Fig. 5: ‘KV64’ as revealed by ARTP’s 2000 radar survey (Copyright © Amarna Royal Tombs Project 2006)
July 31, 2006
ARTP first encountered evidence of a second anomaly in the central area of the Valley of the Kings in the autumn of 2000, located at a point close to the southeast corner of the modern flood-prevention wall around the Tutankhamun-tomb entrance and a short distance to the north of KV63 (see Fig. 6).
The radar readings generated by our equipment were uniformly strong and impressive (Fig. 5) - even more so than the data which in 2000 first alerted ARTP to the existence of KV63 (Fig. 4).
As analysed by our radar specialist Hirokatsu Watanabe it seems all but certain (on analogy with the KV63 radar evidence) that the new data identify the presence of another tomb at some considerable depth - ‘KV64’.
From its location this tomb could prove to be a find of the greatest possible significance. By inference from the neighbouring tombs KV62 (Tutankhamun) and KV63 I believe it is likely to represent yet another burial of immediate post-Amarna date - not impossibly home to one or more of the missing Amarna dead about whom I first speculated in 1997 and to whose actual existence KV63 now points.
Situated in a part of the Valley which was out of bounds to earlier excavators, moreover, the new find is almost certain to be undisturbed.
Faced with evidence for a second intact tomb in the Valley of the Kings those who understand the nature of the archaeological game in Egypt will feel not excitement but an overwhelming anxiety, for there will be inevitable pressure for quick results.
This pressure must be resisted: speed equates to loss, and it falls to the responsibility of every one of us to ensure that Egypt and Egyptology are not denied the further, extraordinary opportunity they are now presented with.
‘KV64’ must be the platform from which to insist that any and all future investigations in the Valley of the Kings are approached with immense caution and carried out methodically to a larger plan by well-funded, professional archaeologists sensitive to all of the site’s possibilities and needs. The recovery of every ounce of the Valley’s remaining potential must be the aim - nothing less will do.
If Egyptology cannot meet these basic obligations then clearly no further work should be contemplated; all archaeology is destruction, and it stands to reason that what has been dug foolishly and in haste cannot later be undug sensibly and at leisure. Let us try, this time around, to get it right.