KV9 (Tomb of Ramesses V and Ramesses VI)

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The Tomb KV9 in Egypt's Valley of the Kings was originally constructed by Pharaoh Ramesses V. He was interred here, but his uncle, Ramesses VI, later reused the tomb as his own. The tomb is located in Wadi Biban el-Muluk, and is known since antiquity. Romans knew the tomb as the "tomb of Memnon" and the savants of the Napoleonic Expedition as "La Tomb de la Metempsychose". With some of the broadest corridors, longest shafts (117 meters in total) and greatest variety of decoration, KV9 is one of the most spectacular tombs in the valley.

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Following the tomb’s ransacking a mere 20 years after burial, the mummies of both Ramses V and Ramses VI were moved to Amenhotep II’s tomb where they were found in 1898 and taken to Cairo.

The tomb of Ramesses VI seems to have been robbed shortly after his burial. Reports which date at the latest from Ramesses IX's reign report the interrogation of five robbers who took four days to break into the tomb.

The layout is typical of the 20th Dynasty – the Ramesside period – and is much simpler than that of Ramesses III's tomb (KV11). In the Graeco-Roman period, the tomb was identified as that of Memnon, the mythological king of the Ethiopians who fought in the Trojan War. As a result, it was frequently visited; 995 graffiti left by visitors have been found on the temple walls, ranging from the 1st century CE to the 4th century CE.

Tomb Architecture

circa 1145 BCE

Burial Chamber
The burial chamber has an unfinished pit in the floor. In the burial hall a broken granite sarcophagus was found. The roof and the walls of the chamber are filled with fine images of Ramses VI with various deities, as well as scenes from the Book of the Earth, showing the sun god’s progress through the night, the gods who help him and the forces of darkness trying to stop him reaching the dawn.

circa 1145 BCE

The roof of the burial chamber is decorated with a magnificent figure of Nut and scenes from the Book of the Day and Book of the Night. The burial chamber itself is beautifully decorated, with a superb double image of Nut framing the Book of the Day and Book of the Night on the ceiling. This nocturnal landscape in black and gold shows the sky goddess swallowing the sun each evening to give birth to it each morning in an endless cycle of new life designed to revive the souls of the dead pharaohs.

Architectural Elements

circa 1145 BCE

Outer Sarcophagus of Ramesses VI
Fragments of a large granite sarcophagus were discovered when Georges Émile Jules Daressy cleared the tomb in 1898 CE. The sarcophagus was restored in 2004 following two years of work on over 250 fragments recovered in the tomb, where it is now on display.

circa 1145 BCE

Mummiform Sarcophagus of Ramesses VI
The Ramesses VI's mummiform stone sarcophagus was found in numerous pieces. Substantial parts of the lower sections of Ramesses VI's sarcophagus still lie in his burial chamber, and the face (inspect) of which is now in the British Museum.

The sarcophagus of Ramesses VI, shattered in antiquity, was reconstructed in 2003 CE from the framents found in the king's tomb and else where in the Valley of the Kings. The stone is hard green conglomerate, quarried in the Wadi Hammamat, about a hundred kilometers from Luxor in the Eastern Desert.

The sarcophagus, orginally painted blue, red, yellow and black is stained by ointments used in the burial ritual. Carved decoration tells the story of the king's afterlife through symbolism connecting him with the sun god Ra and Osiris. The face on the lid is a replica of the original, which has been in the British Museum since 1823 CE.

This sarcophagus was placed inside a granite box, of which two huge fragments remain in the burial chamber. The mummified body of Ramesses VI was found in the nearby tomb of Amenhotep II in 1898 CE and now rests in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo.

Decorations and Notable Reliefs

circa 1145 BCE

The tomb KV9 is decorated with an extensive number of funerary texts; including, The Book of Gates, the Book of the Day, the Book of the Earth, the Book of the Caverns, the Imydwat and the Book of the Dead.

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