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KV 08
Merenptah

About the image
Modern approach to tomb entrance, with old information sign.
More Details

Entryway A

See entire tomb

The stepped open entrance is now covered with a modern stairway that descends to a level landing before gate B. A short cliff overhang covers the gate. Traces of the edges of steps can be seen at the east end of the left (south) side of the entry cuting, indicating that the top of the original stairway was lowered. A pair of beam holes are located near the gate.

Architectural Features

Beam holes
Overhang
Steps

Condition

Cutting finished
Excavated
Undecorated

Dimensions

  • Width:

    3.06 m
  • Length:

    10 m
  • Area:

    31.87 m2
  • Orientation:

    280.85°

Gate B

See entire tomb

The jambs of this gate were cut back, but remains of the original surfaces are visible at the top of the thicknesses. The outer lintel is decorated with a sun disk containing a scarab and a ram-headed god, shown entering the western horizon, and adored by kneeling figures of Isis on the left (south) and Nephthys on the right (north). The reveals are inscribed with the king's names and prayers to Ra and Osiris, partly cut away.

Porter and Moss designation:

Corridor A

Architectural Features

Door pivot holes
Steps
Compound jambs

Condition

Excavated
Cutting finished
Damaged structurally
Decoration damaged
Decorated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    3.22 m
  • Width:

    2.23 m
  • Length:

    0.47 m
  • Area:

    0.93 m2
  • Volume:

    3.02 m3
  • Orientation:

    0° from entryway A

Decoration

  • Sun disk on the horizon

    Outer lintel
  • Winged Ma'at figures

    traces of accompanying texts, preserved only at the tops of the cut back thicknesses Thicknesses
  • Names and epithets

    Reveals
  • Prayers and hymns

    prayers to Ra and Osiris, only partially preserved Reveals

Corridor B

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Modern steps mark the beginning and end of this sloping corridor. A ceiling recess lies at the front of the corridor, and beam holes face each other in opposite walls half way down the corridor. The left (south) wall displays the Litany of Ra, preceded by the king before Ra-Horakhty. The right (north) wall is covered with texts of the Litany of Ra. The scene of the king with Ra-Horakhty, the decoration of the ceiling recess, and the opening vignette of the Litany are in raised relief; the texts of the Litany are in sunk relief. The colors on the walls are well preserved, but some ceiling decoration has been lost.

Porter and Moss designation:

Corridor A

Architectural Features

Beam holes
Ceiling recess
Steps

Condition

Cutting finished
Decorated
Decoration damaged
Excavated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    3.23 m
  • Width:

    2.64 m
  • Length:

    15.66 m
  • Area:

    41.38 m2
  • Volume:

    140.86 m3
  • Orientation:

    0° from entryway A

Decoration

  • Deceased with deities

    Ra-Horakhty left (South) wall
  • Litany of Ra

    opening vignette and texts left (South) wall
  • Litany of Ra

    right (North) wall
  • Flying vultures

    Ceiling
  • Names and epithets

    Merenptah's cartouches Ceiling recess
  • Deities

    Heh and Western Goddess Ceiling recess
  • Names and epithets

    Ceiling

Graffiti

  • Greek text:

    twenty-seven graffiti left (South) wall
  • Greek text:

    ten graffiti right (North) wall
  • Demotic text:

    one graffito right (North) wall

Gate C

See entire tomb

The original jambs are cut away. Notches in the thicknesses show how ancient replacements were originally installed. On the lintel is the winged sun disk. The returns are decorated with the Book of Gates, the thicknesses with the Litany of Ra.

Porter and Moss designation:

Corridor B

Architectural Features

Beam holes

Condition

Excavated
Cutting finished
Damaged structurally
Decoration damaged
Decorated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    3.11 m
  • Width:

    2.13 m
  • Length:

    0.47 m
  • Area:

    1 m2
  • Volume:

    3.11 m3
  • Orientation:

    0° from corridor B

Decoration

  • Winged sun disk

    Lintel
  • Names and epithets

    top of text columns only, originally continued on reveals of cut-away jambs Lintel
  • Book of Gates

    returns
  • Litany of Ra

    Thicknesses
  • Names and epithets

    now cut away Reveals

Corridor C

See entire tomb

Trapezoidal recesses at the top of the right (north) and left (south) walls extend nearly halfway down the sloping corridor. Gates and texts from the second division (P)/third hour (H) and third division (P)/fourth hour (H) of the Book of Gates decorate the beginnings of the left and right walls respectively. The manifestations of Ra from the Litany of Ra decorate recesses in the upper parts of the left and right walls, and texts of the second and third hours of the Imydwat occupy the space below. Representations of Anubis jackals above Isis and Nephthys kneeling occupy the remainder of the rear (west) parts of these walls. The ceiling is decorated with yellow stars on a blue background. There is a yellow central band with the ba of Ra flanked by Isis and Nephthys as birds at the front (east) end and inscribed with texts from the Litany of Ra.

