Egypt: The Tomb of Khaemwaset (A Son of Ramesses III) in the Valley of the Queens

The Tomb of Khaemwaset (A Son of Ramesses III)
in the Valley of the Queens

by Jimmy Dunn writing as Mark Andrews

The tomb of Khaemwaset, one of the sons of Ramesses III, is number QV 44 in the Valley of the Queens on the West Bank of Luxor (ancient Thebes). It was discovered in February 1903, with a numerous sarcophagi pilled up in the entrance corridor. This was a clear sign that it had been used for common burial.

Khaemwaset had among his most important roles, that of Priest of Ptah in Memphis. His major titles included "Fan-bearer to the Right of the King" and "Sem-priest" as indicated by reliefs in the temple of Medinet Habu. We believe he was probably Ramesses III's oldest sons, and the latest information indicates that his mother was probably Queen Tyti. Why his father's brother rather than he ascended the throne after Ramesses III's death is unknown.

The inscriptions on Khaemwaset's fragmentary sarcophagus indicated that he probably did not die during the reign of Ramesses III, but rather later during that of Ramesses III's brother, Ramesses IV.


The walls of the tomb have bas relief decorations, the painted colors of which remain in outstanding condition and are of elegant workmanship.

My the Cat - Guardian of the gates to the Kingdom of Osiris

This tomb follows a straight axes with a descending entrance corridor leading to the first main long room, a vestibule, with offset annexes to either side. The vestibule leads directly to a burial chamber with niches and a read annex.

As we enter the vestibule, on the left there is an image of Ptah followed by a scene of Ramesses III and Khaemwaset in front of Anubis and Re-Harakhty. On the right wall of this room is the king bringing offerings to Ptah-Sokar along with a representation of he and Khaemwaset presenting Geb with offerings of incense prior to being welcomed by the god Shu.

Ramesses III and Khaemwaset

In the annex to the left (east) of this room, we find the prince alone before deities including Anubis, Horus-Inmutef, Selkis and Neith, and another scene of Nephthys and Isis in the presence of Osiris. Isis and Nephthys are painted predominantly in yellow, a color typical of these female deities. In the right annex the prince is shown with the sons of Horus and other deities. There are also scenes of Isis in the presence of Osiris and Nephthys opposite Ptah-Sokaris.

From here, entering the burial chamber, we first find on the left chapters 145-146 of the Book of the Dead. Another scene shows Ramesses III being followed by the prince, and then we have scenes of the genies guarding the gates of the kingdom of Osiris (gates 10, 12, 14 and 16). On the rear wall of the chamber the king presents his son to Sekhenur (The Great Tightener), My (The Cat), Saupen (The Protector) and Dikesu-uden-bega-per-em-mut (He Who Imposes Abasement, Who Provokes Weakness and Emerges as Death).

On the right in this room we also find the chapters 145 and 146 from the Book of the Dead, the prince following the king but this time the gate watchers have opened the way for the prince. , These genies guarding the gates of the kingdom of Osiris include Dendeni "the Furious", guarding gate 9, Pefesakuef The one who inflames his brazier" guarding gate 11, Hedjiaua and bird headed Nehes-oer-em-duat (which means, "Vigilant Face Emerging from Duat")

The Jackal and Lion

In these scenes, Ramesses III followed by his son head towards the obstacles (gates) to the kingdom of Osiris. Phaemwaset will have to confront the gatekeepers with magic spells from the Book of the Dead in order to surmount these obstacles and enter the afterworld kingdom.

In the rear annex we find a scene of Anubis the Jackal, a lion and then the king along presenting offerings to Thoth and Harsiesis, who was heir to his father, Osiris. Harsiesis is shown with a falcon head, wearing the atef-crown. To the right are the genii Nebneru and Khaemwaset who takes on the form of another genii, Hery-matt and then Ramesses III making offerings in front of Horus and Shepes. On the rear wall of this chamber is a double scene of Osiris with green skin facing Neith (left) and Nephthys (right). Emerging from a blue lotus flower at Osiris feet are the figures representing the sons of Horus, Imsety, Duamutef, Qebhsenuef and Hapy.






Reference Number

Guide to the Valley of the Kings

Siliotti, Alberto


Barnes & Noble Books

ISBN 0-7607-0483-x

Valley of the Kings

Weeks, Kent R.



ISBN 1-5866-3295-7

Valley of the Kings

Heyden, A. Van Der

Al Ahram/Elsevier