The road to the Valley of the Kings
The Ancient path leading to the Valley of the Kings, where the modern road now lies, was called the 'road where Re sets'. The road divides into two directions but only 4 tombs, including the royal tombs of the Pharaohs Amenhotep III (aka Amenophis) 1389BC -1351BC and Ay 1325 -1321BC, are located in the Western Valley. The main branch of the road leads to the Valley of the Kings and the other 58 tombs to be found in this area.
When were tombs first built in the Valley of the Kings?
Tombs for royalty and nobles were built in the Valley of the Kings during the period of the New Kingdom (1570 BC - 1070 BC) and served as burial places for people of great importance during the 18th - 20th Egyptian Dynasties, a period of 500 years. The tombs are hollowed in the rocks of the Theban mountain.
Exploration History of the Valley of the Kings
The table below provides a list of all of the tombs which have been discovered and excavated in the Valley of the Kings together with the names of the Egyptologists who excavated them. But before the modern excavations people were aware of the tombs in the Valley of the Kings. In 57BC the Greek historian, Diodorus Siculus, wrote about the tombs in the Valley of the Kings. The tombs were visited by the Greeks and the Romans who left graffiti on the walls of the tombs in Greek and Latin which is still visible today. The next documented evidence regarding the Valley of the Kings is by a Jesuit priest called Claude Sicard (1677 – 1726) who rediscovered the Valley of the Kings between 1708 and 1712. A plan of 18 tombs in the Valley of the Kings was then drawn by an English clergyman called Richard Pococke (1704-1765) in 1734. James Bruce (1730 - 1794), a Scottish Egyptologist, explored the tomb of Ramses III in 1769. In 1798 Napoleon Bonaparte led a military campaign into Egypt. The French were in Egypt for 3 years when they studied Egyptian monuments and history. The discovery of the Rosetta Stone sparked even more interest in the Ancient Egypt civilisation and excavations in the Valley of the Kings began. The Valley of the Kings was visited by noted Egyptologists such as Giovanni Battista Belzoni, James Burton, John Gardiner Wilkinson, Jean-Fracois Champollion, Robert Hay, Victor Loret and Howard Carter.