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Tomb Of Tausert And Setnakht

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The Tomb of Tausert and Setnakht

The tomb of Tausert and Setnakht is one of the most unique tombs in the Valley of the Kings, as well as being one of the largest tombs in the valley. Unlike any of the other tombs in the valley, it encompasses two complete burial chambers. It was originally built for Tausert, a queen and wife of Seti II.

Tausert was one of the few queens who ruled Egypt as pharaoh. She was the second wife of Seti II. It was Seti II that ordered her tomb to be built. This was an honor given to very few queens. She was the last ruler of Dynasty 19. Her tomb was cut into the base of a sheer cliff at the head of the southwestern branch of the Valley of the Kings. As the tomb was being built, she became the co-regent of Siptah. Later she ascended to the thrown of Egypt as Pharaoh. These changed titles are all reflected on the changing design and decoration of her tomb, which has been designated KV 14. Tausert’s successor, Setnakht, died unexpectedly. Setnakht’s original tomb was unfinished at the time of his death, but records show that there was still plenty of time to finish it before his burial. Apparently his son, Ramesses III, went against his father’s wishes and decided to bury him in the tomb of Tausert. It was then that KV 14 was remodeled as Setnakht’s burial tomb. The scenes of Tausert on the walls were plastered over and replaced with figures and names of Setnakht. The plaster has fallen away in some parts of the tomb, exposing parts of the earlier scenes that were originally there. Throughout the tomb’s first three corridors, there are holes cut into the walls. These holes held beams attached to ropes to control the descent of the royal sarcophagus when it was lowered into the tomb.

In earlier tombs, the first chamber was a well chamber in which a deep shaft was cut through the floor to serve as a symbolic tomb for Osiris. There is no shaft cut into the first chamber in KV 14, but its decorations show similar scenes: Osiris oversees the four sons of Horus, and Setnakht’s cartouches are carved between the figures. Originally, the rear wall was plastered over, sealing the tomb, and figures of the god Horus are facing the figure of the god Osiris.

In the next chamber, scenes from The Book of the Dead show Tausert accompanied by Siptah. Throughout the chamber it is evident that the images of Tausert have been erased and replaced with the cartouches of Setnakht. On the rear wall are scenes of Tausert being led before Osiris, likewise defaced by Setnakht.

KV 14 is the only tomb in the Valley of the Kings to have two burial chambers. Until this day, archeologists still do not know why this is so. Both chambers have eight pillars and are filled with decorations and scenes, both on the walls and the pillars themselves. The first burial chamber is decorated with scenes from several funerary compositions that are found in many other tombs in the valley. The eighth division of the Book of Gates is found on the left half of the front wall. On this wall there are “human-headed soul birds” occupying an island of flames, around which float the bodies of those who have died by drowning. I believe the birds symbolize gods of the underworld overseeing those who have perished. The ninth division of the Book of Gates is located on the right-half of the front wall. This half shows more complicated scenes.



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