- Summaries of the Excavation Season in KV-10
- The large size of the tomb and the extensive buildup of rubble made it
necessary to carry
- out the work in relatively small stages.
From 1993-1997 the work was carried out during
- the summer months, but from 1998 through 2001 we switched to late winter
- avoid the excessive summer heat.
- The entrance ramp
(Area A) was essentially clear when we began our work, but there was
- still light
debris covering the solid limestone into which the combination steps and
- were cut.
The first interior chamber (room B) was cleared to the floor only in
the first part
- of the chamber---
beyond that, none of the original floor of the tomb was exposed.
- distance into
chamber C, the rubble reached nearly to the ceiling and was thus ca. 3m
- This front part
of the tomb had most recently been cleared by Edward Ayrton
- (for Theodore
Davis) in 1907.
- With rubble
reaching to near the ceiling in C and D chambers, the only immediate access
- the pillared hall
was through a hole or breech connecting Ramses III’s tomb (KV-11) with
- the unfinished
side chamber (Fa) in KV-10. KV-11
was originally hewn for Ramses II’s
- father, Sethnakht.
The tomb was abandoned after hitting the KV-10 side chamber. Ramses
- III later adapted
KV-11 for his own use. The hole
is now covered by a grate.
- This was a the
introductory exploration season, though we did carry out a small sondage in
- chamber B.
- The first full
season of excavation. B and C
chambers were fully cleared and an access path
- was cut through
the surface debris on the right side of the tomb in D chamber. Varied mixture
- of ancient and
relatively modern items found in the washed-in debris.
Floor debris contained
pharaonic wares, but late Roman era sherds were always nearby, in lesser
- Early indication
that the floors of these upper corridors had only relatively light debris
- Roman times.
- Pathway cut
through the well chamber (room E) and along the right side of the pillared
- then into the
lower chambers to the back of room H. No evidence of a doorway found at
- the back of H,
indicating the tomb construction ceased at that point.
A sondage at the
- back of H’s
right side yielded many sherds of storage jars and also some limestone
One of the latter bore a cartouche of Takhat.
This was our first evidence of an
- object bearing a
name of one of the three persons mentioned on the tomb walls.
- Excavated fully
rooms D and E, and began clearance of the side chamber Fa.
No well had
- been cut into
room E. A fragment of a red
granite sarcophagus lid bearing the name of
- Takhat added
further evidence of a possible burial for her.
Of interest were many fragments
- of blue-glazed
fayence funerary figurines (ushebties) of Sety I (Dynasty XIX).
- piece had the
head and upper torso, all of the remaining fragments were usually of the
- or foot end.
As many of these ushebties were found virtually at the floor level,
- clearly been
introduced into KV-10 long before Belzoni’s discovery of Sety I’s tomb,
- Side chamber Fa
was cleared and much work was done in the pillared hall (room F).
- The top three
steps of the descent were cleared, revealing a combination of steps flanking
- a central ramp,
comparable to the entry ramp in Area A.
The steps were covered over to
- protect them. Continuation of mixed artifacts in the rubble.
More sandy levels formed
- here as water sat
from time to time after flooding.
Much of chamber F
cleared this season, except around the most badly damaged pillars.
- Some probes in F
pit and G doorway and some surface levels removed form chamber G.
- Pillar C was
rebuilt. Evidence that
nineteenth century explorers probed around in the
sector of the hall.
G chamber was
cleared except for the doorway and a small patch of floor beyond it.
- Some debris from
the surface levels in H was also removed.
Much consolidation of the
- poorly preserved
ceiling in H. From the lower levels, many (over 200 pieces) fragments
- from the
sarcophagus lid were found. Same
lid as that represented by the fragment found
- in 1995. No evidence of the sarcophagus box. Also found, some additional canopic
- fragments belonging
to Takhat. The sarcophagus lid
had been usurped from a Queen
- Anketemheb (most
likey a queen of Ramses II) and the canopic texts also showed a
- recutting of the
titles and names for Takhat. Pillar
A, the best preserved of the four, was
- Chamber H was
virtually cleared and most of the G chamber access ramp (our own device)
- was removed.
Very few sarcophagus lid fragments were found in the back room (H),
- some more canopic
fragments (including one lid) was found.
A part of a mandible and
- much of a very
encrusted human skull were found on the floor near the back of chamber H.
- As the season was
close to an end, the skull was covered over and left for the following
- season (2000).
Much repair work was carried out on the walls and ceilings in G and H
around pillars B and D. Pillars
B’s base (a very fissured stump) was
- consolidated and
left, while pillar D was consolidated and partly rebuilt.
