Development of Tombs

Dynasty 19
KV 16, the first of the Dynasty 19 tombs (intended for Rameses I), was left unfinished and its ultimate axial plan cannot be determined. But Rameses I's successor, Sety I, built his tomb (KV 17) with a straight axis (albeit with a jog), as did subsequent rulers of Dynasty 19 and 20 (except Rameses II, in KV 7) [16914]. KV 17 includes several innovations: twice the number of pillars in pillared chamber F, an additional sidechamber with pillars (Fa) [17139], and a vaulted ceiling in burial chamber J whose axis is at right angles to the tomb's main axis [15477]. The sloping passageway cut through the floor of the burial chamber here is unique [17140].     16914 17139 15477 17140
Like Dynasty 18 tombs, KV 7 (cut for Rameses II) contained a right angle turn, but unlike the earlier examples, it occurs immediately before burial chamber J, not at pillared chamber F. KV 7 also included new features: there is a descent in the center of pillared chamber F, flanked by pillars, and a change of orientation in side chamber Fa. The burial chamber was enlarged, a row of four pillars stand on either side of the sarcophagus pit and several side chambers extend off its sides [17142].     17142
Typical of Dynasty 19 royal tomb design is KV 8 (Merenptah) [16916]. It shares many features with KV 7, KV 17, and KV 57. But it also has recesses in corridor D and a simplified set of sidechambers off burial chamber J. Subsequent Dynasty 19 royal tombs follow the KV 8 model, but in none has the well shaft in chamber E been cut, and their upper corridors slope less steeply.     16916
Dynasty 20
KV 11 was begun by Setnakht, and then taken over by his son Rameses III. It followed the plans of earlier late Dynasty 19 tombs, with gradually sloping corridors. In chamber C, what formerly were trapezoidal recesses are now simply narrow rectanglular recesses set high in the walls [17143]. The two pairs of side chambers off of chamber B occur again in only one other tomb, KV 6 (Rameses IX). No other tomb however has the eight side chambers off of corridor C. There are no pillars in KV 11's side chamber Fa, and H has been cut as a chamber, like chamber I, instead of as a corridor. The pilasters that were cut into the walls of entryway A, each topped by the sculpted head of an antelope or a gazelle, have a similar, although unfinished occurrence at the end of KV 6's entryway A.     17143
No other Dynasty 20 tombs were completely finished, but all seem to have followed Dynasty 19 models. Neither a wellshaft in chamber E nor the side chamber Fa appears, although there is some indication of the intention to cut Fa in KV 6. In KV 2 (Rameses IV), where would normally have been chamber F was cut burial chamber J. The cutting of KV 1 for Rameses VII had apparently progressed only as far as corridor D when the king died. Corridor C was widened and heightened to convert it into a burial chamber, with the addition of a pit in the floor [17145]. Two of the last tombs of the dynasty, KV 6 (Rameses IX) [16917] and KV 4 (belonging to Rameses XI, but possibly never actually used) are similar to KV 9, but of simpler plan. Most notable in both is the expansion of the pit in the floor of the burial chamber, which fills most of the floor space in KV 6 [17146] and becomes a deep shaft in KV 4 [17147].     17145 16917 17146 17147

Published or last modified on: August 23, 2002
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