KV -34 , Tomb of Tuthmosis III ,

Discovered by workmen of Victor Loret in 1898, Loret would then clear the tomb with great care, making a plan of where each object had been found in the tomb. The tomb had been robbed in antiquity - the mummy of Tuthmosis III had already been found (in 1881) as part of the mummy cache of TT320.

Any objects found in the tomb were in a poor state - tomb robbers had been very meticulous in their search of the tomb for anything precious, the sarcophagus had been damaged by the removal of the lid, the wooden figures found in the tomb had been thrown with quite some force against the walls to remove any gilding:

The tomb is different from earlier tombs in the Valley of the Kings both in terms of its size and decoration - it has three corridors, a well (the first true well in any tomb in the Valley of the Kings - its possible use is not to stop tomb robbers, but to halt any flood waters that may enter the tomb) - the ceiling of the well was decorated with stars, an antechamber decorated with the gods of the Amduat, and a burial chamber decorated with scenes of the Amduat, the pillars were decorated with the Litany of Re and the King was shown being nursed by Isis).

For the first time the tomb was decorated by being plastered and then painted (earlier tombs had scenes of the Amduat which had been painted onto limestone blocks placed onto the walls of the burial chamber - for example; the tomb of Hatshepsut). When the tomb was cleared it was found that the two storerooms on the left-hand side of the burial chamber had had their contents swept out - this had also happened in the tomb of Amenhotep II (the tomb was used as holding area for a cache of royal mummies) - it is possible that the tomb of Tuthmosis III was used for a short while by Priests of the 21st Dynasty before being left empty.

The entrance to the tomb was located halfway up a cliff face, after the completion of the tomb the stairway up to the tomb was hacked away to deter tomb robbers. Inside the tomb steps lead down into two sets of corridors - at this point the rooms and steps are roughly carved out of the rock, the second corridor leads to the well shaft - 19 metres deep - the walls of the well 'room' were whitewashed and topped with a khekher frieze - on the opposite side of the well shaft there doorway was originally sealed and painted to conceal the continuation of the tomb.

The antechamber is supported by two pillars and the walls painted with lists of the 741 gods from the Underworld, or the Amduat from 1st to the 12th Divisions.

The Burial Chamber

The room is oval in shape (in the form of a cartouche) and is decorated with three registers of the Amduat scrolling around the room (the figures are written in strange-stick like versions - this leads Egyptologist John Romer to think that the room was hastily decorated after the death of Tuthmosis III, which is strange considering the length of his reign).

Scenes of the Amduat from the burial Chamber:

 Detail from the 5th hour of the Amduat - the sun crosses 'over the secret cave of Sokar' sealed with the head of Isis. Inside the cave the god Sokar holds a multiwinged serpent which represents choas. The cave is guarded by the god Aker.


 The 7th hour of the Amduat - in the top register Osiris sits on a throne (encircled by the Mehen snake) and watches as god (with strange cat ears) punishes enemies.

In the bottom register the bark of the sun approaches the snake god Apophis (Isis stands in the bow of the bark, her hand raised towards Apophis). However the snake has already been tied down and is no longer a threat.

    A close-up view of the sun barque from the scene above

   The fourth hour of the Amduat, the water channel on which the sun bark sails is now interupted with doors and a zigzag sand road - to pass these obsticales the sun changes itself into a snake.

The Pillars of the Burial Chamber:

On the seven faces of the two pillars show an abbreviated version of another funerary book - the 'Litany of Re':

On the remaining eighth side of the pillars is a unique scene of Tuthmosis III, shown with with his three wives and a daughter, being suckled by his mother Isis who is in the form of a tree:

In the top register (left), Tuthmosis III and his mother Iset stand in a barque, in the bottom register Tuthmosis III is followed by his wife Meryetre, his late wives Sitiah and Nebtu and finally his daughter Neferetre.

The Sacrophagus

The Sarcophagus of Tuthmosis III, even with the damage inflicted by tomb robbers, is generally considered to be the finest in ancient Egyptian design and craftsmanship (the ancient Egyptians themselves must have thought likewise - an exact copy was made for a certain Hapymen who lived almost 1,000 years after Tuthmosis III). The goddess Nut was carved on the inner and outer surfaces of the sarcophagus lid and also on inside bottom of the sarcophagus. On the head of the sarcophagus is a kneeling Nephthys and at the foot end a kneeling Isis - both kneel on the symbol for gold. On the left side are carved the gods - Hapy, Anubis-Khentysehnetjer and Qebehsenuef, on the right side are Imseti, Anubis-Imywet and Duamutef. A pair of Wadjet-eyes were also carved on one side of the sarcophagus to allow the mummy to look out.