Egypt’s Valley of the Kings 埃及的帝王谷

The Valley of the Kings (Arabic: وادي الملوك‎ Wādī al Mulūk; Coptic: ϫⲏⲙⲉ, translit. džēme), also known as the Valley of the Gates of the Kings (Arabic: وادي ابواب المملوك‎ Wādī Abwāb al Mulūk), is a valley in Egypt where, for a period of nearly 500 years from the 16th to 11th century BC, rock cut tombs were excavated for the pharaohs and powerful nobles of the New Kingdom (the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Dynasties of Ancient Egypt).

The valley stands on the west bank of the Nile, opposite Thebes (modern Luxor), within the heart of the Theban Necropolis.The wadi consists of two valleys, East Valley (where the majority of the royal tombs are situated) and West Valley.

With the 2005 discovery of a new chamber and the 2008 discovery of two further tomb entrances, the valley is known to contain 63 tombs and chambers (ranging in size from KV54, a simple pit, to KV5, a complex tomb with over 120 chambers). It was the principal burial place of the major royal figures of the Egyptian New Kingdom, as well as a number of privileged nobles. The royal tombs are decorated with scenes from Egyptian mythology and give clues as to the beliefs and funerary rituals of the period. Almost all of the tombs seem to have been opened and robbed in antiquity, but they still give an idea of the opulence and power of the pharaohs.

This area has been a focus of archaeological and egyptological exploration since the end of the eighteenth century, and its tombs and burials continue to stimulate research and interest. In modern times the valley has become famous for the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun (with its rumours of the curse of the pharaohs),and is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. In 1979, it became a World Heritage Site, along with the rest of the Theban Necropolis. Exploration, excavation and conservation continues in the valley, and a new tourist centre has recently been opened.


山谷位於尼羅河西岸,對面是底比斯(現代盧克索),位於Theban Necropolis的中心。該河谷由兩個山谷組成,東谷(大部分皇家陵墓所在地)和西谷。

隨著2005年新房間的發現和2008年發現的另外兩個墓穴入口,該山谷被稱為包含63個墓葬和房間(大小從KV54,一個簡單的坑到KV5,一個有120多個房間的複雜墓穴) 。它是埃及新王國主要皇室成員的主要埋葬地,以及一些特權貴族。皇家陵墓裝飾著埃及神話中的場景,並提供有關這一時期的信仰和喪葬儀式的線索。幾乎所有的墳墓似乎都在古代開闢和搶劫,但他們仍然對法老的富裕和力量有所了解。

自十八世紀末以來,該地區一直是考古和埃及學研究的焦點,其墓葬和墓葬繼續刺激研究和興趣。在現代,山谷因發現圖坦卡蒙墓(以及法老詛咒的謠言)而聞名,並且是世界上最著名的考古遺址之一。 1979年,它與Theban Necropolis的其他地方一起成為世界遺產。山谷中的勘探,挖掘和保護工作仍在繼續,最近新的旅遊中心已經開放。


The Valley of the Kings is situated over 1,000 feet of limestone and other sedimentary rock, which form the cliffs in the valley and the nearby Deir el-Bahri, interspersed with soft layers of marl. The sedimentary rock was originally deposited between 35–56 million years ago during a time when the Mediterranean Sea sometimes extended as far south as Aswan. During the Pleistocene the valley was carved out of the plateau by steady rains. There is currently little year-round rain in this part of Egypt, but there are occasional flash floods that hit the valley, dumping tons of debris into the open tombs.

The quality of the rock in the Valley is inconsistent, ranging from finely-grained to coarse stone, the latter with the potential to be structurally unsound. The occasional layer of shale also caused construction and conservation difficulties, as this rock expands in the presence of water, forcing apart the stone surrounding it. It is thought that some tombs were altered in shape and size depending on the types of rock the builders encountered.

Builders took advantage of available geological features when constructing the tombs. Some tombs were quarried out of existing limestone clefts, others behind slopes of scree, or were at the edge of rock spurs created by ancient flood channels.

The problems of tomb construction can be seen with tombs of Ramesses III and his father Setnakhte. Setnakhte started to excavate KV11 but broke into the tomb of Amenmesse, so construction was abandoned and he instead usurped the tomb of Twosret, KV14. When looking for a tomb, Ramesses III extended the partly-excavated tomb started by his father. The tomb of Ramesses II returned to an early style, with a bent axis, probably due to the quality of the rock being excavated (following the Esna shale).

Between 1998 and 2002 the Amarna Royal Tombs Project investigated the valley floor using ground-penetrating radar and found that, below the modern surface, the Valley’s cliffs descend beneath the scree in a series of abrupt, natural “shelves”, arranged one below the other, descending several metres down to the bedrock in the valley floor.


