WV23 ( KV23 ) Tomb of Ay

WV23 (also KV23 ) is the grave of Pharaoh Ay (18th Dynasty, New Kingdom ) in the Valley of the Kings. It was discovered in 1816 by Giovanni Battista Belzoni winter, the grub on the West Bank on behalf of Henry Salt. The designation WV (West Valley) refers to the location of the tomb, as it is not like the other royal tombs located in the East Valley, but how WV22, WV24, WV25, and WCL located in the western valley. WV23 is also known as " monkey grave ". The name goes back to the representation of the twelve baboons, symbolizing the night hours in Imydwat. WV23 is the last used grave in the West Valley.

Grave owner

Both the name of the grave owner and his representations had been destroyed or removed prior to the discovery by Belzoni, with one exception. The "exception" is located on the north -west wall of the grave chamber. Here the king is seen as his ka. The presentation is practically untouched and over his head the Horus name is legible: Strong bull, with shiny appearances. This allowed the assignment of WV23 to King Ay.

The royal grave WV23 in the Valley of the Kings is the second grave of Eje before following Tutankhamun on the throne. The " God Father" had under King (Pharaoh) Akhenaten and his son Tutankhamen holding high office. His first grave is a rock grave on the South Cemetery in Akhenaten's former capital, Akhetaten ( " Horizon of the Aten " ), near modern Tell el -Amarna. In his grave at Amarna ( Amarna grave 25) we find the single version of the great hymn to Aton, the king Akhenaten is attributed to itself. The inscription was partially destroyed, but was previously documented by Urbain Bouriant and therefore translated.

The grave

WV23 has not really typical features of a royal tomb of the early 18th Dynasty, but rather resembles the king grave Akhenaten ( Amarna grave 26) at Tell el- Amarna.

The axis of WV23 is aligned precisely in the north-south direction and is considered typical of the post- Amarna period. The size is 212.22 m², with a total volume of 618.16 cubic meters. In relation to other royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings WV23 is thus quite small. It has a total of three chambers, which are accessible via two remote corridors. In the first section, so-called corridor carved into the rock " sarcophagus holders ", which served to let down the stone sarcophagus on beams up in the grave chamber found. Such submissions in the rock are also found in grave KV20, the Queen Hatshepsut and King Thutmose I is attributed. The first room that could have been originally planned as a shaft, connects in a straight line to the corridor. He is also referred to as the " vestibule " or " fountain chamber ". Then the grave chamber, which is a little shifted to the axis follows. The doorway to the grave chamber is exceptionally right side. It is believed that the grave chamber was originally planned as the so-called " portico ". The small and located behind last chamber, the so-called Kanopenkammer, or even growing, in turn lies exactly on the axis of the tomb and the doorway is here on the left.


The grave chamber has a size of 57.29 square meters and is the only decorated room in the grave. Each wall also has a small niche for so-called "magic bricks ". The south-west wall shows in the upper third of the goddess Nephthys between two boats standing. In the left bark are two Falk standards, in the right bark stand behind Re - Harachte the gods Atum, Shu, Tefnut, Geb, Nut, Osiris, Isis and Horus. In the lower part of the wall the sayings 130, 144, and extracts of Proverbs are mapped 141 and 142 of the Book of the Dead. On the opposite northeast wall of the first four hours are shown from the Imydwat.

Excerpt from the Imydwat (North-East Wall)

Entrance to WV23


In the grave chamber is in the meantime removed and restored sarcophagus.


The grave was discovered in 1816 by Giovanni Battista Belzoni, who was commissioned by Henry Salt, in his first examination of the Valley of the Kings. Belzoni noted his name and the date of discovery on a rock at the entrance. The excavations were carried out in the same year. Actually had the discoverer of the grave of Amenhotep III. ( WV22 ) visited and found WV23 random in its further explorations in the western valley. Belzoni was only disappointed because the sarcophagus was badly damaged. The parts of the destroyed sarcophagus was brought in 1908 by Howard Carter in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, where he was issued a long time. For the systematic investigation and excavation of the tomb by Otto Schaden in 1972 for the University of Minnesota the Sarkophargdeckel was discovered. The sarcophagus was restored in 1993 brought back to the grave. However, he is not in its original orientation.

First epigraphic work, the analysis of the inscriptions and decorations, took Karl Richard Lepsius before 1924, more followed by Alexandre Piankoff, who published them in the same year in the reports of the German Archaeological Institute, Cairo ( MDAIK 16) 1958.