KV 5 (Sons of Rameses II)


General Site Information
Structure: KV 5
Location: Valley of the Kings, East Valley, Thebes West Bank, Thebes
Owner: Sons of Rameses II
Other designations: 5 [Lepsius], 8 [Hay], Commencement d'excavation ou grotte bouchée [Description], M [Burton]
Site type: Tomb


KV 5 is located in the main wadi of the Valley of the Kings. The tomb may originally have been an Dynasty 18 tomb (consisting of chambers 1, 2, and part of 3) usurped by Rameses II as the burial place for several of his principal sons. Still under excavation, the tomb has so far revealed 121 corridors and chambers. Since the tomb appears to have several bilaterally symmetrical sections, it is likely that the number of chambers will increase to 150 or more in subsequent field seasons. KV 5 itself is the largest tomb in the Valley; pillared chamber 3 is the largest chamber of any tomb in the Valley of the Kings.

At least six royal sons are known to have been interred in KV 5. Since there are more than twenty representations of sons carved on its walls, there may have been that many sons interred in the tomb.

The tomb is decorated with scenes from the Opening of the Mouth ritual (pillared chamber 3) and representations of the king, princes and deities (chamber 1, chamber 2, gate 3, pillared chamber 3, corridor 7, chamber 8, gate 9, corridor 12).

Noteworthy features

The overall plan of this tomb is unusual: there is a change in the tomb's principal axis after chamber 3; several chambers lie beneath other chambers; two corridors extend toward the northwest beneath the entrance and the road in front of the tomb; the plan is unlike any other royal tomb. Pillared chamber 3 has more pillars (sixteen) than any other chamber in the Valley of the Kings. The sculpted Osiris figure in the recess at the end of corridor 7 is unique.

Site History
A small tomb perhaps dating to Dynasty 18 was appropriated by Rameses II and considerably enlarged in several phases. There is no evidence of re-use of KV 5 after the reign of Rameses II. The tomb was first visited in modern times by James Burton, who mapped its first nine chambers. Its greater extent was realized by the Theban Mapping Project in 1995, and more chambers continue to be discovered until today.

This site was used during the following period(s):

New Kingdom, Dynasty 18 (entryway A, chambers 1 and 2, and part of pillared chamber 3)
New Kingdom, Dynasty 19, Rameses II

History of Exploration
Burton, James (1825): Mapping/planning
Carter, Howard (1902): Visit
Theban Mapping Project (1987-): Epigraphy
Theban Mapping Project (1987-): Excavation
Theban Mapping Project (1994-): Conservation
Theban Mapping Project (1995-): Photography

 -  Conservation history: The tomb is currently undergoing engineering and conservation work as it continues to be cleared.
 -  Site condition: The tomb was robbed in antiquity. Since then, it has been hit by at least eleven flash floods caused by heavy rains in the Valley. These have completely filled the tomb with debris and seriously damaged its comprehensively decorated walls. From about 1960 to 1990, tour buses parked above the tomb; their vibrations caused serious damage to parts of the tomb near the roadway, as did a leaking sewer line installed over the entrance when the Valley of the Kings rest house was built.






Printable Tomb Drawings


Axis in degrees: 134.18
Axis orientation: Southeast

Site Location
Latitude: 25.44 N
Longitude: 32.36 E
Elevation: 169.87 msl
North: 99,637.895
East: 94,095.771
JOG map reference: NG 36-10
Modern governorate: Qena (Qina)
Ancient nome: 4th Upper Egypt
Surveyed by TMP: Yes

Maximum height: 2.85 m
Minimum width: 0.61 m
Maximum width: 15.43 m
Total length: 443.2 m
Total area: 1266.47 m²
Total volume: 2154.82 m³

Additional Tomb Information
Entrance location: Valley floor
Owner type: Prince
Entrance type: Staircase
Interior layout: Corridors and chambers
Axis type: Straight

Raised relief

Categories of Objects Recovered
Human remains
Mammal remains
Religious objects
Tomb equipment
Written documents