Sunday, February 21, 2016

Pacific Lutheran University Valley of the Kings Project: THE TOMB OF THE PHARAOH'S ADVISOR.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


     Due to complicated reasons difficult to explain in the context of a Blog, we are, for the moment, switching our attention to a fascinating tomb, KV 48, the burial place of Amenemopet, the vizier (right-hand man) of the warrior pharaoh, Amenhotep II, who ruled Egypt for about 26 years (c.1427-1401 B.C.) during the 18th dynasty of the New Kingdom. KV48 was first encountered in 1906 during excavations conducted by an American millionaire, Theodore Davis, who excavated in Egypt as a hobby to escape the cold of winter. With exclusive permission to explore the Valley of the Kings, he made many important discoveries over the ten years or so he worked there
     Davis typically hired professional archaeologists to supervise the actual work including Howard Carter (who would later discover the tomb of Tutankhamun) and Edward Ayrton, the latter being the one to investigate  KV 48. The tomb consists of a shaft about 20 feet deep leading to a single undecorated chamber about 16 X 10 feet and about 6 feet high.  A description of the tomb was published in 1908 and describes its contents as including broken bits of coffin and other burial materials, some white pottery, and objects which bore the name of Amenemopet, thus identifying the tomb's occupant. His mummy, which was found "unwrapped and thrown on one side," was described as "tall and well-built."
Excavating the shaft of KV 48 in 2008.

     Sometime after its discovery, the tomb was covered over with rocks and sediment (we're not sure if it was a natural or human process) and its exact location lost.  During an experiment by American Egyptologist, Kent Weeks, in 1986, the top of the shaft was located using ground-penetrating radar and then marked, but not further investigated. The Pacific Lutheran University Valley of the Kings Project  received permission to investigate KV 48 and we began to clear the shaft in 2008 and explored the tomb in 2009.  Ayrton left a good deal of material in the tomb having apparently only taken the a few choice objects.  There were many large broken white pots containing the leftovers from Amenemopet's mummification, their contents scattered all over the floor.  The mummy itself was nowhere to be found.
The interior of KV 48 with its rubble-strewn floor as encountered in 2008.
Broken white pots and their spilled contents in KV 48.
    We installed a security door over the shaft and excavated the tomb's floor, finding many interesting objects.  The mummification materials were set aside and in February 2016, we are now examining them.  There have been a few surprises but that story will be told later.

Erik Johannesson and Paul Buck sorting through mummification materials from KV 48.