No. 206 – Valley of the Gods

Valley of the Kings image ©National Geographic

Prog 163’s (1980) one-off futuregraph The 7 Wonders of the Galaxy[1] No. 2: Valley of the Gods by Kevin O’Neill v Valley of the Kings, Egypt[2]

Map of the East Valley

In the heart of the Theban Necropolis and standing on the west bank of the Nile River, this valley was for a period of nearly 500 years the resting place for the Pharaohs and powerful nobles of the Egyptian New Kingdom[3]. Almost all of the tombs – ranging in size from a simple pit to a complex tomb with over 120 chambers – have long since been plundered, but what remains still provides an idea of the opulence and power of the Pharaohs. New tombs are still being discovered and excavated, including one in 2005 and another in 2008.

Abu Simbel

O’Neill has taken some physical characteristics of the East Valley – where the tombs are located, but which contains little in the way of giant statues – and incorporated features of other Ancient Egyptian landmarks such as the temples of Abu Simbel, located farther south near the border with present-day Sudan.

There is a Valley of the Queens, where the wives of the Pharaohs were buried, located nearby, close to what archeologists believe is a sacred grotto dedicated to Hathor, Ancient Egyptian goddess epitomising joy, music, feminine love and motherhood.

Notes:

  1. Referring to the Seven Wonders of the Classical World: the Great Pyramid at Giza (Egypt), the Hanging Gardens of Babylon (Mesopotamia, modern Iraq), the Statue of Zeus at Olympia (Greece), the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus (Ancient Greek, located in modern Turkey), the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus (Ancient Greek, located in modern Turkey), the Colossus of Rhodes (Rhodes, Greece) and the Lighthouse of Alexandria (Egypt)
  2. Not to be confused with the Valley of the Gods, Utah, US – well, in terms of O’Neill’s scale, maybe a little bit
  3. In conventional Egyptian chronology: Old Kingdom: c. 2686–2181 BC (so-called “Age of the Pyramids”), Middle Kingdom: c. 2050–1710 BC, New Kingdom: c. 1570–1069 BC

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