Porter and Moss designation:

Corridor B

Architectural Features

Recesses

Condition

Cutting finished
Decorated
Decoration damaged
Excavated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    3.15 m
  • Width:

    2.65 m
  • Length:

    8.03 m
  • Area:

    21.22 m2
  • Volume:

    67.88 m3
  • Orientation:

    0° from corridor B

Decoration

  • Litany of Ra

    forms of Ra (in recess) left (South) wall
  • Book of Gates

    second division (P)/third hour (H) left (South) wall
  • Imydwat

    third hour left (South) wall
  • Book of the Dead

    excerpts from spell 151 with Anubis jackal and kneeling Isis left (South) wall
  • Litany of Ra

    forms of Ra (in recess) right (North) wall
  • Book of Gates

    third division (P)/fourth hour (H) right (North) wall
  • Imydwat

    fourth hour right (North) wall
  • Book of the Dead

    excerpts from spell 151 with Anubis jackal and kneeling Nephthys right (North) wall
  • Litany of Ra

    ba of Ra in disk flanked by Isis and Nephthys as kites and texts Ceiling
  • Star pattern

    Ceiling

Graffiti

  • Greek text:

    twelve graffiti left (South) wall
  • Greek text:

    eleven graffiti right (North) wall
  • Coptic text:

    one graffito right (North) wall

Gate D

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The original jambs were cut away to allow passage of the sarcophagi. A pair of rectangular notches, cut into the area of the thicknesses, indicate how the replacement blocks for the jambs were held in place. Cramps were inserted in slots in the bottoms of the notches and the tops of the blocks. Beam holes were cut just in front of the gate. Cartouches decorate the outer lintel.

Porter and Moss designation:

Corridor C

Architectural Features

Beam holes

Condition

Excavated
Cutting finished
Damaged structurally
Decoration damaged
Decorated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    3.06 m
  • Width:

    2.1 m
  • Length:

    0.45 m
  • Area:

    0.93 m2
  • Volume:

    2.86 m3
  • Orientation:

    0° from corridor C

Decoration

  • Names and epithets

    Outer lintel

Corridor D

See entire tomb

A pair of rectangular recesses face each other on either wall before gate E. The left (south) and right (north) walls are covered with the fourth and fifth hours of the Imydwat, respectively. The ceiling is painted blue with yellow stars.

Porter and Moss designation:

Corridor C

Architectural Features

Recesses

Condition

Cutting finished
Decorated
Decoration damaged
Excavated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    3.49 m
  • Width:

    2.64 m
  • Length:

    9.8 m
  • Area:

    25.8 m2
  • Volume:

    89.6 m3
  • Orientation:

    0° from corridor C

Decoration

  • Imydwat

    fourth hour left (South) wall
  • Imydwat

    fifth hour right (North) wall
  • Star pattern

    Ceiling

Graffiti

  • Greek text:

    sixteen graffiti left (South) wall
  • Anatolian language text:

    one graffito left (South) wall
  • Greek text:

    thirty-nine graffiti right (North) wall
  • Latin text:

    two graffiti right (North) wall
  • Demotic text:

    three graffiti right (North) wall

Gate E

See entire tomb

The outer jambs and thicknesses of this gate are missing. Notches in the thicknesses show how they would originally have been emplaced. The lintel is decorated with the king's names, the thicknesses with the tenth and eleventh hours of the Imydwat.

Porter and Moss designation:

Hall D

Condition

Excavated
Cutting finished
Damaged structurally
Decoration damaged
Decorated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    3.42 m
  • Width:

    2.11 m
  • Length:

    1.07 m
  • Area:

    2.58 m2
  • Volume:

    7.71 m3
  • Orientation:

    0° from corridor D

Decoration

  • Names and epithets

    Lintel
  • Imydwat

    texts of tenth and eleventh hours Inner thicknesses

Well chamber E

See entire tomb

The floor of this roughly square chamber is occupied by a well shaft. The west wall of the shaft follows a sloping vein of calcite. The left (south) half of the chamber has depictions of Osiris-Wennefer, two Sons of Horus and four deities who face the tomb entrance. Anubis and two Sons of Horus face the tomb interior. The right (north) side of the chamber repeats this scene, but the king as Iwnmutef replaces Anubis.

Porter and Moss designation:

Hall D

Architectural Features

Well shaft

Condition

Cutting unfinished
Decorated
Decoration damaged
Excavated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    3.74 m
  • Width:

    4.25 m
  • Length:

    3.58 m
  • Area:

    15.2 m2
  • Volume:

    57.89 m3
  • Orientation:

    0° from corridor D

Decoration

  • Deceased with deities

    Merenptah (now missing) and Osiris on each side of gate front (East) wall
  • Deities

    Imsety, Duamutef, Anubis, Khery-Baqef, Isis, Neit left (South) wall
  • Deities

    Hapy, Qebehsenuef, Anubis, Thoth, Nephthys, Serqet right (North) wall
  • Deceased with deities

    Anubis (left side) and king as Iwnmutef priest (right side) rear (West) wall

Gate F

See entire tomb

The lintel is decorated with a kneeling winged Ma'at. The outer thicknesses of the original compound jambs are missing. In their place, pairs of recesses with slots in the bottoms to receive dovetail cramps held replacement jamb blocks. These blocks and the lintel beam are missing.

