The tombs were visited by the Greeks and the Romans who left graffiti on the walls of the tombs in Greek and Latin. The fall of the Roman Empire led to many hundreds of years of silence regarding the tombs and the next documented evidence is by a Jesuit priest called Claude Sicard who rediscovered the Valley of the Kings between 1708 and 1712. A plan of 18 tombs on the site was then drawn by an English clergyman called Richard Pococke in 1734. James Bruce, a Scottish Egyptologist, explored the tomb of Ramses III in 1769. In 1798 Napoleon Bonaparte led a military campaign into Egypt. The French were stranded in Egypt for 3 years and during this time the French studied Egyptian monuments and history and Napoleon Bonaparte gave orders that valuable Ancient Egyptian antiquities should be transferred to Paris. The discovery of the Rosetta Stone sparked even more interest in the Ancient Egypt civilisation and excavations began.
Legend used for Egyptian Tomb Discoveries
John Gardiner Wilkinson (1797–1875) assigned the numeration system for the Egyptian tombs. All tombs are and numbered according to this system and the legends KV, QV, WV & TT indicate their location as follows:
- KV (e.g. KV no.35) refers to the King Valley
- QV (e.g. QV no.66) refers to the burial site of Nerfertari in the Queen Valley
- WV (e.g. WV no.23) refers to the burial site of the Pharaoh Ay in the Western Valley
- TT (e.g. TT no.55) refers to the burial site of Ramose designated to the category of Theban Tomb
- There are at least 415 catalogued tombs, designated TT for Theban Tomb which are burial places of nobles and important court officials
Egyptian Tomb Discoveries
The following table lists some of the famous and important Egyptian Tomb Discoveries made in the Valley of the Kings, including the name of the occupant, date of the discovery and a list of the names of the Egyptologists who excavated the tombs.