Saturday, October 27, 2007

High above the Valley of Kings, KV39

Since its discovery just more than a century ago valley of kings tomb 39 has been a enigma.

With its unique shape and lack of decoration it had been suggested that it was the tomb of Amenhotep I but this only because its location appeared to match an ancient description of the location of that kings tomb.

It does not yet Amenhotep I is still associated with the tomb.

Archaeologists excavating the tomb found the remains of a number of mummies including some which appeared to be early eighteenth dynasty.

Yet the tomb is far to sophisticated to be the predecessor to tombs like kv60,20,34.

Slightly sharper in its mathematics to be eighteenth dynasty the tomb is probably no earlier than Ramesses II/Merenptah but more likely later.

Clearly Kv 39,s opening east/west corridor which includes two staircases is the start of a kings tomb perhaps meant to be a "blind alley" fooling robbers into believing that was the whole tomb with the B1a staircase sealed from view.

Whether the wall leading to the B2 corridor was sealed we will never know.

The belief that this tomb was carved in different stages is I believe false and that this tomb may actually represent the last kings tomb carved in the valley of kings.

Like the pyramids of the old kingdom once you learned that the entrance was in the center of the north face it was just a matter of manpower to open all of them.

So too had the layout of the tombs become so repetitious that you just followed the traditional layout to the burial chamber.

Famous surviving court documents from the end of the New kingdom tell of a number of robberies occurring in the valley until in the twenty first dynasty the priests removed the kings and placed them in caches for their protection.

Again corridor B2 to burial chamber also follow the entrance to a kings tomb past the well leading to the burial chamber in the first hall.

Compared with the layout of the tombs of Ramesses IV -XI the B2 corridor would fit nicely in with this group of tombs.

With its deceptive but royal layout, its location alone high above the valley I would place it as the last kings tomb carved in the valley.

The cache tomb of Herihor.

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