The Valley of the Kings pictures are 2009. Sorry I've corrected the article title now.
The Western Valley of the Kings was what I was dying to see. This is the area oppositive tomb WV23 (Ay) which has been excavated down to bedrock. I've got several of these, all large resolution. I'll check them through over the next couple of days and upload the best bits. For now I've just put a low-res up as there's nothing on this one when blown up but it's a good placing shot.
Having skimmed them, there's no sign that a tomb entrance was located, but it could have been covered back over. My guess is that there was a radar anomoly but it didn't turn out to be anything. Perhaps the most seasoned Valley of the Kings watchers will be most interested in learning the level of the bedrock in the Western Valley.
More to come in the next couple of days.
Here is a photo taken in the past couple of days of the Valley of the Kings. For now, until I've taken instruction on the issue, I'll not attribute, but you know who you are and thank you. Let me know later if you wish to be credited. If anybody else has photos, they are always very welcome.
Click on the image for a high resolution version.
I've quickly scanned the high-res but the eagle-eyed may spot anything I have missed. For me the most noteworthy point is that the pathway to KV8 has not been restored. Presumably the side valley is going to be left as it is showing the managed water course, but that would place KV8 permanently off limits - increasing the pressure on other tombs. Personally I think it a shame that the cave was covered back over - I'd have preferred the valley bottom restored to its level in antiquity.
(I do have a zoomed in view as well but I have chosen not to upload it for now. If anybody spots something on this one, I can check on the other.)
There are some nice photos by Sandro Vannini whose work is always of exceptional quality.
I nearly missed this because I've not found a write up, but Prof Niwinski has conducted an autumn expedition in the cliffs at Deir el-Bahri. See Kamil's photostream for more photos. There aren't many this time, but one is quite interesting, so take a look.
The main Cliff Mission site has also been updated to indicate release of a new September issue of Herhor. Sorry, I missed that too!. I'm guessing there may be another mission yet this season and that any update will come after that.
People have been asking "What's happening in the Valley of the Kings" so I thought people would appreciate a chance to see for themselves. It only covers the main valley, not the Western Valley of the Kings, and a few bits are obscured but you can see most of the Valley in the his photo by glenanpeanut taken on November 7, 2009.
In order to see what is going on, you need to take a look at the hi-res image. Click on the photo and it will take you through to Flickr.
There are a few things going on. Down in the lower right (or upper left arm of the Valley of the Kings if you think in terms of the Vallet itself) there is work going on but it looks like flood defences for a tomb. There are some other planks in the same area, but nothing that looks like excavations. There is also someting down at the head of the Valley opposite KV5. There's a blue water tanker and something that I can't identify. Again, nothing that looks like excavations.
The biggest area of interest is the Rest House and there we can see that there is ... nothing at all going on!
The latest article from Dr Hawass is pretty much a rehash of what has already been published about the death of Tutankhamun. There is a video associated with the article but to be honest I haven't bothered watching it.
With thanks to Magus, Mary Crowther and Roger Hubert, here is a free version of Howard Carter talking about Tutankhamun's Valley of the Kings tomb.
I have published a special article by Brian Playfair on the Old Kingdom blog. I am sure that Brian would love comments so please do make him feel welcome.
I've now got a free version of the Howard Carter recording. Thank you. I'll post tonight.
I'm having lunch with Andie today. It'll be interesting whether she's heard any rumours which she hasn't been able to publish!
I'm putting together another Squidoo lens, this time bringing together some of the old photographs of the Valley of the Kings and the clearance of Tutankhamun's tomb. I'll promote it here when I am happy with it.
In the meantime though, I found a recording on Amazon which I have never heard before of Howard Carter himself speaking of opening the tomb. I've never heard this before - I didn't even realise it existed! There is a preview of the first bit. Sadly it will cost you the usual MP3 download fee if you wish to hear it all, but MP3 downloads are only pennies. I'll keep looking and see if there is a free version of it anywhere. But if you are interested in the history of the Valley of the Kings
For those who follow the blog on a NewsReader you won't have noticed that the post about Hawass's hunt for the tomb of Queen Tiye in the Western Valley of the Kings (Now It's Queen Tiye) has re-surfaced in the comment stream with discussions over whether Queen Tiye was Tutankhamun's mother. I'm not quite sure why - I suspect it's been prompted by the recent discussions of whether KV63 was dug for Kiya or not in the Robbery of KV63 post. Remember all recent comments are shown at the top of the right sidebar and you can see more by clicking on "Show More Comments" at the bottom.
