Working for the American university in Cairo in 1988, Kent Weeks embarked on an archeological dig into KV5, the sparsely explored fifth tomb in the Valley of the Kings, burial ground of Egypt's major Pharaohs. In 1995, he discovered the T-shaped burial complex of Ramses II's 50 sons--arguably the most significant discovery since Howard Carter unearthed King Tut's tomb in 1922. Weeks's account of this historic event is filled with a sense of awe and wonder. "[I]n my imagination," he writes, recalling a vision of the statue of Osiris, god of the afterlife, "I could see the ancient funerals that took place three thousand years ago. I could hear ancient priests chanting prayers and shaking tambourines ... I could smell incense and feel priestly robes brush my arm as the funeral procession moved slowly past. For an instant I felt transported back in time: it was 1275 BCE and this was ancient Thebes."
Weeks also points out what his discovery may tell us about the powerful, redhaired pharoah who ruled ancient Egypt for 67 years (1279-1212 BC), including the possibility that he was the pharaoh of Exodus. He elaborates upon his profession's risks, from excavations in narrow, debris-filled and claustraphobic surroundings to working under the gunfire of terrorist attacks. And he reminds us that his discovery by no means brings Egyptology to a conclusion: "Every generation of Egyptologists asks different questions of its data and data are a finite resource. We will leave parts of KV5 undug so that archeologists of the future, armed with new questions and new excavation techniques, can seek new answers to old questions and to others we haven't even dreamed of." --Eugene Holley Jr.
From Publishers Weekly
In 1995, Weeks, a noted Egyptologist and professor at the American University in Cairo, and his archeological team discovered a tomb in Luxor's Valley of the Kings. Labeled KV5, it was hailed as the lost burial chamber of the sons of Ramesses II. Weeks's Egyptological leanings were a long time in coming. He starts by chronicling his childhood dreams and their eventual fulfillment some 10 years ago. By 1989, Weeks, his wife, Susan, and his team had been working in the Valley of the Kings for 10 years. Intrigued by so-called missing tombs of the Valley that had been only cursorily explored, Weeks decided to look for one in particular, KV5, which, if early maps were correct, was in the path of projected highway building. Using the journals and maps of two earlier explorers?James Burton, who first came to Luxor in 1825, and Howard Carter, noted for many discoveries, including that of King Tut's tomb (1922)?Weeks and his team began digging. Their search resulted in the discovery of the largest mausoleum in the area, which Weeks makes a convincing case for identifying as the burial site of Ramesses's sons. In the final chapters, Weeks provides readers with an introduction to the world of Ramesses II and the 18th and 19th dynasties, indicating the possibility of further finds in KV5 that would clarify aspects of ancient and biblical history. But most of all, by drawing on his diaries, Weeks gives a sense of immediacy in the reconstruction of a fascinating story that fully conveys the thrill of discovery after years of painstaking work. Color and b&w photos not seen by PW. 7-city author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.