Saturday, 21 January 2012

Artefacts and Early Archaeologists in the Valley of Kings

Artefacts and Early Archaeologists in the Valley of Kings – Donald Ryan
Or what they left behind
There is a cycle in the Valley of Kings of burial (sometimes reburial) and robbery ancient and modern. There are mummy caches with dockets recording the movement from one safe place to another. There is one artefact that he feels sums up the whole valley which is of the remnants of the face piece where the wooden remains clearly show the marks of the adze that removed the gold.

The archaeologists of the past were interested in different things, gold and treasure mainly so often when they found a tomb they would describe it as having nothing of interest because it ‘only’ held mummies and pottery, consequently they left a lot behind in the tombs they excavated
Belzoni was the first excavator of KV21 in 1817, say what you will about him although he took a lot of stuff away he also spent time documenting, mapping and publishing. He described the tomb as rob with 2 mummies who had a lot of hair. By 1825 James Burton also said there were two mummies but they were now in the small room. In 1826 Edward Lane also worked on the tomb and that was it until Don Ryan came 1989. By then the tomb was in a depression that had a trench dug in they found newspaper and debris dating back to 1893. The tomb was filled with 2 inches of standing water and had graffiti. They found a dozen large pots which had originally contained left over embalming materials. There were also seals and other detritus. Belzoni had left the stuff inside the tomb but now the mummies were scattered in pieces all over the tomb which was badly flood damaged. One mummy was missing its head. In 2007 the mummies were removed to Cairo for the DNA studies which were hardly necessarily as the pottery dated the tomb to Tuthmosis IV so they were unlikely to be members of the Amarna royal family.
KV44 & 45
These were excavated by Carter when he was working for Davies. In Kv44 there were 3 wooden coffins with mummies. It was reused in the 22nd dynasty. One of the coffins was published but the other two have been lost. There are still some original pieces in the tomb. KV45 has a similar history of an original 18th dynasty burial with a 22nd dynasty reuse. There is one single photo of the original tomb opening. In those days it was legitimate for the early excavators to take part of the discoveries for their sponsors, museums and then selves. From this tomb there was a heart shaped scarab and face plate which Don last identified in an auction house catalogue. He found lots of fragments including the remnants of 80 mud ushabties as Howard Carter had left loads of stuff behind. Three canopic jars are in the Emery museum and parts of the 4th found in KV27 which would indicate they were moved long time previously.
Of the material left in the tomb that they were not interested in were 18 sets of mummies 1 had an articulated left arm which is generally thought to be an indicator of a female royal burial. In a book edited by Kent Weeks an article by Catherine Roehrig discusses whether this was a queen’s tomb
Of the tombs excavated
Adults Adolescents Children
KV27 2m 2f 1 - 2
KV28 2m1f
KV44 3f 1 teen 1 child 8 infants
KV45 18th dyn 1m2f
KV45 22nd dyn 1m1f

Discovered in 1903 by Howard Carter he said he found 2 women and some mummified geese but ‘nothing of interest’. One has been identified as SitRe nurse of Hatshepsut. Aryton removed 1 mummy in its coffin. There was graffiti, 2 niches containing the face portion form coffin lid. In his drawing of the tomb HC left out the little room which was surprising. There was a mummified cow leg and evidence of a possible intrusive burial. The ‘geese’ were in fact joints of beef. In the 20th dynasty when they were building the tomb above they must have cut across this tomb and discovered. There is a second mummy with a bent left arm. Elizabeth Thomas thought that KV60 would contain Hatshepsut but nothing actually indicates who it is. In 2006 Zahi came to conclusion that it was Hatshepsut based of evidence of the tooth missing from the mummy and an identical tooth being found, by CAT scan, in a box labelled Hatshepsut. This was only published on the TV. Don likens it to the fairy story of the discovery of Cinderella using the glass slipper. Before giving his conclusions on the discovery he would like to see a bit more. The face piece has a notch for a beard. Another piece was found covered in black stuff, cleaning revealed lots of glyphs that talk about a woman called Ti who was a temple singer, so a third woman associated with the tomb. In the old days they were looking for big decorated tombs with high value contents.
Found in 1906by Edward Aryton and described in the publication of the tomb of Siptah. It was rediscovered in 1986 by Kent Weeks. Lots of big pots, linen and natron. Hieratic inscribed copper tenons, seals, beads. Amenenope who was a vizier under Amenhotep II. They were able to stylistically date pottery. Also found a miniature leopard skin maybe used to drape over a statue of a sen priests

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