Egypt: KV38, The Second Tomb of Tuthmosis I In the Valley of the Kings

KV38, The Second Tomb of Tuthmosis I

In the Valley of the Kings

by Jimmy Dunn writing as Mark Andrews

Entrance to KV38, the Second Tomb of Tuthmosis I

Tomb of Tuthmosis ITomb KV38 in the Valley of the Kings on the West Bank at Luxor (ancient Thebes) was a Victor Loret find of March 1899, though the original circumstances of its discovery are lost to us. This is an 18th Dynasty tomb originally thought to be the initial burial of Tuthmosis I, from which he was later moved to another tomb, KV20. Georges Daressy, in his Fouilles de la Vallee des Rios, published a list of the artifacts discovered by Loret in KV38. The yellow quartzite sarcophagus inscribed for Tuthmosis I was the most significant discovery, and is the reason this tomb is ascribed to Tuthmosis I. Howard Carter later investigated the tomb, unearthing the foundation deposits near the tomb entrance, but these items were not inscribed so they neither contradicted or supported anyone as the builder, though Loret was probably right about the ownership.

However, later analysis by John Romer in 1974 seems to have demonstrated that it was actually a newer tomb than KV20 because the architecture was probably influenced by KV34 which belongs to the first Tuthmosis' grandson, Tuthmosis III. Also fragmentary furniture, the sarcophagus and several bits of glass vessels seem to be of a style more from the later Tuthmosis' time. Therefore, it is now believed that his grandfather was first buried in KV20, along with his daughter, Queen Hatshepsut, and later, because of Tuthmosis III's hatred for his stepmother, was moved by Tuthmosis III to the newer tomb.

Plan of KV38

From the entrance of this tomb, crudely cut steps lead first to a small doorway, which in turn lead to a descending corridor that immediately begins to curve to the left. This corridor then communicates with an irregularly cut room, but it continues to descend thought the room finally Plan of KV38 leading to a large (about 11 meters, or 36 feet in length) burial chamber. This chamber is in the shape of a cartouch, with a small, crudely cut storage annex opening from the left, or roughly northern side of the chamber near the sarcophagus and canopic niche. The ceiling of the room was once supported by a single, square pillar, though that element is now gone. The burial chamber's walls were covered with mud plaster over which remnants of decorative khekler-frieze are still visible near the ceiling. Some inscribed fragments, bearing text from the Amduat, were removed in 1899 to theEgyptian Antiquity Museum in Cairo where they are now in storage.

Graffiti within the tomb records that it was opened, probably at the end of the 20th Dynasty or the beginning of the 21st Dynasty. It reads, "1st month of akhet-season, day 13. Coming by Meniunufer (to) open (the tomb of) Aakheperkare. At that time, presumably the two wooden coffins of Tuthmosis I were removed and appropriated for Pinudjem I's use, due to the belief that they held divine power. Pinudjem I was a High Priest of Amun who later acquired royal status. The coffins were discovered, redecorated and inscribed for Pinudjem I as king in the Royal Cache of mummies found at Deir el-Bahri. It is believed, because of the coffins' size, that there was originally a third, inner coffin made of precious metal that was subsequently melted down for bullion.

As for Tuthmosis I's body, the mummy found within his coffins at the Deir el-Bahri cache has been associated with him, but it is equally likely that it could belong to Pinudjem, so we are really unsure of the final disposition of his remains.

General Site Information

* Structure: KV 38
* Location: Valley of the Kings, East Valley, Thebes West Bank, Thebes
* Owner: Tuthmosis I
* Other designations
* Site type: Tomb


* Axis in degrees: 284.07
* Axis orientation: West

Site Location

* Latitude: 25.44 N
* Longitude: 32.36 E
* Elevation: 190.36 msl
* North: 99,375.461
* East: 93,989.441
* JOG map reference: NG 36-10
* Modern governorate: Qena (Qina)
* Ancient nome: 4th Upper Egypt
* Surveyed by TMP: Yes


* Maximum height: 2.64 m
* Minimum width: 1.22 m
* Maximum width: 5.78 m
* Total length: 37.31 m
* Total area: 125.65 m
* Total volume: 207.77 m

Additional Tomb Information

* Entrance location: Base of sheer cliff
* Owner type: King
* Entrance type: Staircase
* Interior layout: Corridor and chambers
* Axis type: Bent


* Painting

Categories of Objects Recovered

* Architectural elements
* Tomb equipment


* New Kingdom, Dynasty 18, Tuthmosis I

* New Kingdom, Dynasty 18, Tuthmosis III

History of Exploration

* Loret, Victor (1899): Excavation (conducted for the Service des Antiquits)

* Loret, Victor (1899): Discovery (made for the Service des Antiquits)

* Carter, Howard (1919): Excavation (discovery of foundation deposit outside entrance)

See Also:

* The Lost Feeling, or Was it a Mummy

Email the Editor






Reference Number

Complete Valley of the Kings, The (Tombs and Treasures of Egypt's Greatest Pharaohs)

Reeves, Nicholas; Wilkinson, Richard H.


Thames and Hudson Ltd

IBSN 0-500-05080-5

History of Ancient Egypt, A

Grimal, Nicolas



None Stated

Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, The

Shaw, Ian


Oxford University Press

ISBN 0-19-815034-2

Last Updated: June 12th, 2011