Porter and Moss designation:

Hall E

Architectural Features

Lintel beam slot
Compound jambs
Recesses

Condition

Excavated
Cutting finished
Decoration damaged
Damaged structurally
Decorated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    3.41 m
  • Width:

    2.22 m
  • Length:

    1.09 m
  • Area:

    2.62 m2
  • Volume:

    8.93 m3
  • Orientation:

    0° from well chamber E

Decoration

  • Winged Ma'at figures

    Lintel

Pillared chamber F

See entire tomb

Two pillars flank the central descent, and short flights of steps lead up from either side of the descent to the level floor of this pillared chamber. Traces on the ceiling indicate the original presence of another pair of pillars that flanked the descent. The remains of painted plaster on the ceiling still covering the traces of one of these missing pillars indicates that they were removed before the decoration was completed. The chamber in the right (north) wall leading to side chamber Fa appears to have been cut after that wall was decorated; there are remains of partly preserved figures at the edges of the jambs.
The third, fourth and fifth divisions (P)/fourth, fifth and sixth hours (H) of the Book of Gates form the decorative program of the chamber, together with a double scene of the king offering to Osiris in a shrine, carved on the center of the rear (west) wall above the descent. The two pillars are decorated with scenes of the king making offerings to Osiris, Ptah and Ma'at, standing before Ra-Horakhty and receiving life from Anubis.

Porter and Moss designation:

Hall E

Architectural Features

Pillars
Steps

Condition

Cutting finished
Damaged structurally
Decorated
Decoration damaged
Excavated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    3.26 m
  • Width:

    9.42 m
  • Length:

    8.95 m
  • Area:

    84.11 m2
  • Volume:

    274.2 m3
  • Orientation:

    0° from well chamber E
  • Number of pillars:

    2
  • Average pillar width:

    1.08 m

Decoration

  • Book of Gates

    beginning of fourth division (P)/fifth hour (H) (south side) and of fifth division (P)/sixth hour (H) front (East) wall
  • Book of Gates

    fourth division (P)/fifth hour (H) left (South) wall
  • Book of Gates

    third division (P)/fourth hour (H) rear (West) wall
  • Book of Gates

    fifth division (P)/sixth hour (H) right (North) wall
  • Deceased with deities

    double scene of king offering Ma'at and wine to Osiris in shrine rear (West) wall
  • Star pattern

    Ceiling
  • Deceased with deities

    Osiris front (East) pillar 1
  • Deceased with deities

    Ptah left (South) pillar 1
  • Deceased with deities

    Horus rear (West) pillar 1
  • Deceased with deities

    Osiris right (North) pillar 1
  • Deceased with deities

    Osiris front (East)
  • Deceased with deities

    Ra-Horakhty left (South)
  • Deceased with deities

    Anubis rear (West)
  • Deceased with deities

    Ptah right (North)

Graffiti

  • Greek text:

    three graffiti left (South) wall
  • Demotic text:

    two graffiti left (South) wall

Descent F

See entire tomb

The descent consists of a divided stairway with central ramp. It passes beneath an overhang formed by the rear (west) wall of pillared chamber F. The decoration is poorly preserved, and only traces of a few hieroglyphs survive where they had been carved through the missing plaster into the rock surface.

Porter and Moss designation:

Hall E

Architectural Features

Divided stairway
Overhang

Condition

Excavated
Cutting finished
Decoration undetermined
Decorated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    3.43 m
  • Width:

    2.64 m
  • Length:

    11.61 m
  • Area:

    30.62 m2
  • Orientation:

    0° from well chamber E

Decoration

  • Theme undetermined

Gate Fa

See entire tomb

The compound jambs of this undecorated gate are still in place, but the lintel beam has fallen, leaving two holes above the gate where it was situated. There is a door bolt hole in the left (west) jamb.

Porter and Moss designation:

Side-room F

Architectural Features

Compound jambs
Door bolt hole
Lintel beam slot

Condition

Excavated
Damaged structurally
Undecorated
Cutting finished

Dimensions

  • Height:

    2.71 m
  • Width:

    1.33 m
  • Length:

    1.08 m
  • Area:

    1.6 m2
  • Volume:

    4.34 m3
  • Orientation:

    91.17° right from pillared chamber F

Side chamber Fa

See entire tomb

This square side chamber's axis lies perpendicular to the main tomb axis and is reached through a gate in the right (north) wall of pillared chamber F. The chamber has two pillars in the center and a gate in the left (west )wall leads to a small chamber.

Porter and Moss designation:

Side-room F

Architectural Features

Pillars

Condition

Cutting finished
Excavated
Undecorated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    2.79 m
  • Width:

    7.77 m
  • Length:

    8.42 m
  • Area:

    65.01 m2
  • Volume:

    181.38 m3
  • Orientation:

    91.17° right from pillared chamber F
  • Number of pillars:

    2
  • Average pillar width:

    0.8 m

Graffiti

  • Greek text:

    one graffito rear (South) wall
  • Modern European language text:

    "Rousell" front (South) wall

Side chamber Faa

See entire tomb

This small chamber is actually a small shrine to Osiris. It may be an abandoned start for another chamber, or a purpose-cut shrine. The interior surfaces have been plastered and decorated with paint. On either side of the gate, the short interior walls are decorated with cartouches of Rameses II referred to here as the "Osiris-king." Figures of the four Sons of Horus are painted on the left (south) and right (north) walls with Isis and Nephthys, while Osiris is shown on the rear (west) wall accompanied by two goddesses, Qebhyt and Nedjti.

