KV17 (Tomb of Seti I)

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Tomb KV17, located in Egypt's Valley of the Kings, is the tomb of Pharaoh Seti I of the Nineteenth Dynasty. Also known by other names, "Belzoni's tomb", "the Tomb of Apis", and "the Tomb of Psammis, son of Nechois". It is one of the best decorated tombs in the valley, but now is almost always closed to the public due to damage. The longest tomb in the valley, at 137.19 meters (450.10 feet), it contains very well preserved reliefs in all but two of its eleven chambers and side rooms.


KV 17 is located in the southeast branch of the wadi and is believed to be the longest and deepest of all the tombs in the Valley of the Kings. It was the first tomb to be decorated with a complete programme of religious texts, it is also the first tomb known to have a vaulted burial chamber. The tomb of Seti I consists of a total of seven corridors and ten chambers, that are decorated with painted, raised relief, with the exception of Chamber Fa with was being decorated when the work stopped and those decorations are in outline only.

It was first discovered by Giovanni Battista Belzoni on 16 October 1817. When he first entered the tomb he found the wall paintings in excellent condition with the paint on the walls still looking fresh and some of the artists paints and brushes still on the floor. The tomb also became known as the "Apis tomb" because when Giovanni Belzoni found the tomb a mummified bull was found in a side room off the burial hall.

Tomb plan

circa 1280 BCE


circa 1280 BCE

Entryway A
Modern steps and a landing bench precede twenty-six ancient steps leading to the beginning of the Corridor-B. This entryway is surrounded by modern retaining walls. It is connected with the successive corridor with a gate, designated as 'Gate-B', which was removed by Champollion and are now in Paris and Florence.

circa 1280 BCE

Corridor B
The sloping corridor is decorated in raised relief (inspect). The left wall shows Sei I before Ra-Horakhty, followed by the opening scene of the Litan of Ra and the opening text of this composition. This is the first known depiction of the opening scene of the Litany on a royal tomb. The right wall continues the text of the Litany of Ra and the ceiling is decorated with vultures, every other one cobra-headed. These alternate with texts giving the names of Seti I, and columns of texts run along the edges of the ceiling. A pair of holes for a wooden beam were cut in the walls toward the rear end of this corridor. This right hole was filled with plaster over which the columns of text were carved.

circa 1280 BCE

Chamber F
This is a roughly square chamber with two rows o two pillars flanking the central axis. From the descent, the central tomb axis is displaced to the left (south-east). The left side fo the chamber is divided into three registers decorated with the fourth division of the Book of Gates. One scene represents the four "races" of mankind, for the first time in this composition differentiated by their physical characteristics. The right side fo the chamber is similarly divided into three registers and is decorated with the fifth division of the Book of Gates. On the rear wall, the king is presented to Osiris and Hathor by Horus.

circa 1280 BCE

Chamber Jb
Chamber Jb has two pillars and wide benches midway up the left, right and rear walls. There are four shallow recesses in each of the cetical faces below decorated with depictions of funerary objects, such as animal-headed beds, chests, and shrines. The walls above the benches are decorated with the sixth, seventh and eighth hours of the Imydwat. Depictions of Osiris are found on the pillars, although the front faces have been damaged. The left end of the left bench has aslo been broken. A reces has been cut in the left end of the right wall aboce the bench. A panel aboce the gate gives the king's names protected by Wadjet and Nekhbet and dado pattern of pairs of djed pillars and tyet knots is located on the front wall.

Textual Decorations

circa 1280 BCE

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).


circa 1280 BCE

The sarcophagus of Seti I is a life-size sarcophagus of the 19th Dynasty Pharaoh that was rediscovered in 1817 by the Italian explorer Giovanni Battista Belzoni in the Valley of the Kings, Egypt. The sarcophagus is made of translucent alabaster; today it is housed in the Sepulchral Chamber in the basement of SISM of Sir John Soane’s Museum.

The sarcophagus is carved from alabaster, a pearly translucent stone that was highly valued by the Egyptians. Across its surface, both inside and outside, are carved in hieroglyphs an Egyptian text known today as the Book of the Gates, a series of spells and rituals that the dead pharaoh would need to safely pass through the underworld and reach the afterlife. Inside, across the bottom of the sarcophagus, is the elegantly-drawn figure of Nut, goddess of the sky, whose role was to guide and protect the dead.


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