Foundation Deposits

While more commonly found in association with temple constructions, foundation deposits also have been unearthed at some royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings. They consisted of model vessels and tools, and food offerings placed in pits outside the tomb entrances. It has been theorized that they were placed there during some sort of tomb dedication ceremony, but there is no concrete evidence of this.    
Location and Date
The deposits were generally made in pits cut into the surface of the hillside at the sides of the tomb entrance and on the central axis in front of the entrance. In some instances, only one deposit, oriented on the central axis, has been found (KV 20) [17012]. In other examples, a pair of deposits flank the beginning of the entryway (KV 43) [17007], while a few tombs such as KV 2 and KV 22, had more than one pair of deposits flanking the entrance [17009, 17008]. At KV 2 the lateral deposits were actually located under the rubble walls lining the sides at the start of the entrance cut. Sometimes the pits cut for the deposits were covered with limestone slabs, in other cases a fill of sand was used.     17012 17007 17009 17008
The majority of these deposits date to Dynasty 18-KV 20, KV 38, KV 42 [17003], KV 34 [17004], KV F, KV 35, KV 43, KV 22-although a few have been found at the entrances of Dynasty 20 royal tombs-KV 2, KV 19, KV 18.     17003 17004
Several classes of objects are found in these deposits in various materials, inscribed with the royal names, as well as uninscribed examples. Model vessels in Egyptian alabaster, pottery, and faience took several forms, in part dependent on the material. For example, model perfumed oil/unguent vessels were usually of calcite and often inscribed with the name of the dedicator and sometimes the represented contents. Other containers include ceramic vessels and basketry. Food offerings included meat, fruit and vegetables. Model tools in reed, wood, metal (copper and bronze), stone and faience have also been found. The types of tools consisted of hoes/mattocks, adzes (sometimes with separate wooden handles and metal blades), chisels, axe heads, knife blades, brick moulds, and rockers. Small plaques of stone, faience, and metal bearing the owner's name have also been found in these deposits.    

Published or last modified on: October 1, 2002
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