Egypt exposed: How ‘magnificent secret vault’ in Valley of the Kings was uncovered

Located on the west bank of the Nile, opposite Thebes, the Valley of the Kings played a central role in the burial of pharaohs and powerful nobles of the New Kingdom of Ancient Egypt. Its most famous resident – King Tutankhamun – was uncovered in tomb KV62 by Howard Carter in 1922, in a discovery that would inspire a generation of archaeologists to travel to this region. One of them, Professor Antonio Morales, has spent years trying to replicate such success, and last year, Channel 4’s cameras travelled to the Middle East to film ‘Secrets of Egypt’s Valley of the Kings’ to join him

But, while working on a group of chambers that had already been robbed, they discovered something remarkable.

The series said in 2019: “On the other side of the valley, Egyptologist Antonio Morales has unearthed what looks like a secret vault.

“The entrance is so well hidden, it is possible this chamber was never discovered by robbers.

“With such a short amount of time, the team must against the clock, but it’s vital they don’t cause any damage or collapse.”

There’s nothing in there – just a magnificent rectangular empty space

Mohamed Osman

The team began to move the rubble from around the hole, revealing what they believed to be a staircase.

Mohamed Osman, an archaeologist working on the site, noted: “This is the opening of a tomb, or shaft, or something.

“If you put your hand there, you can feel the cold air, that means there is a space there, so that is a good sign.”

After two days of solid work to gain access, the workers finally cleared the area to allow the shaft to be explored.

But, they did not find what they expected.

The series added: “Antonio has been trying to access this secret vault found close to the tomb of royal vizier Ipi.

“It has taken two days to clear the debris, the team are just minutes from finding out what’s inside.

“For the first time in possibly 4,000 years, the entrance is finally clear.

“But it appears somebody else got there first.

Mr Osman expressed his disappointment, adding: “Well, it is perfectly empty.


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“There’s nothing in there – just a magnificent rectangular empty space.

“This means that robbers, tomb robbers, were ahead and they took whatever was there.”

Mr Osman went on to detail his thoughts on the situation.

He concluded: “We cannot say when the tomb robbers were there, it could be just after the burial, or 100 years later, or 1,000 years later.

“It’s disappointing, it shouldn’t be a scientific thing [disappointment], it’s a human feeling.

“But sometimes you feel it, but of course, you have to live with it.”

The Valley of the Kings was the principal burial place of the major royal figures of the Egyptian New Kingdom, including Ramesses III, Setnakhte and Amenmesse.

The royal tombs are decorated with scenes from Egyptian mythology and give clues as to the beliefs and funerary rituals of the period. 

Almost all of the tombs seem to have been opened and robbed in antiquity, but they still give an idea of the opulence and power of the pharaohs.

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