Thanks to the generous financial support of the German Federal Foreign Office, we are able to conduct a first conservation campaign in the tomb of Ramesses III. A team of conservators will work on the stabilisation and restauration of the burial chamber. We aim to make the closed part of KV 11 accessible again for tourism in the future. In order to prepare this cultural heritage site, consolidation measures have to be undertaken, followed by tests for the restauration of the preserved wall decoration which is planned for the coming years. With the support of the “Preservation of cultural heritage”-programme, the tomb of Ramesses III. can be protected and be reconstructed in its former splendour.
Once again, we have the great pleasure to be one of the teams granted the Antiquities Endowment Fund of the American Research Center in Egypt. The funding allows us to clear the rear part of the tomb and prepare it for future work. The excavation/clearing work is necessary for the restoration of the tomb. Big stone fragments, rubble and sand will be systematically stripped in order to make way for the conservators to conserve this cultural heritage site.
We have received a contribution from the Mehen Foundation for the acquisition of work equipment. Thanks to their financial support, we can acquire materials as well as technical equipment that will serve our work in KV 11 for many years to come. This is an immense contribution for our sustainable and future-oriented work in the Valley of the Kings. We are extremely grateful to the members and board of the foundation for their support from which we will benefit in the next seasons.
The Kärcher company kindly provided us with two cleaning devices, including equipment and dust bags, for the restauration work in KV 11. The high percentage of respirable dust in the rear, closed part of the tomb results from various flooding events and the depositing of fine sediments on the floor. These are not only detrimental to the preserved wall decoration but also to the health of our team members. Thanks to Kärcher, we now have sufficient means to clean reliefs and stone fragments, in order to conserve them for the future.
The MICRODUR-cement produced by the Dyckerhoff company belongs to the best materials worldwide to consolidate fissures in stone. For this year, we have received a generous donation of this material, which we will test for stabilising the heavily damaged pillars in the burial chamber of KV 11. We would like to thank Dyckerhoff for their input and support and their contribution to the conservation work.
By courtesy of epesa, we were provided with socks sporting pour logo that we can use as promotion material as well as wearing it on site during our work in the Valley of the Kings. The breathable and light material offers a good air exchange, even during hot temperatures and long working hours. If you would like to support our project, you can participate in our crowdfunding campaign or donate directly, and you will receive this high quality prodcut as a thank-you gift.
After a long time of preparations, our team could finally present Willem Hovestreydt with a Festschrift in his honour this year. Due to the current health restrictions, the ceremony was held online. We would like to thank the Netherlands Institute for the Near East for granting us their outreach allowance, enabling us to include colour plates that add a lot of value to the contributions. Without the NINO this would have not been possible. „Akhet Neheh. Studies in Honour of Willem Hovestreydt on Occasion of His 75th Birthday”, edited by Anke Weber, Martina Grünhagen, Les Rees, and Jan Moje, was published by Golden House Publications in their Egyptology series (no. 33) and is available in bookshops from now on.
ARCE’s Antiquities Endowment Fund
The Ramesses III. (KV 11) Publication and Conservation Project
First measures to take for the scientific study and conservation of KV 11 are a geo-archaeological survey and the full-scale documentation of the present condition of the tomb. Thus we are extremely thankful for the kind and generous support of the American Research Center in Egypt, who fund our winter campaign. In order to develop a strategy of flood prevention, we are using up-to-date techniques to evaluate and map cracks over the tomb and inside it. At the same time, our conservators will plan their technical approaches and methods to consolidate and conserve the tomb. Our archaeologists will prepare the planned clearing of the sarcophagus chamber, whose floor is buried underneath flood sediments and huge fragments of limestone. We would like to express our gratitude for ARCE for their commitment and support of our work.
EES Centenary Award
KV 11 revisited. The collection of archive material concerning the tomb of Ramesses III in the Valley of the Kings
The tomb of Ramesses III (KV 11) is one of the most renowned places in the Valley of the Kings, but also one of the most threatened by progressive decay. After several floods, between 1885 and 1914, a major part of the wall decoration was lost forever. Although it has been one of the most frequently visited tombs since antiquity, it still remains unpublished. Nevertheless, it is possible to reconstruct a substantial part of the decoration from the notes, drawings and squeezes produced by early travellers and researchers. “KV 11 revisited” is part of The Ramesses III (KV 11) Publication and Conservation Project. Thanks to the EES Centenary Award, the team members will be able to conduct research in the archives of the British Library, the Bodleian Library and the University of Milan to explore this invaluable documentation on the now lost sections of the tomb’s decoration.
In 1883, Eugène Lefébure worked for several months in the Valley, not long before the tomb’s final flooding. His published notes and sketches form an essential supplement to Champollion’s Notices descriptives, and both publications are well known. His personal notes and correspondence remain unpublished, however, as are those of Victor Loret who accompanied him for much of the time he worked in the Valley. A similar fate is shared by the notes of Sir Gardner Wilkinson (1797-1875) and Robert Hay (1799-1863). It should be pointed out that the drawings produced by Hay and the artists in his service, among them Joseph Bonomi, were regularly made with the aid of the camera lucida and therefore remarkably precise. For this reason, they are eminently suitable for purposes of reconstruction. Other travellers who left notes and drawings of KV 11 include James Burton (1786-1862) and Edward William Lane (1801-1876), both of whom also used the camera lucida. Such distortion-free records may serve as a basis for the reconstruction of wall parts which were washed away by the intruding rain water. Though not attributed, images taken from the decoration of KV 11 are sprinkled throughout the volumes of Wilkinson’s Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians, suggesting there may well be much more to find among his notes.
Only a close examination of these documents, papers and drawings can provide us with a more complete picture of the former decoration of KV 11. It is also hoped that more information can be found to help establish a chronology of the floods, which might in turn lead to a better understanding of the tomb’s geology. This will not only be useful for the conservation of KV 11, but it may also help to prevent future flooding by developing a site management plan for the tomb.
The EES Centenary Award is a substantial contribution to the development of archive-based research and reconstruction work in the tomb of pharaoh Ramesses III and our team is grateful for this opportunity.
Weber, Anke, ‘First Report on the Publication and Conservation of the Tomb of Ramesses III in the Valley of the Kings (KV 11)’, Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 104.1 (2019), 1-11.
Hovestreydt, Willem, Sideshow or not? On the side-rooms of the first two corridors in the tomb of Ramesses III’, in: B.J.J. Haring et. (eds), The Workman’s Progress: Studies in the Village of Deir el-Medina and Other Documents from Western Thebes in Honour of Rob Demarée (Leiden, 1914), 103-132.
Mauric-Barberio, Florence, ‘Reconstitution du décor de la tombe de Ramsès III (partie inférieure) d'après les manuscrits de Robert Hay’, Bulletin de l'Institut Français d'Archéologie Orientale 104 (2), 389-456.
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