Porter and Moss designation:

Side-room F

Condition

Cutting finished
Decorated
Excavated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    1.14 m
  • Width:

    1.2 m
  • Length:

    1.06 m
  • Area:

    1.26 m2
  • Volume:

    1.44 m3
  • Orientation:

    89.14° left from side chamber Fa

Decoration

  • Names and epithets

    names of Rameses II as Osiris-king front (East) wall
  • Deities

    Imsety, Duamutef, Isis left (South) wall
  • Deities

    Hapy, Qebehsenuef, Nephthys right (North) wall
  • Deities

    Qebhyt, Nedjti, Osiris rear (West) wall

Gate Faa

See entire tomb

This gate is set well above the floor in the center of the right (west) wall of side chamber Fa. There is no indication that the opening was closed by door leaves.

Porter and Moss designation:

Side-room F

Condition

Excavated
Cutting finished
Undecorated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    1.13 m
  • Width:

    0.76 m
  • Length:

    0.46 m
  • Area:

    0.35 m2
  • Volume:

    0.4 m3
  • Orientation:

    89.14° left from side chamber Fa

Gate G

See entire tomb

The jambs of this gate are missing; notches in the thicknesses show how they would originally have been emplaced. A slot at either side near the top served to hold a wooden lintel beam.The divided stairs of descent F end inside this gate.

Porter and Moss designation:

Corridor G

Architectural Features

Door pivot holes
Recesses
Steps
Lintel beam slot
Divided stairway

Condition

Excavated
Cutting finished
Decoration undetermined
Damaged structurally
Decorated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    2.94 m
  • Width:

    2.22 m
  • Length:

    0.46 m
  • Area:

    1.01 m2
  • Volume:

    2.84 m3
  • Orientation:

    0° from pillared chamber F

Decoration

  • Theme undetermined

Corridor G

See entire tomb

The corridor has suffered a severe loss of decoration, but enough traces survive, cut through the fallen plaster into the rock surface beneath, to indicate the general decorative program. This consisted of the Opening of the Mouth ritual. It begins on the left (south) wall with a large scale image of the king seated at an offering table before which two priests officiate. The corridor slopes down to chamber H, but levels off before the gate to form a landing.

Porter and Moss designation:

Corridor G

Architectural Features

Ceiling recess

Condition

Cutting finished
Decorated
Decoration damaged
Excavated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    3.97 m
  • Width:

    2.7 m
  • Length:

    8.99 m
  • Area:

    24.26 m2
  • Volume:

    86.95 m3
  • Orientation:

    0° from pillared chamber F

Decoration

  • Opening of the Mouth ritual

    Merenptah seated at offering table before which two priests officiate left (South) wall
  • Opening of the Mouth ritual

    right (North) wall

Gate H

See entire tomb

The jambs of this gate are missing; notches in the thicknesses show how they would originally have been emplaced. A slot at either side near the top served to hold a wooden lintel beam. The gate has compound jambs.

Porter and Moss designation:

Hall H

Architectural Features

Compound jambs
Door pivot holes
Lintel beam slot
Steps

Condition

Cutting finished
Excavated
Decoration undetermined
Decorated
Damaged structurally

Dimensions

  • Height:

    2.96 m
  • Width:

    2.22 m
  • Length:

    1.07 m
  • Area:

    2.72 m2
  • Volume:

    9.38 m3
  • Orientation:

    0° from corridor G

Decoration

  • Theme undetermined

Chamber H

See entire tomb

On the right (north) side of this level, roughly square chamber lies the rectangular lid of the outer sarcophagus of Merenptah. This was moved here after the burial was dismantled, and the third sarcophagus was taken to Tanis. The plaster walls have deteriorated, but in the right half of the chamber, representations of the king and deities are still visible. The king is shown addressing the forty-two assessors in the judgment hall of Osiris, and the "Negative Confession" (or denial of sins) from the Book of the Dead, spell 125 was painted on the walls of the left (south) half of the chamber. In front of gate I, the floor of H was cut down to a sloping ramp leading through the gate into corridor I.

Porter and Moss designation:

Hall H

Architectural Features

Ramps
Sarcophagus

Condition

Cutting finished
Decorated
Decoration damaged
Excavated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    3.12 m
  • Width:

    7.4 m
  • Length:

    7.37 m
  • Area:

    54.4 m2
  • Volume:

    169.73 m3
  • Orientation:

    0° from corridor G

Decoration

  • Book of the Dead

    spell 125: beginning front (East) wall
  • Book of the Dead

    spell 125 left (South) wall
  • Book of the Dead

    spell 125: ending rear (West) wall
  • Deceased with deities

    front (East) wall
  • Deceased with deities

    right (North) wall
  • Deceased with deities

    rear (West) wall

Gate I

See entire tomb

The sloping floor of corridor I extends upwards through this gate into the floor of chamber H.

Porter and Moss designation:

Corridor I

Condition

Excavated
Decoration undetermined
Cutting finished
Decorated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    2.73 m
  • Width:

    2.48 m
  • Length:

    0.55 m
  • Area:

    1.4 m2
  • Volume:

    3.82 m3
  • Orientation:

    0° from chamber H

Decoration

  • Theme undetermined

Corridor I

See entire tomb

The corridor slopes towards gate J and the burial chamber J. There is a ceiling recess at the beginning of the corridor, and in each wall at the end are two narrow vertical recesses. Only traces of texts survive where they were cut through the now-missing plaster into the stone surface beneath.

Porter and Moss designation:

Corridor I

Architectural Features

Ceiling recess
Recess

Condition

Cutting finished
Decorated
Decoration undetermined
Excavated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    3.28 m
  • Width:

    2.71 m
  • Length:

    9.89 m
  • Area:

    26.81 m2
  • Volume:

    72.66 m3
  • Orientation:

    0° from chamber H

Decoration

  • Theme undetermined

Gate J

See entire tomb

The lower half of the left (south) jamb has broken away flush to the wall.

