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KV 38
Thutmes I

About the image
Descent through the tomb.
More Details

Entryway A

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The entrance is well-concealed at the base of a cleft in the cliff face. The entry stairs are poorly preserved and descend to a small gate. The cliff wall above the entrance is simply smoothed over. Foundation deposits were found before the entrance by Carter in 1919.

Architectural Features

Steps

Condition

Cutting finished
Damaged structurally
Partly excavated
Undecorated

Dimensions

  • Width:

    4.3 m
  • Length:

    5.8 m
  • Area:

    21.05 m2
  • Orientation:

    284.07°

Gate B

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There has been damage to the lintel, soffit and left (south) jamb of the gate.

Condition

Partly excavated
Damaged structurally
Undecorated
Cutting finished

Dimensions

  • Width:

    1.36 m
  • Length:

    1.12 m
  • Area:

    1.47 m2
  • Orientation:

    13.19° left from entryway A

Corridor B

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The original surface of the ceiling has collapsed and the walls are not well squared. The corridor bends gradually to the left.

Condition

Cutting finished
Damaged structurally
Partly excavated
Undecorated

Dimensions

  • Width:

    2.29 m
  • Length:

    5.71 m
  • Area:

    12.58 m2
  • Orientation:

    20.98° left from entryway A

Chamber C

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This roughly cut chamber has suffered ceiling collapse. A steep staircase descends through the floor to the left (south) of center.

Condition

Cutting finished
Damaged structurally
Excavated
Undecorated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    2.16 m
  • Width:

    5.78 m
  • Length:

    4.89 m
  • Area:

    26.99 m2
  • Volume:

    58.3 m3
  • Orientation:

    15.47° left from corridor B

Descent C

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The upper two-thirds of the descent is stepped; the lower third is a roughly cut ramp.

Architectural Features

Steps
Ramp

Condition

Excavated
Cutting finished
Undecorated
Damaged structurally

Dimensions

  • Width:

    1.22 m
  • Length:

    3.89 m
  • Area:

    7.5 m2
  • Orientation:

    15.47° left from corridor B

Gate J

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The gate is now only a rough opening due to the collapse of the bedrock.

Condition

Partly excavated
Damaged structurally
Undecorated
Cutting finished

Dimensions

  • Width:

    1.69 m
  • Length:

    1.68 m
  • Area:

    2.61 m2
  • Orientation:

    0° from chamber C

Burial chamber J

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The cartouche-shaped burial chamber originally contained a single, square pillar in the middle of the chamber. No traces now remain, but it was remarked upon by Loret. To the rear of the chamber was the quartzite sarcophagus with a canopic chest emplacement at its foot. A side chamber lies to the left (south). Remnants of faded plaster with traces of a decorative kheker frieze visible beneath the ceiling show that the chamber was decorated. In the 1899 clearance of the tomb, fragments of limestone slabs, inscribed with the Imydwat, were found. They are similar to those discovered in KV 20, and are now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo.

  • Chamber plan:

    Oval
  • Relationship to main tomb axis:

    Parallel
  • Chamber layout:

    Flat floor, pillars
  • Floor:

    One level
  • Ceiling:

    Flat

Architectural Features

Burial pit
Canopic chest emplacement
Pillar
Sarcophagus
Sarcophagus emplacement

Condition

Cutting finished
Damaged structurally
Decorated
Decoration damaged
Excavated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    2.64 m
  • Width:

    5.43 m
  • Length:

    10.47 m
  • Area:

    53.03 m2
  • Volume:

    140 m3
  • Orientation:

    9.23° left from chamber C
  • Number of pillars:

    1
  • Average pillar width:

    0.88 m

Decoration

  • Kheker frieze

    rear (West) wall
  • Imydwat

    painted on limestone slabs

Sarcophagus

  • Extant remains:

    Box and lid
  • Sarcophagus form:

    Cartouche-shaped
  • Material:

    Quartzite
  • Length:

    2.49 m
  • Width:

    0.91 m
  • Height:

    1.01 m
  • Orientation:

    north
  • Emplacement:

    Pit
  • Comments:

    A dedication text states that Thutmes III commissioned the sarcophagus for his grandfather, Thutmes I. The surfaces of the yellow quartzite box and lid have been coated with red pigment. The figures and texts, in sunk relief, were painted yellow, and all were varnished. The sarcophagus is now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo.
  • Decoration:

  • Deities:
    Nut Lid exterior
  • Deities:
    four sons of Horus, Anubis, Isis, Nephthys Box exterior
  • Text:
  • Amuletic representations:
    Wedjat eyes Box exterior

Gate Ja

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The lintel and upper jambs of this gate are broken. This damage increased recently after the 1994 floods. No jambs or thicknesses are discernible on the gate, which has suffered structural damage.

