Sunday, September 04, 2011

UPDATED. Breaking News - a new tomb in the Valley of the Kings?

Kate and I were at the AWT Amarna conference (and fund raiser) this weekend where, together with a large number of other people, we considerably enjoyed two days of excellent lectures by some terrific speakers. In his usual style, the conference host Peter Allingham saved a particularly good punchline for last.

Stephen Cross, who has been consulting on excavations in the Valley of the Kings opposite the tomb of Tutankhamun, announced the possible discovery of a new tomb located only three feet away from where he predicted it would be! Excavations were stopped when the revolution started, but hopefully excavation permits will be granted for further excavation to determine exactly what is there. Cross has secured the commitment of a top Egyptologist and unlimited funding, so the potential is there. The chances of it being undisturbed are good.

Kate has written up a summary of Stephen Cross's lecture on her blog (

We will provide more details about the lecture and will also review the conference as a whole on Friday on Egyptological, and will write up a good selection of the other lectures over the next couple of weeks. Although the new tomb announcement was a great punchline to the conference as a whole, there has been some seriously fascinating work carried out at Amarna which was a revelation to me, and I am looking forward to writing up some of those lectures and discussing them.

I have to say that it was a marvellous end to a really enjoyable two days. My thanks to Peter Allingham, Janet and Mike Shepherd, and all the speakers for all their hard work. It was a really great event.

Apologies that I am running behind with other Egytology news - I will be updating the blog over the next few hours (see below).


Martin Hooper said...

Interesting.... :)

Wonder if it will full of treasures like King Tut or pf a famous king...

Timothy Reid said...

Hi Andie

I am skeptical but hopeful. I have to say that kv63 being regarded as a staging place for mummies may be inappropriate for that purpose as I would think that a tomb with a staircase would be alott more convenient to access than a shaft like kv63 has.

I do not know what the strata of the kv63 deposit was but am inclined to see kv63 as a tomb of an 18th dynasty noble robbed and later the tomb was filled with unwanted refuse?

Most I can hope for is that kv64 resolves the issue of the kv55 mummy. Perhaps kv64 will be the tomb of Akhenaten or Smenkhara, though it appears that one of them has already been found?


AliceG said...

Wonderful, wonderful. But you must remember that Zahi found it first!

I agree with Tim on KV 63.

Anonymous said...

Hi Alice
Zahi found it first?
I presume that you were joking.
Hawass announced that he had found
KV64 and KV65 when they were only
digging about and found some
cuttings of an unfinished tomb that was began for an official's father, that led no where. NO tombs were found.

Andie said...

Just a quick note before I leave for the day. I've had both emails and comments (some which I won't be publishing because they are so inflammatory) criticizing Stephen Cross's methods, scholarship and ideas. Let me just say, before I get into this in more depth later this week, that Stephen Cross was perfectly clear at the Amarna Conference that his ideas are yet to be tested by excavation, that Ground Penetrating Radar (on which he is basing his hopes) is not always a reliable technique for drawing conclusions about the precise nature of sub-surface structures, and that a lot of his ideas are purely speculative although he believes that his ideas do fit the available facts.

Barry Kemp was the keynote speaker at the conference and was accompanied by reputable archaeologists and Egyptologists like Dylan Bickerstaff, Bill Manley, Kate Spence, Stephen Buckley etc. Whilst there is no reason to suggest that they accept his views, they all knowingly appeared at the same conference and many of them were there during his lecture and didn't challenge him.

Until some more clarification arises, or until someone is prepared to stand up and challenge the findings with some facts rather than unsupported accusations (someone who is prepared to use their own name rather than hiding behind an Anonymous tag) I see no reason to condemn a man for presenting his research in a respectable forum amongst his peers.

I'll keep you posted.

Don't forget to see Kate's post for a much more detailed overview of Cross's findings than my quick paragraph.

Andie said...

PS @ Tim - I agree that skepticism is certainly the most sensible standpoint to take, as with all these maybe/maybe-not scenarios.

IF (and it is an "if") excavations do reveal a tomb, finished or unfinished, robbed or intact, the main hope will be that it adds to the database of knowledge about the Valley of the Kings, Eightenth Dynasty funerary practices and the location of missing/disputed mummies.

I hope that excavations do eventually proceed so that all the speculation can be wound up.

Apologies for any typos etc in this and the previous comment - and now I really must go out!!

Timothy Reid said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Dr Hawass investigated two anomalies that ground radar highlighted. Neither proved to be tombs but geological features. Dr Nicholas Reeves had previously highlighted other (or possibly the same) features in this location. This rather small area seems to have a denser "population" of tombs with KV57, KV56, KV62 and KV63 all cut into the valley floor. KV 55 and KV16 are also close but cut more into the side of the valley than the floor. Apart from KV56 (which might have been re-used by Seti II for a daughter), all are late 18th/start 19th Dynasty. If indeed a tomb is found here, it is likely on this basis to be of the same date. As to whether it is intact, that is difficult to say, but if it is, it is more likely to be similar to KV63 than KV62. Which, of course, makes it no less interesting. CJB

Anonymous said...

I meant to add that about a year or so ago there were high hopes of finding a hitherto unknown tomb close to that of Merneptah. This was in an area that Carter had explored for Carnarvon. Despite optimistic reports at the start of operations, all that was apparently found was a man-made drainage channel.
In a similar vein, there were clearances in The West Valley that some web commentators described as "large scale", but again, apparently nothing of significance was found. Given its size and the small number of tombs located there, The West Valley would seem to be a very promising location for a late 18th Dynasty burial place, especially as for some reason it was abandoned after Ay was interred. It is certainly a lonely secretive place: I wondered after my visit why it was used for only 2 burials. CJB

Stephanie said...

Interestingly Hawass mentions undisturbed workmen`s huts and signs of cutting into the bedrock under the "resthouse" (Carter`s house) in his press release "Latest News from the Valley of the Kings".
As far as I am aware these features have not been investigated since or at least nothing has been reported.
Quite unbelievable if one thinks that both KV62 and 63 were found underneath workmen`s huts!

Anonymous said...

Dr Hawass was referring to the rest house in the centre of The East Valley. There are known to be several signs of abandoned cuttings in this area, one of which contained a deposit of jars that are thought to have contained embalmers' refuse. A second was quite close to KV55 and may have been the initial attempt to excavate this tomb. I presume it was abandoned because of the rock but that is only my opinion. An unfortunate side effect of earlier archaeological clearances in the VoK is that "minor" finds such as these were disregarded and went unrecorded, except perhaps in now lost journals (in one of the photos of the interior of KV55 one such journal/notebook can be seen in the niche close to the Canopic jars). CJB

AliceG said...

Skepticism and then hope are both good words. It would be wonderful if true. And I guess Zahi can't claim it now since he's not in power. (I was kidding.)

Anonymous said...

The Rest House reffered to is the one at the centre of The Valley beside KV55. There are several known tomb commencements that this covers along with the site of a deposit of jars containing embalming refuse. These jars are dated to the late Ramesside Period.
The knowledge of a flood covering the area of KV62's entrance is not new: John Romer and Nicholas Reeves among others have referred to it.
Now Dr. Hawass has retired, will archaeologists like Nicholas Reeves and Joanne Fletcher be allowed to work in The Valley again I wonder? CJB