Queen's ValleyThe Valleys - The Places
What: The Burial place of Queens, Royal Wives, Princesses, Princes and some Nobles. In all Valleys combined there are 110 Tombs
Known as: Ta Set Neferu, now commonly referred to as “The Place of Beauty”, but also translated from Hieroglyphs as “The Place of the Children of the Pharaoh” but this is also subjective. It has been interpreted that everyone who lived inside the Palace Harem, so all Wives and Children of the Pharaoh, were known as the Children of the Pharaoh, in other words they were within his immediate care. Therefore, the Valley could also be regarded as “The Valley of the Pharaoh’s Royal Family”
When: In use from 17th to the 20th Dynasty during the Ancient Egyptian Period until the Roman and then Coptic Period.
- Firstly, it was used as a burial ground for Officials before moving to be used by the Royal Family
- During the 19th Dynasty the Valley of the Queens was exclusively used by Royal Women
- In 1979 UNESCO added the site, along with other in the Theban Necropolis to its World Heritage list
Where: Theban Necropolis, 2.4km to the West of Pharaoh Ramses III’s Mortuary Temple, across the Valley from the Artisan’s Village at Deir el Medina
Why here: The Valley seems to have been selected for its closeness to a Sacred Grotto Cascade at the end of the Valley which is dedicated to the Goddess Hathor; and its proximity to Valley of Kings and Deir el Medina
During heavy periods of rain in the Valley of the Grand Cascade a Waterfall and pools emerge at the Grotto Cascade. It appears that the Pharaoh’s Valley Teams identified this issue and built a Dam to prevent the Flooding of the Tombs in the Queens Valley below.
Location also includes:
- The Valley of the Queens
- Valley of Prince Ahmose
- Valley of the Rope, named after a rope that used to hang down from one of the Hills which is thought to have been placed there during the Coptic Period. Located to the North of the main Valley.
- Valley of the Three Pits which is exclusively used during the Thutmosid Period, or the 18th Dynasty. With 11 Tombs and 3 Shaft Tombs, hence the Three Pits name. Located to the Northeast of the main Valley.
- Valley of the Dolmen located to the East of the main Valley is named Dolmen after a natural rock formation which is found here. The Valley hosts one of the Workmen’s Trails from the Artisan’s Village that they would have used to travel to and from work in the this and the other Wadis which collectively make up the Valley of the Queens. By the side of the Trail, is a Rock Cut Sanctuary created by the Tomb Workers, click here for further details about this.
Guarded by: The Medjay, click here for more information about the illustrious Police Force of the Royals, guarded the Artisans and the Tombs themselves throughout the Valleys, including in the Valley of the Queens, and would have used the Theban Hills keep watch on the area. Observation Posts have been discovered on the ridges between:-
- The Valley of the Dolmen and the Valley of the Three Pits
- The Valley of the Rope and the Valley of the Three Pits
Geography and Geology
Why do we need to look at the Geology?
The Geology plays a huge role in how the Ancient Egyptians chose this site and the other local sites of the Valley of the Nobles, the Artisans Village of Deir el Medina, and the Valley of the Kings. Not only that, it also plays a significant function in how the Tombs have existed to the present day and how modern Architects, Egyptologists and Government Experts are working to ensure the Tombs are not further deteriorated today.
Pleistocene Period or the Ice Age
The Theban Hills were formed during this period. Rockslides caused slippage on the deeper shale rocks and runoff made the fissure which became the Cascade at the Head of the Valley and then followed along into the Main Wadi or the Tombs Valley. This bedrock, whilst being successful at forming the Valley consists of a poor quality of Marl; Marl is a Carbonate Rich Mudstone which contains Clays and Silts, it is up to 65% softer than Limestone; means that it is unable to cope with floods and floodwater. The clay when wet expands which can cause cracks and collapses.
Flood and the presence of Salts in the makeup of the Tomb walls create the largest risks to the Valley today.
The Tomb Layout was essential. For an Ancient Egyptian, a lack of care and attention to the pathway and decoration of the Tomb could lead to your soul, after your death, not being able to properly and correctly navigate their way out of the Underworld. This would prevent their ascension into the Field of Reeds. For more information about this, click here.
As you can see from the diagram, the Tomb contained 2 pathways:
1.) the pathway for the deceased’s soul to reach the Underworld, face the Weighing of the Heart in Hall of Two Truths before using the Spells and directions which would have been depicted on the Tomb’s Walls to successfully navigate their Flight for Resurrection
2.) the pathway for the deceased’s soul to coming from by day from the Underworld to the Field of Reeds