TMP Bibliography- The Component Parts of KV Royal Tombs

I. The Designation of Chambers, Gates, and Other Components

II. Sources

Studies of the design of KV royal tombs rely on three sources: ancient texts, ancient tomb decoration, and modern surveys. There is some overlap in their data, but generally, texts give names of some tomb components, tomb decoration hints at their function, and surveys provide their measurements. (Here, we shall treat tomb decoration only cursorily; it is discussed elsewhere in this volume.)

A Ancient Textual Sources. Eighteen papyri and ostraca refer to parts of various Theban royal tombs. Some offer considerable detail; others are vague. It has been possible to identify the specific tomb mentioned in many ancient sources by dating them palaeographically and by comparing the measurements and descriptions they give with actual KV tombs. Most sources are of Ramesside date and refer to tombs KV 7, KV 2, KV 9 and KV 8 (Rameses II, IV, V/VI, and Merenptah). Nearly all were found in ancient debris in the central section of KV, where the tombs they describe are located. The following list is in roughly chronological order.

1. Ostracon Michaelides 53. Measurements of a Dynasty 19 royal tomb. Goedicke-Wente, pl 81 Mer

2. Ostracon British Museum 8505. Measurements of either KV 16 (Rameses I) or QV 51(Isis). Cerny VK 25< Demaree

3. Ostracon Cairo 51936. Sketch of a 4-pillared hall, perhaps Chamber F in KV 15 (Seti II) or Chamber J in KV 17 (Seti I). Cerny 25, Demaree

4. Papyrus Cairo JdE 86637, verso, xx. Measurements of Chambers A-E of KV 7 (Rameses II). Bakir, Cairo Calendar Mer

5. Ostracon Michaelides 92. Measurements of rooms behind the burial chamber of a late 19th Dynasty tomb, probably KV 8 (Merenptah). Goedicke-Wente, pl 81 Mer

6. Ostracon Cairo CG 25581, recto. Written by Kenhirkhopeshef; mentions work in chambers A and B of KV 8 (Merenptah).

7. Ostracon Turin 57036 and 57037. Notes on rooms in a QV tomb of a son of Rameses III from regnal year 24. J. Lopez, Ostraca ieratici I, CGT 2/3/1 (Milan, 1978): pls. 23-24. Demaree 15

8. Papyrus Turin 1885, recto. A plan of KV 2 (Rameses IV); drawn after the tomb was cut.

9. Ostracon Cairo unnumbered. A plan of a flight of stairs and a doorway, perhaps the entrance to KV 2 (Rameses IV). Cerny, Reeves

10. Papyrus Turin 1885 verso. Measurements of KV 9 (Rameses V/VI). Cerny 25; Hornung, Zwei amessidische Konigsgraber 30; in J> Baines et al, Fs Edwards, 138-42.

11. Papyrus Turin 1923, verso. Report on quarrying in KV 9 (Rameses V/VI) during years 2-3 of that king. Cerny VK 25; Ventura JEA 74 (1988): 137-156.

12. Ostracon Berlin B and ostracon Nash 10 (= ostracon British Museum 65944). Measurements of most of KV 9 (Rameses VI), KV 15 (Seti II), or KV 10 (Amenmesse). Cerny VK 25 S2

13. Ostracon Cairo CG 25538, 4-6. Notes progress of work in KV 15 (Seti II), dated year 6, II šmw 25. Cerny OstrHier pl34

14. Ostracon Cairo CG 25536, recto and 25537. Describes work in Chamber A and gate B of KV 47 (Siptah), in year 1 during II and IV 3xt

15. Ostracon Cairo JdE 72452. (See KRI IV, 404). Note on starting work in KV 14 (Tawosret), year 2, II pr.t 8 of Seti II. Helck, SAK 17 (1990): 209, correcting Altenmuller SAK 11 (1984): 45.

