INTERIM REPORT ON THE RE-CLEARANCE AT THE ROYAL TOMB OF AMENOPHIS III (KV 22)

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This page is excerpted from the publication entitled "Research in Egypt 1966-1991", published by the Institute of Egyptology at Waseda University in 1991.

The Royal Tomb of Amenophis III

The tomb of Amenophis III is No. 22 (WV 22) located in the Western Valley of the Kings. There are four registered tombs in this valley, WV 22, WV 23 (the tomb of Ay), WV 24 and WV 25. In 1972, the University of Minnesota Egyptian Expedition (UMEE) carried out their archaeological clearance of WV 23 and WV 25.

WV 22 was discovered officially in August 1799 by two French engineers, Jollis and Devilliers, who were members of Napoleon Bonaparte's expedition. They excavated the tomb and charted, and fine stone royal shabtis were also found by them. Between 1905-1914, Theodore M. Davis carried out his excavations of the tomb. However, details of his work on WV 22 are not known. From February 8th to March 8th 1915, Howard Carter made a complete clearance of the interior of the tomb with sponsorship from the fifth Earl of Carnavon.

The Egyptian Archaeological Mission of Waseda University started the re-clearance of WV 22 in September 1989. Before clearance of the tomb, we surveyed and made a 1: 1000 topographical map of the Western Valley, as there were no reliable maps of this area.

Secondly, an archaeological cleaning inside was made, in order to get a tomb's exact plan and elevations. According to its elevation, this tomb is cut into a sloping hillside, 172 m above sea level. The floor level of the sarcophagus chamber is about 145 m above sea level. The distance from the entrance to the rear wall of the sarcophagus chamber is approximately 85 meters. The plan of this tomb is similar to those of the royal tomb of Amenophis II (KV 35) and Tuthmosis IV (KV 43) . Particularly, it has close resemblance to the plan of Tuthmosis IV. Seventy five years after Carter's clearance, a number of objects were found during our re-clearance.

The outside of the entrance of the tomb was excavated for traces of Carter's excavation. In the course of the work, we discovered a small intact foundation deposit on the south section of our trench. The foundation deposit we found was placed at only 35 cm beneath the surface and about 60 cm above the bed rock. This deposit consisted of the head and small bones of a calf, five miniature pottery vessels, a wooden model cradle and a wooden carving of a symbolic rope knot. They were placed in a reed basket, about 25 cm in diameter, with the calf's head placed on top of the deposit.

The paintings on the walls have been badly damaged by salt. The decorated plaster has been gradually separated from the bed rock; the lower portion seems to have fallen completely away. The cracks on the pillars have been growing and damaged the painting on them. Urgent restoration work was required for this dangerous situation. So we started restoring the paintings on the walls and the pillars of the sarcophagus chamber in March 1990 with the cooperation of Egyptian experts.

KV22, Mural Painting Mural painting in the tomb of Amenophis III


KV22, Restoration Restoration in the tomb of Amenophis III


KV22, Foundation Deposit Foundation deposit


KV22, Human Figure Fuman head made of yellow faience found at the tomb



All correspondence should be sent to: Institute of Egyptology (institute-egyptology@list.waseda.jp).


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(First drafted: 20 February 1996)
(Last revised: 25 January 2000)