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Valley of the Kings

The Valley of the Kings, or Biban el-Muluk in Arabic, is a valley in Egypt where tombs were built for the Pharaos.

Biban el-Muluk means doorway or gateway of the kings. The valley is located on the west bank of the Nile across from Thebes. It is separated into the East and West Valley. The West Valley has only one tomb open to the public: the tomb of Eye King[?], Tutankhamunís successor.

The Valley was used during the 18th to 20th Dynasties, approximately from 1539 BC to 1075 BC[?] and contains approximately 60 tombs, starting with Thutmoses I[?] and ending with Ramses the X[?] or XI[?].

The Valley of the Kings also had tombs for the favourite nobles and the wives and children of both the nobles and pharaohs. Around the time of Ramses I[?] the Valley of the Queens was founded although some wives were still buried with their husbands.

The quality of the rock in the Valley is very inconsistent. Tombs were built, cutting through various layers of limestone, each with its own quality. This poses problems for modern day conservators, as it must have to the origional architects. Building plans were probably changed on account of this. The most serious problem are the shale layers. This fine material expands when it comes into contact with water. This has damaged many tombs, particularly during floods.

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Grave robbers

Almost all of the tombs have been ransacked except for Tutankhamunís. King Tutankhamun was a minor king and many other kings had more numerous treasures.

The valley was surrounded by steep cliffs and heavily guarded. In 1090 BC[?], or the year of the Hyena, there was a collapse in Egypt's economy leading to the emergence of tomb robbers. Because of this, it was also the last year that the valley was used for burial.

Archaeology

Modern Western archaeology's first discovery was by Howard Carter on November 4, 1922: the Tomb of King Tutankhamun. He supervised the clearance and conservation until 1932. Tutankhamun's tomb was the first tomb to be discovered that was still largely intact.

Some members of the archaeological teams led by Carter and later archaeologists contracted local lethal viruses through food or [[animal (particularly insects), resulting in the infamous "Curse of the Pharaohs[?]" modern legend.

Miscellanea

  • Pets were also buried here, there is a group of three animal tombs.
  • The largest tomb was built for the sons of Ramses II. It contains 67 burial chambers.
  • The tombs were tourist attraction since the time of ancient Greeks and Romans.

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