Egypt Unwrapped: Secrets Of The Valley Of The Kings

Egypt Unwrapped


1 hour

Monday 28 November at 9.30am EST/ NZ

his program focuses on the New Kingdom tombs in the Valley of the Kings. A number of Pharaohs are discussed in relation to their activity in the valley and nearby.

There is an overview of Egyptian religion and discussion of various beliefs about the afterlife. The tomb of Hatshepsut and her mortuary temple at Deir El Bahri are prominent. There is some focus on the workmen and their village at Deir El Medina also.

This would be very useful for a study of the New Kingdom in general. There is a very interesting perspective on the Pharaoh Hatshepsut. The program could introduce Deir El Medina and the people who lived and worked there as well.

Dr Denis Mootz


Stop the video programs at the end of each section.

Allow students to share and discuss answers to the questions below.


Note the terms used to describe ancient Egypt?
Note the terms used to describe the Valley of the Kings.

Part 1.

Note the discovery made recently by Dr Zahi Hawass. Implications?
Note Nicole Douek’s comments on the Valley of the Kings. Implications? Result?
Note details of the capital of Egypt in this “Golden Age”.
How was the greatness of Pharaoh displayed at Thebes?
Note the location of the Valley of the Kings.
When was the valley rediscovered?
What did they find?
Note details of the tomb of Tutankhamun. Implications?
Why does the mind “boggle”?
What has been learnt in the last ten years?
Note the work of Kent Weeks. Result? Implications?
Note the cgi 3-d images of the Valley and tombs.
Why was this valley chosen for the tombs?
What has Daniel Polz discovered nearby to the valley? Implications?
Note details of the tomb discovered by Carter in 1902.

Part 2.

Note details of Hatshepsut.
Why did Pharaohs build on such a large scale?
Why was Hatshepsut a “rarity”? Result?
Note Hatshepsut’s pedigree. Result?
In what circumstances did she ascend the throne as Pharaoh?
Note details of her mortuary temple at Deir el-Bahri.
Note the Ted Brock’s conclusions about Hatshepsut.
Note his conclusions about her temple. Result?
Where was Hatshepsut buried? Result? Implications?
Note Daniel Polz’s disagreement with the concept of “hidden” tombs.
How is Hatshepsut’s temple positioned? Result? Implications?
Note the discussion of East and West. Implications? Result?
Note the “perilous” journey undertaken by dead Pharaohs.

Part 3.

In what sense had Hatshepsut broken tradition?
Note details of the Amduat.
Note Daniel Polz’s theory about the Amduat. Implications?
Note the stages in the burial of a Pharaoh.
Note Kent Weeks’s comments on the “accuracy” of the tombs.
Note Steve Macklin’s investigation of these “tunnels”.
Note his comments on the upper limestone layer. Implications?
What does he conclude from a satellite image? Result?
Note his comments on the lower layer of shale. Implications? Result?
Note Macklin’s comments on the structure of the tombs.
What are “pilot” shafts? Result?
Note how this is illustrated from the tomb of Set 1.
Note Kent Weeks’s comments on recurring patterns and structures in these tomb.

Part 4.

Why was the tomb of Horemheb never finished? Implications? Result?
Note details of the reign of Horemheb. Implications?
Note Zahi Hawass’s explanation of the decoration of this tomb.
Note Kent Weeks’ comments on the innovations of this tomb.
Why is this tomb a “gift” for archaeologists? Result?
Note the detail of the fragmentary illustration found near Deir el Medina.
What else has been found?
Note how time was measured on the working site?
What do we know about these workmen? Result?
Note what we know about Sennedjem?
How were the skills of the tomb builders passed on?

Part 5.

Note details of the Tomb of Rameses 11’s sons. Implications? Result?
Who was the last Pharaoh to build in the valley? Implications?
Why did Thebes become redundant? Result?
Note Toby Wilkinson’s comments on tomb robbing. Implications? Result?
Note the latest discoveries from the valley.


Useful, interesting, challenging, materials can be found at the websites below.
These sites are not recommended as definitive sources.
They need to be read critically and evaluated before being used for note making.
The evidence collected here should supplement and complement the notes made during the video program. Both should be used in the notemaking exercise that follows.

New Kingdom Egypt:

Valley of the Kings:


Deir El Bahri:

Thebes / Karnak:,_Egypt

Deir el-Medina:




Tomb robbing:


This is the collation stage of the activity.
Encourage students to compose the suggested summaries and to organise the field of information and begin to explore its context.
This activity could be done in teams, groups, or by individuals, or as a class with teacher direction.

1. Draw up a timeline / chronological chart of the events described and discussed in this program.

2. Note details of New Kingdom in Egypt.

3. Note details of the Egyptian beliefs associated with the afterlife.

4. Note details of the Valley of the Kings.

5. Note details of the design and layout of the rock cut tombs.

6. Note details of the workers who built and decorated the tombs.

7. Note details of the Pharaoh Hatshepsut and her tomb.

8. Note details of the Pharaoh Horemheb and his tomb.

9. Note details of the tomb of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun.

10. Note details of tomb robbing.


Address and discuss the key issues and questions that have been raised by the video at this stage.
Some are suggested below. Students will probably raise others.

1. Were the tombs of the Pharaohs hidden in the Valley of the Kings?

2. Was KV62 “intact”, undisturbed, when it was discovered?


It is necessary always to address questions of reliability and validity of the perspectives, evidence and sources presented in the documentary and other sources. These need to be considered, tested and researched. Some are suggested below. Students will probably raise others.

1. What evidence suggests that the Valley of the Kings was a “secret” location?

2. What evidence suggests that later rulers ‘recycled’ the possessions of previous Pharaohs?


Use the key issues and inquiry questions as topics for debate, essay writing, reports, historical recount and explanation.

Be imaginative. A report, or debate notes, could be a digital “essay” of slides and text…or any other IT application available.

1. Write a REPORT on the life of the workers of Deir El Medina.

2. Draw up and label a plan of a “typical” tomb from the Valley of the Kings.

3. How does the Valley of the Kings inform our understanding of New Kingdom Egypt?

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