16. Ostracon Michaelides 71, verso 2-3. Late 19th Dynasty reference to wtn (breaking through) p3 sb3 n t3 s.t n h’w n ? "the Door of the ‘Place of Weapons’ [or Equipment]". Demaree, 14, citing

17. Ostracon Deir el-Medineh. A list of measured tomb doorways in a 19th or 20th Dynasty tomb, probably KV 8 (Merenptah) or KV 15 (Seti II). (KV 8 seems the more likely based on the measurements.) Demaree 9-13

18. Ostracon Cairo 25184. Plan, with dimensions, of KV 6 (Rameses IX). Rossi, GM 184, 45-53.

B Modern Sources. The earliest modern plans of KV royal tombs are found in journals of 18th and 19th century travelers. The list begins with Pococke in 1737 and includes works by Bruce, the Description, Belzoni, Burton, Hay, Lepsius, and Lefebure. The plans they drew were simple sketches, crudely measured and not to scale. A few tombs were more accurately planned by early 20th century explorers. One of the first was the 1917 study by Carter and Gardiner of KV 2 (Rameses IV, number 8, above), which included Carter’s taped measurements of the tomb itself. There are several more recent KV tomb plans, including those by Hornung and Romer; but these, too, were based on taped measurements, not surveys, and are incomplete. It was not until 2000, with the publication of the Theban Mapping Project’s (TMP) Atlas of the Valley of the Kings, that detailed surveys of KV tombs became available. TMP data have been used in several recent studies (e.g., Rossi), and are the basis of this article.

III. Chambers, Corridors and Halls.

The terminology of the parts of royal tombs has never been formally set, and "chamber" is often used interchangeably with "corridor," "hall" and "room." "Niche" and "recess" and "room" are sometimes treated as synonyms. The TMP has tried to standardize this terminology. xxxxxxxxx

Hornung divided KV royal tombs into four chronologically-based stages based upon the changing dimensions of their corridors. The work of the TMP generally confirms these. Hornung’s periods are as follows :

1. (KV 20), KV 38, KV 34, KV 35, KV 43 = Early Dynasty 18

2. KV 22, KV 23, KV 57, KV 16, KV 17, KV 7 = Late Dynasty 18 and Early Dynasty 19

3. KV 8, KV 10, KV 15, KV 14, KV 47, KV 11 = Late Dynasty 19 and Early Dynasty 20

4. KV 2, KV 9, KV 1, KV 6, KV 18, KV 4 = Later Dynasty 20

Arnold and others have divided the plans of royal tombs into two parts, arguing that the whole is actually a double tomb. The first part, chambers "A"-"F," was for the burial of the king xxxxxxx; the second, chambers "G"-"J," was for his burial as Osiris uniting with Re.

A Corridor A. The entrance to KV royal tombs was called p3 st3-ntr n w3t šw, "The Passage of the Way of Shu," p3 st3-ntr tpy ḥr w3.t šw "The First God’s Passage which is upon the Sun’s Path", "The Open-Air Corridor," or "The [First] Corridor." Gardiner argued that st3 "always referred to a sloping

construction, whether passage or ramp," and can usually be translated as "corridor." St3-ntr, the "passage of god," was "the sloping axial passages of a royal tomb". The term also refers to level corridors, however, as numerous examples below will attest. In any case, "A" is open to the air, its sides defined by bedrock with little additional construction.

B Corridor B is the first fully-enclosed component of a royal tomb and lies immediately after the open-air Entrance "A." "B" is found in every royal KV tomb and has a simple, rectangular plan (table 8.1). It was called "The Second God’s Passage [of Re]," (source 18, above); or p3 st3-ntr nty r-mḥ 2, "The Second God’s Passage which is Behind It [‘it’ being the second passage, Entrance A]," (6, above); or "The God’s Passage of Re," (14, above); and variations on these names. The lack of decoration in the first corridors of early KV tombs (corridors B, C, D, and F), suggests that they were filled with debris, probably as a security measure. Their decoration first appears in Chamber B of KV 17 (Seti I).

In the steeply-descending tombs of the 18th Dynasty, "B" lay in perpetual darkness. But in the nearly-level, more open tombs of dynasties 19 and 20, when the corridors’ names first appear in our sources, sunlight poured in when Gate B was opened and streamed across the chamber’s scenes and texts. Appropriately, those scenes were devoted to the sun god. Thereafter, decoration in Corridor B showed the king with various deities, especially the solar deity, Re-Horakhty, and its walls were covered with texts from "The Litany of Re". From the reign of Rameses VI onward, "The Book of Gates" and "The Book of Caverns" appear as well.

