Studies about the fragments of decoration of Seti I KV17 – Dr Florance Mauric-Barberio.
During the excavation of Ramses X lots of fragments from the tomb of Seti I were found. Seti I is an important tomb, discovered by Belzoni in 1817, because it is entirely decorated in all areas. It was done in painted raised relief which takes a long time and maybe the reason why this method is rarely used. Like the tomb of Horemheb some sections of Seti’s relief’s are done in outline only and have not been completed.
When finding a fragment it is possible to identify which part of the tomb it comes from because different background colours are used. The shaft has a blue background, the sarcophagus chamber yellow and the other parts of the tom white (apart from the uncompleted outline areas).
At the time of discovery it was in very good condition as drawings done at the time show. Some of this decoration has now been lost for a variety of reasons
1) the tomb was flooded a short time after Belzoni opened it
2) pieces were cut and removed, examples being scenes of the king before Hathor which are respectively in Paris and Florence. Other pieces are in private collections and museums
3) collapse of parts of the tomb, Howard Carter was involved in the restoration following the collapse. The areas that have bricks are the result of his work and were done in 1905. Carter attempted to replace some parts but moved a lot of bit into the ‘tunnel’. Sheik Abu Rassoul excavated this tunnel attempting to find the end and it is possible that these pieces Carter had placed inside the tunnel got moved outside during this excavation.
Ted Brock discovered 100 pieces and Otto Schaden found more during his excavations. There are 4800 numbered pieces and these are two types. 2550 are fragments of walls and pillars in painted raised relief and 2250 are from the ceiling and are painted only. Of the ceiling pieces some are from an astrological ceiling and some are stars.
Some fragments were found inside the chamber known as O on the old maps and GD in Kent Weeks plan. These might have been put there by Carter. The SCA let the team in to clear the room in 2005. These fragments are now all stored in the tomb of Ram X.
There are some big pieces and Dr Florance did a great job of showing us how they worked out what they were and where they belonged.
Cartouches of Seti could be placed in an area by their background colour. For example a cartouche on a yellow wall would have a white background.
Some of the fragments described
- part of a cartouche of Seti I with yellow background
- part of a cartouche from the sarcophagus chamber with a white back ground
- formula to a deity
- part of the royal kilt
- kings necklace
- deity clothing the feathered corselet
- feet standing on standards
- corner piece from junction with the sarcophagus chamber and side room GA
- fragment from the cornice of the ‘bench’
- part of the moulding above the ‘bench’ cornice
- there was an attempt to cut away one pillar which had the king running with a rudder in his hand, the fragment showed the cuts as well as the lower part of rudder itself
- a Nubian from the 5th division of the Book of the Gates often in the first pillared hall. This scene shows the Nubian not as an enemy but as the 4 kinds of human kind Egyptian, Asiatic, Nubian and Libyan. This piece show the clothes of the Nubian
- similar to above but an Asiatic this time
- figure in a kilt standing in the middle of a twisted rope. This is from the 6th division of the book of the gates and the rope represents the process of time. Each twist of the rope and the person in it is an hour. The person has a 5 pointed star next to them and the rope gives; birth’ every hour and the 5 pointed star indicates it is an hour. This was from above the door and was missing at the time of Belzoni
- a piece in outline only showing a line of water and foot next to it of a figure lying on its side. From the Imy duat the 10th division. It represents the drowned people and was missing at the time of Belzoni
- water lines in outline possible coming form the same scene
- 4 fragments with lovely colour showing a winged disk flanked by 2 cobras which can from the 5th corridor (antechamber)
- imy duat means what is in the underworld and is the night journey of the sun god in 12 hours. Fragments relate to the end of the 1st division (9 columns) and beginning of the 2nd division (2 columns). There were approx 20 fragments reconstructed from GD together with some very small pieces found outside. From the rear wall of the sarcophagus chamber. Already missing at the time of Belzoni
- set of fragments with another version of the same text including the biggest in the collection. On the edge there were chisel marks so this was intentional removed from the rear wall to make the entrance for chamber GD. This was done by the Egyptians
There were 1000 fragments not belonging to the curved ceiling
- 2 feet with red disks on the ankle which can only come from place but there is nothing missing there
- part of a crocodile but neither of the two crocodiles on the ceiling was damaged
These fragments indicate that there 2 different decorated ceilings, with stars and frames for astrological figures. The solution is that there was a flat ceiling (like Horemheb) which was removed when they decided to vault the ceiling. So they do belong to Seti. So fragments come from 2 sources earlier stages in the decoration and cutting done during the 19th centaury.
Q & A
Has there been any movement of the geological fault since the 1980’s?
The team has only been there 5 years and there has been no movement in that time
Has the end of the tunnel been found?
One member of the team did go as far as he could, the tunnel goes into some very soft debris (the shale layer) and is difficult and unsafe to explore further
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January 28th, 2007