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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Valley Of Kings

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The Pyramids of Giza and the Nile Delta were the tombs of choice for pharaohs of Egypt's Old Kingdom. But New Kingdom pharaohs, who wanted to be closer to the source of their dynastic roots in the south, built their crypts in the hills of this barren tract west of Luxor, now called the Valley of the Kings.

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Valley Of Kings

The Valley of the Kings less often called the Valley of the Gates of the Kings is a valley in Egypt where, for a period of nearly 500 years from the 16th to 11th century BC, tombs were constructed for the Pharaohs and powerful nobles of the New Kingdom (the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Dynasties of Ancient Egypt. The valley stands on the west bank of the Nile, opposite Thebes, within the heart of the Theban Necropolis. The wadi consists of two valleys, East Valley (where the majority of the royal tombs are situated) and West Valley.

With the 2006 discovery of a new chamber (KV63), and the 2008 discovery of 2 further tomb entrances, the valley is known to contain 63 tombs and chambers (ranging in size from a simple pit to a complex tomb with over 120 chambers), and was the principal burial place of the major royal figures of the Egyptian New Kingdom, together with those of a number of privileged nobles. The royal tombs are decorated with scenes from Egyptian mythology and give clues to the beliefs and funerary rituals of the period. Almost all of the tombs seem to have been opened and robbed in antiquity, but they still give an idea of the opulence and power of the rulers of this time.

This area has been a focus of archaeological and egyptological exploration since the end of the eighteenth century, and its tombs and burials continue to stimulate research and interest. In modern times the valley has become famous for the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun with its rumours of the Curse of the Pharaohs, and is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. In 1979, it became a World Heritage Site, along with the rest of the Theban Necropolis. Exploration, excavation and conservation continue in the valley, and a new tourist center has recently been opened.

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