Shaft tombs which had only been noted in two brief paragraphs by
Howard Carter in 1917 have now been revealed to be burial places of
hitherto unrecognised members of the family of Amenhotep III. These
architecturally unique shaft tombs had been repeatedly robbed but
still contained the shattered remains of the largest collections of
canopic jars ever found in Egypt. These and other surviving
contents of the tomb seem to have been deliberately destroyed in
phaoronic times in an attempt - successful until recently - to
remove the names of the dead from history. The tombs were used over
several generations and included the burials of the King's Great
Wife, son, daughter, another of his wives and at least a dozen
women bearing the title `Ornament of the King'. Although now the
site of the burials appears remote, it was the site of a major
crossroads during the XVIIIth dynasty - traces of plant life within
the tombs point to a more fertile climate when they were created.
The most pressing question the tombs raise is why and when these
burials were destroyed, and why the names of several of the family
of Amenhotep III and a group of court women should have been
subjected to deliberate, systematic and official destruction.
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