One face of pillar
- D had a deeply
incised relief of Ptah, and in the rubble around the base of the pillar
fragments were found. The chin
is missing still. In the event additional fragments
- turn up in the
rubble in the descent, none of the decorated pieces have been restored to
- As another
mission showed great interest in our Area A and its environs, we shifted
- to the exterior
of the tomb. From the outset of
the project a search for foundation deposits
- had been reserved
for late in the project for it would require encroaching on the main paths
- for tourism in
the Valley. However we put off
working inside the tomb to attend to it now.
- The modern
protective walls were removed from in front of the tomb and roughly 2/3 of
- area we planned
to explore was cleared to bedrock. No
deposits were found, but 5m north
- of the first step
cut into Area A we located part of a complex of necropolis workmen’s huts.
- One room plus
part of a second were cleared. The structure essentially rests upon bedrock
- and was probably
built for the workers who constructed KV-10.
The area was allowed to
- remain open until
we return, and many sandbags were installed to fortify the edges of the
- excavation pit.
- Unable to return in the late winter of 2002 (for financial reasons), it
was reported that many of
- our sandbags were disintegrating and so the SCA felt it necessary to fill
in our excavation pit.
- We will deal with the exterior in the 2003 and then finish the interior.
(That consists of clearing
- the descent through the pillared hall and the doorway of G.)
Some of the other tasks awaiting
- us are recording the scant decoration throughout the tomb and a series of
studies on the pottery
- and other artifacts.
was opened for inspection on 15 January 2003 and work began on 18 January.
end of March, excavations proper had ceased, but much of April was used
to prepare the area in
front of the tomb for closing the season. A new
perimeter wall was erected and the tomb was
resealed on 26 April 2003.
original plan for the season was simple: reclear the rubble dumped into our
(2001 season), then complete the clearance of the (west) huts and
finally check the east side of
KV-10 for foundation deposits. All went as
planned until late February when we began to
the east side of the
tomb. About a meter from the entrance, more walls were found
huts. These were followed and they continued eastward and
A complex of at least
5 rooms was on the east side of the
tomb. These are now designated the
East Huts, the former huts
from 2001 are now the West Huts.
East Huts still continue under rubble in the northeast area of the tomb.
It was necessary to
halt to the digging in the late March as staff and
time were short, but we hope to follow the
bit more next season.
two rooms of the West Huts contained some ceramic materials and a few ostraca.
A major item
from the second room and found next to a large jar embedded in the
floor was a docket with the name
of User-Maat-Re, surely Ramses II. An
interesting item found in the rubble above the floor of that same
room was the
corner of a limestone offering table mentioning King Nebhepetre of Dyn.
XI. Very like
this reference to an early king was as some commemorative
nature, for it is unlikely that this fragment is
an XIth Dynasty original.
East Huts, by contrast, contained a wealth of materials --- ostraca, ceramics,
workmen's tools and
other evidence of the workgangs in the Valley of the
Kings. Subject matter of the ostraca vary, some
are accounts, some simply
series of numbers, a few with lengthy texts, some sketches, some what might
termed "enigmatic" ostraca. By far the most exquisite was a
painted limestone fragment showing the
goddess Meret-Seger as a sumptuously adorned
cobra before offerings. This piece was dedicated to
Meret-Seger and one
Nebnefer by the Deputy in the place of Truth, Baki.
the other ostraca, there was some dated material. A Year 9 and a Year 10
were found, though
no name of a king accompanied these dates. Most likely
these are from late in the reign of Merenptah.
There was also a text on a
wine amphora dated to Year 1 of Sety Merenptah (Sety II). The
situations, the royal references, the ceramics and the mention of
the workmen's names on
the texts all
suggest that this workmen's mini-village
may have functioned from late in the reign of Ramses
II (West Huts)
late Merenptah through Amenmesse and Sety II (East Huts). No specific
been found to date in the huts areas, but one small ostracon gives
which match the corridor
and height of KV-10. But far more study is necessary before
publishable report can be prepared.
of these materials on the east side were found against the cliff
The north end of room 2 seemed
be a dumping area. Though a mass of the artifacts came up on
March, ostrca and evidence of the
activities were found scattered in and around all the walls
the complex. For the most part, we
not disturbed the "floors" but will wait until we can find the
of the complex. As the walls continue
enexcava6ted rubble, this investigation will hopefully
resumed next season.
special projects associated with the work included the discovery of a corner
of a limestone offering
bearing the name of King Nebhepetre of Dynasty XI. Very likely this
was not a Dyn. XI original,
New kingdom commemoration of the earlier monarch.
