Valley of the Kings By: Julia Rainwater December 8, 2009 Valley Location The Valley of the Kings is located across from what was Thebes, Egypt (modern-day Luxor) on the west bank of the Nile River. The area is surrounded by steep cliffs and a towering mountain which may have reminded the Egyptians of pyramids. Tombs were built into the valley for the pharaohs and powerful nobles of the New Kingdom. Name meaning The Valley, known as Biban el-Muluk, which means "doorway or gateway of the kings," or, the Wadyein, meaning "the two valleys," is actually composed of two separate branches. The main eastern branch, called ta set aat, or "The Great Place," is where most of the royal tombs are located. The larger, western valley is where only a few tombs were located. Deir el-Medina The cliffs in this area form a A large proportion of the natural shield since they hide community, including women, the valley from sight. could read and write. It was a The cliffs also created a safe big deal to have a job as a place for the Deir el-Medina - tomb worker and when a the village of people who worker died, his/her position worked on the tombs. would be inherited by one of The villagers walked his/her children. approximately 30 minutes to the tombs to work. The workmen of the village would, in modern terms, be considered middle class. The work week was 8 days followed by 2 days off. Tomb period The period of tomb burial in Egypt was during the New Kingdom from the 16th to the 11th century B.C. The Egyptians moved from the Pyramid Age where burial places of their royals were well known to the secret tombs in the Valley of the Kings. It began with Thutmose I and ended with Ramesses X or XI (10-11). Some accounts say there are 62 tombs while others say there are 63 in the Valley. Royal Necropolis The official name for the Valley of the Kings in ancient times was The Great and Majestic Necropolis of the Millions of Years of the Pharaoh, Life, Strength, Health in The West of Thebes. In the Pyramid Age the tomb of the king had a mortuary temple which was close to the pyramid. With the tombs being hidden, though, the mortuary temple was considered the tomb owner’s safe passage through the night. The earliest tombs were barely decorated, compared to the later ones which were magnificently decorated. Who’s buried there? Beginning with the 18th Dynasty only kings were buried within the valley in large tombs and when a non-royal was buried, it was in a small rock-cut chamber close to the tomb of their master. Despite the name, the Valley of the Kings also contains the tombs of honored nobles as well as the wives and children of pharaohs and nobles. This means that only about 20 of the tombs actually contain kings. Tomb writings The majority of the royal tombs The ceilings of the burial were decorated with religious chambers were decorated with writing and drawings. text from the Book of Caverns. The writings were from the Book of the Dead, Book of the Gates, and Book of the Underworld. The writings were supposed to help the royal person in his passages in the netherworld. Burial Equipment Each burial was also provided with equipment that would enable the continued existence in the afterlife of the king. This included treasure which was supposed to add to the comfort of the king. There would also be ritual “magical” items such as the shabtis. The shabti was believed to magically come to life after the dead king had been judged, and work for the dead king as a substitute laborer in the fields of Osiris. Other equipment in the burial would be items that the king might have actually used in their lifetime, such as sandals. Tomb Exploration The Valley of the Kings has been a major area of exploration for the last 200 years. The area shows the changes in the study of ancient Egypt. Records show that only eleven of the tombs have actually been completely recorded. Tombs have been numbered in the order that they were discovered King Tut and further exploration In November 1922, Howard Carter discovered the tomb of King Tutankhamun which was found mostly intact. Several expeditions have continued in the 21st Century to explore the Valley of the Kings. Who knows, maybe any day now we’ll hear that the Egyptian team that is looking for the tomb of Ramesses VIII (8th) has found it! Ghorayebah (Melt-in-Mouth cookies) Ingredients 100 g powdered sugar 200 g clarified butter 400 g all-purpose flour 1 pinch salt Directions Beat butter till white. Add Sugar and beat for 3 more minutes. Add A.P. flour, salt and beat for 2 minutes. Garnish with ½ Almond or a pine (as per photo). Roll it into small balls and slightly press it down by your thumb (with the almond to stick on it). The dough consistency should be like the moist sand but when you squeeze it in your hand-plum it should hold it self. leave it to rest in the Fridge for 15min. Bake in medium-low pre-heated oven (color should be like ivory) don't let it blush!