Before the Valley of the Kings Pharaohs were buried in the great pyramids at Giza, however, there was a problem. They kept getting robbed!
Basically, pharaohs were buried in pyramids, with all their belongings. They became a tomb robbers dream. It appears that a pyramid was the wrong place to save valuables. As a result, during both the First and Second Intermediate Period almost all the tombs were robbed.
I know you are totally lost as to when these intermediate periods were, so let me explain;
The First Intermediate Period – 2181 BC – 2055 BC
Was described as a ‘dark period’ in ancient Egyptian history, and to confuse you even more it covered what are described as the Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, and part of the Eleventh Dynasties.
The Second Intermediate Period – 1782 BC – 1570 BC
Was a time when ancient Egypt fell into disarray for a second time.
Then came Tuthmosis
He was the third king of the XVIIIth Dynasty in ancient Egypt. Yes, quite a mouthful. He was a soldier, who expanded the size of Egypt. Most importantly he wanted to go down in history, he didn’t want his grave robbed, so looked for a place where it couldn’t be robbed.
He therefore looked for as a secure place as possible and, most importantly, one that was far from the tomb robbers.
The Valley of the Kings?
After a search he found a remote valley that is between deep cliffs to the west of the River Nile, that became the Valley of the Kings. It was ideal as:
- It was possible to put sentries at the valley’s entrance.
- Egyptians believed that the valley was protected by a goddess known as Meretseger, who took the form of a dangerous cobra.
- They were also convinced that Meretseger could blind those who broke promises, and would poison thieves.
It was here that they built some very intricate tombs, of which some were even concealed.
They had things like secret passages and hidden doors that led to a deep corridor that they called “Way of the Sun God”. This then led into the “Hall of Gold”, which is where they placed the body of the pharaoh.
The first tomb was, of course, that of Tuthmosis, and we know was built by Ineni. We know this because it appears he was a wealthy architect who recorded in an autobiography on the wall of his own big tomb. In fact, he wrote, “I inspected the excavation of the cliff tomb of his Majesty alone, no one seeing, no one hearing. It was a work of my heart. My virtue was wisdom. There was not given to me a command by an elder.” From this I think we can guess that he was trying claim the praise for the tomb. In fact, in his tomb, we went on to say that he it should be model for future tombs. A modest man.
A pyramid was very complicated to build, it needed teams of builders, made up of skilled craftsmen and women, all overseen by a foreman. These foremen were the most important people when building a pyramid. You see, it was a massive operation with all the builders and their families living in a state supported village while they were being built.
The most famous foreman was Anherkhau. We learnt about him and his son, Kenna, from pieces of wall plaster found in his own tomb and from papyrus evidence. To explain a papyrus is what they used as paper in those days. Today there is a section of this wall plaster in the British Museum, so we know he lived somewhere around the year 1164 B.C.
All that remains of the village now are crumbling stone foundations, but it was once a thriving village founded in the 16th century B.C. It prospered for 500 years and its gangs of skilled stonecutters, painters, carpenters and workmen created the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens. Due to Deir el-Medina’s desert location many more papyruses have survived than in other areas of Egypt, giving archaeologists and researchers a unique glimpse into the everyday lives of its inhabitants.
Almost all the tombs in the Valley of the Kings were eventually ransacked and robbed as the great Egyptian civilisation faltered. However, one concealed tomb that of The Boy King Tutankhamun survived with all its treasure.
Bring the story of The Boy King to life in your classroom
Using this story, Educational Musicals have created a unique musical The Boy King – The Legend of Tutankhamun, it is a school’s musical with 12 specific songs that take the show along and in which no child has to learn more than five lines.
You can download it today simply go to https://eml.coolski.co.uk/index.php/product/the-boy-king-2/ you will hear two of the songs and read two pages of script. Then download it and you can start rehearsing it today.
Let’s make history fun
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