In only three KV royal tombs are side-chambers associated with "B." The earliest is in KV 10 (Amenmesse), which has one side-chamber; KV 11 (Rameses III) has two, near its front; KV 6 (Rameses IX) has four. (There are also two in KV 3.) There are no niches in any "B" corridors.

C Corridor C is found in all KV royal tombs except KV 1 (Rameses VII). (In KV 20, Thomas identifies two "C" corridors.)

"C" was called p3 st3- ntr n /// "The God’s Passage of …" (in 18, above); ky st3- ntr nty r-mḥ 3, "The Third God’s Passage" (4, above); or "The Hall Wherein They Rest" (in Cerny-Gardiner, HierOstr 87.3.3). "They" refers to figures of "obscure" deities painted on the walls of niches cut in the side walls of "C," and to statuettes of those deities placed inside the niches. Thirty-seven such figures may be seen in KV 17 (Seti I). In KV 2 (Rameses VII), the figures in the two niches continue adjacent rows of deities.

The niches themselves were called n3 hm.y nty ḥtp-w n3 ntr.w i3b.t/iwn.t im-w "The Niches [or Sanctuaries] in which the Gods of the East/West Reside" (18, above). (The ancient designation of the niches as "east" and "west" means that, as one walks into to the tomb, one is considered to be walking northward.) Recesses are found only in those "C" chambers having staircases (all of them tombs of Dynasty 18 and early Dynasty 20); niches are found only in "C" chambers with level or slightly sloping floors (all tombs of late Dynasty 19 and Dynasty 20). Corridor C niches vary from about 2.5 to 2.7 m. wide, recesses from 3.25 to 5.75 m. Both are about 1.0 to 2.0 m. high and generally from .50 to .55 m. deep. There are two recesses in KV 11, but uniquely, its Chamber C also boasts 8 actual side-chambers, decorated with offerings and scenes from the Book of the Dead. The side-chambers measure about 1.77 m high, 2.0 m. wide, and 1.75 m deep, each covering 3.5 m².

Stairs are found in Chamber C in 9 KV tombs, all dating prior to Merenptah. The treads extend the width of their corridor, except in the rare "C" examples of a ramp-stair combination in KV 7 and, possibly, KV 8. The staircases descend at an angle that decreases from a range of 49°-40° in Dynasty 18 to 37°-20° in Dynasty 19. In KV 10 (Amenmesse), a slight 8° ramp replaces the stairs. Later tombs have nearly-level floors.

D Corridor D is absent from KV 38, 16, 1, and 18; it occurs twice in KV 20 and KV 11, once in all other KV royal tombs. It was called ky st3-ntr nty r-mḥ 4, "The Fourth God’s Passage," (4, above). A ramp in the chamber floor of KV 2 (Rameses IV) was called p3 r3-st3, "the sarcophagus-slide," according to Gardiner (number 8, above), and was said to be 20 cubits long, 5 cubits and 1 palm wide. That converts to 10.46 m. by 2.69 m., but the TMP’s measurement of its length is 10.75 m., from its beginning in Chamber "D" to its end in Chamber "E." Its slope angle is 9.3° in Chamber "D."

Niches are found in Chamber D only in KV 7 (Rameses II, which lacks niches in Corridor C). In KV 8 (Merenptah) there is one niche (or the start of a chamber) in the left wall. KV 10 (Amenmesse), KV 15 (Seti II), KV 47 (Siptah), KV 2 (Rameses IV), KV 9 (Rameses V/VI), and KV 6 (Rameses IX) have two niches cut at the rear of side walls. Each measures about 68-75 cm. wide, 60-75 cm. deep, and 94-110 cm. high, with floors about 30-50 cm. above the chamber floor. Egyptologists have called them "rooms" because accompanying texts label them as such, but in fact they are smaller than most KV niches. (The TMP considers them architecturally to be niches and assigns to them no chamber designations). Their ancient name was ‘.t iry-‘3 2, "the two doorkeepers’ rooms" (Cerny VK and 11, above), and two guardians were symbolically posted here to block access further into the tomb. It has been suggested that the end of "D" marked the beginning of the most sacred part of the royal tomb and that it was officially sealed at this point after the burial and funerary furniture had been installed.

