Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Cemetery for Thutmosis and Amenhotep

My intentions in writing this article is only meant as an interpretation of the royal necropolis with a number of the tombs mentioned we will probably never know anything about. It appears the early kings of dynasty 18 used the new cemetery to keep their most important courtiers buried close to their king.

These courtier tombs may have inspired little respect from succeeding kings and their courts as the importance of the valley of kings grew. Many of these earlier courtiers may have been removed from the valley and placed into tombs in the other Theban cemeteries even before the dynasty had ended.

The famous biography in the tomb of Ineni says's he was responsible for creating the tomb of Tutmosis I "no one seeing and no one hearing". Archaeologists have long looked and speculated on the where abouts of this tomb.

There are two tombs which bore sarcophagus's for this king, the first a small poorly cut tomb in the valley of king's tomb (KV 38) has been shown to be a reburial of the king during the reign of his grandson Thutmosis III.

The second a joint tomb with his daughter Hatshepsut (kv20) seems more likely to be Ineni's work however with all the activities by Hatshepsut's workers in the tomb. Would you just push the king and his coffins aside so the workers could continue finishing the tomb for the female king,

I would doubt this but might actually place the original burial in the nearby neighbouring tomb known today as KV 60. The year is 1492 bc the short reign of Tutmosis I is over and the founder of his dynasty is perhaps placed into the tomb his architect Ineni had created in an unused wadi.

So begins the history of what would become one of the most famous royal necropolis's in the world. The valley of kings. The tomb carved by Ineni's workers (kv60) would seem like a less than grand start to the new royal necropolis perhaps inspiring his daughter to create a grander monument for herself and her father.

Hatshepsut's valley tomb (KV 20) is a wonky corkscrew tomb that is hardly little more than an extremely long cave free from the mathematics of engineering but also flawed by the lowest chambers being carved in unstable shale.

The next known pharaohs tomb in the valley is that of Tutmosis III and his family representing a renaissance for the tomb builders. The layouts of tombs 33,34, 38 and 42 present the viewer with ever refining geometry while the reburial of Tutmosis I, tomb 38 appears to be the earliest of the group.

We find in tomb 34's cartouche shaped burial chamber the first truly beautiful room in the valley with its pink decoration the Imyduat inscribed on its walls scrolled out like a giant roll of papyrus surrounding the kings quartzite sarcophagus regarded as one of the most beautiful of its kind in Egyptian history.

A deep carved well was the first in the valley and an exclusive to future kings tombs.

Tomb 42 was started for Thutmosis III's great royal wife Hatshepsut Meryet Re though not on the scale of her husbands tomb it's mathematics is just that more precise. The tomb also like 34 and 38 has a cartouche shaped burial chamber, an exclusive to this kings family.

Nearby tombs numbered 26 and 37 are small unrefined cuttings which may belong to this series of tombs as do probably cuttings 33 by location and F by a foundation deposit.

From the crude reburial of Thutmosis I to the more refined tombs of Thutmosis III and his queen a true renaissance had occurred bringing forth the golden age of the Necropolis.

Starting in the reign of Thutmosis's son Amenhotep II the cartouche shaped burial chamber is abandoned and replaced with a six pillared hall with lower crypt. The well has been retained as has the decoration of the Imyduat scroll in the burial chamber.

The geometrics of the tomb are well executed and the tombs fine preservation make this perhaps the finest surviving tomb of an eighteenth dynasty king.

Near to this kings tomb is another numbered 48, in this crude cutting was found the broken mummy of Amenhotep's vizier Amenimopet. Surrounding the viziers tomb are three small tombs which when found contained animal mummies which may have been pets or sacred to Amenhotep II.

The enigmatic tomb 12 may have been started as a family tomb for this king. A lesser queen of Amenhotep's named Tiaa and mother of his heir Thutmosis IV was probably buried in a modest unfinished tomb numbered 32.

When discovered in 1899 valley tomb number 36 still contained much of its eighteenth dynasty burial equipment including the well preserved mummy of its owner. Maihirpre who bore the titles" Child of the nursery and fan bearer on the right of the king" died young probably in his early twenties. A vase from the tomb stylisticly loosely places the date of burial at Amenhotep II or Thutmosis IV.

