Monday, August 18, 2008

Update on KV5

Theban Mapping Project, KV5

Many thanks to Gary Maher for letting me know that the KV5 section on the Theban Mapping Project has been updated with an August 2008 progress report.

The 2008 season of the Theban Mapping Project's work in Valley of the Kings tomb KV 5 began on the morning of 10th February and continued until 19th March. During that time, significant restoration and stabilization of tomb walls was undertaken, especially in the doorways preceding the intersection of corridors 7, 10, and 1l, near the statue niche of Osiris. Here, techniques similar to those used in previous seasons to stabilize and restore the pillars in chamber 3 were used to strengthen the walls between doorways 7i, 7j, 7k, and 7l, and the doorway into corridor 11. This work was important because the bedrock above this part of KV 5 is over 34 meters thick and its great weight has resulted in numerous compression fractures in the tomb's walls. In addition, chambers 7i and 7j were cleared of debris. Both their doorways revealed cut limestone blocks that had been laid on the floor of each, creating 10 centimeter high sills. This feature is not found in the doorways of other side-chambers along corridor 7.

Corridors 25, 26, and 27 were filled to a depth of about 1.5 meters of fine silt, overlaid with large blocks of limestone fallen from the chambers' ceilings. We cleared the corridors of stone and silt. Very few potsherds were found. In contrast to corridors 20 and 21, where 3, 749 and 1,204 sherds were found, respectively, corridor 25 contained only 123 sherds, corridor 26 only 3, and corridor 9 only 9. These low numbers are due to early flooding that blocked doorways into corridors between here and the tomb's entrance, slowing later floods and making them unable to carry anything but small, light weight objects. Corridor 27 was left unfinished by ancient workmen, and ended after about 5 meters. The eight side-chambers of corridors 25 and 26 have not yet been cleared.

Side-chamber 8b was also cleared. Only six potsherds were found, in contrast to the 450 sherds found in earlier clearing of chamber 8, and 240 found in 8c. Again, the blocking of the doorway into chamber 8 by early flood events reduced the number and size of objects that could be transported into it.

A major undertaking this season was the clearing and stabilization of chamber 5, the only chamber in KV 5 known with some certainty to have served as a burial chambers. That identification is based upon the fact that there are four small brick niches cut into the chamber's four walls. Such niches are found only in New Kingdom royal burial chambers. Only a part of the chamber has so far been cleared: a strip about two meters wide along its west wall, a strip about 1.5 meters wide along the western half of its south wall, and a strip about 1.0 meters wide along its north wall. The ceiling of chamber 5 had suffered badly over the years, both because of the many fractures in the limestone in this part of the hillside, and because tourist buses used to park directly above the west side of the chamber, and vibrations from their running engines caused many tons of the ceiling to collapse into the room.

See the above page for the entire report.

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