國王谷位於超過1000英尺的石灰岩和其他沉積岩中,形成了山谷和附近的Deir el-Bahri的懸崖,散佈著柔軟的泥灰層。沉積岩最初沉積在35-56百萬年前,當時地中海有時延伸到阿斯旺以南。在更新世期間,通過穩定的降雨將山谷從高原上雕刻出來。埃及的這一地區目前幾乎沒有全年下雨,但偶爾會有山洪暴發,將大量的碎片傾倒在開放的墓葬中。



墳墓建設的問題可以在拉美西斯三世及其父親塞納克特的墳墓中看到。 Setnakhte開始挖掘KV11,但闖入Amenmesse墓,因此建築被廢棄,他篡奪了Twosret,KV14的墓。在尋找墳墓時,拉美西斯三世延伸了他父親開始的部分挖掘的墳墓。拉美西斯二世的墳墓恢復了早期的風格,彎曲的軸線,可能是由於被挖掘的岩石的質量(跟隨伊斯納頁岩)。


The area of the Theban hills is subject to infrequent violent thunderstorms, causing flash floods in the valley. Recent studies have shown that there are at least seven active flood stream beds leading down into the central area of the valley. This central area appears to have been flooded at the end of the Eighteenth Dynasty, with several tombs buried under metres of debris. The tombs KV63, KV62, and KV55 are dug into the actual wadi bedrock rather than the debris, showing that the level of the valley was five meters below its present level. After this event later dynasties leveled the floor of the valley, making the floods deposit their load further down the valley, and the buried tombs were forgotten and only discovered in the early 20th century. This was the area that was the subject of the Amarna Royal Tombs Project ground scanning radar investigation, which showed several anomalies, one of which was proved to be KV63.

Theban丘陵地區遭受罕見的暴風雷暴,導致山谷中的山洪暴發。 最近的研究表明,至少有七個活躍的洪水床通向山谷的中心區域。 這個中心區域似乎在第十八王朝末期被淹沒,有幾座墓葬埋在數米的碎片之下。 墳墓KV63,KV62和KV55被挖到實際的干河基岩而不是碎片,表明山谷的水位低於其現有水平5米。 在此事件之後,朝代將山谷的地面夷為平地,使洪水將山谷中的沉積物埋下去,埋葬的墓葬被遺忘,僅在20世紀初被發現。 這是Amarna皇家陵墓項目地面掃描雷達調查的主題區域,其中顯示了幾個異常,其中一個被證明是KV63。


The Theban Hills are dominated by the peak of al-Qurn, known to the Ancient Egyptians as ta dehent, or “The Peak”. It has a pyramid-shaped appearance, and it is probable that this echoed the pyramids of the Old Kingdom, more than a thousand years prior to the first royal burials carved here. Its isolated position also resulted in reduced access, and special tomb police (the Medjay) were able to guard the necropolis.

While the iconic pyramid complexes of the Giza plateau have come to symbolize ancient Egypt, the majority of tombs were cut into rock. Most pyramids and mastabas contain sections which are cut into ground level, and there are full rock-cut tombs in Egypt that date back to the Old Kingdom.

After the defeat of the Hyksos and the reunification of Egypt under Ahmose I, the Theban rulers began to construct elaborate tombs that reflected their newfound power. The tombs of Ahmose and his son Amenhotep I (their exact location remains unknown) were probably in the Seventeenth Dynasty necropolis of Dra’ Abu el-Naga’. The first royal tombs in the valley were those of Amenhotep I (although this identification is also disputed), and Thutmose I, whose advisor, Ineni, notes in his tomb that he advised the king to place his tomb in the desolate valley (the identity of this actual tomb is unclear, but it is probably KV20 or KV38).

I saw to the excavation of the rock-tomb of his majesty, alone, no one seeing, no one hearing.

The Valley was used for primary burials from approximately 1539 BC to 1075 BC. It contains at least 63 tombs, beginning with Thutmose I (or possibly earlier, during the reign of Amenhotep I) and ending with Ramesses X or XI, although non-Royal burials continued in usurped tombs.

Despite its name, the Valley of the Kings also contains the tombs of favorite nobles as well as the wives and children of both nobles and pharaohs. Therefore, only about 20 of the tombs actually contain the remains of kings. The remains of nobles and of the royal family, together with unmarked pits and embalming caches, make up the rest. Around the time of Ramesses I (ca. 1301 BC) construction commenced in the separate Valley of the Queens.


Theban Hills以al-Qurn的高峰為主,古埃及人稱之為ta-dehent,即“The Peak”。它有一個金字塔形的外觀,這可能與舊王國的金字塔相呼應,比這裡雕刻的第一次皇家墓葬還要早一千多年。其孤立的位置也導致進入減少,特殊的墳墓警察(Medjay)能夠守衛這個墓地。


在希克索斯的失敗和阿赫莫斯一世統治埃及之後,Theban統治者開始建造精心製作的墓葬,反映出他們新發現的力量。 Ahmose和他的兒子Amenhotep I(他們的確切位置仍然未知)的墓葬可能是在第十七王朝Dra’Abu el-Naga’的墓地。山谷中的第一座皇家墓葬是阿蒙霍特普一世(儘管這種鑑定也有爭議),而圖特摩斯一世,其顧問伊內尼在他的墳墓中註意到他建議國王將他的墳墓放在荒涼的山谷中(身份這個實際的墳墓尚不清楚,但它可能是KV20或KV38)。




The earliest tombs were located in cliffs at the top of scree slopes, under storm-fed waterfalls (KV34 and KV43). As these locations were filled, burials descended to the valley floor, gradually moving back up the slopes as the valley bottom filled with debris. This explains the location of the tombs KV62 and KV63 buried in the valley floor.