Thutmosis IV"s tomb mirrors his father only on a larger scale and missing the Imyduat scroll in the burial chamber. In the nearby finely carved tomb 21 there are two now torn apart female mummies who may have belonged to this court.

Tombs numbered 27, 28 and 45 (Userhat) all contained ceramics datable to this reign or Thutmosis' successor Amenhotep III. By location tomb 44 may also belong to this series.

There are two securely dated tombs in the valley for the reign of Amenhotep III including his beautiful tomb 22 in the west valley. The tombs plans follow his predecessors tombs but much more finely painted and with the addition of two extra burial suites for two of his wives.

Sadly vandalism and salt leeching into the walls have left the decoration of the tomb in poor condition, of the 24 sides of the six pillars in the burial chamber only one remains undamaged.
When discovered in 1905 tomb 46 held the sumptuous burial of Yuya and Thuya, the parents and of Amenhotep's Great royal wife Tiye.

Their undecorated tomb unusually for the valley is entered by two staircases and a corridor as opposed to a simple shaft. The cutting today known as "A" contained goods bearing this kings name. Tomb 55 also contained objects for this king and his queenTiye.

The nearby location of tomb 62 may also belong to this group. Tomb 25 may well have been started for Amenhotep IV but his revolution left the valley for the royal tomb atAkhetaten. With the return to the valley after the Amarna period, tomb 55 may have been used for the reburial of Akhenaten, Smenkare and possibly Queen Tiye.

It has been suggested that Smenkare may have been buried in the tomb across the path known today as number 62. With king Tutankhamen's return to the valley for his burial, tomb 23 may have been started for him. With the unexpected death of Tutankhamen his tomb and much of his furnishings may not have been finished.

His elderly successor Aye may have appropriated the kings tomb and unfinished funerary furniture for his own death a couple of years later. Looking at the burial of Smenkare king Aye may have ordered it opened and the offending pharaoh removed to the unwanted storeroom (55) across the path. If Akhenaten was in tomb 55 at this point he may have been removed and the heretics burial rifled leaving Smenkare with the rubbish.

The remodeling of Smenkare's burial for king Tut would require Smenkare's name to be removed from the various objects in the tomb. When found by Howard Carter the tomb contained about half the jewellery the boxes said was originally in the tomb.

This has long been thought of as the work of tomb robbers but might actually represent the number of pieces of jewellery who's inscriptions could not be altered and thus were removed from the new kings burial.

Whatever is going on a further cutting in the valley numbered 54 was filled with king Tut's mummification residue. Almost certainly the shaft tomb 63 was sealed by the time king Tutankhamun was buried.

Four years later the old king Aye was buried in the west valley in tomb now known as 23. Tombs 58 and 24 may well belong to this group.

The location of tomb 49 suggests that it belongs to the next king Horemheb's time and may have been a storeroom while the kings tomb was being built. As the last king of Egypt's glorious eighteenth dynasty his tomb kv57 made a number of innovations including the first fully cut kings tomb on a straight axis in the valley.

Though his reign was long enough to have finished his tomb it remains for the most part only partially decorated. Horemheb's tomb is the first in the valley to posses passages from "The book of gates".

There are probably countless interpretations of the valley of kings and in particularly to the family of kings and courtiers whom were laid to rest there at the beginning of the New kingdom.


Kate Phizackerley said...

Brave Tim. The more I read and study the more I realise that so much is conjecture and unproven so you are bound to be wrong somewhere in this list :)

I don't think KV63 was sealed by the time Tutankhamun died for instance. Reports are that if contains D19 materials.

Anyway, a nice little summary, thank you.


Geoff Carter said...

Nice piece,so you don't buy the romantic view that the Hatshepsut's tomb is poitioned in relation to her mortuary temple at Deir el-Bahari?

tim said...

Thanks Kate for your comments

I think you are right I think there was dynasty 19 material in the shaft but I do not know about the chamber.

I do not know how brave I am but Thanks again.

tim said...

Thanks Geoff

Only that Hatshepsut's mortuary temple is on one side of the cliffs and the tomb on the other but the actual cutting seems to be a bit of an experiment in the local rock and the depth which the tomb could be cut.

I am left to wonder if the tomb was chosen to be a kings tomb because of the location of it's burial chamber or the treacherous journey it takes to get to the burial chamber!