E Chamber E. From the reign of Thutmosis III on, Chamber E was a part of many royal KV tombs (see table 8.2). Called "The First Hall" by early Egyptologists, "E" is usually rectangular in plan, from 1.00 to 1.54 times wider than it is long. Ceiling height varies from 1.7m to 4.09m and regularly increases through the New Kingdom. The ceiling is horizontal, and painted with stars. Except for KV 15 (Seti II), decorated walls in "E" show the king offering to various deities (see below).

What sets Chamber E apart from other KV rooms is a shaft (also called a well or pit) cut through its floor. The top of the shaft is as broad and wide as Chamber E itself, but below that, it varies in size and plan, and in some cases was left unfinished. Its depth ranges from 6.27m to 9.10m below the chamber’s ceiling. If AN-B is royal (Amenhotep I?), its shaft would be the first cut in a Theban king’s tomb. If not, then the earliest example is in KV 34 (Thutmosis III). The last to be cut was in KV 11 (Rameses III). During the intervening period, the shaft was a regular part of the royal tomb: thirteen of fourteen tombs had "E" chambers, and ten of those had shafts.

Chamber E was named in several ancient documents. In Papyrus Turin (8, above; also 18; varr. 4, 10, 11, 12), it was called tȝ wsḫt isķ, "The Hall of Waiting," or, perhaps better, "The Hall of Hindering." Some Egyptologists prefer "The Hall of Denial of Access." We do not know exactly what function these names imply, but four suggestions have been made.

1. "E" was a waiting room. Early writers, taking literally the phrase, "Hall of Waiting," suggested that "E" was just that. Černý claimed that, "the dead had to wait here before being admitted to

the burial chamber." Carter and Carnarvon said, "[it] was intended to designate the place where relatives, courtiers and subjects might wait before being admitted to the august presence of the Pharaoh." But it is unlikely that a chamber often with a deep pit instead of a level floor could serve as a place where people stood about or a mummy waited for burial.

2. "E" was a flood control device. Since Belzoni first described the shaft he found in KV 17, many writers have argued that it was meant to keep out flood water. They called it a well and described it as a catch basin for floods that might pour down KV hillsides during torrential rainstorms. The shaft was meant to keep water and debris from washing farther into the tomb, causing damage to the burial chamber and its contents.

It is true that the shaft might prevent flood water from flowing farther into a tomb (at least until the shaft filled with debris}, but it would have made more sense to locate the pit nearer the tomb’s entrance. And why bother including a well in tombs whose location would naturally have kept them free from floods, or fail to include a well in tombs lying below "waterfalls" that would certainly cause flooding? Five well shafts may have side-chambers. The earliest is KV 35 (Amenhotep II); others are KV 43 (Thutmosis IV), KV 22 (Amenhotep III), KV 23 (Ay), KV 57 (Horemhab), and KV 17 (Seti I). Some of them are decorated, a feature that seems inappropriate if the shaft’s only purpose was to collect floodwater.

3. "E" was meant to discourage thieves. It has been called a "tomb-robbers’ pit" ("Grabräuberschächte") by scholars who note that the gate immediately after "E" was walled up after the body of pharaoh had been interred, thereby blocking access to the interior of the tomb. (Traces of this blocking can still be seen in several tombs.) The pit, they explained, was a barrier: thieves could neither cross, nor, seeing only solid wall beyond, would have had reason to do so. Some believe that the small side-chamber found at the bottom of the shaft was a "false burial chamber," also meant to deceive thieves and keep them away from the real burial.

If "E" was meant to thwart thieves, it did not work. Tombs with well-shafts were robbed in antiquity. Using a long pole, one could easily knock a hole in the blocked gate, then lay a plank across the pit and continue into the tomb. In both KV 7 and KV 34, excavators found lengths of ancient ropes tied to pillars in neighboring chambers, hanging down the shaft in "E." Thieves could rappel down one side of the shaft and climb up the other. If stopping theft was their purpose, surely it would have been more effective to vary the location of pits and the gate beyond so that a thief’s knowledge of one tomb would not help him rob another.

