KV1 is the tomb of the Twentieth Dynasty pharaoh, Ramesses VII. The tomb has been open and visited many times throughout antiquity, its walls bearing 135 individual examples of ancient Greek and Roman graffiti. The tomb has also been visited in more recent history, by the 18th century English anthropologist, Richard Pococke, and also by Napoleon’s men during his campaign in Egypt and Syria (1798–1801). The tomb was cleared in the 1950s, but was not properly investigated until 1984 when Edwin Brock began his excavation funded by the Royal Ontario Museum.
The tomb is laid out on a straight axis in the typical style of the Ramesside kings. There is evidence that the burial chamber is actually an enlarged corridor, suggesting that the tomb was altered hastily in order to accommodate the burial of the king – Ramesses VII died when he was only in his seventh year of rule. The work on the subsequent room was also halted, further indicating the hasty completion of the tomb.
The decoration of the tomb closely follows that of the king’s predecessor, Ramesses VI; however, KV1 possesses an emphasis on Osiris (for example, the scene above), returning to the traditional practice of emphasising the god’s iconographic presence within the tomb. Furthermore, the ceiling of the burial chamber features a double image of the goddess, Nut (below), reflecting the style of the kings of the Nineteenth Dynasty.
The decoration also features scenes from the Book of Gates, the Book of Caverns, and the Book of the Earth, as well as many depictions of deities including Weret-Hekau “Great of Magic” (below), Isis, Nephthys, the falcon-headed solar god Re-Horakhty-Atum-Khepri, and Ptah-Sokar-Osiris.
The tomb was robbed in antiquity so little more was found within it during excavation than some shabti fragments. The tomb had been reused by Coptic Christians, and potsherds and ostraca dating to this period were found within the tomb.
The sarcophagus was cut directly into the tomb floor and a huge stone covering was placed over the hollow. An opening at the foot of the cover reveals how the body of the king was removed; however, his body has not yet been discovered. Four faience cups were found near to the Deir el-Bahri mummy cache (DB320), indicating that the body of Ramesses VII may be among the hitherto unidentified mummies.
Bibliography and further reading:
Theban Mapping Project – KV1: http://www.thebanmappingproject.com/sites/browse_tomb_815.html – including photographs, description and tomb plans.
Tour Egypt – Egypt: KV1, the Tomb of Ramesses VII in the Valley of the Kings: http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/kv1.htm – including images and description.
Luxor News – Photos from Richard Sellicks – KV1 Ramses VII: http://luxor-news.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/photos-from-richard-sellicks-kv1-ramses.html – many beautiful photographs.
Reeves, N & Wilkinson, R.H. 1996. The Complete Valley of the Kings. Thames and Hudson: London.