Egypt: The Tomb of Ramesses VI, Valley of the Kings, Egypt

The Tomb of Ramesses VI, Valley of the Kings, Egypt

by Jimmy Dunn writing as Mark Andrews

Tomb of Ramesses VI at the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, Egypt

The tomb of Ramesses VI (KV 9) is certainly, for at least one reason, one of the most interesting tombs in the Valley of the Kings. Its decorations represent sort of a treatise on theology, in which the fundamental elements are the sun and its daily journey in the world of darkness. In general, the decorations provide the story of the origins of the heavens, earth, the creation of the sun, light and life itself. The decorative plan for this tomb is one of the most sophisticated and complete in the Valley of the Kings.

However, as it turns out, Ramesses VI was not much of a tomb builder, for this tomb was originally build by his predecessor, Ramesses V. It was only enlarged by Ramesses VI. Why Ramesses VI did not build his own tomb, as was certainly the tradition, is unknown to us. However, the inscriptions for Ramesses V found in the first parts of the tomb were not usurped, and it is clear that the brothers probably shared a common theology.

The tomb has been known of since antiquity, attested to by numerous graffiti. It was known to the Romans as the tomb of Memnon, and to the scholars of the Napoleonic Expedition as La Tombe de la Metempsychose. It was cleared of debris by George Daressy in 1888.

Inside the Tomb of Ramesses VI in the Valley of the Kings at the West Bank of Luxor

The tomb itself is somewhat simplistic, with no true stairways, but otherwise similar to other 20th Dynasty tombs. There are three corridors that lead to the ritual shaft, and then to a four pillared hall. This is followed by by two more corridors, a vestibule and then the burial chamber with its single annex at the rear. The last corridor (number 5) is unique, as the floor is sloping while the roof is horizontal. This was done to avoid part of tomb KV 12.

In this tomb, astronomical ceilings are found in each passage. The walls of the first through third corridors are painted with images from the Book of Gates and the Book of Caverns, a theme which is continued on into the vestibule. Note the lack of the Litany of Re, found in earlier tombs. The beginning of the first corridor has a scene of the king making offerings to Ra-Horakhtyfollowed by Osiris, now shown on both sides of the corridor. But rather than the Litany of Ra, the Book of Gates follows on the south wall and the Book of Caverns on the north. In the fourth and fifth corridors there are also passages from the Book of Amduat, and in the vestibule passages from the Book of the Dead. The walls of the burial chamber, where there is to be found a broken sarcophagus, are painted with illustrations from the Book of the Earth, while the astronomical ceiling have decorations from the Book of the Day and the Book of the Night. While the decorations are well colored with sunk reliefs, stylistically the art is inferior to most of the 19th Dynasty tombs.

Decoration with beautiful colors inside the Tomb of Ramesses the 6th

It should be noted that the mummy of Ramesses VI was not found in his tomb, but rather that of Amenophis II. This tomb is also included in the subject of the well known Papyrus Mayer B, which records the robbery of the tomb during antiquity, probably before Year 9 of Ramesses IX.

Floor map of the Tomb of Ramesses VI in the Valley of the Kings

General Site Information

  • Structure: KV 9

  • Location: Valley of the Kings, East Valley, Thebes West Bank, Thebes

  • Owner: Rameses V and Rameses VI

  • Other designations: 15 [Hay], 9 [Lepsius], E, plan C [Pococke], H [Burton], IVe

    Tombeau l'ouest [Description], Tomb of Memnon [Romans], Tombe de la

    Mtempsychose [Description]

  • Site type: Tomb


  • Axis in degrees: 290.33

  • Axis orientation: West

Site Location

  • Latitude: 25.44 N

  • Longitude: 32.36 E

  • Elevation: 174.306 msl

  • North: 99,568.532

  • East: 94,062.336

  • JOG map reference: NG 36-10

  • Modern governorate: Qena (Qina)

  • Ancient nome: 4th Upper Egypt

  • Surveyed by TMP: Yes


  • Maximum height: 6.92 m

  • Minimum width: 2.48 m

  • Maximum width: 13.03 m

  • Total length: 116.84 m

  • Total area: 510.07 m

  • Total volume: 1572.26 m

Additional Tomb Information

  • Entrance location: Base of sloping hill

  • Owner type: King

  • Entrance type: Ramp

  • Interior layout: Corridors and chambers

  • Axis type: Straight


  • Graffiti

  • Painting

  • Sunk relief

Categories of Objects Recovered

  • Furniture

  • Numismatics

  • Tomb equipment

  • Vessels

  • Written documents


New Kingdom, Dynasty 20, Rameses V

New Kingdom, Dynasty 20, Rameses VI

New Kingdom, Dynasty 20, Rameses IX

Graeco-Roman Era

Byzantine Period

History of Exploration

  • Pococke, Richard (1738-1739): Mapping/planning

  • Napoleonic Expedition (1799): Mapping/planning

  • Hay, Robert (1824): Mapping/planning

  • Burton, James (1825): Mapping/planning

  • Franco-Tuscan Expedition (1828-1829): Epigraphy

  • Daressy, Georges (1888): Excavation

  • Piankoff, Alexandre (1958): Epigraphy

  • Lukaszewicz, Adam (1996, 1998-2000): Epigraphy (survey of Greek graffiti)






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

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

Last Updated: June 20th, 2011