4. "E" had religious significance. Egyptologists have also argued that the shaft served a religious purpose, that it and its side-chambers were the symbolic burial-place of Osiris or Sokar or Osiris-Sokar. Both Hornung and Rossi argue that in the 18th Dynasty, the well symbolically connected the tomb to the subterranean ‘aquatic region’ of the Amduat. Scenes painted on the upper walls of Chamber E in eight tombs support a religious association. They are from the Imyduat and the Book of Gates. But the presence of a shaft in the royal tomb at Amarna doesn’t fit with this theory, and Thomas believes that no one of the four theories offered above fully explain every shaft. If one is valid for some tombs, it was not valid for others, and perhaps all explanations played a role in tomb design until, presumably for changing religious reasons, the well disappeared from tombs after Rameses III.

F Hall F. From the reign of Thutmosis III, KV royal tombs are thought have developed as double tombs: an upper part, including chambers from the entrance to "F," together formed a tomb of the king, "now identified with Osiris as the son of Isis," while a lower part, from chambers "G" through burial chamber "J," formed the tomb of Osiris/king uniting with Re. (Arnold) The divide between the two parts was Chamber F, which is present in KV royal tombs after KV 34 (Thutmosis III) except KV 23 (Ay), KV 16 (Rameses I), KV 2 (Rameses IV), KV 1 (Rameses VII), and KV 18 (Rameses X). "F" was considered to be "the beginning of the truly sepulchral part of the tomb, to be sealed in all cases after the burial." (Thomas)

"F" may have served as the burial chamber in earlier royal tombs (Romer), but by early Dynasty 18 it had assumed a new function. In the New Kingdom, the chamber was called t3 wsxt mrkxt "The Chariot Hall," (11, above), and actual chariot fragments have been found in "F" in KV 43 (Thutmosis IV) and KV 22 (Amenhotep III). It was also called k.t wsx.t dr sbi(.w) "another hall of repelling the rebel(s) [or enemy]" (12, above; Thomas, JEA 64:82; Demaree), suggesting it served as "a back-up deterrent," functioning like the "Hall of Hindering" (Chamber E). In KV 9 (Rameses V/VI), beheaded figures decorate one of its walls, and the reference to rebels or enemies may refer to this scene. (The Cairo plan [3, above] refers to the chamber as t3 wsxt //// pr-ḥd, "The hall /// the treasury;" but no explanation of this unusual occurrence has been offered.)

From KV 57 (Horemhab) on, Chamber "F" was nearly square in plan. All have pillars: prior to KV 17 (Seti I), two stood in the center of the room at right angles to the axis of previous chambers. There were four thereafter. (KV 8 [Merenptah] originally had four pillars, but the back two were removed in antiquity.) Six "F" chambers, all in tombs of late Dynasty 19th or Dynasty 20th, have side-chambers. In KV 8 and KV 17 these have two pillars; in KV 10 and KV 15 there are traces of at least one. KV 7 and KV 8 also have a Chamber Faa, and that in KV 7 has four pillars. All side-chambers are located on the right side of "F," except for KV 15 (which has an unfinished doorway on the left), and KV 17 (where Fa was cut through the rear wall).

G Chamber G. Called ky st3-ntr or tpy n wp.t, "Another God’s Passage" or "First (God’s Passage) of the wp.t (Zenith)" (Demaree), "G" first appears in KV 35 (Amenhotep II) and is found in 65% of all later tombs (excepting KV 23, KV 16, KV 15, KV 2, KV 1, KV 6, and KV 18). The corridor has a simple, rectangular plan (with a W:L ratio of 1:3) and no unusual features except for a low vaulted ceiling in KV 10, and a small side-chamber through the left wall of KV 14.

H Chamber H. Sometimes called ky st3-ntr, the same term used for "G," "H" is more precisely referred to as p3 ky st3-ntr r-mḥ 2, "The Other, Second, God’s Passage." It first appears in KV 43 (Thutmosis ḥIV). Recesses occur only once in "H", in KV 17 (Seti I).

I Chamber I. t3 wsx.t M3’.t, the "Hall of Truth. "H" and "I" are paired, and only in unfinished KV 10 does "H" occur without "I." Proportions (L:W, H:W) of the two chambers are about the same, but "H" on average is slightly smaller.

