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KV62 versus KV23

KV62 - King's Valley - The Valleys - The Places

Pharaoh Tutankhamun

Born: Approx. 1342 BC, probably in Akhetaten, his father’s new Capital City
Parents: Pharaoh Akhenaten & his sister Kiya, The Younger Lady
Birth Name: Tutankhaten
Consort: Ankhesenpaaten (half-sister)
Reigned: From approx. 1334 – 1325 BC
Reigning Name: Tutankhamun
Consort’s Reigning Name: Ankhesenamun
Throne Name: Nebkheprure
Known for: Moving the Royal Court back to Thebes and Memphis; recommitting to the traditional Deities and restoring what his father’s Aten Followers had attacked
Died: Approx. 1325 BC in Thebes
Successor: In my opinion, his Great Uncle, Ay
Buried: KV62

Pharaoh Ay

Born: During the Reign of Pharaoh Amenhotep III
Parents: Noble Yuya and Lady Thuya
Siblings: Queen Tiye and Noble Anen
Roles: Noble to Pharaoh’s Tutor, Grand Vizier to Pharaoh
Consort: Tey and former Queen Ankhesenamun
Inherited the Throne: When he was roughly 60 years old
Ruled for: About 4 years but may have been as long as 8 years
Reigning Name: Kheperkheperure-Ay, meaning Everlasting are the Manifestations of Re
Throne Name: Ay it-netjer, meaning Ay, Father of the God
Known for: His work as Grand Vizier in assisting Pharaoh Tutankhamun in moving the Royal Court back to Thebes and recommitting to the traditional Deities
Successor: Pharaoh Horemheb, his son-in-law
Buried: KV23

Comparing the Tomb’s Layouts

As the majority of people who have been to the Valley of the Kings are painfully aware, the Tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun is tiny compared to other its other neighbours! 

To the Left: My Plan of the Tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun

Above: My Plan of the Tomb of Pharaoh Ay

Pharaoh Ay’s Tomb in the Western part of the Valley of the Kings was the last hewn out of the rock. It is thought that this Tomb, KV23 was originally excavated in its current position as this was close to the Tomb of Pharaoh Amenhotep III, Tutankhamun’s grandfather. Having the Tomb erected here is thought to have been done as part of the reconciliation after the “blip” of Atenism created by Tutankhamun’s Father who Pharaoh Ay and Pharaoh Tutankhamun were very closely associated to.

Egyptologists believe that the original Tomb for Pharaoh Tutankhamun was due to be KV23, but why?

  • It was close to his religiously standardised grandfather, Pharaoh Amenhotep III
  • It was a Tomb large enough to properly hold all the 5,000 plus Funerary Goods that were found in his Tomb
  • The Layout of the Tomb much more clearly follows the Layout of the other Tombs of the same period in the Valley of the Kings


So why was Pharaoh Tutankhamun buried here? The standard answer is time. Excavating a full sized Pharaonic worthy Tomb out of the solid rock is time consuming. Even more so than working on the Pyramids or a Temple project.

But why? The size of the working space. Only so many bodies can physically fit in to a Tomb versus the open space needed to build an open-air Temple.

So why was time so short? This is presumably because Pharaoh was young when he died, only recently come to the Throne, and he never had sufficient time to excavate a full-sized Tomb. 

Therefore, it appears that Pharaoh Tutankhamun was buried in Tomb KV62, the Tomb which had been excavated for Vizier and Great-Uncle to the Pharaoh, Ay. The sizing of the Tomb would then make much more sense.

Pharaoh Tutankhamun should have been buried in Tomb KV23 but ended up in KV62 and Pharaoh Ay should have been buried in Tomb KV62 but ended up in KV23.

But was this just due to practicalities on behalf of Pharaoh Ay or did he wish to be more associated with his late brother-in-law, Pharaoh Amenhotep III, rather than with his time in Amarna with Pharaoh Akhenaten?

We may never know and this may remain one of those enigmatic but unanswered questions.

Pictures from the Interior of Pharaoh Tutankhamun Tomb, KV62 

Pictures from the Interior of Pharaoh Ay’s Tomb, KV23


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