最早的墓葬位於懸崖頂部的懸崖上,在暴風雨的瀑布下(KV34和KV43)。 隨著這些位置被填滿,埋葬下降到谷底,隨著山谷底部充滿碎片逐漸向上移回斜坡。 這解釋了埋在谷底的墳墓KV62和KV63的位置。

The usual tomb plan consisted of a long inclined rock-cut corridor, descending through one or more halls (possibly mirroring the descending path of the sun god into the underworld) to the burial chamber. In the earlier tombs, the corridors turn 90 degrees at least once (such as KV43, the tomb of Thutmose IV), and the earliest ones had cartouche-shaped burial chambers (for example, KV43, the tomb of Thutmose IV). This layout is known as “Bent Axis”, After the burial the upper corridors were meant to be filled with rubble and the entrance to the tomb hidden. After the Amarna Period, the layout gradually straightened, with an intermediate “Jogged Axis” (the tomb of Horemheb, KV57 is typical of this layout and is one of the tombs that is sometimes open to the public), to the generally “Straight Axis” of the late Nineteenth and Twentieth Dynasty tombs (Ramesses III’s and Ramesses IX’s tombs, KV11 and KV6 respectively). As the tombs’ axes straightened, the slopes also lessened. They almost disappeared in the late Twentieth Dynasty. Another feature that is common to most tombs is the “well”, which may have originated as an actual barrier intended to stop flood waters from entering the lower parts of the tomb. It seems to have developed a “magical” purpose later on as a symbolic shaft. In the later Twentieth Dynasty, the well itself was sometimes not excavated, but the well room was still present.

通常的墳墓計劃包括一條長而傾斜的岩石切割走廊,通過一個或多個大廳(可能反映太陽神的下行路徑進入黑社會)下降到墓室。在早期的墓葬中,走廊至少翻轉90度(如Kut43,圖特摩斯四世的墓),最早的墓室有漩渦狀的墓室(例如,KV43,圖特摩斯四世的墓)。這種佈局被稱為“Bent Axis”,在埋葬之後,上部走廊意味著被填滿瓦礫並且隱藏了墓穴的入口。在Amarna時期之後,佈局逐漸變直,中間的“Jogged Axis”(Horemheb墓,KV57是典型的佈局,是有時向公眾開放的墓葬之一),通常是“直軸” “十九世紀晚期和二十世紀晚期的墓葬(拉美西斯三世和拉美西斯九世的墓葬,分別為KV11和KV6)。隨著墓葬的軸線變直,斜坡也減少了。它們幾乎在二十世紀後期消失了。大多數墳墓常見的另一個特徵是“井”,它可能起源於阻止洪水進入墳墓下部的實際屏障。它似乎在後來作為一個像徵性的軸發展了一個“神奇的”目的。在二十世紀晚期,井本身有時不被挖掘,但井室仍然存在。

The majority of the royal tombs were decorated with religious texts and images. The early tombs were decorated with scenes from Amduat (‘That Which is in the Underworld’), which describes the journey of the sun god through the twelve hours of the night. From the time of Horemheb, tombs were decorated with the Book of Gates, which shows the sun god passing through the twelve gates that divide the nighttime and ensures the tomb owner’s own safe passage through the night. These earliest tombs were generally sparsely decorated, and those of a non-royal nature were totally undecorated.
Late in the Nineteenth Dynasty the Book of Caverns, which divided the underworld into massive caverns containing deities as well as the deceased waiting for the sun to pass through and restore them to life, was placed in the upper parts of tombs. A complete version appears in the tomb of Ramesses VI. The burial of Ramesses III saw the Book of the Earth, where the underworld is divided into four sections, climaxing in the sun disc being pulled from the earth by Naunet.

The ceilings of the burial chambers were decorated (from the burial of Seti I onwards) with what became formalised as the Book of the Heavens, which again describes the sun’s journey through the twelve hours of night. Again from Seti I’s time, the Litany of Re, a lengthy hymn to the sun god began to appear.


大多數皇家陵墓都裝飾有宗教文本和圖像。早期的墓葬裝飾著Amduat(’That That in the Underworld’)中的場景,描述了太陽神在十二個小時的旅程。從Horemheb時代開始,墓葬上裝飾著“蓋茨之書”,其中顯示了太陽神穿過分隔夜晚的十二個門,並確保墓主自己安全通過夜晚。這些最早的墓葬通常都是稀疏的裝飾,而非皇室的墓葬則完全沒有修飾。


墓室的天花板(從Seti I的墓葬開始)被裝飾成正式的天堂之書,再次描述了太陽在十二個小時的旅程。再次來自Seti的時候,Re的Litany開始出現了對太陽神的長篇讚美詩。


FROM:The tomb of Ramses III in the Valley of the Kings Egypt

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