Tomb of Rameses VII (KV1)
The tomb of Rameses VII Usermaatre Setepenre Meryamun can be found at the entrance to the King’s Valley a little way back from the road. Like some of the other Ramesside tombs it has been open since antiquity. The tomb underwent some restoration and cleaning by the SCA in 1994, and a new path was put in place.
Although KV1 is Ramesside in plan, and similar in decoration to that of Rameses VI, it is a much smaller tomb than those of the king’s recent ancestors, consisting of only one corridor and a burial chamber.
The outer lintel was decorated with the traditional sundisc containing the scarab and flanked by Isis and Nephthys below the king’s names. In the wide corridor, the fine quality relief decoration is unusual – in place of the Litany of Re there are two scenes. On the left-hand side, the king is seen before an altar offering to the falcon-headed solar god Re-Horakhty-Atum-Khepri, and on the right before Ptah-Sokar-Osiris with a hymn to the gods of the Underworld.
Further along, the initial scene and first division from the ‘Book of Gates’ (the barque of Re being pulled through the Underworld) can be seen on the left, with the first scenes from the ‘Book of Caverns’ (the divinities paying homage to the dying sun-god) on the right. On either side the king is depicted as an Osiris, being purified by the Iun-Mutef priest.
The ceiling of the corridor is decorated with vultures and the king’s cartouches.
The corridor leads straight into a sarcophagus hall without a well-room or antechamber. It is suggested that the tomb was planned in its abbreviated form because the king’s reign was likely to be short. On the outer lintel is the usual winged disc. The entrance wall illustrates two goddesses; on the right a composite goddess Sekhmet-Bubastis-Wert-Hekau and on the left, Wert-Hekau (‘Great of Magic’) each facing the doorway.
On the walls of the sarcophagus hall are scenes from the ‘Book of Aker’ (the double-headed lion which symbolises the horizon) and the ‘Book of the Earth’. The north wall depicts Osiris as ‘Chief of the Westerners’. An astronomical ceiling features the goddess Nut stretching across the heavens with the decans and constellations.
Beyond the burial chamber a small chamber with a niche. It’s outer walls show the king facing the doorway on each side and offering to aspects of Osiris on the inner walls. The wall above the niche illustrates the barque of the sun containing baboons from the ‘Book of Gates’ supported by djed-pillars on the sides of the niche.
The sarcophagus was cut directly into the floor of the tomb and over this hollow was placed a massive stone covering, decorated with the usual incised figures of Isis, Nephthys, Selkis and the Four Sons of Horus. This is still in place, with an opening at its foot where the body of the king was removed. The mummy of Rameses VII has not yet been found.
The tomb of Rameses VII 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.