Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Valley of the Kings

Blogging from my phone makes it hard to fully describe the things we have seen today. We crossed the Nile and took a bus to the Valley of the Kings. We passed through old Gurneh, home of the greatest tomb robbers of the 19th century, the el Rassoul fanily. The current residents refuse to move to the new town near by build by the state because their houses still rest on undiscovered tombs.

We hiked up to the top of the Valley along a path used 3000 years ago by the tomb workers who lived in Dier el Medina. Although it was hazy the view from the top was awe inspiring. We returned to the valley and entered the Tomb of Seti I, which is not open to the public. It is amazing shape with beautiful walls still showing vibrant co.ored heiroglyphs. One room is incomplete but shows where the workers had started to draw the figures before carving them into the linestone.

Dr Weeks then opened KV5. Two men from the Supreme Council of Antiquities are there. One breaks the small seal, the other notes the date. As assistent has to set up lights so we can see. The inside is hot. The floor and ceiling uneven. Bracing is everywhere. This tomb was filled with debris from floods over the last 3000 years. Removing it is like chipping out concrete. Except the concrete has valuable artifacts in it. Although this the largest tomb ANYWHERE in Egypt we could only get into four main chambers. There are over 150 rooms mapped so far, more are still untouched.

Tuts tomb is a dinky closet compared to KV5. At least size wise. The Sarcophagus and an outer case lie in situ and are stunning, but the wall paintings are more lower quality.

No comments: