Vallée des Rois (Egypte) : Discovery of a new tomb, KV 64
University of Basel Kings' Valley Project
Prof. Dr. Susanne Bickel
Short Preliminary Report January 2012
Discovery of a new tomb in the Valley of the Kings, KV 64
During the season of 2011, three edges of an unknown manmade feature appeared at 1.80m to the north of KV 40, on the 25th of January, the first day of the Egyptian revolution. Due to the situation, it was immediately covered with an iron door.
As this structure is so close to KV 40 and as it was impossible to know whether it was just a short unfinished shaft or a real tomb, we gave it the temporary number 40b. This number is now replaced by the final designation KV 64. The KV numbers should definitely be used exclusively for real tombs or deposits and not for possible cavities and yet unascertained structures.
This season, work was resumed on January 8th. With the permission of the Ministry of State of Antiquities we started to work on the unknown structure.
It soon turned out to be a rock-cut tomb of the 18th dynasty, 15th century BCE. In the shaft the upper edge of the door appeared at a depth of about 2.5m. The shaft measures approximately 1.10m by 1.60m. Its fill showed no evidence of being affected by flood water.
In the blocking of the entrance, two stages of use could be observed. Large stones in front and over the entrance belong to a secondary occupation. Of the primary phase dating to the 18th dynasty, some 0.50cm of the plaster seal of the entrance and a Nile silt flower pot with remnants of this plaster remain on the floor of the shaft.
The tomb has a single chamber of approx. 4m (north – south) by 2.4m (east-west). The room was filled with debris to about 0.8m under the ceiling.
On the left (north) side of the chamber, a black wooden coffin lies upon the thick layer of debris. On its sides, large yellow hieroglyphs are painted. Traces of yellow decoration are visible under the dust on its upper side. Next to the feet of the coffin stands a small, wooden stelae (27.5 x 22.5 x 2cm) with very bright colours. The type of stelae and coffin clearly indicate to the 22nd dynasty, 9th century BCE. It is one of the very few burials of this period in Thebes that can be observed with its objects still in their original position.
From the texts on the stelae and on the coffin, it appears that the burial belongs to a lady who was a chantress of Amun, called Nehemes-Bastet. Her father was a priest in Karnak.
The coffin is in good condition and contains the intact, carefully wrapped mummy of the lady, who measured about 1.55m. Conservation work is currently carried out before transportation to a magazine.
Pottery and fragments of wood point to the existence of a burial of the 18th dynasty underneath the layer of debris, which has yet to be cleared.