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Welcome to the Valley of the Kings
The Valley of the kings is located on the west bank of the Nile (across from Thebes) and consists of tombs built for the New Kingdom Kings. The wives, children and favourite nobles of the Kings have also been buried alongside them. The valley hosts 62 tombs of which the earliest tomb is that of Thutmoses I. The tombs were cut deeply into the valley floor, in the hope that this would prevent them being robbed, as had occurred in the pyramids. There were false doors to trick the grave robbers but such innovations did not prevent the tombs being ransacked especially as the robberies often involved "the authorities". However the idea of pyramids combined with tombs was not completely abandoned as to the ancient egyptians: pyramids symobolised the King's accent to the heavens. In keeping with this the setting for Valley of the Kings was also chosen because the valley has the natural pyramid shaped mountain peak of Al-Qurn (pictured left) towering over it.
The Valley of the kings is split into two, the East Valley and the West Valley. As the East Valley has most of the tombs of the New Kingdom Kings, it generally attracts the most interest.The first tomb to be discovered was that of Ramses VII and the last was that of Tutankhamun "the boy king", on the 4th of November 192
Each tomb has been numbered (such as the examples pictured below) from Tomb no 1 Ramses VII to the tomb of Tutankhamun Tomb no 62 and although the "boy King's" tomb is the smallest in the valley it's discovery has generated great interest. Due to its small size the tomb is the only one that did not fall victim to tomb raiders and contains the majority of treasurers buried with Tutankamun.
Tutankhamun's tomb was discovered by Howard Carter in 1922.Tutankhamun's tomb was the last to be discovered because it lay beneath the rubbble generated by the excavation of Ramses VI tomb, the 9th tomb to be discovered.
The passageways and chambers of the tombs were beautifully decorated guides to the "afterlife" for the kings. They showed the Gods, the deceased king would meet, including the perils he may face in his quest for immortality. On the left is a photograph of a carving of the God Ra found within a tomb. Ra was the sun god believed to have created the world. The tombs contain images of Ra depicting his daily cycle of rising and setting each day, as Ra (Re) was creator of the world, this daily cycle symbolised renewal. Ra was viewed as the paramount force of creation and master of life.
The Ancient egyptians believed that the sunset symbolised death and therefore chose the west of the Nile, for the Valley of the tombs. Such a placing enabled the sun to travel over the King's temples during the day and then set over the tombs in the Valley of the Kings. If you look carefully at the pictures below you will see the sun setting over the Valley of the Kings
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