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Who Was Merneptah?

Merneptah, or Merenptah, was the fourth ruler of the 19th dynasty in ancient Egypt. He reigned for almost a decade from 1213 to 1203 B.C. He is said to be the thirteenth son of Ramesses II. He became ruler only after all his brothers had died, which is why he became a ruler at the older age of 60 years. He is said to have been the fourth child of Ramesses II’s second wife Isetnofret. One of Merneptah's sons was Seti II, who became Pharaoh in the later 19th dynasty. The throne of Merneptah was named Ba-en-re Mery-nether, 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 is the model of royal tombs of the end of the 19th and 20th dynasties. The straight ax, concaved relief, and fewer 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.

KV 8 is large, 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, the ones that were remaining in the reliefs are very beautiful.

Remarkable Features Of KV 8

The burial chamber in KV 8 is unique 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 were brought inside the tomb, the door jambs were removed which were later on replaced by blocks made of sandstone. Pillars were also removed to allow the sarcophagus to move in and out, of which two were later replaced.

There are five corridors in 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 the fifth corridor leads to the sarcophagus hall, the king’s actual burial chamber, with the splendidly restored lid of his anthropoid sarcophagus.

Entrance To The Tomb


KV 8 is open to the public and tickets are available 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 a heavy penalty. You can also take a ride on a little train, the Taftaf, which operates from the coach park to the entrance. The cost is only EGP 2 to take the train.

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