In this blog, we will keep you updated about our latest research and the current state of affairs.
This year, an intern from the US (University of Southern California) accompanied us in our summer fieldwork. We thank the supporters and donors of the USC Student Africa Fund for sponsoring the travel expenses. The joint scientific exchange was of great value and opened new perspectives for exciting projects in and around KV 11.
Our research on the tomb equipment of Pharaoh Ramesses III in museums worldwide continues and so we are grateful to Prof. Vincent Rondot for renewed access to the storerooms of the Musée du Louvre and to Dr. Christophe Barbotin for his kind support of our work. Thanks to them, we had the opportunity to take a closer look at the ushabtis (servant figures) of the Pharaoh in order to prepare them for a final publication of KV 11. All news and information about the research project can be found here!
As a generous donation, we kindly received five 80 Mobile Computers i7 of the brand Zebra in this year which were handed
over by PanStreet International GmbH. The mobile devices will serve for damage mapping within our conservation project funded by Gerda Henkel Stiftung. Therewith, our Egyptian colleagues will
also be able to work on these high-end-devices and experience the advantage of a digital 3D damage mapping. We are excited to use these tablets in the field and we will publish all news about our
experience using them on our blog.
A kick starter campaign was developed by Humboldt University of Berlin on betterplace.org (link above) in order to support our work in the Valley of the Kings. We are
dependent on our followers and happy about each contribution to save cultural heritage! Please, consider a donation to our project to protect KV 11 from further decay and make the tomb fully
As of January 2023, our project is officially affiliated with ASOR and we are proud to represent the cultural values of this association as a team. In the future, there will be updates on the topic as well as lectures at ASOR about our work. We are looking forward to this collaboration!
This year's campaign was funded by the Kulturerhaltprogramm of the German Foreign Office, the AEF Grant from the American Research Center in Egypt, the Mehen Foundation and various companies and individual donors. This enabled us to systematically excavate, research and consoli-date a significant part of the rear area of KV 11. We thank all supporters of our work and will get back to you with more details on our results!
During 2020, our team prepared multiple publications and articles. On the 29th of November 2020, we had the pleasure to present a Festschrift to our long-standing team member Willem Hovestreydt to honour his contribution to the field of Egyptology. The book is published with GHP Egyptology 33 and includes, among other topics, the latest research about the royal tomb KV 11 in the Valley of the Kings. We would like to thank the Netherlands Institute for the Near East and the Humboldt University of Berlin for their financial support in printing this volume. With 50 participants, including colleagues, friends and family members, the ceremony to present the Festschrift was held online and comprised of keynote speeches by John Baines, René van Walsem and Anke Weber about Willem’s work at the AEB/OEB, the NINO and the Ramesses III (KV 11) Publication and Conservation Project. We hope that the readers of this book will enjoy it as much as Willem does.
Our project is pleased to share a film about Sheikh Abou el-Komsan which has been produced by our filmmaker, Nelleke Hovestreydt. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the procession (moulid) for Sheikh Abou el-Komsan can’t take place in 2020. Therefore, we are providing a virtual retrospective in order to revive it for all people who are not able to join this event. We are grateful to the family of Abou el-Komsan who gave us permission for filming and sharing in order to commemorate his legacy!
Our winter field season was funded by the Antiquities Endowment Fund of the American Research Center in Egypt. We conducted a geo-archeological survey, a TST-survey and archaeological fieldwork as well as first conservational tests. We are currently processing our data in order to make it accessible to the public. We are grateful to our collaboration partners ARCE, Oxford Archaeology East and Joseph Brett McClain (Oriental Institute Chicago, The Epigraphic Survey) for their constant support.