As Deir-el-Medina is outside the Valley of the Kings it's also outside the photo ban I think. Here is a photo from Paul Beckers showing new excavations (9th November 2009) on the path between Deir-el-Medina and the Valley of the Kings itself. Hopefully Paul might stop by himself and add anything else he knows about these new excavations (which at present look to be small scale).
As usual check out the full size original on Paul's Flickr. Paul got some really nice other photos, including the Tomb of Pabasa (TT279). As usual if you are interested in the Tomb of Pabasa the best site is Su Bayfield's Egyptian Monuments.
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.
Dr Hawass and the SCA have announced a project to conserve KV62, the Valley of the Kings tomb of Tutankhamun. The article doesn't explictly state that the tomb will close during the 6 year project, but it seems likely. As a replica tomb is being constructed,if Tutankhamun's tomb closes, it seems unlikely that it will ever re-open again to the general public.
There is a second article about the Valley of the Kings since the discovery of KV62 in November 1922.
(Photo is one of those I feature of my static page about KV62 on Squidoo. I'll add something there about the conservation project over the weekend.)
I'll try to flesh out a more detailed version of the Hawass v. Beyonce story on the Old Kingdom blog in the next couple of days. (In the meantime read http://blogs.mcclatchydc.com/cairo/2009/11/egyptologys-king.html)
This quote though is what caught my eye, "according to Arabiya, Hawass chided one of Beyonce's aides for stopping a photographer from his Supreme Council of Antiquities from taking pictures." The photo ban in the Valley of the Kings is a huge disappointment to many tourists. It's a shame Dr Hawass can't see that other people feel exactly as he reportedly did when they are stopped from taking photos as momentos.
In the end photos of the meeting were taken by Reuters and I'll try to post one up.
Nefertiti is still in the news on all the blogs but most of us are probably getting a bit bored of the ownership dispute so I wanted to offer my readers something Nefertiti related, but completely different ...
Sue Casson is a singer-songwriter who was a neighbour of Dr Nicholas Reeves at Chiddingstone Castle during the period of the Armana Royal Tombs excavations to the Valley of the Kings (1998 and 2002) . Hearing his stories and seeing the pictures, Sue wrote a number of songs inspired by Egyptology and excavation, as did her performing partner, including Last Call for Nefertiti
You can hear them yourself.
Some of you might already be familiar with some of the tracks as free CDs of Sue Casson and The Branncik Academy were given out to visistors to the O2 Tutankhamun exhibition. However, in honour of the believed-discovery of Tomb KV64 in the Valley of the Kings, new tracks have been added. Sue writes:
In honour of this imminent discovery, Brannick & I have taken to opportunity to add some new tracks to our page, including the previously unreleased 'The Curse' and 'Collector's Serenade', together with photos taken when we were filming in Luxor. I hope you like them. And er.... watch this space!
There is a great new article and video on Dr Hawass site. I won't bother with a write up here as the article itself is so well written. It is promoting the good doctor's new book which I'll put on my Christmas list!
EgyTweets is a Twitter bot which RTs Egypt tweets. The volume is probably too high for anybody to want to follow it, but you never know .... I hadn't found it before. I just now need to find one which retweets everything on the Valley of the Kings for me to be set up with a source of news ...
Tomb TT34 is one of the Tombs of the Nobles in the Theban Hills not far from the Valley of the Kings.
I'd not realised this tomb complex was so big. There is a large sun court above the shaft tombs. There are some more details and pictures here, including one of the most beautiful reliefs I have ever seen of Montuemhat spearing fish. The video describes the work byDr Farouk Gomaa. He reports that the shaft tomb of Montuemhat had not been found, but work continues to locate it. That sounds promising but as the credits for this film show that it was shot in 2006, if they do find anything we may have a very long wait before we hear about it. (Which makes one wonder how long we will have to wait to see photos / video of a major tomb in the Valley of the Kings. It also feeds the conspiract theories. I have just posted on the Old Kingdom blog the latest from Andrew Collins on the now infamous Tomb of Birds. The time between discoveries and publication makes me much more willing to believe that Andrew Collin has found a cave system beneath the Giza Plateau but which is being witheld from the public by the authorities for now.)
