Tomb of Amenhotep II (KV35)
The tomb of Amenhotep II Akheperure (Dynasty XVIII) was discovered in 1898 by Victor Loret. It is similar in plan to that of his predecessor Tuthmose III, and is one of the most beautiful tombs in the Valley. The discovery was rather spectacular because not only did it contain the burial of the king and his son Webensenu, but also another 17 burials in a cache probably deposited here during the reorganisation of the royal necropolis during the time of Pinudjem I of Dynasty XXI. Nine royal coffins were found with the mummies of Tuthmose IV, Amenhotep III, Merenptah, Seti II, Siptah, Sethnakht and Rameses IV, V and VI.
The sequence of corridors, stairways and chambers is laid out in a more regular and complex manner than in the tomb of Tuthmose III. The wall decoration in the well-shaft was left unfinished and had an added undecorated chamber entered from the bottom of the shaft. A rectangular vestibule opens at 90 degrees to the corridor from the well chamber and contains two square pillars, but once again the decoration was left incomplete.
From the vestibule another flight of stairs and a corridor leads down to the burial chamber, which has now become rectangular rather than the oval-shaped chamber of his predecessor. The burial chamber is large and divided into two parts – a hall containing six square pillars and a sunken ‘crypt’ at the end which contained the sarcophagus. The walls of the pillared hall are again decorated with complete texts of the Amduat, depicting the sun’s journey through the twelve hours of the night in a simple stick-figure form. A khekher-frieze decorates the top of the walls below a ceiling painted with golden stars on a deep blue background.
One of the tomb’s innovations is in the decoration of the pillars, the faces of which show the king being offered the sign of life from Osiris, Anubis and Hathor, which became a feature in the decoration of subsequent tombs. For the first time these are fully-drawn rather than stick-figures.
The king’s yellow quartzite sarcophagus (perhaps a replacement) was found in the crypt-like burial chamber and at the time of discovery it contained the pharaoh’s mummy with an ancient garland of flowers around his neck. On the sides of the sarcophagus base, still in situ, two protective udjat-eyes can be seen between figures of the king and the god Anubis with a jackal-head.
Four annexes off the burial chamber contained many examples of grave goods. The right-hand annex off the lower part of the chamber had been walled off in ancient times and it was here that the cache of royal bodies was found, together with some of their burial equipment including a papyrus with extracts from the ‘Book of Caverns’.
The tomb of Amenhotep II is currently open to visitors. Tickets can be bought from the main West Bank ticket office or from the ticket office at the entrance to the Valley of the Kings.