Annual Meeting 2019
In August 2019, the team members of the Ramesses III (KV 11) Publication and Conservation Project came together in Berlin for the project’s annual meeting. This year, the meeting was mainly concerned with the preparation of the winter campaign. Moreover, Anke Weber presented the results of the last field campaign held in May 2018. The meeting concluded with the presentation “Digitizing the sarcophagus of Ramesses III – Zum Stand der Arbeiten am Grabensemble aus KV 11“ by Anke Weber and Lea Rees, reporting about the work carried out in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and the Musée du Louvre in Paris together with our colleagues Gareth D. Rees, Helen Strudwick and Marc Etienne.
3D-model of the sarcophagus box of Ramesses III
In June, we had the opportunity to make a photogrammetric record of the sarcophagus box of Ramesses III in the Musée du Louvre in Paris and to create a 3D-model from it. After two years of preparation, we can now finally virtually reunite the coffer with its lid, which is housed in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. The aim of this subproject is the recontextualisation of the sarcophagus and the scientific study of the funerary equipment from KV 11. We would like to express our thanks to Vincent Rondot, Hélène Guichard and, most of all, Marc Etienne for the permission and their kind support.
17.07.2018 Lecture of Anke Weber: "KV 11 - Das Grab Ramses' III. im Tal der Könige. Zum Zustand und Stand der Aufarbeitung" (Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection Berlin)
20.04.2018 Lecture of Dora Olsen: "Reconstructing the Opening of the Mouth in KV 11" (Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg)
Workshop: From 23-24 February, the third workshop of the Ramesses III (KV 11) Publication and Consevation Project took place. The individual contributions were divided into five panels:
- Introduction to the History and Current Research for KV 11
- Geology and Archaeology
- The Sarcophagus
- Reconstruction of Scenes
- Interpretation of Scenes and Scientific Approach
We thank the participants for their contributions and we are looking forward to working with the new team members.
Panel 1: Introduction
Silvia Kutscher: Welcome address
Anke Weber: KV 11 revisited. The Ramesses III (KV 11) Publication and Conservation Project
Panel 2: Geology and Archaeology
Stephen Cross: Remedial Flood Protection of KV 11
Klara Dietze: The excavation of the burial chamber in KV 11. Planned methods and practical approach
Judith Bunbury: The Geology of the Valley of the Kings. How the builders countered faults and failings in KV 11
Panel 3: The Sarcophagus
Helen Strudwick: The journey of the sarcophagus lid attributed to Ramesses III to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge
Lea Röfer and Gareth D. Rees: Multiple sarcophagi for Ramesses III? New evidence and joins
Lyla Pinch-Brock: The work of Ted Brock in the Tomb of Ramesses III. Objects and opinions
Panel 4: Reconstruction of Scenes
Florence Mauric-Barberio: Some light on the lost decoration in KV 17 and KV 11 using the notes and drawings made by Robert Hay
Daniel Werning: On the Book of Gates and the Books of the Earth in chambers F, Fa and J
Panel 5: Interpretation of Scenes and Scientific Approach
Anke Weber and Willem Hovestreydt: Digital techniques for KV 11
Willem Hovestreydt: The decoration of the pillars in pillared hall F and the sarcophagus chamber. Correspondences and correlations
Dora Olsen: Reconstructing the Opening of the Mouth Ritual in KV 11
Sandro Schwarz: Traveling towards the horizon. New Kingdom depictions of Ra-Horakhty's solar barque
Jan Moje: A hieroglyphic Paleography for KV 11
Winter field season: In this campaign, we were able to complete a major part of the preliminary work on KV 11 and prepare it for publication. We thank our colleagues at Chicago House (in particular Ray Johnson, Brett McClain, and Jay Heidel) as well as the staff at Luxor University (in particular Mansour el-Nouby, Mahmoud el-Gabalawy, and Mohsen Toukhy) for their support. The tomb was re-opened to tourists in November 2017 after the Ministery of Antiquities had installed new glass screens, wooden walkways, and lighting. KV 11 is now accessible again to visitors from Corridor B to Corridor G. In 2018, the first publications from our project will appear with reports on the condition of the tomb as well as research results and the current status of activities.
