Last week as news was breaking about the new tomb—KV64—Em Hotep received word from Stephen Cross, an Egyptologist and Geologist specializing in the Valley of the Kings, that he had photographed the tomb while conducting his own, unrelated research in the Valley.  Naturally, Steve held onto this wonderful shot until after the University of Basel had made their announcement.  Now that the whole world knows about KV64 and its lovely occupant, Steve has very kindly agreed to allow us to publish the photo, along with answer some questions about what is going on in the Valley of the Kings.

Inside:  Current projects in the Valley of the Kings, Steve’s meeting with the new head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, and a picture of KV64 you will not see anywhere else!


Em Hotep:  How did you happen to be on the site of KV64 to take this photograph?

The newly-discovered tomb KV64 (left) next to KV40. KV64 was discovered during routine clearing of debris by a team from the University of Basel in their work to document uninscribed tombs in the Valley of the Kings (photo by Steve Cross)

The newly-discovered tomb KV64 (left) next to KV40 (right). KV64 was discovered during routine clearing of debris by a team from the University of Basel in their work to document uninscribed tombs in the Valley of the Kings (photo by Steve Cross)

Steve Cross:  The photo was taken from the path along the cliff top above the Valley.  This was for the study I was doing on the ancient workmen’s huts which required me to walk all the paths and photograph and map the huts.  I had special permission to photograph from the Director of the West Bank.

Stephen Cross

Stephen Cross


Em Hotep:  What is the current policy on photography in the Valley of the Kings?


Steve Cross:  Photography outside and inside the tombs in the Valley is still banned I’m afraid.  I did mention this to [Dr. Mohamed el Bialy] the new head of the SCA saying it was bad for tourism and he said he is thinking of stopping the ban.  The ban on photography inside tombs will of course remain.


Close up of KV64 (left) and KV40 (right)—before being identified as a tomb in its own right, KV64 was simply called KV40b (Photo by Steve Cross)

Close up of KV64 (left) and KV40 (right)—before being identified as a tomb in its own right, KV64 was simply called KV40b (Photo by Steve Cross)


Em Hotep:  Is there anything you can share with us about the work going on around KV64?  Elsewhere in the Valley?


Steve Cross:  The University of Basel is investigating all uninscribed tombs in the Valley, a very necessary task that has been a long time in coming.  During this work surface clearing is taking place which is how they discovered KV64.  My specific interest is that more workmen’s huts are also being uncovered.  As many of the groups of huts can be dated, they are invaluable for working out the stratigraphy of the Valley.

Detail of KV64 (photo by Steve Cross)

Detail of KV64 (photo by Steve Cross)

A Finnish Mission is also excavating the Village de Repose at the top of the col between the Valley and Deir el Medina.

Sarcophagus of Merenptah (photo by Hajor)

Sarcophagus of Merenptah (photo by Hajor)

Edwin Brock and Lyla Brock are also working in KV8, Merenptah, re-constructing and photographing the sarcophagus.  This must be an immensely satisfying task!

KV34, Tuthmosis III, is unfortunately closed for restoration.  (My favourite tomb!)



Em Hotep:  You mentioned that you had an opportunity to speak with Dr. Mohamed el Bialy, the new Director of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.  What is your impression?  Did he speak about the near and distant future of work in Egypt?


Dr. Mohamed el Bialy

Steve Cross:  Dr. Bialy is a lovely man.  He is also a scholar, he was director of the West Bank, then Aswan, and he has also excavated in his own right, e.g. the clearance of KV42.  I had a very good chat with him and he stated that no one man now has the power to make a decision, anything now must go to the committee in Cairo.  He toured the East and West Bank monuments and I think we will see some changes for the better now.  I believe that archaeology in Egypt can now return to normal scientific work.

Obviously the state of the country is still in flux and plans for the future must wait until after the elections and a new government has also been elected.


Em Hotep:  Can you tell us about any current project s you have going on?


