Journal: Sunday 8 March 1998
Robin and I spent a lazy morning reading on the hotel roof. We had had a late night and couldn’t stir ourselves to do very much this morning so we put the time to good use writing up our notes and discussing the kings tombs we had seen so far. But of course before long this inspired us to get back to the Valley. Inspector Hamdi wasn’t around when we first got there so we went into KV2, the tomb of Rameses IV and the next on our list.
The tomb of Rameses IV is close to the entrance to the King’s Valley and has been open since antiquity. It has a large courtyard in front of it and is very long and straight, though thought not to have reached its intended length, as there is an architect’s original plan of this tomb drawn on Papyrus in Turin Museum, indicating that it should have been longer. Close to the entrance there are Coptic crosses drawn on the walls, suggesting that this tomb was once used as an early Christian church or perhaps a hermit’s dwelling. Otherwise it is fairly typical of later Ramesside tombs with a staircase and several long corridors. I saw again the familiar disc containing a scarab and ram-headed god Amun, flanked by Isis and Nephthys on the lintel as well as on the wall of the first corridor. Funerary texts in the tomb consist of the ‘Litany of Re’, the ‘Amduat’ and the ‘Book of Gates’ that we had seen in other tombs but also, for the first time was part of the ‘Book of Caverns’ which represents the perils of the sun god in the underworld and emphasises afterlife rewards and punishments. There were also sections from another set of funerary texts, the ‘Books of the Heavens’ which depict the Sun’s journey through the sky and replace some of the older astronomical texts. The tomb of Rameses IV has a warm feel, its colours of orange and gold formed the basis of elaborately carved and painted scenes.
The sarcophagus chamber was probably originally intended to be a pillared hall which would have preceded the actual burial chamber. Because the plan was abbreviated, no pillars were cut and a sarcophagus ‘pit’ was sunk into the floor. The massive red granite outer sarcophagus which was found in the tomb, was broken in antiquity, but has been restored and can be seen in the burial chamber. A further corridor beyond the burial chamber has the initial texts from the ‘Book of Caverns’ on its walls, but this is more crudely painted. This chamber opens into three annexes. The walls in the rooms to the south and north have mummiform depictions of the king, perhaps illustrating his ushabtis, while the room at the end of the corridor show other funerary objects (couch, chests and canopic jars). The body of Rameses IV was found among those royal mummies in KV35.
Back outside in the sunshine we met up with Hamdi and he invited us to his house for tea. It wasn’t far to go, so we all piled into the front of a service car for the short drive. Hamdi introduced us to his young wife, who was soon due to have their first child and we met his mother and also his brother Mohammed again. We were seated in the guest parlour which had been beautifully painted by Hamdi with hearts and flowers around the centre of the walls. A tray of sweet strong tea was brought in and placed before us. Mohammed is a stone carver and he showed us some of his lovely work and he gave us a demonstration of carving intricate hieroglyphs onto a scarab. We could see that these were the real thing and not the meaningless cursive strokes you sometimes see on souvenirs. They are a lovely family and I really enjoyed my time spent with them.