Joined: 13 Mar 2004
Location: Long Beach, CA
|Posted: Sun Aug 08, 2004 12:48 am Post subject: The Valley of the Kings excavations
|This is an interesting article.
This is the first time I have heard that many scholar's believe Tutankhamon's burial was a cache.
Valley of the Kings Excavation Yields Some Early Results
Professor Geoffrey Martin is best known for his work on the tombs of New Kingdom officials in Saqqara. His work with Dutch colleagues on a joint UK-Netherlands excavation led to the discovery of the extraordinarily beautiful tomb belonging to Maya, a senior official during and after the Amarna period, and his wife Merit. Professor Martin?s comment ?My God ? it?s Maya!? uttered on entering the tomb and making out the names therein, is a phrase that is now securely lodged in the annals of the history of Egyptology.
For the past two seasons, however, Professor Martin has been working in the only concession for new excavations to be granted for some considerable time in the Valley of the Kings. He is co-director, with Nicholas Reeves, whose published work in the Valley is well-known, of an excavation in a triangular shaped piece of land which might, it is believed, yield information about the burials of the Amarna royal family.
Members of the Manchester branch of the Egypt Exploration Society and guests were privileged to hear the news of the first fruits of this excavation on 4 July 2000 when Professor Martin was a very welcome lecturer to the branch.
?We?re not looking for Nefertiti?s tomb, contrary to recent speculation!? warned Geoffrey Martin. While conceding that it would be a spectacular discovery, he tried to convince the audience that it would bring in its wake more than enough headaches. ?Caches are more likely to be found in this area,? he admitted, before teasing the audience again with the suggestion that ?Tutankhamun?s tomb was a cache, after all!? It is true that the simple, almost plain little tomb crammed with treasure in which the young king was buried is not outstanding in terms of design or decoration, and most commentators believe that it was not originally intended for Tutankhamun.
The fate of the remains of the royal family of Amarna: Akhenaten, Nefertiti, their six daughters, and Queen Tiye, mother of Akhenaten ? is unknown. Speculation about at least one mummy, that from Tomb KV55, has gone on over the years but is still, despite recent news, inconclusive. Professor Martin is convinced that the Amarna royal family was eventually removed from Akhetaten and brought to rest in the Valley of the Kings. This is quite in keeping with what we know of the fate of many monarchs, who were not permitted to rest in peace even after death. Many of the best known names in Egyptian history ? Ramesses II, Sety I, Tuthmosis I and III, to rest in were moved from location to location within the Valley in ancient times for security reasons.
Conditions in the cramped Valley of the Kings, with its thousands of visiting tourists, are very different from the plateau of Saqqara. Within the concession area there is little space to work, and everything is hampered by spoil heaps from much earlier excavations. The major trench work is deep and potentially hazardous, but very worthwhile, since workmen?s dwellings of the Ramesside period have been discovered with some extremely interesting items. An ?erotic ostracon?, a drawing on a sherd found in the area, described as ?spectacular? by Professor Martin, showed that there is little point in complaining about workmen?s pinups or graffiti, since there is nothing new under the sun. It did, however, make at least one listener wonder what future archaeologists would make of the demolished remains of the local ladies? lavatory. Ancient Egypt looks forward to future presentations and publications about this excavation.