KV 17 (Sety I)



General Site Information
Structure: KV 17
Location: Valley of the Kings, East Valley, Thebes West Bank, Thebes
Owner: Sety I
Other designations: 12 [Hay], 17 [Lepsius], 3 [Champollion], 6 [Belzoni], Belzoni's Tomb, Tomb of Apis, Tomb of Psammis, son of Necho [Thomas Young], W [Burton]
Site type: Tomb


KV 17, located in the southeast branch of the wadi, is the longest and deepest of all the tombs in the Valley of the Kings. It is the first tomb to be decorated with a complete program of religious texts. The tomb is decorated with the Litany of Ra (corridor B, gate C, stairwell C), Book of the Dead (stairwell C), Imydwat (stairwell C, corridor D, gate Fa, side chamber Fa, side chamber Jb, burial chamber J), Book of Gates (pillared chamber F, gate Fa, side chamber Ja, burial chamber J), Opening of the Mouth ritual (corridor G, corridor H, gate H), Book of the Heavenly Cow (side chamber Je), astronomical scenes (burial chamber J), Sety I with deities (corridor B, well chamber E, pillared chamber F, chamber I, side chamber Fa, burial chamber J, gate G), deities (stairwell C, gate D, gate J, gate Jb, gate Jd, side chamber Jb, burial chamber J), and representations of the king alone (gate Ja, gate Je). It is also the first tomb to have a vaulted burial chamber.

The tomb of Sety I consists of a total of seven corridors and ten chambers, decorated with painted, raised relief (with the exception of Fa). Three sloping corridors (B, C, D), lead to a well chamber (E) and pillared chamber (F) with side chamber (Fa). A side descent and two sloping corridors (G, H) lead to a chamber (I) beyond which lies burial chamber J. This has five side chambers (Ja-Je), and a long passage (K) at the rear.

Noteworthy features

KV 17 is one of the most completely decorated tombs in the Valley of the Kings, with painted raised relief decoration of the highest quality. There is an unusually long descending passage (K) in the floor of the burial chamber J. Recesses were cut in the benches of Jb.

Site History
After Sety I's burial the tomb was used as a temporary cache for other royal mummies including Rameses I and Rameses II. These mummies were all subsequently moved to TT 320.

This site was used during the following period(s):
New Kingdom, Dynasty 19, Sety I

History of Exploration
Belzoni, Giovanni Battista (1817): Conservation
Belzoni, Giovanni Battista (1817): Discovery
Belzoni, Giovanni Battista (1817): Excavation (conducted for Henry Salt)
Burton, James (1825): Conservation
Hay, Robert (1826): Visit
Franco-Tuscan Expedition (1828-1829): Epigraphy
Carter, Howard (1902-1903): Conservation
Carter, Howard (1902-1903): Excavation
Barsanti, Alexandre (1913): Conservation
Burton, Harry (1921-1928): Photography
Theban Mapping Project (1979): Mapping/planning
Hornung, Erik (1991): Epigraphy
American Research Center in Egypt (1996-2000): Conservation

 -  Conservation history: In 1825, Burton finished building protective dykes around the tomb entryway to prevent flood waters from entering the tomb. Carter did a large amount of consolidation work in 1902-1903, particularly in the burial chamber J, making extensive use of brick masonry to support gate J, the lower portions of the walls and gate Jd, as well as the upper part of corridor K.

In 2001, work was begun to change the modern walls around the tomb's entrance to reduce potential flood damage.

 -  Site condition: In the year following the opening of the tomb, flood waters from rains entered the lower chambers. Belzoni had filled the shaft in well chamber E with debris, but had failed to complete the construction of protective dykes outside the tomb entrance. As a result of the expansion and contraction of the stone and loosening of the plaster, large pieces of the walls and ceiling fell. James Burton completed Belzoni's dykes and cleared well E of debris; the tomb has not flooded since. As a part of his conservation work, Carter repaired damage to the walls, but cracks have reappeared and the condition of the walls continues to worsen.

The tomb has also suffered at the hands of vandals who have hacked away at its walls searching for hidden chambers or trying to remove painted relief.

For several reasons, the once bright colors of the painted reliefs have faded. Some painted reliefs, such as the walls from chamber I, faded because of the wet squeezes taken by Belzoni, Wilkinson and other Egyptologists; others have faded simply as a result of time. The smoke from candles and torches used by early visitors to the tomb has blackened the walls and left soot deposits on the painted reliefs.


Printable Tomb Drawings


Axis in degrees: 218.68
Axis orientation: Southwest

Site Location
Latitude: 25.44 N
Longitude: 32.36 E
Elevation: 178.021 msl
North: 99,561.706
East: 94,133.203
JOG map reference: NG 36-10
Modern governorate: Qena (Qina)
Ancient nome: 4th Upper Egypt
Surveyed by TMP: Yes

Maximum height: 6.05 m
Minimum width: 0.66 m
Maximum width: 13.19 m
Total length: 137.19 m
Total area: 649.04 m²
Total volume: 1900.35 m³

Additional Tomb Information
Entrance location: Base of sloping hill
Owner type: King
Entrance type: Staircase
Interior layout: Corridors and chambers
Axis type: Straight

Raised relief

Categories of Objects Recovered
Mammal mummies
Tomb equipment
Writing equipment