Tomb of Merenptah (KV8)
Merenptah Baenre-Merinetjeru was the son of Rameses II and his tomb is in a branch of the King’s Valley which opens out behind his father’s burial place.
The tomb design, although large, is simpler than that of Merenptah’s father and grandfather. A staircase and two descending corridors were decorated and although the paintings were badly damaged by flooding there are some very beautiful painted reliefs in the first corridor.
In the entrance on the outer lintel a sun disc flanked by the goddesses Isis and Nephthys contain a ram-headed god and the Kheper beetle, and on the architrave the god Heh is seen kneeling with Isis and Hathor making ‘nini’. The first corridor depicts inscribed passages from sacred burial texts, one with an interesting disc similar to that on the lintel, but with the crocodile, serpent and horned creature, enemies of the gods, around it. Also close to the entrance is a relief of the king wearing an ornate Atef crown before Re-Horakhty. The walls of these corridors show scenes from the ‘Litany of Re’, the Amduat, the ‘Book of Gates’ and the ‘Book of the Dead’ and the ceilings depict astronomical scenes.
The well-room (no shaft) portrays the king with various deities on its walls. This leads us straight in to a pillared hall which surrounds the second staircase and is decorated with scenes from the ‘Book of Gates’ with a winged Ma’at on the lintel above. On a pillar on the left-hand side the king wears a Nemes headdress and stands before Ptah – and between the figures you can see Greek and Roman graffiti left by early visitors to the tomb. A side-chamber opens to the right of the hall with depictions of the Four Sons of Horus with Isis and Nephthys, and two serpent goddesses on the rear wall. The paintings here are well-preserved.
In the fourth corridor, the king is shown in the ‘Opening of the Mouth Ceremony’, before it enters another chamber also decorated with the pharaoh before the gods and scenes from the ‘Book of the Dead’. Note here the remains of a huge outer sarcophagus lid in red granite.
A fifth corridor leads to the sarcophagus hall, the king’s actual burial chamber, with the magnificent restored lid of his anthropoid sarcophagus. This, the second of four sarcophagi, is carved from red granite in the shape of a cartouche and the lid shows the recumbent deceased king holding his crook and flail. There are four small annexes to the north and south of the burial chamber, and shown on the upper register of the south wall is a scene relating the ‘Book of Caverns’ (the solar star’s journey through the night). There are also scenes from the ‘Book of Gates’ and an astronomical ceiling with the barque of Re carrying the gods through the night. Beyond the sarcophagus hall at a higher level, another large annex is flanked by two smaller ones and has a niche at the end. These are undecorated.
Tickets for the King’s Valley cost EGP 80 for three tombs and can be bought at the gate. Photography inside the tombs is strictly forbidden and can incur heavy fines. There is a little train – the taftaf – that runs from the coach park to the entrance to the monument area and costs EGP 2.