore changed the layout again! Blogs are very different to books. In a book the author is king. A successful blog is a community which has to reflect the collective wishes of the readership: you, the readers are more important than me. I hope this layout is better for you. By request, the main publishing area is white again.
It's that community element I want to bring to this blog. There are excellent blogs out there like Andie Byrne's Egyptology News which publicise official press reports; however, I find it frustrating that there is a lot going on in the Valley but no dig diary or press reports. There are eyewitness reports of people who have recently visited the Valley of the Kings - plus other news and gossip. They may not be as reliable as peer-reviewed articles, but as a community I'd still rather share them - with anything official that comes out as well. At times that means some reports will prove to be wrong - but then even Dr Hawass has that problem!
I'm continuing to find and fix a number of 'issues' in the layout. The third party template I picked looks good, but it's got a whole host of problems. I've successfully moved the labels to the bottom since they aren't terribly useful, and corrected the post header so that it prints my name. That's not just vanity, I'd rather sort it out now in case in future anybody else ends up authoring posts.
There are still two big isssues:
1) When you get to the bottom of the displayed posts there is no way to navigate to the older posts - the link is missing. That's proving elusive to reinstate but I will get there eventually. For now I've set it to display 200 posts. That's not ideal as it slows load times, but it is a workaround. Anything older than that, use the archive.
2) I can't get commenting below posts to work. Again the template is 'buggered' as we northerners would say. Having worked out how to fix the labels I'm hopeful I may know what sections of code to tackle. For now I've left the full page commenting in place. As that works perfectly, commenting doesn't seem to be a big issue.
There are a handful of minor irritations as well that I won't bother you with. If you do spot anything else though, say and I'll move it up the priority list.
Brian Yare's blog has several really great photos of the central excavations by KV62 / KV63 taken on 14th January 2009. They are excellent and really recommended.
I'm now pretty certain that the stone wasn't found on the day the photo was taken. As Brian's photos are now linked, I've retired this post.
The original site went up fairly quickly and was sort of OK but I was wanting to move things off the front page to reduce the clutter - for instance I'd like a proper page of links rather than just a small box. Taking things forwards has meant taking things back to basics first so for the next day or so some familiar things will be missing, but they will be back soon!
Please bear with me.
What you can see on the block is not really an "Horus'eye", but hieroglyph writting;on left side :a part of circle for "RA", and its determinative /in middle part : the lower part of a reed for "king" (n(y)-sw) /on right side : eye+ t+ small wave = to do by /Not enough to give a complete interpretation, but ... there is a king !
Martial from Paris
Thanks to Martial for correcting me. It's obviously very interesting. I'd love to know more - such as where this rock was found! Even knowing whether it came out of the central excavation or the cliffside would be interesting as we know that Dr Hawass has dropped hints about the tomb of Ramesses VIII being found. I did try to see whether the paintings on the rock could match Ramesses VIII and it didn't seem to, but if anybody could suggest some possible matches that would be great - my ability to read hieroglyphics is about as good as my ability to read Mandarin.
I've also tried playing with the original image. I'm fairly sure this a flat painting not a relief but there's clearly a layer of white plaster beneath the paint. There are also suggestions of some faded paint in other areas but the resolution of the photo isn't high enough to allow me to sharpen just those sections.
Dr Ott0 Schaden has posted again to say the season is getting underway. There's no new photos or substantial news yet. Thanks to Andie Byrne at Egyptology News for picking this up.
I've had a couple of questions about the location of the central excavations as people who haven't been to the Valley of the Kings in some years. It's more than 10 years since I was there - I'm hoping I can get out this spring but it depends what happens on the work front.
The small inset photo from Luxury Travel Magazine shows the central excavation in relation to the Inspectors Office- that's the window in top centre with the central rest house stretching to the right.
Now refer to this photo from 2007 by Lenka Peacock, that's before the current excavations started. (If anybody has an up to date photo of this view, that would be fantastic.)
The rest house in the first photo can clearly be seen on the right. (If you prefer to orient yourself from the opposite direction, try this photo from the Theban Mapping Project database.) The large tomb entrance to the left of the Inspectors Office in the small photo, or lurking behind the rest house in the big one, is KV6 (Ramses IX). KV62 (Tutankhamun) is the enclosure directly opposite the rest house. The central excavation is taking place in this space, between the rest house and KV62.
The reason many people hope that any tomb found in this area while be an Amarna period tomb (eg Nefertiti) is propinquity. Not only do we have Tutankhamun, we have the enigmatic Amarna era tomb KV55 (Akhenaten? Smenkhare?) which is cut into the valley floor near the Inspectors Office as shown in this TMP photo.
