Progress Reports

August 2006

Dear Friends,
The past year has been a busy one for the Theban Mapping Project. We worked for about two months in the spring of this year, continuing to clear KV 5, and, as usual, continued to find more chambers. I think the total number of rooms has now reached about 128, and there is no sign that we've yet reached the end. Future seasons will undoubtedly turn up even more parts of this most perplexing tomb.
We have published a new edition of "KV 5: A Preliminary Report," adding sixteen pages of photographs, drawings, plans, and text that update our work in this fascinating mausoleum since the first publication in 2000. A third edition may well prove necessary in a few more years, as KV 5 continues to grow. A new edition of the "Atlas of the Valley of the Kings" has also appeared, updating the plans and sections of KV 5. (Most of the new material in these updates is also available here on our website, so you aren't obligated to buy second copies of the books to keep abreast of new discoveries.)    

Valley of the Kings Site Management

We have also been working closely with the Supreme Council of Antiquities to develop a management plan for the Valley of the Kings, a project that has been supported by the World Monuments Fund, the American Research Center in Egypt, and several of the TMP's loyal friends. That report, I am pleased to say, is now accessible here on the website, and we would very much appreciate your comments. Some of you already contributed to our stakeholders survey, upon which parts of the management plan were based, and here is an opportunity to review the draft report in its entirety and offer any further thoughts. The report is the result of two years' of work, and it is the first such management plan to be prepared for any Egyptian archaeological site. Covering everything from suggestions for temperature and humidity controls in the royal tombs to the proper selection of rubbish bins, security measures, and traffic control, we believe that it will help to ensure that the Valley of the Kings will survive with its monuments protected from ever-increasing numbers of visitors for centuries more.     13680
Because of the report's size, we have put only the draft of the management plan itself on the website, not the hundreds of pages of appendices that accompany it. (These may be added to the website at a later date.) To minimize download time, we have created multiple files that correspond to the various subjects discussed in the report. The document is now being translated into Arabic, to serve as a handbook for those responsible for protecting the Valley of the Kings, and as a replicable model that can be applied to other Egyptian archaeological sites. The Arabic and English texts will be published in book form by the Supreme Council of Antiquities later this year. If you've not yet seen the management plan or taken part in our on-line stakeholder surveys, I would encourage you to look it over and send us any comments or suggestions. It is imperative that all interested parties work together to help safeguard the Valley of the Kings, enhancing visitor experience without threatening the fabric of the site. I want to extend thanks to Nigel Hetherington, the TMP's conservation manager, who oversaw the organization of the plan and undertook the stakeholder surveys, and Lucy Jones, also on the TMP staff, who edited the CD and hard copy versions.    

Valley of the Kings Visitors Center

In 2005, the Government of Japan constructed a new Visitors Center on the site of the old Valley of the Kings cafeteria, and the TMP was given the job of designing its exhibits. This was an exciting project, one that we think will be of considerable value to KV visitors. Large full-color display panels (in English, Arabic, Japanese, and, in some cases, hieroglyphics), deal with New Kingdom chronology, religion, the history of KV exploration, techniques of tomb digging and decoration, iconography, and ten other subjects that help put the contents of the Valley of the Kings in their cultural context. The Metropolitan Museum of Art generously contributed a five-minute film made in the 1920s by Howard Carter's photographer, Harry Burton, and the National Geographic Society prepared a short film on the Valley's history and importance. Both will run continuously on large-screen HDTV monitors. Ten computer monitors will allow visitors to access parts of the TMP website and read about individual tombs and their contents. A 3 by 3 meter transparent plastic, 3-dimensional model of the Valley of the Kings, showing its topography and all of its known tombs, is a centerpiece of the exhibit, which will be visited by the 6,000 to 8,000 tourists who come to the Valley of the Kings each day. Plans are now being made to redesign the parking area, sales kiosks, and tram lines that surround the Visitors Center, making it a more attractive and appropriate start to a visitor's KV experience.     19874

Digital Imagery

The TMP's photographers, Francis Dzikowski and Matjaz Kacicnic, have completed taking comprehensive digital photographs of the walls of KV tombs currently open to the public (or likely to be opened soon). This photographic survey will soon be added to the website, and users will be able to call up both general photographs of tomb walls, details of scenes, and even individual hieroglyphs for study. Four tombs were not included in the survey because of technical problems, but the following tombs were completely photographed:
  • KV 1 Rameses VII
  • KV 2 Rameses IV
  • KV 6 Rameses IX
  • KV 8 Merenptah
  • KV 9 Rameses VI
  • KV 11 Rameses III
  • KV 14 Twosret/Setnakhte
  • KV 15 Seti II
  • KV 16 Rameses I
  • KV 34 Thutmes III
  • KV 35 Amenhetep II
  • KV 43 Thutmes IV
  • KV 47 Siptah
  • KV 57 Horemhab
  • KV 62 Tutankhamen
  • WV 23 Ay
The photographic survey was part of a detailed conservation report on each tomb that notes current conditions and potential problems, and includes historical data that allows one to trace the changing state of KV tomb decoration and structural conditions. We believe that it is absolutely essential to have such a survey before any work (such as new tourist facilities, new lighting, or cleaning) is conducted in the tombs. These photographic surveys and conservation reports form two of the appendices to the KV management plan. The work was conducted for the TMP by Lotfi Khaled, Lamia el-Hadidi, and Dina Bakhoum. Together with the geological and engineering surveys prepared by the TMP a few years ago, and published in "KV 5: A Preliminary Report," and the now completed KV management plan, these reports provide a detailed, substantive survey of all aspects of the Valley of the Kings affecting its future well-being.     10975
We want to extend our congratulations and best wishes to the University of Memphis team that has discovered and is now clearing KV 63, the newest addition to the Valley of the Kings tomb list. Good job, people.

I hope that those of you who follow the work of the Theban Mapping Project will consider supporting it by making a tax-deductible contribution. You can do so directly through the American University in Cairo web site. Just fill out this secure web form and be sure to choose "Theban Mapping Project" in the drop-down menu of choices.

We look forward to hearing your views on the management plans, and on our website.

With best wishes,
Kent Weeks
Kent R. Weeks
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