Tomb of Prince Amunherkhopshef (QV55)
The tomb of Amunherkhopshef was discovered in 1903 and although completely looted was in an excellent state of preservation. Its plan is simple, with the entrance leading straight into a square chamber and a corridor, both with annexes to the northwest and a rectangular burial chamber at the end. The decoration is very beautiful with well-carved painted reliefs on a blue-grey background and superb detail. The overall appearance has an ultramarine hue which gives a soft and gentle feel to the young prince’s tomb.
Amunherkhopshep was also a son of Rameses III, bearing the titles ‘Son of the King’, ‘Heir to the Throne’ and ‘Charioteer-in-Chief’. He is depicted throughout wearing the side-lock of youth and accompanied by his father.
A short flight of steps lead to the entrance. On the eastern wall the king leads his son who carries a large feathered fan, to pay homage to various mortuary deities. One of these is the god Ptah-tatenen who is shown with blue skin colouring and wearing an elaborate Atef crown and uraeus. Other gods represented in the first corridor are Ptah, the Four Sons of Horus, Shu, Isis and Hathor. The annex off this corridor is undecorated.
In the entrance to the second corridor, Isis and Nephthys can be seen performing the Rite of ‘Nini’ (a purification ritual), while the king and the prince are led into the next chamber by Horus Iun-mutef. This chamber was the original sarcophagus hall where the prince’s rose-granite sarcophagus was found. The walls are decorated with scenes from the ‘Book of Gates’, with the 7th and 8th Gates on the left and the 5th and 6th Gates on the right with their accompanying guardians. In the north-west wall is another annex, also undecorated.
The architrave of the rear annex is decorated with a winged solar disc above two uraei serpents carrying Shen symbols, and the royal names. This room, perhaps intended to be a burial chamber, was left undecorated at the death of the prince but now houses his modest sarcophagus. Displayed in a case in the rear of the chamber is a skeleton of a foetus which was found by Schiaparelli in another part of the Queen’s Valley. The foetus was originally wrapped in linen bandages and placed in a small wooden casket.
The tomb of Amunherkhopshef is currently open to visitors. Tickets for the Queens Valley can be bought at the gate and cost EGP 35 for three tombs. Photography inside the tombs is strictly forbidden and can incur heavy fines.