Tombs

TutankhamonBThe Egyptians never did say what each part of the tombs was really for, and we have a complete set of tomb furniture (from Tutankhamon) without knowing how this would have been distributed in a complete tomb. Tutankhamon’s tomb, was hurriedly prepared at the premature death at the age of about 18, and is a “hole in the ground,” compared to a proper royal tomb.

It was clearly not originally intended to be a royal tomb at all. The speculation is that the elderly Aye, a successor to Tutankhamon, had been given the privilege of preparing a tomb in the Valley of the Kings. His tomb was then used for Tutankhamon. NefertariBThe tomb that may have been begun for Tutankhamon, was then taken over by Aye. Although Aye’s reign was short and little progress was made on it, that tomb nevertheless is far larger than Tutankhamon’s and is clearly of royal design.

The tomb of Nefertari (on the right) was obviously designed as a royal tomb, and shows all the signs of her station (especially on the paintings on the wall).

The burial in the pyramids frequently would not have been distributed into different rooms. Before deception was desired, earlier pyramids sometimes just consisted of a single corridor leading directly to the burial chamber. Extra chambers often seem to occur only because of changes of plan.

Some regularity was achieved in V and VI Dynasty pyramids, where the entrance corridor leads to an antechamber, on whose right (on the western side) is the burial chamber, and on whose left is a room with niches, facing the false door on the east face of the pyramid. Most pyramids, in addition, have a subsidiary pyramid or tomb that seems to have been provided for the king’s Ka, the peculiar “double” of the Egyptian theory of the soul. Now it is proposed that even the three rooms in the Great Pyramid reflect ritual functions that persist and are simply reflected in a more economical form in the V/VI Dynasty pattern.