Tomb of Rameses V and VI (KV9)

KV9, known to the Romans as the Tomb of Memnon, is situated just behind Tutankhamun’s tomb (the rubble originally concealing it) in the Kings Valley. The decoration from the entrance as far as the well-room was done for Rameses V but it is not known for certain whether the pharaoh, who ruled for only four years, was ever buried in the tomb. It was completed by his successor Rameses VI whose sarcophagus fragments were found in the burial chamber. The great amount of graffiti in the tomb shows that it has been open since antiquity.

A staircase leads down to the entrance where the lintel is decorated with the traditional scene of Isis and Nephthys kneeling at either side of the sundisc. The decoration throughout the tomb is in sunk relief with well-preserved painted scenes on a creamy background.

The corridors are wide and gently sloping, without the stairs and ramps of earlier tombs. The left-hand side of the first corridor shows the figure of Rameses V Usermaatre (usurped by his brother Rameses VI) before Re-Horakhty and Osiris, and scenes from the ‘Book of Gates’. On the right-hand side is a similar portrait of the king and scenes from the ‘Book of Caverns’. An astronomical ceiling contains scenes from the ‘Book of Night’ and the ‘Book of Day’.

The second and third corridors are similarly painted with the ‘Book of Gates’ and ‘Book of Caverns’, with the addition of the ‘Book of the Divine Cow’ (part of the ‘Books of the Heavens’) on the left wall in the third corridor.

A well-room leads to a pillared hall, perhaps intended as a ‘false burial chamber’, and this was cut and decorated by Rameses VI Nebmaatre Meryamun. The four pillars show scenes of the king offering to various deities. On the left-hand wall there are scenes from the ‘Book of Gates’ and on the right the ‘Book of Caverns’, with Rameses VI before Osiris (identified with the sun-god Re) in a double scene on the lintel over the descending passage. The astronomical ceiling continues from the well-room with constellations, decans list and the ‘Book of the Heavens’.

A steeper descent leads to the fourth corridor which has depictions of Nekhbet and Meretseger as serpent goddesses and scenes from the ‘Amduat’ on the walls. The ‘Amduat’ is also featured in the next corridor. Here the tomb builders had to drop the level of the floor to avoid cutting in to KV12 above it, which resulted in the unique feature of having a sloping floor combined with a horizontal ceiling.

An antechamber leads to the burial chamber of Rameses VI. On the outer lintel a mountain supports the sky and sun-disk. The walls of the antechamber illustrate scenes from the ‘Book of the Dead’ and the ceiling describes the resurrection of Osiris with the king in the barques of Day and Night.

The walls of the burial chamber show various scenes from the ‘Book of Gates’ and the ‘Book of Aker’ which deals with creation and the journey of the solar disc (the first appearance of ‘Book of the Earth’ in a royal burial chamber). The king offers to the gods on each of the sides of the two pillars. A vaulted astronomical ceiling is illustrated by a double image of Nut with the ‘Book of Night’ and the ‘Book of Day’ (‘Books of the Heavens’), showing the mystery of the daily regeneration of the solar disc.

A chamber to the rear of the burial hall shows the ‘Book of Gates’ with the barque of Re held aloft by Nun, and the king with deities on the side walls.

The broken remains of a large granite outer sarcophagus of Rameses VI can be seen in the burial chamber. Fragments of an inner anthropoid sarcophagus found in the tomb can be seen in the British Museum. The mummies of both Rameses V and VI were found with other royal mummies in the KV35 cache in 1898.


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