Porter and Moss designation:

Sarcophagus chamber J

Architectural Features

Compound jambs
Door pivot holes

Condition

Excavated
Decoration damaged
Damaged structurally
Decorated
Cutting finished

Dimensions

  • Height:

    3.06 m
  • Width:

    2.44 m
  • Length:

    1.49 m
  • Area:

    3.9 m2
  • Volume:

    12.06 m3
  • Orientation:

    0° from corridor I

Decoration

  • Winged Ma'at figures

    Thicknesses

Burial chamber J

See entire tomb

The sunken floor of the central portion of the burial chamber is flanked on the front (east) and rear (west) by a row of four pillars set in the upper level. Six steps lead down from the entrance to a sunken floor in the middle of the chamber, and another set of steps ascends to the rear upper level. A bench runs around the entire chamber and recesses and magical brick niches are spaced along the front and rear walls of the chamber. In the center of the chamber, a modern base of limestone blocks supports a second granite sarcophagus lid, surmounted by a mummiform effigy of Merenptah. Gates at the ends of the left (south) and right (north) walls lead to side chambers Ja-Jd, and a gate in the middle of the rear wall leads to chamber K.

There is a severe loss of decoration, but the eighth division (P)/ninth hour (H) of the Book of Gates is visible on the left wall. Other scenes represented are the Book of the Earth and the Book of Caverns. The vaulted ceiling has astronomical scenes including representations of deities in barks.

  • Chamber plan:

    Rectangular
  • Relationship to main tomb axis:

    Perpendicular
  • Chamber layout:

    Pillared front and rear upper level, sunken central lower level
  • Floor:

    Two levels
  • Ceiling:

    Vaulted center, flat sides

Porter and Moss designation:

Sarcophagus chamber J

Architectural Features

Benches
Burial pit
Magical brick niches
Pillars
Recesses
Sarcophagi
Sarcophagus emplacement
Steps
Vaulted ceiling

Condition

Cutting finished
Damaged structurally
Decorated
Decoration damaged
Excavated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    6.47 m
  • Width:

    14.87 m
  • Length:

    13.75 m
  • Area:

    204.37 m2
  • Volume:

    1111.77 m3
  • Orientation:

    0° from corridor I
  • Number of pillars:

    8
  • Average pillar width:

    1.07 m

Decoration

  • Book of Gates

    eighth division (P)/ninth hour (H) (north side) front (East) wall
  • Book of Gates

    unidentified division (north side) rear (West) wall
  • Book of the Earth

    excerpts rear (West) wall
  • Book of Caverns

    closing scene right (North) wall
  • Book of the Earth

    excerpts, twelve hour goddesses right (North) wall
  • Book of the Earth

    excerpts left (South) wall
  • Book of Gates

    twelfth division (P)/closing scene (H) left (South) wall
  • Astronomical scenes

    circumpolar constellations and decans Ceiling
  • Deceased with deities

    traces, insufficient to identify deities (remaining only at tops and bottoms)

Sarcophagus

  • Extant remains:

    Box and lid
  • Sarcophagus form:

    Shrine of Lower Egypt
  • Material:

    Red granite
  • Length:

    5.18 m
  • Width:

    2.13 m
  • Height:

    0.6 m
  • Orientation:

    north
  • Emplacement:

    On plinth blocks in pit
  • Comments:

    The lid is now in chamber H, while fragments of the box are stored in side chamber Fa. Only one of the two calcite plinth blocks remains in the south half of the floor pit.
  • Decoration:

  • Book of Gates:
    first division (P)/second hour (H) Box exterior, head end
  • Imydwat:
    seventh hour Box interior, left side
  • Deities:
    winged Nephthys kneeling on gold symbol Box interior, head end
  • Deities:
    winged Isis, kneeling on gold symbol Box interior, foot end
  • Imydwat:
    fifth hour Box exterior, right side
  • Imydwat:
    eighth hour Box interior, right sde
  • Book of Gates:
    first division (P)/second hour (H) Lid exterior, left side
  • Imydwat:
    fifth hour Lid exterior, right side
  • Book of Gates:
    prologue (P)/first hour (H) Lid exterior, foot end
  • Imydwat:
    fifth hour (beginning) Lid exterior, head end
  • Prayers and hymns:
    Hymn to Neit Lid exterior, top
  • Book of Gates:
    first division (P)/ second hour (H) Lid exterior, head end
  • Deities:
    Osiris standing in gate Lid exterior, head end
  • Imydwat:
    fifth hour (end) Lid exterior, foot end
  • Deities:
    Nut Lid interior, top
  • Deities:
    Isis and Nephthys, with arms raised in adoration kneeling on gold symbols, facing center Box exterior, head end
  • Extant remains:

    Box and lid
  • Sarcophagus form:

    Cartouche-shaped with effigy on lid
  • Material:

    Red granite
  • Length:

    3.49 m
  • Width:

    1.54 m
  • Height:

    0.8 m
  • Orientation:

    northeast
  • Emplacement:

    Within another sarcophagus
  • Comments:

    The lid now rests on modern limestone supports over the floor pit, while box fragments are stored in side chamber Fa. Only the upper registers of the decorative compositions are preserved on these fragments. This sarcophagus was originally placed within the outer sarcophagus.
  • Decoration:

  • Book of Gates:
    prologue (P)/first hour (H) Box exterior, foot end
  • Imydwat:
    eighth hour Box interior, left side
  • Book of Gates:
    first division (P)/opening scene (H) Lid exterior
  • Deities:
    Isis, Nephthys Lid exterior
  • Deities:
    Nut in raised relief on central axis, Isis and Nephthys at ends Lid interior
  • Astronomical scenes:
    Lid interior
  • Imydwat:
    excerpts from second and third divisions on sides Lid interior
  • Book of Gates:
    first division (P)/second hour (H) Box exterior, left side
  • Book of Gates:
    second division (P)/third hour (H) Box exterior right side
  • Imydwat:
    seventh hour Box interior, right side
  • Deities:
    Nephthys Box interior, head end
  • Deities:
    Isis Box interior, foot end
  • Extant remains:

    Box and lid
  • Sarcophagus form:

    Rectangular with effigy on lid
  • Material:

    Red granite
  • Length:

    2.5 m
  • Width:

    1.25 m
  • Height:

    1.5 m
  • Orientation:

    northeast
  • Emplacement:

    Within another sarcophagus
  • Comments:

    Montet found this sarcophagus re-used in the tomb of Psusennes I in Tanis during the 1939-1940 excavation season. It is now in the Egyptian Museum. This sarcophagus orignally lay inside the two outer sarcophagi.
  • Decoration:

  • Deities:
    guardian figures Box exterior
  • Deities:
    guardian figures Box interior
  • Astronomical scenes:
    circumpolar stars, decans, stars and constellations of the southern sky Lid interior
  • Deities:
    Nut Lid interior
  • Imydwat:
    excerpts from second and third hours Lid interior
  • Funerary objects:
    Box interior, floor
  • Extant remains:

    Box and lid
  • Sarcophagus form:

    Mummiform
  • Material:

    Calcite
  • Width:

    0.59 m
  • Orientation:

    northeast
  • Emplacement:

    Within another sarcophagus
  • Comments:

    Only fragments of this sarcophagus survive: one is in the British Museum, the remainder are stored in the tomb in side chamber Fa. This sarcophagus was originally the innermost of four sarcophagi. The given width is taken from the foot end fragment and represents a minimum dimension.
  • Decoration:

  • Book of Gates:
    prologue(P)/first hour (H) Box exterior, foot end
  • Book of Gates:
    first division (P)/second hour (H) Box exterior, left side
  • Imydwat:
    fifth hour Box exterior, right side
  • Imydwat:
    eighth hour Box interior, left side
  • Deities:
    kneeling winged goddess Box interior, foot end
  • Imydwat:
    eleventh division Lid exterior

Side chamber Ja

See entire tomb

This side chamber lies off the southeast corner of the burial chamber, and is filled with dirt and stone chips deposited by floods. Evidence of a recess in the center of the rear (south) wall can be seen above the debris fill. The ceiling is flush with the soffit of the gate.

Architectural Features

Recesses

Condition

Cutting finished
Decoration undetermined
Unexcavated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    1.95 m
  • Width:

    2.4 m
  • Length:

    3.14 m
  • Area:

    7.52 m2
  • Volume:

    14.66 m3
  • Orientation:

    90.46° left from burial chamber J

Gate Ja

See entire tomb

The gate leads into side chamber Ja. It is filled with debris deposited by floods and the jambs are badly cracked.

Condition

Unexcavated
Decoration undetermined
Damaged structurally

Dimensions

  • Height:

    1.95 m
  • Width:

    1.01 m
  • Length:

    0.81 m
  • Area:

    0.81 m2
  • Volume:

    1.58 m3
  • Orientation:

    90.46° left from burial chamber J

Gate Jb

See entire tomb

The gate cuts through the ledge on the south wall and leads into side chamber Jb. The jambs are damaged.

Condition

Unexcavated
Decoration undetermined
Damaged structurally

Dimensions

  • Height:

    2 m
  • Width:

    1 m
  • Length:

    0.75 m
  • Area:

    0.75 m2
  • Volume:

    1.5 m3
  • Orientation:

    91.55° left from burial chamber J

Side chamber Jb

See entire tomb

This side chamber is located off the southwest corner of the burial chamber, and is now filled with dirt and stone chips. The ceiling is flush with the soffit of the gate.

Condition

Unexcavated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    2 m
  • Width:

    2.26 m
  • Length:

    3.18 m
  • Area:

    7.16 m2
  • Volume:

    14.29 m3
  • Orientation:

    91.55° left from burial chamber J

Gate Jc

See entire tomb

The gate is blocked and sealed with a cement covering.

Condition

Excavated
Decoration undetermined

Dimensions

  • Height:

    2.09 m
  • Width:

    0.92 m
  • Length:

    0.74 m
  • Area:

    0.68 m2
  • Volume:

    1.42 m3
  • Orientation:

    89.62° right from burial chamber J

Side chamber Jc

See entire tomb

This side chamber located to the northwest of the burial chamber is presently inaccessible, due to modern cement blocking the gate. It is thought that material such as granite fragments from Carter's clearance may be stored here. The ceiling is 8 cm (3 inches) above the soffit of the gate.