Entrance stairs to KV34 (photo by Hajor)

Entrance stairs to KV34 (photo by Hajor)

Steve Cross:  Yes, writing!  Always writing!  Is it not funny that a few seasons excavating can lead to years of study, and writing it up?  After all, there is no point in excavating unless it is published for all.  I just finished a paper on the workmen’s huts and it’s off to the journal.  This was the purpose of my last trip to Luxor.  I’m also working on another paper on just how arduous it was to cut a royal tomb, but this is on the back burner for now.  To be honest, in some ways the workers who made the tomb interest me more than the kings, their lives and working practices.  I would love to see the huts reproduced in a side wadi with men performing the tasks the ancients did in making a tomb, mixing plaster, grinding inks, filling lamps etc.  Perhaps even cutting of a sample tomb?

There is a section off cliff face to the west (right) of the staircase up to KV34 that is fractured across its bottom and is in danger of falling.  The SCA asked if it could be saved as it is full of ancient graffiti.  I am working on this and will try to get the World Monument Fund involved.


Em Hotep:  Can you tell us anything about future plans you have?


Steve Cross:  I have been asked to write a chapter for new book on the Valley that will be published next year.  I am currently collecting the research for this.

And one day, Inshalla!  I hope to excavate again in the Valley!



Stephen is a member of the Egypt Exploration Society, The Geologist’s Association (UK), the Merseyside Archaeological Society and the Liverpool Geologist’s Association. He writes and lectures on the Valley of the Kings. He was an advisor to the SCA excavations in the Central Area and KV8 digs, 2008/09 seasons.

For a the full-sized untouched photo of KV64 click here




Copyright by Keith Payne, 2012.  All rights reserved.


All pictures of KV64 are used with permission and are the sole property of Steve Cross, copyright by Steve Cross, 2012, all rights reserved.  Photos “Sarcophagus of Merenptah-KV8” and “Entrance to KV34” by Hajor are used in accordance with the Creative Commons share alike license.

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This entry was posted on Sunday, January 22nd, 2012 at 6:48 pm and is filed under 3rd Intermediate, Egypt in the News, Tombs, Valley of the Kings. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

7 comments so far

Susan Leogrande

Dr. Sarah Parcak has been utilizing satellite data to discover and uncover many sites. Has this technology been applied to the Valley of the Kings?

I would believe that it would make scanning for tombs all the easier.

May 8th, 2012 at 5:52 am
Richard O'Neill

Great Article again EmHotep!

November 5th, 2012 at 9:51 pm
Joe Stitzel

Hello Steve, saw the pbs Ultimate tut special on 7-10-13 Love archeology.
Q, when are you planning on going to look for the possible tomb ? beneath tuts ! Twas mentioned and I believe it;s there.
Joe, bay c MI.

July 10th, 2013 at 11:11 pm
William Gilmour

I have just seen a documentary where Steve Cross has used ground penetrating radar and discovered a flat area and passageway some 8 metres below the surface which is filled with debris. This is at the base of the valley only yards from King Tuts remains. Has this now been excavated and or are there any plans to excavate it please?

Kind regards, William

July 24th, 2013 at 7:11 am
stephen ferguson

hello mate just a little question 4 ye my girl is Egyptian but born in Liverpool and is the spit of nephetty I think u should have a look at her she got very good sikey and if possible we shud talk 07769581652

July 24th, 2013 at 3:22 pm
Chris Clements

Hi Steve! Long time since we had a beer in The Hare & Hounds. Looks like you finally found something interesting to pass the time 🙂

Good luck, pal. Maybe we will run into each other if you are ever in my area

November 11th, 2013 at 3:29 am
Chris Clements

Hey Steve,
Would love to meet up again and catch up on all the gossip since I left Liverpool.

Nice to see you have stopped “guarding the coast” and have got into something REALLY interesting!!

Cheers for now pal

November 12th, 2013 at 10:41 am

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