Tombs in Valley of Kings

On March 10, 2005, while excavating the remains of workmen’s huts near another tomb site, a team of U.S. archaeologists from the University of Memphis, led by Dr. Otto Schaden, uncovered a vertical shaft in the Valley of Kings, Egypt.  Almost a full year later on February 8, 2006, information was released to the public that a shaft had been uncovered; the delay in excavating the find was the result of restrictions due to digging seasons.   The find sparked much interest within the field of Egyptology because it marked the first uncovered tomb in the Valley since the discovery of Tutankhamun by Howard Carter in 1922, eighty-three years prior.  Since the chamber was initially thought to be a tomb, it was given the title KV-63—Tutankhamun being KV-62 — according to the naming convention utilized in the Valley of Kings.

Female Coffin Portrait

Unknown Female Coffin Portrait

Due to the lack of seals and movement of the original blocking stones, the team surmised that the tomb had been entered and resealed in antiquity.  Within the chamber they discovered seven wooden coffins, fashioned both for adults and children, from what appears to be the 18th Dynasty.  Although the identities of the coffins are not known, three coffins bear striking yellow faces which are speculated to denote a female’s coffin, while the others have black faces for males.  It is speculated that the tomb acted as a cache for an important family.  Questions whether they were royal or not arose from the fact that although they are made of what was considered “royal materials,” the figure on one of the coffins has its arms folded in a non-royal manner.  However, this is speculation as none of the hieroglyphic translations found in the tomb or on the delicate coffins have been released to this day.

Small Golden Coffin (supposedly Tut's Children's)

Unfortunately, the only completely sealed coffin withheld multiple mummification tools and supplies; however, a clear impression of a human body appeared at the bottom of the coffin leading the archaeologists to believe the body was either moved or destroyed in ancient times.  Due to the style of the coffin and portraiture, the numerous jars containing objects similar to Tutankkhamun’s cache, and the close proximity to Tutankhamun’s tomb, it is speculated that the coffins could possibly have held the body of his wife Ankhesenamun.  This belief is supported by the fact that the two small golden sarcophagi found in the coffin could have symbolized her two stillborn children.  A common fact that very few people know is that Tutankhamun’s tomb contained two fetus mummies, believed to be the couple’s two stillborn babies.  However, the most recent documentation on the status of the fetus’ DNA identification was 2008 and is not conclusive.  It will likely take many years to sift through the delicate remains to find sufficient evidence to link them to various other genetic codes taken from other known mummies.

Though we don’t know the exact number of tombs left undiscovered, we do know of two unexcavated sites (now presumptuously titled KV-64 and 65).  Some have speculated that they may reveal the tombs of Ankhesenamun and Ramses VIII, respectively.  Even with the discovery of these new sites, so many questions remained unanswered about many of the previously unearthed tombs. Archaeologists continue to search for answers for all the tombs unearthed to this date, and hope that their answers may lie future untouched tombs.

Sources:

KV-64 Speculation: http://www.kv64.info/2011/09/another-candidate-for-kv64.html

KV-65 Speculation: http://www.kv64.info/2008/08/kv64-kv65.html

Fetus info: http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/tutchildren.htm

http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2008/08/15/king-tut-fetus.html

A organized list of Egyptian Tomb finds with some interesting facts (including tombs used entirely for animals) found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_burials_in_the_Valley_of_the_Kings

Pictures and information: http://www.kv-63.com/ottosdigdiary200609.html

 

 

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