Tomb of - Valley of the Kings (KV8)
Who was Merneptah?
Merneptah or Merenptah was the fourth ruler of the 19th dynasty in ancient Egyptian period who ruled for almost a decade from 1213 to 1203 BC. He is said to be the thirteenth son of Ramesses II. He became the ruler only when all his brothers were predeceased and which is why he became a ruler at the age of 60 years. He is said to have been the fourth child of Ramesses II’s second wife Isetnofret. One of his sons was Seti II, who became Pharaoh in later 19th dynasty. Throne of Merneptah was named as Ba-en-re Mery-netjeru, meaning The Soul of Ra, Beloved of the God.
Tomb KV 8, which is located in the Valley of the Kings, was the burial place of the Pharaoh Merneptah and this tomb is said to be the model of royal tombs found at the end of 19th and 20th dynasties. The straight axe, concaved relief and less numerous features in comparison to hypogeal and auxiliary chambers are present. Walls inside the tomb depict extracts from the book of the underworld. Ceilings contain astronomical symbols. The four sarcophagi nestling the mummy of the king were three of pink granite and one of alabaster.
The tomb KV 8 is large in size, but its design is simpler than the tombs of Merneptah’s grandfather and father. The tomb has a staircase and two descending corridors, although most paintings decorating the corridors have been damaged by flooding, but the ones that were remaining in the reliefs are very beautiful.
Remarkable features of KV 8
The burial chamber in KV 8 is unique as compared to other tombs. The front and rear walls of this chamber contain multiple niches and it depicts that Merenptah rested here in a set of four stone sarcophagi. When the sarcophagi was brought inside the tomb, the door jambs were removed which were later on replaced by blocks made of sandstone. Pillars too were removed to allow the sarcophagus to move in out of which two were later replaced.
There are five corridors in the tomb KV 8, the walls of these corridors show scenes from the ‘Litany of Re’, the Amduat, the ‘Book of Gates’ and the ‘Book of the Dead’ and the ceilings represent astronomical scenes. In the fourth corridor, the king is shown in the ‘Opening of the Mouth Ceremony’ and fifth corridor is one that leads to the sarcophagus hall, the king’s actual burial chamber, with the splendid restored lid of his anthropoid sarcophagus.
Entrance to the tomb
The tomb KV 8 is now open for public and the tickets can be bought at the gate for three tombs at the Valley of the Kings for EGP 80. When inside, visitors are strictly prohibited from photography which can lead to heavy penalty, if found doing the same. Also, ride in a little train, the taftaf, which operates from the coach park to entrance can be taken after paying a small fee of EGP 2.