Development of Tombs

Our knowledge of the early stages of New Kingdom royal tomb development is hampered by a lack of evidence from early Dynasty 18. KV 39 is thought by some to be the earliest tomb cut in the Valley of the Kings, but it was extensively altered in later times (as recent investigations have shown) and its lower chambers are now inaccessible because of heavy rains and flooding that filled the tomb in 1994.    
It is still uncertain whether Hatshepsut or Thutmes I began KV 20. Burial chamber J2 contained two siliceous sandstone (sedimentary quartzite) sarcophagi [12339], one inscribed for Hatshepsut [12341], the other reinscribed for Thutmes I [12340]. It has been suggested that Thutmes I was responsible for cutting the part of the tomb preceding this chamber and that Hatshepsut then continued the work. Others believe Hatshepsut was solely responsible for the entire tomb.     12339 12341 12340
Thutmes III's tomb (KV 34) [17137], and one for his wife Hatshepsut-Meryet-Ra (KV 42) [14915, 15419] both have a rectangular burial chamber (J) with rounded corners, sometimes called "cartouche-shaped." KV 38 also has a similar burial chamber (J) [14899]. All three tombs have been said to be the work of Thutmes III.     17137 14915 15419 14899
KV 35, belonging to Amenhetep II, is typical of tombs of this dynasty [16915]. It has a burial chamber (J) divided into two parts: a pillared area in the front [13633], and a sunken part in the rear where the sarcophagus was placed [13550, 13551]. A small chamber was cut at the bottom of the well shaft in well chamber Ea [17138]. Four small, magical brick niches cut into the walls of the burial chamber appear for the first time in this tomb [17126] and continue into the reign of Merenptah.     16915 13633 13550 13551 17138 17126
Cut into the floor of burial chamber J of KV 22, built for Amenhetep III, are a canopic chest emplacement and a pair of rectangular depressions for sarcophagus supports [17130]. In addition to royal tombs, a number of private tombs were cut in Dynasty 18 in the Valley of the Kings. These generally have either a vertical shaft leading to the burial chamber (KV 36, KV 45, and KV 48 are among the many examples), or steps and a corridor (as in KV 12, KV 46, KV 49 [13681] and KV 55). The first group has wide chronological distribution; the second group dates from the reign of Amenhetep II to that of Amenhetep III.     17130 13681
Horemheb's tomb (KV 57), the last royal tomb of Dynasty 18, differs from earlier royal tombs by having a straight-line axis rather than a right-angle axis as was common earlier in the dynasty, signaling a shift in orientation that would continue into the next dynasty.    

Published or last modified on: August 23, 2002
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