Valley of the Sun Kings: New Explorations in the Tombs of the Pharaohs, Edited by Richard H. Wilkinson

Probably no other single archaeological site in the world is as famous or has provoked the same degree of scholarly and popular interest as the Valley of the Kings-most famous as the burial place of Tutankhamun, but also the royal necropolis of Egypt’s pharaohs throughout five hundred years of their New Kingdom power. Revered as incarnate sons of the sun god who joined the solar deity at their death, these rulers were indeed “sun kings” whose monuments reflected their transcendent status in the magnificence of their construction and decoration.
To the ancient Egyptians, the royal valley was ta set aat “the Great Place,” and today it forms the largest open air museum in the world. Yet it is a “museum” with a difference. Excavation and study are ongoing, and the dedicated research of a number of Egyptologists working in this area is constantly providing new discoveries and understandings of the royal tombs-not least of which is the realization of the ever-increasing need for the successful conservation of these fragile monuments.
The chapters of this book reflect the ongoing scientific and public interest in this pre- eminent archaeological site and are based on papers given at the International Conference on the Valley of the Kings held atThe University of Arizona in October, 1994. Yet this book is certainly not a routine conference publication; the papers were specifically invited to show both the range of research and exploration which is currently being conducted and the new understandings of the royal tombs which have surfaced in the last few years.
Not all of the presented papers could be included here, but the major themes of the conference are all explored in the three sections of this volume: recent excavation of the monuments; new studies in the decorative art and funerary treasures found within the tombs; and finally, the urgent need for restoration and conservation which must continue to be addressed before more of the unique archaeological and cultural heritage of the royal valley is lost.

Author: Richard H. Wilkinson
Publication Date: 1995