J Burial Chamber J. Called wsx.t nty ḥtp-tw m-im, "The Hall in Which One Rests" (2, above), or pr n nbw, "The House of Gold (in Which One Rests)" (8, above),"J" is rightly considered the most important

part of the royal tomb. It is found in every tomb except the unfinished KV 10 (Amenmesse) and KV 18 (Rameses I). It was here that the pharaoh’s mummy was interred, surrounded by texts and funerary goods in "J" and its side-chambers. P. Turin describes "J" (in KV 2, Rameses IV): "The House of Gold [a reference to the shrines placed here], wherein One rests, of 16 cubits; breadth, of 16 cubits; height, of 10 cubits; being drawn with outlines, graven with the chisel, filled with colours, and completed; and being provided with the equipment of His Majesty . . . on every side of it, together with the Divine Ennead which is in the Netherworld." (Carter/Gardiner 139; TMP Report)

There are several variations in the plan of "J" and its components, but it is difficult to identify any chronologically meaningful distribution. Most chambers are rectangular: KV 23, KV 16, KV 2 and KV 9 are deeper than wide; others are much wider than deep. KV 7, KV 8, KV 14, and KV 11 are nearly square; KV 20 and KV 43 are cartouche-shaped. Burial chambers with flat ceilings are most common in Hornung’s period 1 and 2 tombs (Dynasty 18 and early 19); vaulted ceilings generally occur in periods 3 and 4. In only one (KV 6) is the vault parallel to the tomb’s axis and not at right angles to it. Sunken floors usually occur in the rear third of the chamber in period 1, but lie in the middle of the chamber, flanked on two sides by pillars, in periods 3 and 4. The number of pillars can vary from 2 to 8; the larger number is most common in periods 2 and 3. Six tombs, all among the smallest, have no pillars in "J:" KV 23, KV 16, KV 15, KV 2, KV 1, and KV 6.

Gate "J", which leads into chamber "J," is cut into the chambers’ end wall in periods 1 and 2, and in the middle of a side wall in periods 3 and 4. Side chambers are found in nearly all tombs of periods 1, 2 and 3 (except KV 15 and KV 47), but not in tombs of period 4. Usually, four gates lead into side-chambers, but KV 23 has only one, KV 22, KV 57, and KV 17 have five, and KV 7 has six. Multiple side-chambers (Jc plus Jcc, and Jccc, for example) are found tombs of period 2 only: doubles in KV 43 and KV 57, triples in KV 57 and KV 7. Side-chambers lie behind the side walls of chamber "J" in periods 1 and 3. In period 2, all "J" chambers have one single or multiple side-chamber behind its rear wall.

Burial chamber "J" varies greatly in size. The largest are in tombs of Hornung’s periods 2 and 3; the three largest are: KV 8 (Merenptah, 2622 m³); KV 7 (Rameses II, 2286m ³); KV 11 (Rameses 3, 2174m ³). The smallest are scattered through all periods and, excluding KV 62 (Tutuankhamun), include: KV 16 (Ra meses I, 284m ³); KV 1 (Rameses VII, 463m³); and KV 23 (Ay, 618m ³). m ³ m ³ m ³

K Chamber K

Pillars. Pillars are found in KV chambers F and J and, less often, in their side-chambers, Fa, Jb, Jc, Jd, and Jddd. Prior to the reign of Rameses I (KV 16), two pillars were cut in each of the five royal tombs on our list; the other four royal tombs before his reign lacked chamber F altogether. From Seti I onward, each chamber F has four pillars (three of the fourteen tombs on our list lack a chamber F), except in KV 14, where no pillars were cut. Side-chambers, Fa, may be seen in five tombs (KV 17, 7, 8, 10, and 11; a side-chamber was apparently begun in KV 11 but never completed). In the first four of these, there either two or four pillars were cut.

In the burial chamber, "J", which is present in all tombs, the earliest (KV 20 and 34) had two pillars; other 18th Dynasty royal tombs had six (KV 35, 43, 22, 23, and Dynasty 19 tomb, KV 16). Later tombs had 8 pillars (KV 7, 8, 14, and 11) or 4 pillars (KV 47, 9, and 4). Nine of the 23 tombs on our list had no pillars in Chamber J.

There are only minor differences in the size of the pillars: most range from 0.97 to 1.10 m., and only in KV 7, 9, and 4 do the pillars in Chamber J significantly differ from those in Chamber F ("J" pillars are always the larger).

The pilasters on the rear wall of Chamber J in KV 9 (Rameses V/VI) are in fact unfinished cuttings for pillars, changed to speed up the completion of the tomb.

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