Tuesday 29 April 2014

KV 40 Royal family Tomb Reopened

Valley of the Kings (the World is Round)
Tomb KV40, is located in the Valley of the Kings, in Egypt. The original occupant of this tomb is unknown. Only the upper part of the rubble-filled shaft was accessible. The tomb was opened by Victor Loret in 1899 but no account has survived of what he found there. "KV 40 (Unknown)". Theban Mapping Project. The tomb has been excavated for the last three years by a Swiss mission from the University of Basel and yesterday it was announced that at the end of last year an interesting discovery had been made there. According to the press release (Basel Egyptologists identify tomb of royal children)- which I located through Jane Akshar's blog:
The six meter deep shaft gives access to five subterranean chambers, within which are human remains (at least 50 individuals) and fragments of funerary equipment. Based on inscriptions on storage jars, Egyptologists were able to identify and name over 30 people during this year's field season. Titles such as "Prince" and "Princess" distinguish the buried as members of the families of the two pharaohs Thutmosis IV and Amenhotep III [...] at least 8 hitherto unknown royal daughters, four princes and several foreign ladies. Most of them were adults, however, mummified children were also found[...] The fragments of various wooden and cartonnage coffins indicate that tomb KV 40 was used a second time as a burial ground: long after the abandonment of the valley as royal necropolis, members of priestly families of the 9th century BC were interred here.
Given the evident muddled contents of the tomb, I am not clear what the evidence is at the moment that the tomb was actually used in the 18th dynasty, rather than being a cache of the 21st dynasty (or indeed why it cannot have been created together with the burial of the later priestly family - in the 21st/22nd dynasty). It was sited some considerable distance from the tomb of Thuthmosis IV (KV43) and even further from his son Amenhotep III (KV22 in the Western Valley).

So, if items from this tomb entered the antiquities market when it was open in the nineteenth century, where are they now? What can collectors "learn" from the loose artefacts, an inscribed sherd for example, "the Royal Lady Nefer, beloved of the King" in a private collectiong in California?


Raimo Kangasniemi said...

I think the evidence for the tomb being from the 18th dynasty - one source mentions even children of Thutmosis III of being in the tomb - is that material goods associated with them would not be in the tomb if this would be a cache where their bodies would have been removed.

Paul Barford said...

On the one hand I see your point, but the Royal Cache at Deir El Bahari contained some non-precious grave goods when first opened. The funerary equipment of minor members of Tuthmosis IV's and Amenhotep III families dynasty may not all have been suitable for recycling, and could have been transferred to a cache with the bodies, giving the effect we see here. Anyway, a very interesting discovery and one which would be good to learn more about in due course.

(I think it was Tuth. IV's kids, no?)

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