The archaeological site that I have decided to take a closer look at is the Valley of the Kings in Egypt. The Valley of the Kings is located on the West bank of the Nile in Thebes. Thebes is located in the now modern day city of Luxor.
The Valley of the Kings is a burial site, the “royal cemetery” for most of the Egyptian Kings of the New Kingdom. The Valley of the Kings served as the royal cemetery for over 400 years; the cemetery grew to house at least 62 tombs in this time period. As time went on throughout the 400 years of service as a burial site, the designs of the tombs became more elaborate, complex, and colossal (Manley 108).
The Valley of the Kings is located in a “desert wadi,” which is a dry water-course with hills on both sides hence the term “valley” in the site's name. The site spans ten square kilometres of land in the valley (Weeks 1). One of the hills siding the valley is al Qurn, the highest cliff of the hills in the area (Manley 108). The site is divided into two parts, the West Valley and the East Valley. The majority of the tombs are located in the East valley with only two being discovered in the West Valley thus far. Being in Egypt the site is a desert scape, located just West of the Nile which is the only significant water source near the site. The valley is comprised of prominently white limestone may have been a factor of why this location was chosen as a burial site, limestone is a soft rock and is easy to work with; the limestone walls of the tombs are smooth (Theban Mapping Project).
The Valley of the Kings was first documented in 1799 during Napoleon's exploration of Egypt by one of his scholars. In 1816, Giovanni Belzoni carried out one of the first excavations of the necropolis, unveiling and identifying eight tombs. Other excavations have been carried out since then. Starting in 1902, Theodore M. Davis funded a major and significant excavation in the Valley that resulted in one of the most well know Egyptian discoveries around the world. The team of excavators in this project included Howard Carter and Earl Carnarvon whom in 1922 discovered the tomb of Tutankhamen, the most recent tomb discovered. After the discovery of Tutankhamen's tomb, excavation in the Valley of the Kings slowed down until 1972 when the University of Minnesota began excavating in the West Valley. This excavation began the resurgence of excavating in the Valley. Universities and museums that have sponsored excavations and surveys of the Valley since the resurgence includes the Brooklyn Museum (NY, USA), the University of Hamburg (Germany), Pacific Lutheran University (WA, USA), the Memphis University, the University of Arizona, Waseda University (Tokyo, Japan), and the University of California, Berkeley. Berkeley University began the Berkeley Theban Mapping project in 1978, which later on became the Theban Mapping Project and is led by Kent Weeks (Theban Mapping Project).
The Valley of the Kings has been a UNESCO World Heritage site...