Tomb of Rameses IV (KV2)

The tomb of Rameses IV Heqamaatre, is situated in a large modern courtyard near the entrance to the King’s Valley and has been open since antiquity. Coptic graffiti suggests that it was re-used as a Christian church or dwelling during the 5th century AD. An ancient plan of the tomb drawn on papyrus is now in the Turin Egyptian Museum and it is apparent from this that the original plan was for a larger tomb which was probably amended at the death of the king. The results of this abbreviation were that there is no traditional pillared hall before the burial chamber.

The architecture of the tomb is fairly typical of royal Ramesside style with a staircase and ramp descending to the main entrance portal. On the outer lintel to the first corridor is the familiar disc containing a scarab and ram-headed god Amun, flanked by Isis and Nephthys, with a similar depiction on the southern wall of the first gently sloping corridor. On the opposite wall are texts from the ‘Litany of Re’. The king’s names appear between the first and second corridors, as well as on the ceiling which is painted with winged scarabs and vultures.

The second corridor brightly illustrates many scenes with demons or underworld spirits from the ‘Litany of Re’ on it’s cream-coloured walls. The ceiling also shows the same text.

The king’s names and a winged disc appear in the entrance to the third corridor and the walls show, for the fist time, scenes (of the 1st and 2nd division) from the ‘Book of Caverns’. There are two niches at the far end of the walls. The star-painted ceiling of the third corridor is vaulted and also displays the king’s cartouches.

A more steeply sloping ramp leads to an antechamber (well-room?) before the burial chamber. The outer lintel of the antechamber is decorated with winged uraei and a winged disc and the walls of the chamber depict passages from the ‘Book of the Dead’ (on the left) and the ‘Negative Confession’ (on the right).

The sarcophagus chamber was probably originally intended to be a pillared hall which would have preceded the actual burial chamber. Because the plan was abbreviated, no pillars were cut and a sarcophagus ‘pit’ was sunk into the floor. The massive red granite outer sarcophagus which was found in the tomb, was broken in antiquity, but has been restored and can be seen in the burial chamber. The walls of the burial chamber illustrate the first four divisions of the ‘Book of Gates’ and selections of texts from the ‘Amduat’. The vaulted ceiling displays astronomical scenes from the ‘Books of the Heavens’ which replaces the more traditional texts of earlier tombs. On the southern half, the sky-goddess Nut is supported by Shu, god of the air and light, with a list of the decans at the side. Nut also stretches over the northern side of the ceiling with other astronomical figures.

A further corridor beyond the burial chamber has the initial texts from the ‘Book of Caverns’ on its walls, but this is crudely painted. This chamber opens into three annexes. The walls in the rooms to the south and north have mummiform depictions of the king, perhaps illustrating his ushabtis, while the room at the end of the corridor show other funerary objects (couch, chests and canopic jars).

The body of Rameses IV was found among those royal mummies in KV35.

The tomb of Rameses IV is currently open to visitors. 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.

~ by Su on February 6, 2009.