I'm wondering if new excavations have begun in the Valley of the Kings for winter 2010. This photo claims to show excavations in the valley. It was taken on October 11th 2010 and is labelled "Luxor, Egypt - Valley Of The Kings - Excavators" but I don't recognise the location.
I need to catch up on some items in my newsreader, but for now here is a site about restoration work at Karnak Temple in Luxor. My thanks for John Bright for the heads up. The site is in French, but there is also an English version. (Centre Franco-Egyptien d'Etude des Temples de Karnak translates as the "Franco-Egyptian Centre for the Study of the Temples of Karnak".)
The latest article is a report on work in the Temple of Ptah. Again the report is in English, but photo labels are in French. I really recommend the article. For those unfamiliar with the period of the Temple, this quote may help you put it into context:
Despite the low number of scattered blocks identified, the first campaign has clarified the origin of several of them, especially from the south side of the temple, which is also the most damaged. Two blocks (2516 + 2625) from the inner southern wall of the court feature an offering of Maat to [Ptah, Hathor and Harsomtous]. One block (2606) with the protocol of Ptolemy IV, located east of the temple, was put back to its original location on the top of the north wall of the court. Besides Ptolemy III and Ptolemy IV being well attested among the scattered blocks, one can note the following kings: Tuthmose III (2626); Hatshepsut (2580, 2584 and 2589), Horemheb (2575), Rameses III (a reused block in gate D and scattered blocks); Nitocris (2639); Nectanebo II (2635). Hatshepsut, Nitocris and Nectanebo II are not documented in the temple.
Given the recent situation with comments, I've revised the copyright terms for the site to specify that the newsfeed is offered on a Creative Commons Attribution No Commercial Licence version 3.0. In short you are welcome to reproduce articles providing the copyright notice included in the newsfeed is shown as part of the reproduction (attribution) and provided there are no adverts on your page.
You may not show adverts alongside any reproduced articles under any circumstances or otherwise use an article or the newsfeed for commercial purposes.
(Read the full text.)
One of the perennial questions is , "What's going on?" Well as a partial answer, the new SCA website has a list of the current foreign missions operating in Egypt. There are certainly some in the Luxor area I hadn't come aross like the Italian mission to the Tomb of Sheshonq (TT27).
I know many people read the blog in a newsreader but please don't overlook the discussion which you don't get in the newsfeed. For instance, so far we have had 40 comments on the DNA of Moses, many of which are long and detailed. I've learned quite a bit about the Exodus. Even the thread about the forensic examination of KV55 has 14 comments.
Not every article attracts that many comments, but most do have some comments. Some of the readers leaving comments know more than I and I encourage you to stop by the blog itself every now and again to see what is being said in the discussions. You can see the latest comments in the far right sidebar and from there click through to any discussion that interests you.
A new route lined with sphinxes has been found in Luxor. The previously known Sphinx Avenue runs roughly parallel to the Nile; this one runs towards the Nile. Perhaps most importantly, it leads the the Temple of Mut which could add to what we know about that temple. Inscriptions for Nectanebo (30th Dynasty) have been found, so this is a very late monument.
(Sorry to be brief, must dash.)
What has not been picked up in the press reports is the implication for the entry and clearance of KV62. There have been suspicions for many years that Carnarvon was involved in the illicit removal of items from KV62. Official acknowledgement that these items came from the time, will make it much harder to deny those suspicions. They centre on two separate allegations:
1) Did Carter enter the tomb before it's official opening and then re-seal it?
2) Did Carter set aside items while cataloguing the tomb?
We may never know.
Marriane Luban has an article on her blog which she has called "The DNA of Moses" in which she describes a project testing the DNA of modern day Cohens. There is more here and even a dedicated Wikipedia article.
While this seems off-topic for News from the Valley of the Kings, as more studies into the DNA of royal and priestly mummies are done studies like this might help identify the time of Exodus which could help with our overall understanding of chronology. It is also why I believe the DNA of tested mummies should be fully published as, in many ways, links between ourselves and our ancestors is what makes real for history for many.
This dates to June but somehow I missed posting the link, sorry. I was Googling for R Paul's photos of KV55 when it was opened in 1907 just now and came across it.
I promised to get back with links on this find. The SCA press release has the details and the best version of the photo can be found here. Between them these sites has everything on the Hawass blog and have a better version of the photo. (Getting back to the days of SCA press releases is great! Long may it continue. I'll check the copyright and may start repeating them here - press releases are usually something that can be used for reporting!)
(On mobile so will hyperlink later.)
On the first anniverasary, there is an up to date photo of the exterior of this tomb on the latest post on Egyptologia. (There have been some other articles since I last linked so if you want everything, then visit the front page.)
John Samsen emailed me with a theory about KV62 and the end of the Amarna period and asked my thoughts. With John's permission, I have turned it into a guest article so that other people can offer their views as well. This is what John presented:
This is how John summarises his theory:
I haven't seen much written about process by which tombs were stocked; however, the private tomb in the Valley of the Kings (KV46) of Yuya and Thuya was also well-stocked so my guess is that, apart from funerary items, a noble's royal appartment was packed into his tomb and that Tutankhamun's tomb wasn't partiularly unusual - it's why we would love another New Kingdom royal tomb to be found intact as a comparison. However, I do like the idea of a cache. History suggests that when a religion is suppressed, believers do try to save certain especial treasures for posterity. It seems highly likely that happened at the end of the Amarna period. In general I am not persuaded that KV62 is such a cache, but maybe some of the personal items from his ancestors were added to the tomb to keep those safe - ie the theory may have a partial application even if one decides the tomb as a whole wasn't a cache.
Rather than reply to John directly, I thought his theory was interesting enough to share at large.