KV4 (Unfinished Tomb of Ramesses XI)

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KV4 is a tomb in the Valley of the Kings (Egypt). The tomb was initiated for the burial of Ramesses XI but it is likely that its construction was abandoned and that it was never used for Ramesses's interment. KV4 is notable for being the last royal tomb that was quarried in the Valley and because it has been interpreted as being a workshop used during the official dismantling of the royal necropolis in the early Third Intermediate Period.

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That KV4 was originally quarried for the burial of Ramesses XI is evident from the decoration in the corridor and the foundation deposits associated with the shaft. It appears however that this plan was abandoned in favour of a burial elsewhere (perhaps in Lower Egypt). The most likely explanation for Pinudjem's later restoration and the insertion of his cartouche would be that he intended to usurp the tomb at the beginning of his kingship.

After Pinudjem's abandoned usurpation of KV4 it appears the tomb was used as a workshop to process funerary equipment from other royal tombs, most notably the burials of Thutmose I, Thutmose III and Hatshepsut. During the Byzantine period the open tomb was used by Copts as a residence and stable, while during the clearance of KV62 by Howard Carter in the 1920s it was used as a dining area and a storeroom.

Although KV4 has been open since antiquity and graffiti from various ages attest to its popularity as an early tourist attraction it received little scholarly attention until John Romer's clearance in 1978-1980.

Tomb Layout

circa 1205 BCE

Running back over 100 metres into the mountainside, it consists of a series of three gently sloping corridors leading towards the tomb's well chamber (although no shaft is cut in its floor) and two unfinished, pillared chambers. The latter of these chambers, the burial chamber, features a deep shaft cut into the centre of its floor; foundation deposits of Ramesses XI associated with it might indicate that its cutting was contemporary with the original plan of the tomb.


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