Valley of The Kings
Valley of the Kings
Valley of the kings, called by the Arabs (Beban el muluk) that means the gate of the kings because of the entrances of several tombs opening in the valleys rocky walls.
The ancient Egyptians refried to it in a different ways .such as ( t3 skht 33t) which means the great filed but the official name was the great and the majestic necropolis of millions of years for the pharaohs life ,strength health in the west bank of Thebes .
Kings of the new kingdom they chose Thebes to be their capital and they chose the hilly area of the west bank to be their tombs instead of the costal part of their capital and as they believed also that east is life and west is the city of the death.
The choice of this area was mainly for two reasons:-
1-to ensure that tombs would not be robbed by the tomb robbers same as the previous kings of the old and the middle kingdom.
They realized that an old kingdom kings they chose the pyramids to be their tombs and them final burial, and these too huge constrictions were very obvious to the tomb robbers and they served the purposes of the tomb robbers.
Kings of the middle kingdom they built pyramids built smaller than those in the old kingdom to serve also as burial sand tombs for them and these pyramids they used to have many passages inside the pyramids inside to be as a kind of disorientate for the tomb robbers or to hide the eyes of the tomb robbers from the actual burial chamber of the kings.
So finally the kings of the new kingdom they had to find out a way to hide the mummy of the kings or the queens and his funeral furniture from the hands of the tomb robbers, this ay was to dug a tomb in the mountain which have never been inhabited before and keeping the place secret for ever.
The final number of tombs excavated in the Valley of the Kings is 62 for the 18th, 19th and the 20th dynasty.
-kings of the 18th dynasty they had a habit of hiding the mummies & the funeral furniture in those hidden tombs with hidden and un-decorated entrances , while religious and funeral rituals to be held in the funeral temples which are located in the west bank of luxour .
-kings of the 20th dynasty completely ignored this idea of hiding the tombs in the Valley of the Kings and they depend on the blocking of the entrance by big and huge slabs of stones and decorating the entrances as long as they would be guarded .
-After the new kingdom the Valley of the Kings was no longer used, but we could find a lot of mummies in the dier-el bahari cachet belongs to the kings of the 21st dynasty and also we discovered in the karnak list of the kings in karnak temples which is now in louver museum a lot of names of kings for them we never discovered tombs till now.
-the theory of the safety of the tombs during the new kingdom in the 18th dynasty proved to be wrong, cause we could see some tombs were robbed also queen Hatshepsut has taken the mummy of her father Tuthmosis I to be hidden by her own and also the tomb of king (tut) was interrupted by the tomb robbers twice.
-the tombs of the Valley of the Kings in luxour are consisting of corridors, passages, rooms. Carved in the mountains and protected by some deep shafts and wells
-the scenes are carved in the walls are representing the full imagination of what is mentioned in their holly books , like the book of the dead , of the gates, of the caves, earth and famous stories of the famous story of the end of the man kind.
Concerning the shafts and the wells which were discovered in the tombs in the Valley of the Kings we have a lot of ideas concerning these shafts:-
1-some of the scholars they said that they were made inside the tombs to deceive the robbers.
2-otheres they said no they were made to save the water of the rains.
3-a German archeologist said that after studying the text and scenes in the walls the shafts might explaining what is written in the book of the dead about the 5th hour of judgment in which god sokar the god of the two worlds will be transferred to be the god osiris, so maybe these shafts where symbolic tombs for the deceased who was considered to be osiris –sokar.
The building of a royal tomb
The building of the tomb of the pharaoh the place where the transformation and the regeneration of the deceased king occurred was one of the living pharaoh main concerns.
Generally the location of the tomb of the king was chosen during the first year of the reign of the pharaoh and a plan was worked out in which not only the architectural plan and details was specified but also the decoration , the paintings ,and the texts to be represented in the walls.
Their subsequent implementation was entrusted to the architect and to the craftsmen who lived in the village of dier el madina and went to work following trial over mountains crest that can still be easily crossed today.
The working days are variable in length according to the tomb dimensions which in turn were proportional at least within certain limits, to the duration of the reign.
Working days started at the dawn and lasted for eight hours with a break for lunch after the first four hours that’s why working was not exhausting during the week of work which to last for 10 days.
During the working week craftsmen were organized in teams under the supervision of the main architect, each team divided into two groups the right team and the left team working under the orders of two foremen in the respective parts of the tomb.
The head of the team is to be appointed by the pharaoh or the vizier who was directly responsible for the work, and also to checked the reasons for the absence of the workmen, , and had dealings with the vizier himself through the scribe who was especially entrusted for this duty .
The scribes, who fulfilled a highly important and prestigious role in Egyptian society, were also charged with the withdrawal from the pharaohs warehouses of the food distributed as wages to the workmen with the settling of quarrels and with administration of justice in the village of dier-el madina.
Foremen in the other hand had to inspect the distribution of the materiel kept in the ware houses and record who was absence.
The groups of work not to have fixed number of members but the average length was between 30 and 60 person , however , they could be increased to 120 person if the work needs that.
The workmen duties were specialized stone cutters, sculptors, draftsmen and decorators worked side by side in assort of assembly line.
The quarrymen came into operation first, and while the digging went in, penetrating always deeper inside the mountain, the plasterers smoothed the walls of the parts not too far from the surface, affixing layer of muna, a kind of plaster obtained from a mixture of clay and quartz, limestone and crushed straw over which were laid thinner layers of clay and lime stone, successively whitened with layer of gypsum dissolved in water.
The execution of the decorative program is chosen by the high priest in agreement with the pharaoh who was entrusted to the draftsmen.
They worked using red ochre after having sub-divided the surface to paint into numerous squares, by means of string fastened to stick in order to be able to place correctly the figures and the texts to make sure that proportions were in accordance with very precise rules.
The draftsmen went under the supervision of the chief draftsman who made necessary corrections with the black charcoal.
Then the sculptors stepped in and started carving the rock to obtain bas relief to be colored later by the painters who would use basic six colors with a symbolic and ritual meaning.
The tomb of ramses I
Ramses I the founder of the 19th dynasty and the father of seti I, he reigned only for two years and his tomb is the smallest in the valley of the kings, the original plan for his must ms be bigger than this plan but the sudden death of the king forced the workers to finish the tomb quickly as much as possible.
The burial chamber which was probably meant o be the vestibule of a much larger hall was left un-finished.
Despite the fact that this small tomb, the size of which is related to the pharaoh brief reign, was never finished, it is decorated with paintings with extremely brilliant colors the tomb was left un-finished.
The tomb of ramses I was discovered in 1817 by the Italian explorer Giovanni Belzoni who found the large wooden ka statues of the king inside the tomb which are now in the British museum.
On the walls of the burial chamber the only decorated part of the tomb there are painted scenes from the book of the gates and a representation of ramses I in the presence of different gods and deities which is in many ways quite similar to those in the tomb of hormheb of whomramses was a vizer .