Then there's the tomb discovered in 2006, KV63. To understand the location of KV63 in relation to KV62, refer to Nicolas Reeve's site and his article on the search for KV64. The diagram at the bottom of the page can be made larger if you double click it and you can clearly see KV62, the rest house and a red dot marking KV63. And "KV64".
Unofficially KV64 is one of the tombs discovered in the cliffside near KV8 (Merenptah). When Nicholas Reeves talks of KV64, he's referring to a radar anomoly which the Amarna Royal Tombs Project discovered some years ago, as he describes in his article. What's interesting is that this radar anomoly is in the area of the central excavation; however, the area was loosely packed debris and included features like the workmans' huts so it is quite possible that Reeves' radar anomoly does not turn out to be a tomb. It's also interesting that Howard Carter excavated workmans huts in this area - I'm afraid I don't know whether the ones which have been uncovered are some of those investigated by Carter or not.
In a comment on a recent post, Jan Bailey mentioned the paper by Stephen W. Cross, 'The Hydrology of the Valley of the Kings, Egypt', published in JEA 94, 2008. (JEA is the common abbreviation for the Journal of Egyptian Archaeology.) To explain, this paper advances the theory that tombs in the central area of the Valley of the Kings may have escaped being robbed because flash floods burried them beneath sediment. There's a fuller explanation here in the Background section and some discussion of this theory on the Pyramid of Man blog.
Otto Shaden has posted another update on the official KV63 site. It's short so it's easiest to repeat the first few sentences here:
We are opening jars and finding numerous intriguing objects plus more mud seals. Some of which are complete. Conservators are working on some of the objects that we have found in the jars. Will be able to disclose more information and post photos once we get clearance from Dr. Hawass so please bear with us.
The rest of the posts indicates which member of the team are now on site. As soon as I notice that Otto has published new photos or provide information on the contents of the jars, I'll post so that you can pop over to the KV-63 site.
A huge thank you to Ian Emery who not only has given permission for me to use the two photos he had on Flickr, but has kindly uploaded some more which show the excavations in even greater detail. I've put a medium size image of each on the blog and linked to Ian's Flickr photostream so you can download higher resolution images if you would like them for research. I'm sure Ian would appreciate comments from anybody who agrees with me that these are a cracking set of photos. (There are also one or some further simila photos which I chose not to display.) These images remain copyright to Ian who should be contacted if you would like to display them elsewhere.
The photos were taken on 4th January. Ian's guide didn't comment on the excavations so there's no additional background information.
This first photo clearly shows the scale of central excavation, right next to the main toursit path near KV62. The same image is shown again in the next image. This has a bit of sun flare but the view is less obstructed by workmen.
The image above clearly shows what I believe to be an ancient hut and the entrance to the intriguing cavity. I'm uncertain of the image below but think it shows the cliffside excavationd around KV8. If anybody can confirm this, please add a comment. There is clearly a large workforce drafted.
As I mentioned above, I think the image below shows the entrance to KV8. I initialy got excited by the power cable in the previous images - was this power for temporary lighting in a new tomb - but it seems to be going in to KV8. Putting the images together though, it suggests that activity is concentrated in the area just in front of KV8.
I checked the Theban Mapping Project Database and there's a clear picture of the entrance of KV8. (The image shown is copyright to TMP and is reproduced to aid research into the excavations.) Below it, I've added a crop of Ian's image showing the entrance.
Although the downslope retaining wall has been removed from the bath, the shape of the division between smooth and rough concrete is identical so we can be sure that the entrance is indeed KV8. The scale of the excavation is also very apparent.
This doesn't rate a separate post because the commentary is so awful(she wonders why they are not using bulldozers) and the photographer didn't pan into the excavation, but if you wish to see the pace of work this YouTube video from December 2008 shows work going on.
Some people have reported difficulty leaving comments. Sorry if you have tried and failed. I've removed the requirement to have a Google account which should solve the problem. If I get a lot of spam comments I'll need to reconsider, but we'll try it for now.
It would be good to hear from you.
While writing the last post, I discovered this great site on the Hypostyle Hall at Karnak.
Jane Akshar has a good update on the Tomb of Panehsy, a chanter and priest of Amenhotep I cult at Dra Abu. She relates a lecture given by Assitant Professor Suzanne Onstine of the University of Memphis. Suzanne also has said she will try to get photos of the tomb on the website at http://history.memphis.edu/egyptology/ So far they aren't up, but Suzanne is still in Egypt for the next few days.
