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José Manuel Galán

Expeditions to the Desert: The Valley of the Kings URL: http://www.march.es/conferencias/anteriores/voz.aspx?p1=100195&l=2

For 400 years, the pharaohs of Egypt used a small valley in the desert on the West Bank, opposite the ancient city of Thebes (today Luxor), as a burial place. The place was thus dubbed "The Valley of the Kings", although it was in fact a woman, Queen Hatshepsut, who began the tradition around 1470 BC. In spite of continuous looting, archaeologists have discovered tombs still containing a significant proportion of their original funereal equipment, which provide valuable information about the period, its customs and beliefs. Moreover, the decoration of the walls, sometimes very well preserved, transmits their view of the world of life after death and their aspirations of eternal life. The visits of curious erudites, which commenced at the beginning of the eighteenth century, became organised expeditions in search of treasures for museums over the next century, and in turn were transformed into archeaological missions of a scientific nature as the twentieth century wore on. Surprising discoveries in The Valley of the Kings are still being made today, while floods of tourists visit the valley daily.

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