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Egypt: The Tomb of Amenophis II, Valley of the Kings


The Tomb of Amenophis II, Valley of the Kings

by Jimmy Dunn writing as Mark Andrews

Amenophis II's tomb is an architectural delight. Designated KV 35, it was located by Victor Loret on the slope opposite of the Valley of the King's main wadi in March of 1898. Like most all of the tombs in the Valley of the Kings, it had been extensively looted, though there were a few surprises.


This is a large tomb with complex architecture, though very similar in many respects to the tomb of Tuthmosis III. Like other tombs in the valley, there are two sets of stairways and two corridors prior to the ritual shaft. New for this tomb are decorations depicting the king performing ritual acts before Osiris, Anubis and Hathor. From the ritual shaft, the tomb takes a 90 degree turn into the two pillared vestibule. Wide flight of stairs leads out of the vestibule into a third corridor and then into a large, six pillared room. This room has images of the king in the presence of various deities.

At the back (south) of the six pillared room beyond the last set of pillars is the burial chamber. The burial chamber contains the kings red quartzite sarcophagus and until 1928, the mummy of the king. The mummy was transferred to the Cairo Museum at that time. However, this is one of the surprises in this tomb, for unlike other tombs in the valley, Amenophis II's mummy was found intact, with a garland of mimosa flowers at his neck, though the coffin he was laid in was perhaps a replacement. Normally, tomb robbers would search the mummies for gold amulets and other valuable objects, but for some reason they ignored the mummy of this king.

There is one annex to either side of the six pillared room, and two more annexes, one one each side of the burial chamber. The burial chamber includes the complete text of the Book of Amduat, including the corresponding illustrations. The whole text is laid out as though on a huge papyrus. This text, in simple paint (no reliefs), is in cursive hieroglyphs. On the ceiling is the familiar pattern of gold stars on a dark blue background.

Within the the western lateral annex, which was enclosed by a stone wall, Loret found his second surprise, for here he found the sarcophagi and mummies of nine other royal burials, as well as his son, Webensenu, and probably his mother, Hatshepsut-Meryetre. These included Tuthmosis IV, Amenophis III, Merneptah, Sethos II, Siptah, Setenakhte, Ramesses IV, Ramesses V and Ramesses VI. In all, he found remains of 17 royal burials in the cache. This cache was likewise note violated. Hence, Loret's discovery of this tomb ranks high in the annuls of Egypotology.

We believe it was the high priest Pinudjem I (1070-1037 BC) who had these mummies stored in Amenophis II's tomb at the beginning of the 21st Dynasty, just as Pinudjem II (990-969 BC) transferred the mummies found in the Deir el-Bahri cache.

Though the tomb had been robbed, perhaps more than once in antiquity, there were a number of items found within the tomb by Loret. These objects ranged from the magical to the mundane. Some of these included:

  • A papyrus with extracts from the Book of Caverns
  • Emblems in wood
  • A broken Osiris bed
  • At least one large wooden funerary couch
  • Large wooden figure of serpent found near the entrance to the antechamber
  • Three barues
  • Large wooden Sekhmet figure that was made for the kings son, Webensenu
  • Almost life-size cow head statue found in the sepulchral hall
  • Vases of green porcelian (faience)
  • Resin-coated wooden panther
  • 30 empty storage jars
  • Miniature wooden coffins

However, Loret found hundreds of other objects and considerable debris.

General Site Information

  • Structure: KV 35
  • Location: Valley of the Kings, East Valley, Thebes West Bank, Thebes
  • Owner: Amenhotep II
  • Other designations:
  • Site type: Tomb

Orientation

  • Axis in degrees: 289.09
  • Axis orientation: West

Site Location

  • Latitude: 25.44 N
  • Longitude: 32.36 E
  • Elevation: 185.5 msl
  • North: 99,499.394
  • East: 93,969.126
  • JOG map reference: NG 36-10
  • Modern governorate: Qena (Qina)
  • Ancient nome: 4th Upper Egypt
  • Surveyed by TMP: Yes

Measurements

  • Maximum height: 3.44 m
  • Minimum width: 0.94 m
  • Maximum width: 10.15 m
  • Total length: 91.87 m
  • Total area: 362.85 m
  • Total volume: 852.21 m

Additional Tomb Information

  • Entrance location: Cliff face
  • Owner type: King
  • Entrance type: Staircase
  • Interior layout: Corridors and chambers
  • Axis type: Bent

Decoration

  • Painting

Categories of Objects Recovered

  • Accessories
  • Architectural elements
  • Clothing
  • Food
  • Human mummies
  • Jewelry
  • Models
  • Sculpture
  • Tomb equipment
  • Vegetal remains
  • Vessels
  • Warfare and hunting equipment
  • Written documents

Dating:

History of Exploration

  • Loret, Victor (1898): Discovery (made for the Service des Antiquits)
  • Bucher, Paul (1932): Photography
  • Hornung, Erik (1982-1992): Epigraphy

References:

Title

Author

Date

Publisher

Reference Number

Ancient Egypt The Great Discoveries (A Year-by-Year Chronicle)

Reeves, Nicholas

2000

Thmes & Hudson, Ltd

ISBN 0-500-05105-4

Complete Valley of the Kings, The (Tombs and Treasures of Egypt's Greatest Pharaohs)

Reeves, Nicholas; Wilkinson, Richard H.

1966

Thames and Hudson Ltd

IBSN 0-500-05080-5

Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, The

Shaw, Ian

2000

Oxford University Press

ISBN 0-19-815034-2

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