It is always good news to see a reopening of a Tomb in Egypt because there had been a lot closed, for any reason, in the last decades. And of course, in these Corona-related times, reopening makes good sense!
And yet, let’s have a look at what we’d see of such magic. With forever thanks to Marie Grillot. http://Marie Grillot
At the beginning of the year 2021, on January 2 precisely, Khaled el-Anani, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities and Mostafa Waziri “reopened” the tomb of Ramses I to the public. Referenced KV 16, it is located in the south-eastern wadi of the Valley of the Kings and it is, with that of Tutankhamun, one of the smallest in the necropolis. As Ali Reda Mohamed, inspector in charge of the site told us, it had been closed since 2008 for restoration by an Egyptian team.
On the Ministry’s page, Mostafa Waziri presented the work done: “The floors have been restored and the walls have been cleaned of bird and bat droppings”. He added that: “The existing inscriptions have been restored and cleaned up and the soot has been removed.”
A member of the Egyptian restoration team cleaning the sarcophagus – photo Ali Reda MohamedTomb of Ramses I – Valley of the Kings – KV 16 – 19th DynastyDiscovered on October 11, 1817, by Giovanni Battista Belzoni on behalf of Consul Henry Salt
The sarcophagus has also benefited from the care of restorers, and the lighting system has been improved. This hypogeum was discovered on October 11, 1817 (a week before that of Sethi I), by Giovanni Battista Belzoni, who was then working on behalf of Consul Henry Salt. He had instructed a team of about twenty fellahs to carry out surveys in the Valley… “Around noon, I was told that the entrance to the tomb discovered the day before, and had been widened enough so that we could enter it… I entered first, in the opening which had just been drilled to see if the way was passable. After having traversed a passage, thirty-two feet long and eight wide, I descended a staircase of thirty-eight feet and arrived in a fairly large room, adorned with beautiful paintings “. The key for reading the hieroglyphs is not yet known. Its “owner” will only be identified afterwards.
The tomb is of a simple, rectilinear architectural plan, with a stepped entrance followed by a sloping corridor that leads to a second staircase directly serving the burial chamber.
The walls are decorated with scenes from the “Book of Doors”. The high-quality paintings stand out against a grey-blue background. The decorative style is reminiscent of that of the tomb of his predecessor, Horembeb.
“The entrance to the sepulchral chamber, guarded by two figures of the goddess Maât, who welcome the deceased, the king is represented in the presence of the Memphite gods Ptah and Nefertum, and the deities of Abydos, represented by the djed pillar of Osiris and the Knot of Isis. On the sidewalls, several scenes from the Book of Door evoke the nocturnal journey of the Sun. The back wall combines an Osirian scene on the right, and a solar scene, on the left. On the left, the king is shown in a position of jubilation, surrounded by the Souls of Pe and Nekhen. The mythical ancestors of royalty: “This, analyzes Claude Obsomer in his Ramses II “.
The bedroom has three small “annexe” rooms. In the one dug in the southwest wall, there is a very beautiful scene representing Osiris standing between a divinity with the head of a ram and the serpent goddess Neseret.
We note, in height, the presence of four small niches intended to accommodate the “magic bricks”. Most of the room is occupied by an imposing red granite sarcophagus, which still has its lid, and which is decorated with hieroglyphs and figures, including a very touching protective Isis.
If Belzoni indicates that this sarcophagus contained two mummies, it was not there the royal remains. “Pa-Ramessou”, a soldier from the Delta, was chosen to succeed Horemheb. He became pharaoh, under the name of Ramses I, around 1306-1307 BC He was then about fifty years old and his reign was short: 1 year 4 months according to Manetho (which would explain partly the small size of his grave and the fact that it was not completed).
His mummy was found in the hiding place of the royal mummies (DB 320), where he had been sheltered, along with others, during the XXIst Dynasty, by the high priest Herihor who then ruled the Theban region. This collective tomb was unearthed near Deir el-Bahari by the Abd el-Rassoul family in 1871, then by the Antiquities Service in July 1881. All the mummies were then transported to the Boulaq Museum.
“Rediscovery”, in July 1881, by the Department of Antiquities, of the Cachette des Mummies Royales (DB 320)
discovered in 1871 by the Abd el-Rassoul Brothers near Deir el-Bahari
But the mummy of Ramses I had not yet found rest. It seems that afterwards, it was sold to an American, then passed through an Ontario museum before being exhibited at the Michael Carlos Museum in ‘Atlanta …
It was not until 2003 that the mummy of the founder of the 19th dynasty and the long line of Ramessides will finally be returned to Egypt. Since March 2004, it has been exhibited at the Louqsor Museum, in the hall to the glory of ancient Thebes.
Voyage to Egypt and Nubia, G. Belzoni, Pygmalion, 1979
Luxor Illustrated Guide, Tombs, Temples & Museum, Kent Weeks
The Valley of the Kings, a guide to the best sites, Alberto Siliotti, Gründ
Ramses II, Claude Obsomer, Pygmalion, 2012
Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic texts, reliefs and paintings, Porter & Moss, Second Edition, Tome II, p. 534-535, Griffith Institute, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 1994
The complete valley of the kings, Nicholas Reeves, Richard H. Wilkinson: Thames and Hudson, 1997
Theban mapping project
Ramses I – KV 16 – Thierry Benderitter, osirisnet.net
The Finding of Deir-el-Bahari. Twenty photographs, by ME Brugsch. Text by G. Maspero