Montuemhat was a Mayor of Thebes during the 25th Dynasty. There is a small room in the Mut Precinct at Karnak which is called the "Montuemhat Crypt". The walls have reliefs carrying a biography of Montuemhat. There are pictures here. If anybody has any other good resources on Montuemhat, then please add a comment - you can include links in comments if you want. It goes without saying that any news on the shaft tomb of Montuemhat would be wonderful.
The BBC has picked up the story (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/8342428.stm) that Carter's House at the entrance to the Valley of the Kings has been reopened as a museum to celebrate the 87th anniversary of the tomb of Tutankhamun. It's a very brief, rather dull article, of a subject which Jane has covered so much better on her blog
Just as a flavour this is the video from the middle of the Tutankhamun episode. (I can't embed it.) It starts with our friend Zahi Hawass speaking about Tutankhamun and Ay before the team head off to the Valley of the Kings. Most of the series is on YouTube but it's an inconvenient way to watch so for the price a secondhand DVD is a better bet if you can find a cheap copy. (You can probably sell it back when you have watched it as well.)
YouTube also seems to be missing what I thought were the two best episodes - the Tomb Builders and Akhenaten / Nefertiti. The Tomb Builders sounds boring but is based in Deir-el-Medina and the Valley of the Kings and has the good footage inside KV17. The Akhenaten and Nefertiti episode was the most convincing, as well as having good footage from Amarna which doesn't make the TV as often as the Valley of the Kings and Giza. Anybody who has read about Kreed Kafer will be deeply sceptical of Derek Acorah's supposed channeling, but that doesn't mean that within it all there might not be some genuine mediumship. When he was channeling Akhenaten his belly did seem to become distended for instance.
Hopefully we'll get some science to report one of these days. At least the winter dig season is alsmost upon us!
El-Ahram Weekly has an article about the recent excavations in the Valley of the Kings. Mostly it is talking about the tunnel in Tomb KV17 (Seti I). It says the length is confirmed at 136m as Sheikh Ali Abdel-Rasoul had determined in 1961, suggesting the Dr Hawass's team hasn't in fact pushed the tunnel any futher than Rasoul.
The article also mentions the search for undiscovered tombs in the Valley of the Kings, saying:
The mission also worked in the area north and east of the tomb of Seti I, where they found traces of cutting in the bedrock underneath the modern rest house which may lead to a previously unknown tomb. Unfortunately, as Hawass pointed out, it would be necessary to remove the entire building in order to explore this area, so it will not be done in the immediate future.The article ends by mentioning the installation of the replica tombs in the cliffside near the Valley of the Kings in what it says will be called "Replica Valley".
A radar survey of the central valley was recently conducted that identified a number of areas of interest, and further analysis of the data may reveal features that warrant archaeological investigation.
In short, there's nothing particularly new in the article but then it shows that even the local news media are like us and marking time while waiting for the trumpeted major announcments.
For Halloween I watched the box set of Paranormal Egypt - £10 from my local secondhand DVD store. It features Tessa Dunlop with the medium Derek Acorah of Most Haunted fame. (Most Haunted is probably unfamiliar to American viewers but you have a lookalike which I think is called Ghosthunters - but which isn't as good. You get the picture though.)
I'll write up a review over the next few days and make it available but it wasn't too bad. Dr Hawass was featured several times of course but of all of Derek Acorah's stuff this is the least convincing I have watched. For instance he was ascending the ramp to Queen Hatchepsut's Temple at Deir-el-Bahri and was saying that his pyschic impression was of serenity. Odd that he didn't pick up the tourist massacre don't you think?
He regularly channelled spirits, including some of the great pharaohs - who all spoke ... English.
So the sceptic in me sees much to criticise but I'd still recommend it. Thanks to Hawass and Past Preservers they had "exclusive" and "special" access to many sites including several tombs in the Valley of the Kings. To be honest the video footage they shot inside the tomb of Seti probably makes the DVDs a bargain. I like the idea of pyschic investigations in some of the great sites, although it could have been better. As a piece of fun, and footage of some of the sites, it's still recommended though if like me you can find it cheap.
... on your appointment as Vice Minister of Culture.