The wadi consists of two valleys, East Valley (where the majority of the royal tombs are situated) and West Valley. With the 2006 discovery of a new chamber (KV63), and the 2008 discovery of two further tomb entrances, the valley is known to contain 63 tombs and chambers (ranging in size from KV54, a simple pit, to KV5, a complex tomb with over 120 chambers). It was the principal burial place of the major royal figures of the Egyptian New Kingdom, together with those of a number of privileged nobles.
The royal tombs are decorated with scenes from Egyptian mythology and give clues to the beliefs and funerary rituals of the period. Almost all of the tombs seem to have been opened and robbed in antiquity, but they still give an idea of the opulence and power of the Pharaohs. This area has been a focus of archaeological and egyptological exploration since the end of the eighteenth century, and its tombs and burials continue to stimulate research and interest. In modern times the valley has become famous for the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun (with its rumours of the Curse of the Pharaohs), and is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world.
In 1979, the Valley of the Kings became a World Heritage Site, along with the rest of the Theban Necropolis. Exploration, excavation and conservation continues in the valley, and a new tourist centre has recently been opened.
This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Taphophile Tragics meme.
|Map of the Valley and its tombs|
|A village close to the Valley. People there still make a living from the tombs - in the past the residents were tomb robbers, nowadays they peddle souvenirs to tourists|
|Imposing cliffs surround the Valley|
|Entrance to the tomb of Tutankhamun|
|The site is well curated and signed|
|Entrance to another tomb|
|The carved stone sarcophagus (literally means "flesh-eater" in Greek) of the Pharaoh Merenptah|
|Tomb fresco of the falcon-headed god Horus on the right with a female deity on the left|
|Another view of a village close to the Valley|