Brief HistoryQueen's Valley - The Valleys - The Places
A Brief History of the Valley of the Queens
18th Dynasty Tombs
There have been 65 Tombs dated to this period and they have tended to be vertical Shaft Tombs, with Chambers leading off of the Shaft with little to no decoration. They often played host to an unknown Tomb occupant and the Tomb has later been identified by Egyptologists through Grave Goods found inside. The deceased usually were Lower Royals and Court Members.
19th Dynasty Tombs
The change of Dynasty in the Royals spurred a change in Tomb excavation, layout and decoration. The Tombs became multi-chambered with Entrance Ramps and exuberant Decorations. Regrettably, due to the positioning of the Valley and the bedrock which it is formed from, many of these Tombs have suffered from damage via time, floods and salt from the rocks. Some other Tombs have been damaged through human usage, particularly during the Coptic period where humans occupied the Tombs and lived in them including cooking fires which severely compromised much of the decoration. Bats are known to have used the Tombs for their Colonies which has come with its own issues.
20th Dynasty Tombs
The change of Dynasty again propelled a change in the type of burials which were conducted in the Valley and the Tomb plan. Princes as well as Royal Wives and Daughters were now buried within the Valley. Tombs were altered to now be:-
- Aligned on a straighter axis
- With long narrowed corridors which led to the Burial Chambers and Side Chambers
- They were more a smaller reproduction of the Tombs being carved out in the Valley of the Kings
By the end of the period social discord was occurring throughout Egypt, and within the Valleys, Strikes were happening with a higher regularity. Click here for more information about the First Strike. Many of the Queen’s Valley Tombs were raided by Looters, many of whom were the Artisans who had assisted with the build of the Tomb originally as their payments for work completed failed to arrive. For more details about this breakdown, click here.
Regrettably, only a part of Queen Nefertari’s Mummy remains. None of the other Pharaonic Mummies have been found in the Valley of the Queens. Hopes among Egyptologists are that they may be have been relocated by Priests and stored in a Queens and Royal Family Mummy Cache as occurred with some Pharaonic Mummies from the Valley of the Kings.
22nd Dynasty Tombs
Nearly all of the Tombs and many of their Tomb Goods were reused often by Priests, Gardeners, Singers, Florists, Perfumers and Musicians during the Third Intermediate Period who are known to have worked and lived locally.
By the Roman Era Tombs were being crowded with up to 100 mummies which were piled up in corridors and throughout the tomb’s chambers and more closely resembled catacombs rather than the standard Egyptian burial practises of sole or family occupancy only.
The Valley was used as a refuge for Hermits and Anchorites. They used the Tombs of the pharaonic periods but also erected or cut out their own shelters, caves and cells. Some of the graffiti from this time can still be seen in QV60 and QV73. A Monastery was also erected during this time and seemed to be utilised as their meeting place for services rather than having any type of dormitory attached to it as would be standard in European Monasteries.
There are very few finds to even confirm that the Arabs disturbed any of the Valley. It appears as though they respected the area as an ancient burial ground and did not erect or dismantle any buildings or tombs.