The Ramesses III (KV 11) Publication and Conservation project

The two main objectives of the project are the publication and conservation of the tomb of Ramses III in the Valley of the Kings. The long-term project combines traditional philological and archaeological research with modern scientific methods, such as photogrammetry.

THE SARCOPHAGUS

In 2017 we received the permission of the Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge for a photogrammetry record of the sarcophagus lid of Ramesses III (Inv. No. E.1.1823). A team from Oxford Archaeology East (Gareth Rees, James Fairbairn) was able to record the lid and produce a 3D-model of it. This can be used as a basis for future reconstructions as well as for a virtual join with the sarcophagus itself, now housed in the Musée du Louvre in Paris (Inv. No. D1). Recently, we received permission for a photogrammetry record of this object. We would like to thank our colleagues Dr. Helen Strudwick, Dr. Vincent Rondot and Dr. Mark Etienne for their kind support.

 

A. Dodson, ‘Was the sarcophagus of Ramesses III begun for Sethos II?’, JEA 72 (1986), 196-198.

 

A. Dodson, ‘Sarcophagi’, in R. H. Wilkinson, K. Weeks, The Oxford Handbook of the Valley of the Kings (Oxford, [2016], 255-256.

THE SARCOPHAGUS CHAMBER

Since thousands of years, the Valley of the Kings, which is a dried out Wadi (river bed), suffers from flash floods. The sarcophagus chamber (hall J) of KV 11 has been flooded after heavy rain falls between 1890 and 1910. Nowadays, the chamber is heavily destroyed and filled with debris. the project plans to clear Hall J in order to make it accessible for researchers, conservators and for the public in near future.

The maximum water level which decreased gradually is still visible today by the straight separation line between remaining plaster and the destroyed lower part of the walls in the sarcophagus chamber.

 

J. M. Bunbury, Geology of the Valley of the Kings, in: R. H. Wilkinson and K. R. Weeks, The Oxford Handbook of the Valley of the Kings (Oxford 2016), 15-22.

 

A. Dorn, The Hydrology of the Valley of the Kings: Weather, Rainfall, Drainage Patterns, and Flood Protection in Antiquity, in: R. H. Wilkinson and K. R. Weeks, The Oxford Handbook of the Valley of the Kings (Oxford 2016),30-38.

 

M. Marciniak, ‘Deux campagnes épigraphiques au tombeau de Ramsès III dans la Vallée de Rois (no. 11)’ ET 12 (1983), 295-305.

 

D. A. Werning, Das Höhlenbuch. Textkritische Edition und Textgrammatik, I: Überlieferungsgeschichte und Textgrammatik, (GOF IV/48; Wiesbaden 2011), 24 and pl. I.

THE RECONSTRUCTION OF SCENES

Reconstruction of the bakery scene in chamber Ba. Copyrights: A. Weber.
Reconstruction of the bakery scene in chamber Ba. Copyrights: A. Weber.

The reconstruction of wall scenes in KV 11 will take place with modern methods and a comparison with drawings and pictures of former researchers. In this way, it was possible to reconstruct the well-known bakery scene in chamber Ba, using the drawings of Ippolito Rosellini (I Monumenti dell' Egitto e della Nubia, Teil II, Monumenti Civili, Pisa 1834, LXXXV.) as master copies. Very useful are the sketches of Robert Hay (British Library London, partly published in: F. Mauric-Barberio, ‘Reconstitution du décor de la tombe de Ramsès III (partie inférieure) d’après les manuscrits de Robert Hay’, BIFAO 104 (2004), 389-456.) for other parts of the tomb. Since he used a camera lucida, the distortion-free recordings can be matched with modern photographs within a photo editing programme, making it possible to reconstruct the original condition of the wall reliefs.

 

W. Hovestreydt, ‘Sideshow or not? On the Side-Rooms of the First Two Corridors in the Tomb of Ramesses III’, in B. J. J. Haring, O. E. Kaper, R. van Walsem (eds), The Workman's Progress. Studies in the Village of Deir el-Medina and other Documents from Western Thebes in Honour of Rob Demarée, (EU 28; Leiden, 2014), 103-132.

 

F. Mauric-Barberio, ‘Reconstitution du décor de la tombe de Ramsès III (partie inférieure) d’après les manuscrits de Robert Hay’, BIFAO 104 (2004), 389-456.

 

I. Rosellini, I monumenti dell'Egitto e della Nubia disegnati dalla spedizione scientifico-letteraria toscana in Egitto, II: Monumenti Civili (Pisa, 1834), pl. lix-lxii, lxxv, lxxx, lxxxv-lxxxvi, lxxxix, xcl-xclii, xcvil, cv, cvii-cviii, cxxi.

THE BOOK OF THE HEAVENLY COW

The depictions and texts of the so-called "Book of the Heavenly Cow" were shown in chamber Jc, which is situated close to the sarcophagus chamber. Nowadays, almost the whole decoration is lost. By aid of the RTI technique, we will be able to reconstruct the original reliefs.

 

E. Lefébure, Les hypogées royaux de Thèbes, seconde division: Notices des hypogées, (MIFAO 3 (1); Paris, 1889), 87-120, pl. 58-65.

 

É. Naville, Inscription of the destruction of Mankind in the Tomb of Rameses III, in: Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology 7 (1884-1885), S. 93-94.

 

É. Naville, L’Inscription de la Destruction des Hommes dans le Tombeau de Ramsès III, in: Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archaeology 8 (1885), S. 412-420.

THE LAST YEARS

2009 First visit of the tomb KV 11 in order to document its condition

2011 Return to record the royal bakery scene in Chamber Ba

2014 Recording of all scenes in the chambers Ba-Ch, chamber Fa, and hall J

2015 Survey of hall J and preparation of a "Preliminary Report" on the state of the site

2016 Collation of the books of the Netherworld in Hall J and recording chamber Jc

2017 Geo-Survey and collection of picture material for comparison from the accessible

          New Kingdom temples and tombs