KV 5 History

"Now, Usihe and Patwere have stripped stones from above the tomb of Osiris King (Rameses II), the great god...The chief artisan Paneb, my father, caused men to take off stones therefrom. [He has done] exactly the same. And Kenena the son of Ruta did it in this same manner above the tomb of the royal children of Osiris King (Rameses II), the great godů"    
Egyptologists believe that these lines, in a papyrus now in the Turin Museum, refer to a tomb that lay near that of Rameses II (KV 7) in the Valley of the Kings. The only tomb in the vicinity to which it might refer was said by some Egyptologists to be KV 5, about 40 m (130 ft) to the northeast. In antiquity, repeated flash floods caused by heavy rainfalls in the Valley of the Kings had washed tons of debris into low-lying tombs such as KV 5. Their chambers were filled, and sometimes even their entrances were buried. For centuries, the cement-like consistency of this debris prevented these tombs from being explored.    
The entrance to KV 5 was still visible in the nineteenth century, however. The first one to probe inside was James Burton, an Englishman who visited the Valley in 1825. He noted the name of Rameses II carved in the entrance. Burton's workmen dug a channel through the first three debris-filled chambers, but he saw no objects or wall decorations and abandoned the work [16954].     16954
Howard Carter uncovered the doorway in 1902, and then immediately re-buried it, thinking the tomb was small, undecorated, and of no importance. KV 5's exact location was forgotten. It was not until 1987 that the entrance was seen again, when it was re-located by the Theban Mapping Project. The TMP had been working at the mouth of the Valley of the Kings because of a government decision to widen the roadway here. It knew from Burton's records that KV 5 lay in this area, and was concerned that it might be damaged by the proposed engineering work. No one knew at the time of KV 5's real importance.    
The road into the Valley narrowed at this point, just before the tomb of Rameses IX (KV 6). It was a strategic location for souvenir vendors to hawk their wares to tourists [16955]. It took only ten days of digging to uncover the entrance to KV 5 in the hillside behind the kiosks.     16955

Published or last modified on: October 1, 2002
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