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The Valley of the Kings

The Valley of the Kings: A Site Management Handbook

Kent Weeks
Nigel Hetherington
With a Kings Valley Condition Survey by Dina Bakhoum
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 240
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  • Book Info
    The Valley of the Kings
    Book Description:

    During the New Kingdom (c. 1570–1070 BCE), the Valley of the Kings was the burial place of Egypt’s pharaohs, including such powerful and famous rulers as Amenhotep III, Rameses II, and Tutankhamen. They were buried here in large and beautifully decorated tombs that have become among the country’s most visited archaeological sites. The tourists contribute millions of badly needed dollars to Egypt’s economy. But because of inadequate planning, these same visitors are destroying the very tombs they come to see. Crowding, pollution, changes in the tombs’ air quality, ever-growing tourist infrastructure—all pose serious threats to the Valley’s survival. This volume, the result of twenty-five years of work by the Theban Mapping Project at the American University in Cairo, traces the history of the Valley of the Kings and offers specific proposals to manage the site and protect its fragile contents. At the same time, it recognizes the need to provide a positive experience for the thousands of visitors who flock here daily. This is the first major management plan developed for any Egyptian archaeological site, and as its proposals are implemented, they offer a replicable model for archaeologists, conservators, and site managers throughout Egypt and the region. Published in both English and Arabic editions and supported by the World Monuments Fund, this critical study will help to ensure the survival of Egypt’s patrimony in a manner compatible with the country’s heavy reliance on tourism income.

    eISBN: 978-1-61797-572-1
    Subjects: History, Archaeology, Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. 1 Introduction to the Site
    (pp. 1-34)

    The bes is one of the largest, richest, and best-known archaeological sites in the world. It lies about 900 km (560 miles) south of Cairo on the banks of the River Nile. On the East Bank, beneath the modern city of Luxor (fig. 1), lie the remains of an ancient town that from about 1500 to 1000 bc was one of the most spectacular in Egypt, with a population of perhaps fifty thousand. Even in the Middle Kingdom, four centuries earlier, The bes had earned a reputation as one of the ancient world’s greatest cities. Within it, the Egyptians had...

  5. 2 Current Risk Factors
    (pp. 35-56)

    In this chapter, we shall deal with the current threats to the Valley of the Kings and their underlying causes. Before any attempt can be made to remedy the problems of the site, we must have a clear idea of the condition of its fabric and the processes that have resulted in damage to KV. Only after we identify the threats that affect the sustainability of KV can we develop strategies for their removal or control. We distinguish between threats from the natural environment and threats due to human action.

    The Valley of the Kings was cut into limestone bedrock...

  6. 3 Tourism and the Valley of the Kings
    (pp. 57-67)

    Tourism has been an ingredient in Egypt’s economy for about the last two hundred years. However, within the last generation, it has become an essential component that, until recently, generated 45 percent of the country’s annual foreign currency earnings. Its contribution to the GDP is significant and readily quantifiable, but what is more difficult to calculate is the contribution tourism makes to employment levels and, particularly, its indirect effect on industries such as transportation, construction, food and beverage, and recreation.

    In 1980, one million tourists visited Egypt and generated receipts of over US$300 million. By 2000, this had grown to...

  7. 4 Stakeholder Surveys
    (pp. 68-123)

    One of the first tasks in the initial research for the Valley of the Kings Masterplan was to identify and consult the stakeholders of the site. This had never been attempted at an Egyptian heritage site. The stakeholders, listed below, have an interest or stake in any future development of the Valley, and the inclusion of their views regarding any future development is essential for its successful implementation. Consequently, a comprehensive list of stakeholders was identified, and from this a twostage strategy was devised to solicit their views. In Stage One, we targeted visitors, tour guides, site staff, and West...

  8. 5 Valley of the Kings Condition Survey
    (pp. 124-146)

    Eighteen KV tombs are suitable for opening to the public (table 57), but usually only eleven at a time are available on a rotating schedule. The other forty-four tombs in the Valley are closed to visitors, some because of the need to protect them, some because they have not been cleared, some because they are undergoing restoration, and some because they are of no interest except to specialists. The condition surveys undertaken by the TMP have focused on the eighteen open tombs.

    As discussed above, archaeological work has had and continues to have a deep and lasting effect on the...

  9. 6 Valley of the Kings Infrastructure
    (pp. 147-194)

    As we have demonstrated in the preceding chapters, the greatest threats facing the Valley of the Kings today are a result of its popularity with visitors. To tackle the complex problems caused by such huge numbers of visitors, we have to identify the causes, and develop plans to manage the Valley in ways that will mitigate tourism’s adverse effects. For example, we need to calculate how many people can safely visit the Valley in a single day; how many can visit in one hour; how tourists should be distributed within the Valley; what facilities must be provided for visitors; and...

  10. 7 Visitor Management in the Valley of the Kings
    (pp. 195-240)

    Certain fixed entities and capacities—vehicle parking, security, Visitors Center, and tramline—all suggest that a thousand visitors per hour is the maximum number that can enter the Valley of the Kings without significant changes being made to the system’s infrastructure. The question we must now ask is: can the Valley of the Kings deal with this number of people without damaging its fabric?

    Carrying capacity is a term used to describe the optimum visitor level at an attraction or location. Above this level, the quality of visitor experience declines and the fabric of the site may be adversely affected....

  11. 8 Site Management at the Valley of the Kings
    (pp. 241-260)

    The implementation of any future proposals, and the acceptance of the proposals contained in this report by the stakeholders responsible for the management of KV, is essential. The institutional stakeholders include:

    Office of the President

    Ministry of Culture

    Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) (now Ministry of State for Antiquities)

    Ministry of Tourism

    Ministry of Housing, Reconstruction, and Urban Communities

    Ministry of Local Development

    Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation

    Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation

    Ministry of Finance

    Luxor City Council and High Council of Luxor

    Within the Arab Republic of Egypt, all archaeological sites are owned by the state...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 261-262)
  13. References
    (pp. 263-264)