KV 13

Tomb KV 13 has a fascinating history. It was originally constructed for Bay, a scribe who rose to the exalted position of Chancellor during the reign of Seti II. He was seen as the power behind the throne when he placed Siptah on the throne as co-regent with Tausret, but then was accused of treason and executed.

Given the fact that Bay met a sticky end, it is not surprising that he was never buried in the tomb. Instead it was usurped by two princes, Amenherkhepshef and Montuherkhepshef. The first was most likely a son of Ramesses III, and the second probably a son of Ramesses IV. The tomb was then reopened in antiquity and remained that way for hundreds of years. However, it was not properly mapped and fully investigated until Altenmuller took on the task between 1987 and 1994.

Plan of KV 13
KV 13 plan, R.F.Morgan, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The tomb consists of three corridors leading to a well room and pillared hall, beyond which is a further corridor leading to an anteroom with a small side chamber and a further corridor which was adapted to form a burial chamber with two lateral chambers. The three entrance corridors are well excavated, but the remainder of the tomb is roughly hewn and unfinished.

The proportions of the tomb are very similar to those of KV 14 (the tomb of Tausret), and the decoration of the outer corridors is almost identical. The first corridor features scenes of Bay before various gods. The second and third corridors have scenes from the Book of the Dead, and the well room features further divine scenes. It is notable that although Bay is depicted standing before his king (Siptah) in the first corridor, Bay is also depicted standing before the gods which is highly unusual for a non-pharaonic burial. Construction seemed to have been stopped after the excavation of the corridor leading out of the pillared hall. The subsequent chambers were excavated when the tomb was usurped for the two princes.

In addition to adding a hastily constructed burial chamber, the twentieth dynasty workmen were tasked with altering many of the decorations featuring Bay. In some cases his image was replaced by that of a royal woman, probably the mother of one of the princes.

Sarcophagus of Tausret, Louvre
Sarcophagus of Tausret, Louvre, Olaf Tausch, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Two sarcophagi were found in the tomb. One had started out as the sarcophagus of Tausret but had been usurped for Amenherkhepshef. Her vulture wig and cartouches were altered and the sidelock of a royal prince was added. The second sarcophagus (for Montuherkhepshef) depicts the prince and seems to have been made for him. Burial equipment for both princes has been recovered from the tomb including fragments of their canopic jars, shabtis, pottery, and calcite vessels.

The tomb has laid open for many years, and flash floods have eroded most of the decorations. Most of the plaster has fallen from the walls, but in some places faint outlines remain.

  • Altenmuller, Hartwig (2016) “Royal Tombs of the Nineteenth Dynasty” from The Oxford Handbook of the Valley of the Kings Edited by Richard H. Wilkinson and Kent R. Weeks
  • Dodson, Aiden (2016) The Royal Tombs of Ancient Egypt
  • Reves, N and Wilkinson, R.H. (1996) The Complete Valley of the Kings
  • Wilkinson, Richard H. Editor (2012) Tausret: Forgotten Queen and Pharaoh of Egypt

Copyright J Hill 2018