Condition

Decoration undetermined
Partly excavated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    2.17 m
  • Width:

    2.63 m
  • Length:

    3.14 m
  • Area:

    8.25 m2
  • Volume:

    17.89 m3
  • Orientation:

    89.62° right from burial chamber J

Gate Jd

See entire tomb

This gate is now blocked and sealed.

Condition

Excavated
Decoration undetermined

Dimensions

  • Height:

    2.03 m
  • Width:

    0.92 m
  • Length:

    0.81 m
  • Area:

    0.74 m2
  • Volume:

    1.5 m3
  • Orientation:

    88.59° right from burial chamber J

Side chamber Jd

See entire tomb

This side chamber to the northeast of the burial chamber is inaccesible. It has been reported that artifacts found in Carter's clearance are stored here. The ceiling is 8 cm (3 inches) above the soffit of the gate.

Condition

Decoration undetermined
Excavated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    2.1 m
  • Width:

    2.6 m
  • Length:

    3.15 m
  • Area:

    8.19 m2
  • Volume:

    17.21 m3
  • Orientation:

    88.59° right from burial chamber J

Gate K

See entire tomb

The gate has suffered damage from flooding.

Architectural Features

Compound jambs

Condition

Excavated
Decoration undetermined
Damaged structurally
Cutting finished

Dimensions

  • Height:

    2.65 m
  • Width:

    2.1 m
  • Length:

    1.66 m
  • Area:

    3.8 m2
  • Volume:

    9.93 m3
  • Orientation:

    0° from burial chamber J

Chamber K

See entire tomb

Chamber K continues along the axis of the tomb beyond the burial chamber. Traces of painted plaster decoration can be seen on the wall near the ceiling, but not enough survives to identify any decorative themes. A side chamber opens off each side near the entrance, and a third chamber opens off the rear (west) wall.

Condition

Cutting finished
Decoration damaged
Decoration undetermined
Excavated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    3.05 m
  • Width:

    4.22 m
  • Length:

    8 m
  • Area:

    33.73 m2
  • Volume:

    102.88 m3
  • Orientation:

    0° from burial chamber J

Decoration

  • Theme undetermined

    traces (at tops of walls) All walls

Gate Ka

See entire tomb

The gate is filled with flood debris and its jambs are badly damaged.

Architectural Features

Compound jambs

Condition

Unexcavated
Decoration undetermined
Damaged structurally
Decoration damaged
Cutting finished

Dimensions

  • Height:

    2.24 m
  • Width:

    1.11 m
  • Length:

    1 m
  • Area:

    1.25 m2
  • Volume:

    2.8 m3
  • Orientation:

    90.22° left from chamber K

Side chamber Ka

See entire tomb

This chamber is set at a right angle to the main axis and lies off chamber K. It is full of flood debris.

Condition

Decoration undetermined
Unexcavated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    2.32 m
  • Width:

    5.25 m
  • Length:

    4.21 m
  • Area:

    22.09 m2
  • Volume:

    51.25 m3
  • Orientation:

    90.22° left from chamber K

Gate Kb

See entire tomb

The gate leads into side chamber Kb.

Condition

Excavated
Decoration undetermined
Cutting finished

Dimensions

  • Height:

    2.26 m
  • Width:

    1.07 m
  • Length:

    1.04 m
  • Area:

    1.39 m2
  • Volume:

    2.98 m3
  • Orientation:

    0° from chamber K

Side chamber Kb

See entire tomb

This small side chamber has roughly carved walls with no trace of decoration.

Condition

Cutting unfinished
Excavated
Undecorated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    2.34 m
  • Width:

    3.33 m
  • Length:

    2.23 m
  • Area:

    7.4 m2
  • Volume:

    17.32 m3
  • Orientation:

    0° from chamber K

Gate Kc

See entire tomb

This chamber is set at a right angle to the main axis and is situated off chamber K. It is full of flood debris and exhibits a significant loss of decoration.

Architectural Features

Compound jambs

Condition

Decoration damaged
Unexcavated
Decoration undetermined
Cutting finished

Dimensions

  • Height:

    2.21 m
  • Width:

    1.12 m
  • Length:

    1.04 m
  • Area:

    1.32 m2
  • Volume:

    2.92 m3
  • Orientation:

    90° right from chamber K

Side chamber Kc

See entire tomb

The chamber is full of flood debris.

Condition

Decoration undetermined
Unexcavated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    2.22 m
  • Width:

    5.26 m
  • Length:

    4.2 m
  • Area:

    22.12 m2
  • Volume:

    49.12 m3
  • Orientation:

    90° right from chamber K

Details

About

The tomb of Merenptah, KV 8, is located off the main wadi. Three sloping corridors (B, C, D) lead to a well chamber (E) and pillared chamber (F) with side chamber (Fa). A central descent (F) and sloping corridor (G) lead to a chamber (H) beyond which a second corridor (I) slopes down to the vaulted burial chamber J. This has side chambers (Ja-Jd) in the corners and a chamber (K) at the rear also with side chambers (Ka-Kc). The jambs of all the gates from B to H were cut back during the later stages of tomb construction and replaced with sandstone blocks.

The tomb is decorated with scenes from the Litany of Ra (corridor B, corridor C), Book of Gates (gate C, corridor C, pillared chamber F, burial chamber J), Imydwat (corridor C, corridor D, gate E), Book of the Dead (corridor C, chamber H), Opening of the Mouth ritual (corridor G), Book of the Earth (burial chamber J), Book of Caverns (burial chamber J), as well as pictures of the deceased and deities (corridor B, well chamber E, first pillared chamber F, chamber H, burial chamber J). Flooding badly damaged the pillars in burial chamber J. Most of the scenes beyond pillared chamber F have been destroyed except for those high on the walls and ceiling of burial chamber J.

