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A project of the American Research Center in Egypt
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Entrances to QV47 and QV46 in foreground with QV44 and QV45 in background.
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QV 46 is located on the south side of the road in the southwest branch of the main Wadi, adjacent to the retaining wall. It is a simple shaft tomb with a single chamber. The entrance is protected by a masonry surround.

QV 46 is attributed to Imhotep, the Governor of the City, judge, and Vizier during the reign of Thutmes I. Inscriptions found in a temple record that he was also a tutor to the sons of the king.

The tomb was discovered by Ernesto Schiaparelli (1903-1905) and, with it, some original artifacts belonging to the vizier Imhotep - his mummy was recovered along with funerary goods, including mummified offerings, wooden boxes, baskets, alabaster plaques, and part of a canopic jar inscribed with his name. The objects are now housed in the Turin Museum. Schiaparelli also noted that tomb robbers probably left the tomb open, allowing it to fill with flood waters carrying debris. The tomb had filled by the time of Elizabeth Thomas’ survey and she suggested that his burial in the valley may have been due to his role as tutor to the children of the Pharaoh. The tomb was last cleared by the Franco-Egyptian Mission in 1984 and they later discovered Ramesside Ostraca near the tomb entrance in 1989.

Noteworthy features:

QV 46 is attributed to Imhotep, the Governor of the City, judge, and Vizier during the reign of Thutmes I. Inscriptions found in a temple record that he was also a tutor to the sons of the king.

Site History

The tomb was constructed in the 18th Dynasty.


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

New Kingdom
Dynasty 18
Thutmes I


1903-1905: Discovery
Italian Archaeological Expedition
1964: Documentation and Planning
Porter and Moss
1959-60: Documentation
Thomas, Elizabeth
1984: Excavation
Franco Egyptian Mission
1989: Tomb clearance
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA)
2006-2008: Survey and Documentation
Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) and the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA)
2009: Conservation
Supreme Council of Antiquities


Conservation History

In 2009, the SCA installed a modern masonry surround.

Site Condition

According to the GCI-SCA, the shaft is cut into highly fractured shale. The single chamber of the tomb was also cut into shale, with heavy salt deposition in the extensively jointed walls. Guano (bat excrement) on the chamber floor suggests that bats occasionally roost in the tomb, though none were observed by the GCI-SCA. Despite the heavily fractured nature of the rock, the tomb was judged to be stable. No signs of recent rock collapse is apparent, excepting the continued erosion of the tomb shaft. Given the commentary from Ernesto Schiaparelli and Elizabeth Thomas, QV 46 seems to have a history of flooding, though there is no direct evidence of flooding currently visible. Nevertheless, its location at the bottom of the southern slope confirms the threat of flood waters and debris. 



Governor of the City, Vizier, Imhotep ("coming in peace")
imy-r niwt TAty ii-m-Htp


Geography and Geology of the Valley of the Queens and Western Wadis

The Valley of the Queens and the Western Wadis are made up of numerous valleys spread out over a vast space of desert, each containing tombs for the New Kingdom queens and other royal family members. The poor quality rock has led to damage in several tombs after suffering from earthquakes and floods.


CNRS mission report: Centre national de la recherche scientifique (France). Rapport des activités scientifiques et administratives 1992-1994. URA no. 1064. Recherches sur les nécropoles thébaines et le Ramésseum; Publication des temples de la Nubie, 1992-1994.

Demas, Martha and Neville Agnew (eds). Valley of the Queens. Assessment Report. Los Angeles: The Getty Conservation Institute, 2012, 2016. Two vols.

Dolzani, Claudia. Vasi canopi no. 19001-19153. Catalogo del Museo egizio di Torino. Milan: Cisalpino-La goliardica, 1982: 18-19.

Leblanc, Christian. Ta set nefrou: une nécropole de Thèbes-ouest et son histoire, 1: géographie- toponymie: historique de l'exploration scientifique du site. Cairo: Nubar Printing House, 1989.

Porter, Bertha and Rosalind L.B. Moss.  Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Reliefs, and Paintings, I: The Theban Necropolis, Part 2: Royal Tombs and Smaller Cemeteries.  Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1964.

Schiaparelli, Ernesto. Realazione sui lavon della Missione archeologica italiana in Egitto, anni 1903-1920. Explorazione della Valle delle Reginanella necropolis di Tebe. Vol. 1. Turin: Casa editrice Giovanni Chiantore, 1923.