Workshop: The second Ramesses III (KV 11) Publication and Conservation Project Workshop took place in Berlin in order to develop an agenda for
future research in KV 11. The participants presented the progress of their research and discussed aims and following working steps. Thus it was possible to develop a consistent
methodology for the scientific work in the tomb. Sandro Schwarz shed light on the depictions of ships in Chamber Bb, while Klara Dietze presented her methods to clear the sarcophagus chamber. Lea
Röfer presented new results concerning the reconstruction of the sarcophagus lid, while Gareth D. Rees reported about the photogrammetrical documentation of the lid. A. Cantele told us about the
reconstruction of the wall depictions in Chamber Jc, whereas A. Weber and W. Hovestreydt presented their results concerning the semantics of the tomb. J. Moje presented his methodology for a
hieroglyphic palaeography of KV 11.
Spring field season: On the basis of our working hypothesis that rainwater accumulated in KV 11 for a long period of time (due to the special characteristics of the surrounding rock layers), we undertook geoprospection in order to examine the Theban rock more precisely and to differentiate between individual layers. The so-called "Esna Shale" is located under the Theban limestone and was used for the construction of tombs, since it was easy to work with. The terrace temple of Queen Hatshepsut borders directly on the mountain massif, which, up to its highest terrace, is still part of the "Esna Shale". However, the rock has the disadvantage that it quickly absorbs water and then expands. As a result, the volume of the rock increases rapidly, up to the point where the maximum absorption capacity is reached. Consequently, the water is prevented from draining and only gradually evaporates. According to our hypothesis, this was the case in the wake of the flood, which destroyed a large portion of the rear parts of KV 11.
For the first time, we were joined by our expert for the reconstruction of the Opening of the Mouth ritual - Dora Olsen, as well as our photographer Franz Nagy. Our
team also welcomed Klara Dietze as a new member. She will be responsible for the archaeological clearing of the sarcophagus chamber in KV 11. Lea Röfer focuses on the reconstruction of the
sarcophagus of Ramses III and the lid which is now housed in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.
During the spring of 2017, our team was granted the concession for the conservation, study and work in KV 11. The first campaign took place immediately afterwards
and focused on the preparations for the work in the tomb. Among other objectives a collaboration with the Faculty of Archeology in Luxor, founded recently by Dr. Mansour el-Nouby, was initiated
(see photo; from left to right: Klara Dietze, Dora Olsen, Anke Weber and Mansour el-Nouby). The initiative aims to provide Egyptian students with fieldwork experience during our Field School. We
are looking forward to working with the newly founded Faculty.
Workshop: At the beginning of the year, a first workshop on the reconstruction of the tomb of Ramses III (KV 11) took place in Berlin. For the
first time, a large part of the team met to discuss its methodological approach. Jan Moje gave a lecture on the hieroglyphic palaeography of KV 11, while Lea Röfer reported about first results of
the reconstruction of the sarcophagus lid attributed to Ramesses III. Dora Olsen presented first insights on the reconstruction of the Opening of the Mouth ritual in corridor G and also provided
reference material. Daniel Werning presented the collation of the Books of the Netherworld in Hall J and Antonio Cantele showed his suggestions for reconstructing the representations and texts in
chamber Jc. Willem Hovestreydt and Anke Weber discussed the decoration programme of KV11, with special emphasis on the ten small chambers in Corridors B and
C. We would like to thank the Egyptological Research Association Berlin for the funding and preparation of this workshop.
During the 2016 autumn campaign, Dr. Daniel Werning collated the Netherworld Books in the sarcophagus chamber of KV 11. Meanwhile, Antonio Cantele was respon-sible for the assessment of Chamber Jc. Only fragments are preserved of the so-called "Book of the Heavenly Cow", which was originally depicted here. However, a reconstruction can be carried out with the help of publications by previous scholars and visitors to the tomb.
We started with recording the condition of the sarcopagus chamber (hall J) and measuring the rear part of KV 11. A project is planned
to start in 2017, which focuses on the conservation/consolidation of this tomb to prevent it from further damage.
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