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Valley of the Kings (Egypt)


Valley of the Kings Aerial View

Valley of the Kings Aerial View

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Definition: The Valley of the Kings is the name given to a long dry valley or wadi running parallel to the Nile River on the west bank opposite Luxor, Egypt. Selected by the architect of the New Kingdom pharaoh Thutmose I for his royal tomb, the valley eventually hosted the burial tombs of at least sixty-two New Kingdom pharaohs and ranking officials.

Important burials in the Valley of the Kings (abbreviated KV) include Tutankhamen (KV-62), Ramses II (KV-7), and the earliest of the tombs, Thutmose I (KV-20). While many of the tombs were opened shortly after their use, others were discovered in the 19th centuries by explorers such as Giovanni Belzoni, Victor Loret, Theodore Davis, and, of course, Howard Carter.


Baker, Rosalie F. and Charles F. Baker III. 2001. Ancient Egyptians: People of the Pyramids. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Dodson, Aiden. 1996. Valley of the Kings in Brian Fagan (ed). 1996. The Oxford Companion to Archaeology. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

This glossary entry is part of the Dictionary of Archaeology.

Also Known As: Wadi Biban el-Moluk

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