Anatomy of a Tomb: Modern Tomb Designations

Stairwells (C, H)
   
We already saw how in Dynasty 18 the entryway often had stairs. Two other components (C and H) also served strictly as stairwells. There is a clear historical sequence of development for C, the third main component in the royal tomb architecture. In early Dynasty 18, it appears as a descent in the floor of chamber C. Eventually, chamber C decreased in lateral dimensions until it became simply a pair of large trapezoidal recesses at the top of the stairwell [16140, 16173]. By Dynasty 20, the stairwell was replaced by a corridor of shallow slope, with the recesses in the form of horizontal rectangles set high in the walls at its beginning. In three examples from Dynasty 18 (KV 43, KV 22, KV 57) and the tomb of Sety I (KV 17), H takes the form of a stairwell with recesses at the top [16136].     16140 16173 16136
Gates (B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, side chambers)
   
Movement from one corridor or chamber to the next was restricted by a gate that could be closed off, either with wooden door leaves, or blocked by stones or bricks. The gates are composed of several elements [17121]. These include the lintel [15657, 15091] and soffit [10536, 16299], which are the vertical and horizontal surfaces above the opening respectively, as well as the threshold. The jambs are the sides of gates. Each jamb had three parts, from front to back, the reveals, the thicknesses, and the returns. Some gates have jambs that project farther out from the corridor walls on the reveals than on the returns, so that the thickness has two planes one deeper than the other, called outer and inner thicknesses [10869, 10870]. This arrangement allowed the pivoting of the door leaves to be set out from the wall. In some examples, the jamb, or in compound jambs-the thicker outer thicknesses, were cut back to make room for the passage of large pieces of burial equipment such as sarcophagi (KV 8, KV 14 [19529], KV 43 [16267], KV 62). The narrowness of corridors means that the gates take the place of end walls in these components.     17121 15657 15091 10536 16299 10869 10870 19529 16267

Published or last modified on: June 24, 2004
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