Walker brought a portable X-ray machine to Luxor. At the tomb, she
took some X-ray photos of
of the animals remains recovered during our work. All the necessary
letters, approvals at the local
done in accordance with administrative necessities.
was a long season for us and we were most fortunate to have such assemblages
of ostraca and
These will ultimately allow us to reconstruct a fair amount of the history
of these huts,
- The 2004 season officially began with the opening of the tomb of King
- on the 17th of January. The
tomb was resealed on the 27th of March.
The main emphasis of
- this season was to continue the investigation of the workmen’s huts on
the east side of the tomb
- entrance. Before the actual
excavations could begin, it was necessary to remove the rubble
- fill we put over some of the ancient constructions at the close of the
2003 season. It took
- several weeks to remove this fill before we could continue where we left
off last year.
- As we cleared to the north of what we had termed the “double wall” in
2003, we found a third
- wall running parallel to it. Each
wall is lower, creating a terraced effect.
Now we have
- changed our designation from “double” to “triple wall.”
The walls appear to continue under
- rubble in the east. Several
walls running north-south direction go towards the center of the valley.
- These structures seem rather complex for workmen’s huts, but the finds
associated with the entire
- area only reflect the activities of the tomb-builders--- ostraca, ceramics
(showing heavy usage),
- flint tools, occasional copper chisel tips, wood splinters and an apparent
local favorite, dom
- palm fruits.
- To the east, two new rooms were uncovered (numbers 7-8 of the East Huts).
The rubble directly
- above them was different from what we found above rooms 2-3, for the area
had been cut into in
- relatively recent times, just stopping at the top of the east wall
of room 8. This cut along the
- face was then filled in with turab and rock slabs. It cuts through what we have termed the Howard
- Carter Level I (cf. our 2001 and 2003 reports) and was made in relatively
recent times, perhaps
- Belzoni, Loret or even Davis.
- During our 2003 season, we followed the walls of the huts to the east and
cleared to their floors.
- It was on the floors that we had great success with the finds last year,
and this year our aim was to
- check into and under the floors. Finds were not as plentiful this
season, but were essentially the
- same wares, flint tools and the like, and more dom palm fruits!
A jar embedded in the floor of
- Room 7 had 9 fruits. While
the material atop and within the floors was consistent, after 15-20
- cms. Below the floors, there was just the natural rubble buildup, which
was sterile of artifacts.
- This rubble went to the gebel.
- While the floors show a buildup from usage, the time period involved seems
to have been relatively
- brief. In one area we
have a sign of more significant stratification.
Along the top wall (southernmost)
- of the “triple wall” there was a floor that covered two small
compartments. Within each was
- an amphora base embedded. One
side had signs of much burning and ash.
Below the embedded
- jar in one compartment is a short section of wall.
This is only an area of ca. 70 cms wide, but presently
- presents us with the possibility of gaining more evidence of the buildup
of the walls in this section of the
- East Huts. We hope to expand
this during the 2005 season.
- Though finds were not as plentiful as last season, we did have a few
ostraca of interest. One had a
- butterfly in profile, a goose and a locust drawn in red paint.
A butterfly in profile was thought to be
- perhaps unique, but Prof. Ertman found some examples in the Theban tomb of
Neb-Amun (Dyn. XVIII).
- Another had a drawing in red
and black of a man apparently holding a stela (shown in profile).
- latter added the bottom fragment (found nearby) to complete the scene
depicting a kneeling figure with
- a stela. There was also an
ostracan with a “chisel” allotment; among the names was Amun-em-wia,
- known to have flourished in the time of Merneptah.
And an amphora gives a “Year 9” (most likely
- also of Merneptah) but the rest of the text is lost.
The ceramics essentially match last year’s and the
- connections with Merneptah continues.
The names Wadjmose and possibly Nebsmen (a third time form
- KV-10) are workmen known from the latter part of Dyn. XIX.
- Up the slope east of the tomb, (south of Room 1) we found a fragment of a
fayence vessel bearing the
- name of Ramses III. And in
the area where there was a relatively recent cut into the rubble along the
- side of the cliff face, we found a wine docket (date lost) of Menkheprure
(Thutmose IV); this latter may
- be an intrusive piece.
- The map below shows the entire KV-10 huts’ complexes as presently known.
The newly uncovered
- rooms are mainly in the east and northeast area. The so-called “triple wall” extends almost 5.5 m. and
- appears to continue under the rubble.