Condition

Partly excavated
Damaged structurally
Undecorated
Cutting finished

Dimensions

  • Height:

    1.46 m
  • Width:

    1.63 m
  • Length:

    0.7 m
  • Area:

    1.69 m2
  • Volume:

    2.47 m3
  • Orientation:

    85.27° left from burial chamber J

Side chamber Ja

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This small side chamber is trapezoidal in plan. There has been damage from flooding that caused ceiling collapse and wall breakage. Dynasty 18 sherds litter the floor.

Condition

Cutting finished
Damaged structurally
Partly excavated
Undecorated

Dimensions

  • Height:

    1.47 m
  • Width:

    2.47 m
  • Length:

    1.99 m
  • Area:

    4.76 m2
  • Volume:

    7 m3
  • Orientation:

    85.27° left from burial chamber J

Details

About

The tomb lies at the bottom of Al Qurn, in the southwest branch of the southwest wadi, where it is flanked by the tombs of Tausert and Setnakht (KV 14) and Sety II (KV 15). The plan of the tomb is simple, consisting of a steep corridor (B) which opens into a small, unevenly cut chamber (C). A steep descent (C) leads down from the center of this chamber to the burial chamber J, which is provided with a single side chamber (Ja) off its left (south) wall. The tomb is poorly cut, and water penetration has further contributed to the tomb's rough appearance. Only in the burial chamber are there traces of decoration.

Noteworthy features:

The cartouche-shaped burial chamber.

Site History

At one time it was believed that KV 38 was the original tomb of Thutmes I, for which the official Ineni (owner of TT 81) claimed sole responsibility. This was based, in part, on the relatively small size and simple plan of the tomb, considered an early phase in the development of New Kingdom royal tomb architecture. According to this reconstruction, Hatshepsut had her father reburied in KV 20 in a stone sarcophagus originally made for her but reworked for Thutmes I. Subsequently, Thutmes III returned the body of Thutmes I to KV 38 where it was placed in a new sarcophagus.

At the end of the New Kingdom, the body was removed again to the cache in TT 320. Romer and others now feel that this tomb was constructed on the orders of Thutmes III for the reburial of his grandfather, following a previous reinterment by Hatshepsut in her expansion of KV 20, the original tomb of Thutmes I. The ascription of responsibility for KV 38 to Thutmes III depends on the similarity of plans of the burial chambers of KV 34 and KV 38 as well as KV 42, all with rounded corners and one or two central pillars. In all three tombs the sarcophagus is at the rear of the burial chamber.

Dating

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

New Kingdom
Dynasty 18
Thutmes I
New Kingdom
Dynasty 18
Thutmes III

Exploration

1919: Excavation
Carter, Howard
1899: Discovery
Loret, Victor
1899: Excavation
Loret, Victor

Conservation

Conservation History

In 1899, the tomb was cleared, and fragments of decoration, inscribed with the Imydwat, were removed. They are now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. In 1919, Carter recovered uninscribed foundation deposits from outside the entrance to the tomb.

Site Condition

The poor quality of the rock, and floodwater penetration explain the very rough condition of the tomb today. It stands open, littered with rubbish.

Resources

Articles

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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.

Bibliography

See All

Steindorff, Georg.  Discovery of the tomb of Thuthmosis I.  Biblia 12 (1900): 425-7.

Thomas, Elizabeth.  The Royal Necropoleis of Thebes.  Princeton: privately printed, 1966.  Pp. 71-72.

Weeks, Kent R.  Measurements of KV Royal Tomb Components.  In: Richard H. Wilkinson and Kent R. Weeks (eds.).  The Oxford Handbook of the Valley of the Kings.  Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016.  Pp. 583-599.

Weeks, Kent R. (ed.).  Atlas of the Valley of the Kings (=Publications of the Theban Mapping Project, 1).  Cairo: American University in Cairo Press, 2000.  Map sheet 53. 

Weinstein, James M.  Foundation Deposits in Ancient Egypt.  Unpubl. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1973.  P.  149.

Wilkinson, Richard H. and Carl Nicholas Reeves.  The Complete Valley of the Kings.  London:  Thames and Hudson, 1996.  Pp. 95-96.

Winlock, Herbert E.  Notes on the Reburial of Thutmosis I.  Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 15 (1929): 56-58.

Measurements

Maximum height:

2.64 m

Minimum width:

1.22 m

Maximum width:

5.78 m

Total length:

37.31 m

Total area:

133.16 m²

Total volume:

207.77 m³

Additional Tomb Information

Owner type:

King

Entrance location:

Base of sheer cliff

Entrance type:

Staircase

Interior layout:

Corridor and chambers

Axis type:

Bent

Decoration

Painting

Categories of Objects Recovered

Architectural elements
Tomb equipment

Hieroglyphs

Thutmes I

King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Great became the Soul of Ra; Son of Ra, Born of Thoth

Nisut-Bity Aa-Kheper-Ka-Ra Sa-Ra Djehuty-Mes