(For those unware of tomb numbering conventions, TT denotes the Tombs of the Nobles.)
Otto Shaden has posted a quick update on the KV63 site announcing the start of the 2009 season.
Our 2009 Season has begun...Dr. Otto Schaden safely arrived in Luxor and
officially opened KV-10 and KV-63 on the 6th of January.In Otto's words....KV-10
(where everything is stored) is 'very dusty!' but the cleaning crew are already hard at work.
Thus far, there is not much to report however we are happy to announce that Inspector Ezzat has been reassigned to us. For those of you who may not recall, Ezzat was the original SCA inspector assigned to us when KV-63 was discovered in February 2006. We are very glad to have him back.
The rest of the team will begin to arrive by the end of this week. More soon.....
If you aren't familiar with the KV63 site then it's worth exploring as there are some particularly fine photographs of the dig, finds and conseration work.
As with all blogs, occasionally there will be posts, like this one, which are just site news. As those who read the blog in a newsreader generally don't wish to see posts like this, I've created a customised news feed to filter out articles which don't refer to tombs or temples. That will drop some posts that aren't explicitly site news - for instance the post about the Luxor site management plan would also be dropped from the feed. I've added a button to make it easy to subscribe to the customised news feed for articles. (I've not bothered with a comments feed button).
It is still possible to subscribe to the full feed if you prefer, and this remains the default option.
Finally, I am also working on pruning the blog feed from sites like Egyptology News etc to try to show only articles relevant to the Valley of the Kings, Luxor etc., or the Pharaohs interred in the Valley. Please bear with me if there are any temporary glitches in the feeds from those blogs while I am making the changes.
If anybody has any comments, I'm happy to listen to your views. Both feeds are burned through Feedburner so I can also monitor which proves most popular.
Ancient Egypt magazine is apparently reporting in their December issue that Dr Hawass told them 3 tomb entrances have been discovered in the excavation by KV8 (Merenptah). It's not clear, but I think this excludes the central area sondage by KV62.
Also, I've found better links to Lutz's photos of the pottery coming out of the excavation, including a zoom in.
- He believes Khufu burial chamber in the Great Pyramidhas not yet been found. He is continuing to investigate the shafts in the King's and Queen's Chambers and a tunnel beneath the Sphinx which may reach the Great Pyramid.
- He believes that the burial chamber of Seti I has not been found and may lie at the end of the tunnel in Tomb KV17
- Two areas are being excavated in the Valley of the Kings. One is a rectangle bounded at the bottom by KV7 and KV62 and heading up the cliffside, with a chink in to avoid KV8. The second area in in front of Tomb KV62 (Tutankhamun).
- A tomb is now being opened and he is 'expecting to open at least 2 tombs" in the Valley of the Kings this season. There is an indication that one of these corresponds to a radar anomaly found by ARTP
- He drops hints that (in addition I think) he is still hoping to find the tomb of Nefertiti in the area in front of Tutankhamun's tomb.
The 30 minute video is actually very entertaining and contains far more than these highlights. I thoroughly recommend watching it.
For those who haven't found the site, Thierry Benderitter's OsirisNet site contains some decent 3D reconstructions of tombs. Visit http://www.osirisnet.net/tombes/pharaons/e_ph1.htm for the list of Pharoah's and Queen's tombs he has on his site. The rest of the site also has material on the Tombs of the Nobles which may also interest some readers. I particularly like the 3D reconstruction of Neferari's tomb (QV66).
Thanks to Jane Akshar for posting about this on her blog.
Before 2008, KV64 was taken to mean a radar anomaly discovered by the Amarna Royal Tombs Project. ARTP had identified an anomaly which was later dug by Otto Shaden - which turned out to be a new tomb, KV63. ARTP, and the project's leader, received no credit for 'discovering' (if identifying a radar anomaly counts as discovery) the first new tomb in the Valley of the Kings for 75 years. Nicholas Reeves then leaked details of a second anomaly which became known as KV64. For the avoidance of doubt, that's not KV64 referred to in the other articles on this blog!
Reeves has now published much fuller details of the ARTP Radar Survey of the Valley of the Kings which identifies even more radar anomalies and speculates that some of these may be undiscovered small tombs like KV63. The article reproduces the radar scans.
The authorities are doing a lot to improve visitor access, clear away modern clutter and safeguard the sites. Although Dr Hawass is the best known figure, the real leader of this work is perhap Luxor's Governor, Samir Farag. There's an article here from The National about his work.