Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Sunday, January 15, 2012

The identity of KV64 has been announced.  It is the tomb of Temple [Karnak] Singer [the Lady] Ni Hams Bastet.  It dates to the 22nd Dynasty and is located on the pathway to Tomb KV34 (Thuthmosis III) in the main Valley of the Kings, which is why KV34 is presently closed to visitors.  It was found by Dr Elina of the University of Basel and the feeling is that there are more tombs to be found.

There are few other details at present than the Ahram story.  It seems to be a shaft tomb with a single chamber.  It contains an intact wooden sarcophagus, pictured in the Ahram story.

There is no definitive news but the impression is that it might be an undisturbed tomb, albeit a non-royal one.  It is believed that it is a re-used 18th Dynasty tomb, based on finds.  That suggests there may be remnants of an earlier burial -see this version of the announcment.  There are good reasons to hope that a 22nd Dynasty tomb will be undisturbed because it was committed after the consolidation into the caches which took place during the 21st Dynasty.

I know this is not the tomb people were hoping for, but I think it is brilliant, especially if it is intact.  I am very interested in the Third Intermediate Period and have long suspected there are undiscovered, and probably intact, tombs in the Valley of the Kings from that period.  This adds to that impression.  It is also great to have a tomb from this period investigarted under modern archaeological standards.

There is a back story to this announcement.  As many people will know, Andrea Byrnes and I were filtering all the archaeological news during the Egyptian revolution last year, and I was responsible for the Egyptologcal Looting Database.  We heard rumours that a new tomb had been found in the Valley of the Kings by the University of Basel.  At that point, the Valley was unprotected because the security police had been withdrawn and news of a new tomb could have drawn looters to the valley like bears to honey.  Dr Thomas Schuler of Blue Shield helped us to warn the University of Basel of the growing rumours - it is another example of the work of Blue Shield in protecting Egypt's heritage.  They rushed out a report about KV40b as a minor feature and I carried that here as news to pooh-pooh rumours of a new tomb.

I am not certain yet whether KV64 had been found in spring 2011 but it seems likely (if not then the rumours were assuming that KV40b is a tomb when it probably isn't).  My apologies to readers that I didn't carry the story at the time but  the safety of the tomb in such uncertain times was paramount. I know others like Jane Akshar also helped in damping down expectations and rumours in that critical period.

Whatever, I look forwards to further reports about KV64 in the coming days and weeks, and yes I am convinced that there is a KV65 out there as well.


Geoff Carter said...

Will you have to change your header?

Heidi said...

It´s going to be interesting to wait for more news.

Marianne Luban said...

The Ahram link I posted earlier today seems already to have disappeared. I can't access it now. All there was to be seen was a plain wooden coffin in a shaft and some rubble that might contain something interesting--but not visible to me. When I say "plain coffin" I mean as plain as possible, devoid of decoration. The article said there was one painted black but the one in the photo was not. Of course, I couldn't see any inscriptions on the coffin, but that doesn't mean there weren't any. Too bad this couldn't have been a case like that of 18th Dynasty Queen Meryetamun whose tomb, at Deir el Bahari, was found to have included the burial of a later princess--in this case of the 21st Dynasty. But, if there had been an earlier burial of someone of note, I'm sure that would have been noticed by now.

Kate Phizackerley said...

Most of the material out there is a rehash of a single primary source so anything in Ahram is repeated elsewhere. I have just drafted an article on Egyptological to try to gather all the other bits and pieces which are appearing about the story - I am just waiting for Andie to review it before it is published.

Jane Akshar said...

It was so good that all of us co-operated for the safety of the tomb and not our own blogs/egos during that time.

Ron Lankshear said...

Lots of news sites are saying 1100 year old tomb. Perhaps 1100 BC is meant as they go on to say tomb was built 400 years before the burial if end of 22nd Dynasty ... All seems to add more confusion like the DNA

Thutmose said...

Congratulations and good job to everyone who kept this under wraps for the sake of providing protection for this discovery! It is very appreciated. Normally I don't like when discoveries are kept quiet, but it was essential in these circumstances.


Anonymous said...

I wonder if this "new" tomb was one of the ones spotted by Eugene Lefebure in the 1880s and never properly explored?? He and his assistants found several which were not considered important at the time because they were not royal burials. Several were later plotted by Victor Loret but he was pre-occupied with KV34 and KV35. His clearances could not have been thorough as he missed KV42.
You can imagine the headlines.... "Mystery of French Newspaper found in 3100 year old tomb" CJB

Anonymous said...

I think this blog should then change to KV65. Another hunt for an intact tomb!!!!

David White said...

How does this discovery relate to last spring's announcement of a possible discovery of Ankhesenamun's tomb? Is this that tomb?

Anonymous said...

Who can say for sure? Ankhsenamen was a fascination of Dr Hawass. Presumably she might already have been found in KV21, though this is not conclusive. If it is her, it might not have been her original place of interrment.The location of the tomb, if it is adjacent to KV40, might suggest it dates from the time of Tuthmosis III and is part of the cluster of shaft tombs that line the approach to KV34. Please note I said "might" and not "does", the excavation of the find could provide evidence of whoever was buried there before the TIP burial. Hopefully, that will be some time coming if the clearance is done properly. CJB

Kate Phizackerley said...

Actually I think the "hunt for KV64" goes on. That sounds odd but I think KV64 was a concept as much as a specific tomb - although maybe I was responsible for inventing the concept.

There is this sense that the Valley of the Kings is tantalising us. It has at least one (and I suspect at least two) big secrets still but while people are actively hunting for those, little interesting morsels like KV63 and KV64 come to light.

Kate Phizackerley said...

It is certainly possible that Ankhesenamun was buried in KV21. She had fallen from favour so she would not get a lavish burial. I feel sorry for her.

That said, the more interesting (if perhaps less likeable) sister was Meritaten.

Anonymous said... Susanne Bickel of the University of Basel told
the BBC that the coffin was opened on Monday and she was
able to see the "nicely wrapped" mummy of the woman who
was buried in the tomb. The opening of the coffin was carried
out by Prof Bickel and her Basel colleague, field director
Elina Paulin-Grothe, together with the Chief Inspector of
Antiquities of Upper Egypt, Dr Mohammed el-Bialy and
inspector Ali Reda.

Anonymous said...

Kate: It seems odd that a queen who wrote seeking a Hittite husband should have even been buried in The Valley at all, assuming, of course, she was the writer of the letter and not Nefertiti as some have proposed.I often wonder if we have the complete story here: could it have been a diplomatic ploy that was never intended to produce a marriage but buy time for the Egyptians to regroup after Tutankhamen's untimely death? It would make an interesting plot for a novel.
KV21 seems to be part of the cluster associated with KV43, though Reeves and Wilkinson suggest it resembles one of the suites that open off the burial chamber of WV22. The thought at the back of my mind is that the intended occupant might have been Mutemwiya. Pure speculation of course, but the other body found there might be her. I assume that could be verified by seeing if her DNA along with that of Tuthmosis IV is combined in Amenhotep III?? CJB

Anonymous said...

The Last Heiress by Stephanie Liaci is the new book about Ankhesenamun,done in first person. And "anonymous" is more on point than he knows, as far as the plot of this novel.

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