KV15 (Tomb of Seti II)

By the Editors of the Madain Project

Tomb KV15, located in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt, was used for the burial of Pharaoh Seti II of the Nineteenth Dynasty. Relatively little is known about the history of the tomb. Seti II was buried there, but he may have originally been buried with his wife Twosret in her tomb in KV14 and subsequently moved to the hastily finished KV15 tomb.

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Overview

The origin and history of tomb KV15 is uncertain. After the death of Merenptah, there was a dispute over the succession. Seti II became king but another person, Amenmeses, also claimed the throne. It is known that Seti II lost control of Thebes to Amenmeses, whose supporters set about removing the name of Seti II, claiming that Seti II was the usurper and Amenmeses was the legitimate heir.

It is possible that the tomb KV15 was defaced at this time. The cartouche of Seti II was carved out wherever it was found in Thebes. Also the barque sharine of Seti II at Karnak Temple Complex had the name of Seti II chiselled out. Seti II was initially buried in KV14 with his wife Tausret, who was regent for the young king Siptah and became queen in her own right.

Without a heir to take the crown, the monarchy was taken by Setnakhte who began excavating his own tomb, KV11 and abandoned it shortly after the workman broke through in to the KV10. Setnakhte usurped the tomb of Seti II and Tausret. It is thought that he moved the body of Seti II back to the tomb KV15 and the body of Tausret has never been positively identified. The name of Seti II was restored within KV15 at some point, possibly by Siptah who may,like Seti II, have been a son of Merenptah, making Seti II and Siptan brothers or half-brothers.

Tomb Architecture

circa 1200 BCE

Modern Entrance and Entryway A
The entryway designated as "A" to the tomb KV15 is cut directly in to the mountain face rather than in a stepped entrance well, which is typical of earlier tomb entrances in the Valley of the Kings. The rubble walls of the entrance are covered with layers of white plaster. After the 1994 CE floods,a cement externsion with roof was built out from the cliff face to protect the entrance. The entrance measures 7.2 meters in length and 3.19 meters in width.

circa 1200 BCE

Corridor B
The walls of the corridor-b are decorated with images of Seti II offering to deities (inspect), followed by the opening vignette of the Litany of Ra. It was originally in raised relief, carved out and then recarved in sunk relief. The remainder of the corridor is inscribed with texts of the Litany of Ra (inspect). The ceiling displays texts of Osiris and Ra-Horakhty along the edges, with flying vultures (some with cobra heads) in the center, incompletely rendered in paint, alternating with the king's names. A recess, perhaps the start of a gate, was cut through the first figure of the king at the beginning of the left wall. The corridor measures 15.32 meters in length, 2.74 meters in width and 3.3 meters in height.

circa 1200 BCE

Corridor C
The corridor-c has a shallow slope and lacks the usual wall recesses at its beginning.The decoration of the walls wasdone only as preliminary sketches in red paint. Sety II offers an image of Ma'at to Ra-Horakhty on the left (south-eastern) wall andincense to Sokar on the right (north-western) wall. The central portion of the ceiling is decorated with a sun disk containing the ram-headed bird representing the ba (soul) of Ra. It is flanked by Isis and Nyphthys as kites, followed by more texts of the Litany of Ra. The unfinished remainder was to have been covered with stars. This corridor measures 14.27 meters in length, 2.81 meters in width and 3.31 meters in height.

circa 1200 BCE

Corridor D
The walls of this 14.36 meters long corridor are decorated with preliminary sketches of the fourth and fifth divisions of the Imydwat on the left and the right walls respectively. Two rectangular recesses lie opposite to each other near the gate E. The corridor is 2.8 meters wide and the roof is carved to a height of 3.34 meters.

circa 1200 BCE

Chamber E
The well shaft was not cut. The usual protective deities associated with this chamber (four sons of Horus and four goddesses) have been replaced by images of various divine statues, similar to many of the actual wooden statues found in the tomb of Tutankhamun. This roughly square chamber measures 3.19 meters in length, 4.38 meters in width and 3.39 meters in height.

circa 1200 BCE

Pillared Chamber F
The walls display the fourth and fifth divisions of the "Book of Gates". The four pillars inside the chamber are decorated with Seti II, Horus-Iwnmutef, Ptah in a shrine and other deities. The center of the rear wall shows a double scene of Sety II offering an image of Ma'at and two vases to Osiris.The scenes were not completely painted, with only red and yellow pigment applied, except on the pillars and center of the rear wall, where green colour was also added. A sloping passage connects this chamber to the burial chamber. The entire square-shaped pillared hall measures 8.56 meters in length, 8.07 meters in width and 3.51 meters in height.

circa 1200 BCE

Burial Chamber J
From here the corridor was converted in to a burial chamber. The rough walls and ceiling were coated with plaster and decorated with paint. On the walls, Anubis-jackals on shrines and two rows of deities representing the followeres of Ra and Osiris are placed over a lower register of prone mummiform figures on snake beds taken from the fifth division. A figure of Nut (inspect) with downswept wings stretches along the length of the ceiling and traces of what may be the ba of Ra is painted above her head.

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