Noteworthy features:

Burial chamber J has several unique features. There are multiple niches in the front and rear walls of the chamber, and Merenptah originally rested inside a set of four stone sarcophagi. In order to bring the sarcophagi into the tomb, door jambs were cut away and later replaced by sandstone blocks.

Site History

During the later stages of the tomb's construction, door jambs from entryway A to chamber H were cut away, probably to make room for the descent of the massive granite sarcophagus. The jambs were then replaced with inscribed sandstone blocks keyed into place with dovetail cramps. The cramps fit into slots atop the blocks, which were installed in the bottoms of recesses where the original jambs had stood. None of these blocks were apparently found in their original locations, but some were found in the fill of the well shaft, and on the floor of burial chamber J. Perhaps at this time the rear two pillars in pillared chamber F were also removed.

Parts of the tomb lay open at various later periods. Following the removal of the plundered mummy for reburial in KV 35, an effort was made to re-use pieces of the sarcophagus. The first and second sarcophagus boxes were broken up and the the third granite sarcophagus was moved to Tanis. In the process, the well shaft was filled in, and this allowed later floods to carry debris into the bottom chambers of the tomb. We know that upper chambers of the tomb (up to pillared chamber F) were accessible during Greek and Roman times because of the 135 graffiti written on the walls.

Dating

This site was used during the following period(s):

New Kingdom
Dynasty 19
Merenptah
Graeco-Roman Era
Byzantine (Coptic) Period

Exploration

1985-1988: Excavation
Brock, Edwin C.
1825: Mapping/planning
Burton, James
1903-1904: Excavation
Carter, Howard
1903-1904: Conservation
Carter, Howard
1828-1829: Epigraphy
Franco-Tuscan Expedition
1825-1835: Mapping/planning
Hay, Robert
1826-1827: Visit
Lane, Edward William
1844-1845: Excavation
Lepsius, Carl Richard
1799: Mapping/planning
Napoleonic Expedition
1737-1738: Mapping/planning
Pococke, Richard

Conservation

Conservation History

Recent conservation efforts by the Supreme Council of Antiquities have covered over the breaks in the corridor walls and ceilings, and covered over the scars from the cutting back of the original door jambs. The position of the replacement jambs was reconstructed in cement.

Site Condition

KV 8 is one of many tombs in the Valley of the Kings that has been damaged by flash floods. Most of the tomb has been excavated, but the side chambers off the burial chamber are still full of debris, as are parts of the side chambers off chamber K. Aside from damage to pillars in burial chamber J, the tomb itself has not suffered any structural damage except for the door jambs, dismantled in ancient times during the installation of the sarcophagus. Most of the scenes beyond pillared chamber F were destroyed, except for the higher walls and ceiling of burial chamber J. The paint and plaster that survived the floods are in good condition.

Resources

Articles

See All

Development of Tombs

Knowledge of the early stages of New Kingdom royal tomb development is hampered by a lack of evidence.

Bibliography

See All

Assmann, Jan.  Die Inschrift auf dem äusseren Sarkophagdeckel des Merenptah.  Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts: Abteilung Kairo 28 (1972): 47-74.

Aston, David.  Pottery from the Valley of the Kings: Tombs of Merenptah, Ramesses III, Ramesses IV, Ramesses VI and Ramesses VII.  Ägypten und Levante 8 (1998): 137-214.

Baillet, Jules.  Inscriptions grèques  etlatines de tombeqaux des rois ou syringes à Thèbes  (= Mémoires publiés par les members de l’Institut français d’archéo-logie orientale du Cairo, 42).  Cairo, 1920-1926.  Three vols.

Barbotin, Christophe and Sylvie Guichard. Fouilles du Louvre Dans la Tombe de Merenptah -KV 8.  Memnonia 18 (2007): 105-117.

Barbotin, Christophe and Sylvie Guichard.  Fouilles du Louvre dans la tombe de Merenptah, 2005-2006.  Memnonia 17 (2006):  151-169.

Barbotin, Christophe and Sylvie Guichard.  La tombe de Merenptah: Projets et travaux récents.  Memnonia 15 (2004):  153-164.

Brock, Edwin C.  A Puzzle of Pharaonic Proportions.   Egyptian Archaeology: The Bulletin of the Egypt Exploration Society. London.  9 (1996): 31-32.

Brock, Edwin C.  Piecing it all Together: An Ongoing Study of Later New Kingdom Royal Sarcophagi.  KMT 2, 1 (1991): 42-49.

Measurements

Maximum height:

6.47 m

Minimum width:

0.76 m

Maximum width:

14.87 m

Total length:

164.87 m

Total area:

772.55 m²

Total volume:

2622.08 m³

Additional Tomb Information

Owner type:

King

Entrance location:

Hillside

Entrance type:

Staircase

Interior layout:

Corridors and chambers

Axis type:

Straight

Decoration

Painting
Raised relief
Sunk relief

Categories of Objects Recovered

Tomb equipment
Vessels
Writing equipment

Hieroglyphs

Merenptah

King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Ba of Ra, Beloved of Amen; Son of Ra, Beloved of Ptah, Satisfied with Truth