The east wall of Room 8 is somewhat of a flimsy structure at
- the south end, but becomes more substantial as it heads north under the
unexcavated rubble. Our plan
- is to expand our probe (within reasonable limits) so as to gain a clearer
picture of these complex
- structures and their stratigraphy. Our
next proposal (to be submitted in the autumn) will cover the East
- Huts and hopefully also the conclusion of the interior excavations in
KV-10’s pillared hall.
- Our refilling at the end of the season was done so as to reduce the time
and costs needed at the start
- of the 2005 season. The
tomb’s modern protective wall on the west side was strengthened and the
- new configuration provides more area for tourists on the path to the west
of KV-10. The enclosure
- or perimeter wall from last season was entirely removed, and a new
enclosure wall was erected. The
- photo below was taken on closing day as our workmen were erecting the
final barrier at the “gates”.
- It has almost been 10 years since the last major flood in the KV, so it is
necessary to have these barriers
- in our absence.
- Our inspectors for the 2004 season were Yasser Yusef Ahmed and then
- Mohammed. Special thanks to
Dr. Holeil Ghaly, Dr. Ali al-Asfar and Mohammed Abd el-Aziz for
- much assistance and discussion. Our
staff consisted of Prof. Earl Ertman, Edwin Brock, Betty
- Schneider, Melanie Dohoda, Elizabeth Tyran and George Johnson. Pieter Collet drew our map and
- Dr. Birgit Schlick-Nolte visited to review our ancient glass
- (click on pictures for more detail)
- (click on pictures for more detail)
The 2005 season’s work was carried out from 31 January
through 12 March, with some refilling of our excavation pit taking place in the
followings weeks. The site exterior was restored and the tomb was resealed on 7
To the east of East Huts Room Eight, two more rooms were
found. Room Nine was a sizeable chamber and had a small antechamber in front.
While earlier explorers had basically left the floors of the other rooms of the
East Huts intact, we found this east end to have been fully probed about a
century ago, presumably by Theo Davis (based in part on a Chablis bottle found
in the fill and a piece of New York Times newsprint dated “5 February 1907”).
Both chambers’ floors had been cut through as the earlier probe went below the
foundations and down to the gebel two metres below the floor level.
The widespread disturbance noted at this east end of the
huts area was refilled with rubble, leaving no reliable archaeological context
for the finds. Aside from sherds of various periods, Room Nine contained a
decorated chunk (ca. 34 cm wide) of the sarcophagus box of Ramses IV and also an
ostracon which mentioned the name of Ramses II. A late Roman amphora fragment
next to the Ramses II ostracon illustrates well the mixed nature of the refill
debris. The smaller Room Ten, had a tiny mud seal fragment with a cartouche of
In the center section of our pit, essentially the north
limit of our probe, only one wall (dividing wall between Rooms Eight and Nine)
shows a continuation to the north under unexcavated rubble nearer the center of
the King’s Valley (KV). This wall could run close to or even join remains of
huts found by Carter in the center of the KV. What appeared to be possibly
continuing walls in the sector faded away. The area north of the main body of
the East Huts have been raised with rock chip deposits, additional “floors”
developed from usage and more rock slab deposits raised the area, no doubt to
enlarge and level off the work space for the tomb builders.
As the walls dwindled, so did the quality and quantity of
the finds. Nearing the edge of the huts and getting farther into the tourist
paths of the KV, it was determined to conclude the outward extension of our
A report on the 2005 Season was submitted for publication
in the Annales du service des l’antiquities de l’ Egypte in June 2005
(now “in press”).
The staff consisted of Otto Schaden, Earl Ertman, Heather
Alexander, Alistair Dickey, Roxanne Wilson, Elizabeth Schneider, George Johnson,
Melanie Dohoda, with Zeinab Ali Mohammed as our Egyptian Inspector. Gunter
Heindl and Pieter Collet (both of the Swiss Mission) kindly did some mapping for
(click on pictures for more detail)
Approvals for the resumption of the project were earlier
this autumn. It is hoped to get the next season underway late in December 2005
and continue the work well into 2006. As we are still in the planning stage, a
tentative cut-off date has yet to be established. There are tasks to perform
outside KV-10, and if time and funds permit, we will turn our attention to
clearing the descent through the pillared hall—the area in Amenmesse’s tomb
which is cluttered with rubble.
NOTE: The KV-10 website will be undergoing some revisions
and additions, but with the next season to get underway in the near future, some
new materials (and some older but still relevant items) will not be introduced
until after the 2006 season.