Saturday, September 19, 2009

The New Inscribed Finds from the Valley of the Kings

It's has now been excavating in the Valley of the Kings for a year and a half with the first all Egyptian team to work here. The excavation is continuing to find new evidence about the lives of the workmen who built these tombs. Many artefacts have come to light, including many small pieces of limestone (called ostraca) and pieces of pottery with inscriptions on them. These inscriptions are very valuable, as they reveal more aspects of the workmen’s lives.
One very interesting object they found is a piece of limestone that shows the plan of a tomb, sketched by a workman over 3000 years ago. Another piece bears an inscription containing the title weret hemet netjer, which means the “great god’s wife.” The title is of an unknown queen, Tiy. They hope to find more evidence of this queen through our work here. An amusing piece is a sketch of a large lady that appears to have been thrown away by one of the workmen. They thought it was funny that maybe this was a sketch of his girlfriend.
On a piece of pottery, They found two cartouches next to each other that make a very interesting combination. One was of Hatshepsut, the female pharaoh and one was of Thutmose III, her successor. It has long been thought that when he came to the throne, Thutmose III gave an order to destroy Hatshepsut’s monuments. This piece shows that that idea may not be right, and now it seems more likely that the destruction happened around the end of Thutmose III’s reign, when his son Amenhotep II succeeded him. The damage was likely caused by people who did not like to see a female as pharaoh.
A hieratic inscription on an ostracon they found shows a table of how much food each of the workmen was given. They know that these workmen lived in huts close to the tombs while they were working here, and now we can learn how much food was available.
These hieratic inscriptions and sketches, are very important, because they tell us about the lives of the workmen who lived here as well as the people whose tombs they built.

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