SKV 8 (Merenptah)


General Site Information
Structure: KV 8
Location: Valley of the Kings, East Valley, Thebes West Bank, Thebes
Owner: Merenptah
Other designations: 14 [Hay], 8 [Lepsius], D, plan B [Pococke], I [Burton], IIIe Tombeau à l'ouest [Description]
Site type: Tomb


The tomb of Merenptah, KV 8, is located off the main wadi. Three sloping corridors (B, C, D) lead to a well chamber (E) and pillared chamber (F) with side chamber (Fa). A central descent (F) and sloping corridor (G) lead to a chamber (H) beyond which a second corridor (I) slopes down to the vaulted burial chamber J. This has side chambers (Ja-Jd) in the corners and a chamber (K) at the rear also with side chambers (Ka-Kc). The jambs of all the gates from B to H were cut back during the later stages of tomb construction and replaced with sandstone blocks.

The tomb is decorated with scenes from the Litany of Ra (corridor B, corridor C), Book of Gates (gate C, corridor C, pillared chamber F, burial chamber J), Imydwat (corridor C, corridor D, gate E), Book of the Dead (corridor C, chamber H), Opening of the Mouth ritual (corridor G), Book of the Earth (burial chamber J), Book of Caverns (burial chamber J), as well as pictures of the deceased and deities (corridor B, well chamber E, first pillared chamber F, chamber H, burial chamber J). Flooding badly damaged the pillars in burial chamber J. Most of the scenes beyond pillared chamber F have been destroyed except for those high on the walls and ceiling of burial chamber J.

Noteworthy features

Burial chamber J has several unique features. There are multiple niches in the front and rear walls of the chamber, and Merenptah originally rested inside a set of four stone sarcophagi. In order to bring the sarcophagi into the tomb, door jambs were cut away and later replaced by sandstone blocks.

Site History
During the later stages of the tomb's construction, door jambs from entryway A to chamber H were cut away, probably to make room for the descent of the massive granite sarcophagus. The jambs were then replaced with inscribed sandstone blocks keyed into place with dovetail cramps. The cramps fit into slots atop the blocks, which were installed in the bottoms of recesses where the original jambs had stood. None of these blocks were apparently found in their original locations, but some were found in the fill of the well shaft, and on the floor of burial chamber J. Perhaps at this time the rear two pillars in pillared chamber F were also removed.

Parts of the tomb lay open at various later periods. Following the removal of the plundered mummy for reburial in KV 35, an effort was made to re-use pieces of the sarcophagus. The first and second sarcophagus boxes were broken up and the the third granite sarcophagus was moved to Tanis. In the process, the well shaft was filled in, and this allowed later floods to carry debris into the bottom chambers of the tomb. We know that upper chambers of the tomb (up to pillared chamber F) were accessible during Greek and Roman times because of the 135 graffiti written on the walls.

This site was used during the following period(s):
    -  New Kingdom, Dynasty 19, Merenptah
    -  Graeco-Roman Era
    -  Byzantine Period

History of Exploration
Pococke, Richard (1737-1738): Mapping/planning
Napoleonic Expedition (1799): Mapping/planning
Burton, James (1825): Mapping/planning
Hay, Robert (1825-1835): Mapping/planning
Lane, Edward William (1826-1827): Visit
Franco-Tuscan Expedition (1828-1829): Epigraphy
Lepsius, Carl Richard (1844-1845): Excavation
Carter, Howard (1903-1904): Conservation (installation of iron gate, brick entry stairs and lighting)
Carter, Howard (1903-1904): Excavation (discovery of fragments of sarcophagi, canopic chest and shabtis)
Brock, Edwin C. (1985-1988): Excavation (of shaft in well chamber E and floor pit in burial chamber J)

 -  Conservation history: Recent conservation efforts by the Supreme Council of Antiquities have covered over the breaks in the corridor walls and ceilings, and covered over the scars from the cutting back of the original door jambs. The position of the replacement jambs was reconstructed in cement.
 -  Site condition: KV 8 is one of many tombs in the Valley of the Kings that has been damaged by flash floods. Most of the tomb has been cleared, but the side rooms off the burial chamber are still full of debris, as are parts of the side rooms off chamber K. Aside from damage to pillars in burial chamber J, the tomb itself has not suffered any structural damage except for the door jambs, dismantled in ancient times during the installation of the sarcophagus. Most of the scenes beyond pillared chamber F were destroyed, except for the higher walls and ceiling of burial chamber J. The paint and plaster that survived the floods are in good condition.


Printable Tomb Drawings


Axis in degrees: 280.85
Axis orientation: West

Site Location
Latitude: 25.44 N
Longitude: 32.36 E
Elevation: 178.964 msl
North: 99,599.361
East: 94,003.743
JOG map reference: NG 36-10
Modern governorate: Qena (Qina)
Ancient nome: 4th Upper Egypt
Surveyed by TMP: Yes

Maximum height: 6.46 m
Minimum width: 0.75 m
Maximum width: 14.86 m
Total length: 164.86 m
Total area: 772.54 m²
Total volume: 2622.08 m³

Additional Tomb Information
Entrance location: Hillside
Owner type: King
Entrance type: Staircase
Interior layout: Corridors and chambers
Axis type: Straight

Raised relief
Sunk relief

Categories of Objects Recovered
Tomb equipment
Writing equipment