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Geology in the Valley of the Kings

King's Valley - The Valleys - The Places

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 Queens. 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.

Today

Flood and the presence of Salts in the makeup of the Tomb walls create the largest risks to the Valley today. There are probably more than 7 current Flood stream beds which run through the Valley after any big storm.

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.

The Tomb Architects and Excavators had issues when excavating the Tomb of Pharaoh Ramses II and they returned to the earlier format of a bent axis Tomb in order to avoid some poorer quality of rock that they would have used if they had stuck to the 19th Dynasty Tomb formats. Other Tombs were being excavated when they accidentally struck an already in use Tomb, such as when Pharaoh Setnakhte, first Pharaoh of the 20th Dynasty, accidentally excavated into the Tomb of Pharaoh Amenmesse.

Moreover, the runoff from Thunderstorms would pile debris onto the Valley Floor which was 5 meters below the level present in the Valley today. A brilliant way to disguise the entrance of a Tomb, by covering it with the natural debris left behind from a storm.