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A project of the American Research Center in Egypt

Foundation Deposits

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Objects from the foundation deposit discovered by Carter in 1915 at the entrance to the tomb of Amenhetep II.
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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 sure evidence of this.

Location and Date

The deposits were generally placed 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). In others, a pair of deposits flank the beginning of the entryway (KV 43). A few tombs such as KV 2 and KV 22, had more than one pair of deposits flanking the entrance.

Foundation deposits.
Foundation deposits.

At KV 2, the lateral deposits were  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. Most of these deposits date to Dynasty 18 (KV 20, KV 38, KV 42, KV 34, 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.

Foundation deposits in KV 42. 
Foundation deposits in KV 42. 


Several classes of objects are found in these deposits in various materials, inscribed with royal names.  There are also uninscribed examples. Model vessels in Egyptian alabaster, pottery, and Faience took several forms, in part depending 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, their 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.