The Valley of the Kings is an area in Western Thebes which was used by
the Egyptians to bury their dead. Burials were held there for over nine dynasties of
This area of Egypt was chosen for burial partly because of the way the
land is laid out. Firstly, there is the flat plain leading to foothills that were
perfectly shaped for tombs, there were also flat areas which were used to build the
temples. This was all located above the flood plain, and Western Thebes faced west which
is where the sun sets. Egyptian religion identified the sun with the realm of the dead.
Tuthmosis I, the third king of the 18th Dynasty is thought to
be the first to have a tomb in the Valley of the Kings. The Egyptians stopped using the
Valley of the Kings as a burial ground by the end of the 20th Dynasty. The exact reason
why is unclear, but it could have had something to with tomb raiding. Many treasures were
stolen from the tombs.
The Egyptians believed in the after-life which is why they buried
treasures (valuables thought to be useful in the afterlife) with the kings and the
Pharaohs. They were also buried with all their belongings.
There were many views in what
the afterlife was. The solar cult thought that the dead Pharaoh would board the sun's
heavenly boat and accompany him on his daily sail across the world above. The cult of Osiris thought the Pharaoh passed into the underworld to become Osiris and rule the
underworld as on earth.
Osiris became the mortuary god. Egyptians thought that after-life
meant the soul left the body at death, but it was expected to return to it throughout
eternity which is why the Egyptians mummified their dead - to preserve the bodies from
Although the Egyptians needed to preserve the bodies and tried very hard to
preserve the tombs few of the treasures survived long. Most of them were raided, despite
the attempts to keep them hidden.