Theban Mapping Project Website Relaunched

New website promises to be a key resource for research and learning on ancient Egypt.

The American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE) announces the relaunch of the Theban Mapping Project (TMP) website, providing a new resource for educators, students, and researchers by showcasing and detailing what is currently known about the tombs of New Kingdom Egypt’s ancient pharaohs and their families. 

“With the launch of the redesigned Theban Mapping Project website, ARCE is pleased to make available once again to the world this important data set,” said Dr. David A. Anderson, Associate Professor of Archaeology, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. “With something for both school children and academics alike, the TMP is a wealth of information about the burial places of some of Egypt’s most famous ancient rulers.” 

The TMP website is not an entirely new creation. It was first developed in response to the massive outpouring of worldwide public interest in 1989 with the rediscovery and excavation by the TMP team of the entrance to KV5, the family mausoleum for the sons of Rameses II. The excavation revealed that KV5 was the largest known tomb in the Valley of the Kings, and the website, then known as KV5.com, was established to provide worldwide access to information about TMP’s work. The website, however, crashed in 2010 and could not be restored—until now.   

“The American University in Cairo, long home of the Theban Mapping Project, is delighted that ARCE has resurrected and improved the TMP website, and is providing a permanent home for it,” says Dr. Salima Ikram, Distinguished University Professor at the American University in Cairo. “This is a wonderful opportunity for the TMP, ARCE, and the American University in Cairo to collaborate in the promotion of the study of ancient Egypt worldwide, with the new, accessible website providing fresh generations of students, scholars, and lovers of ancient Egypt with a unique way in which to learn about ancient Egypt.” 

The Theban Mapping Project was established in 1978 by Egyptologist Dr. Kent R. Weeks at the University of California, Berkeley, with the original mandate to create an archaeological map of the Valley of the Kings.  In 1985, it was moved to the American University in Cairo

The TMP team initiated work in Luxor’s West Bank in 1979, mapping the terrain and creating resulting architectural plans of the ancient tombs it contained, beginning with the Valley of the Kings. In March and June 1978, the project commenced its first season with a team of eight consisting of Dr. Weeks, a chief surveyor, a cartographer, three assistant surveyors and architects, an inspector of antiquities from the Egyptian Antiquities Organization (the predecessor of the Supreme Council of Antiquities) and an Egyptologist. During the first season, the survey grid was laid out, upon which all future work has been built. This grid was constructed on the existing grid created at the Temple of Karnak. Eight tombs in the Valley of the Kings were surveyed during this season (KV1, KV2, KV3, KV4, KV5, KV6, KV46 and KV55). In 1979, the second season of work was carried out on the Berkeley Map of the Theban Necropolis which focused on obtaining complete aerial photographic coverage of the entire necropolis. Another ten tombs in the Valley of the Kings were surveyed, planned and the survey grid network was extended north and south to the limits of the Theban necropolis. It was in 1989 when the TMP team rediscovered the entrance to KV5 and began excavating. 

The work in the Valley of the Kings has been ongoing, with seasonal and daily activity largely unseen by the world. But the new website will change that.

“On the new TMP website, individuals of all ages, from elementary school to retirement, can explore the wonder of the Valley of the Kings from anywhere in the world,” promises Anderson. “Through rich visual content, accessible articles, and future updates, the new website will be a resource for everything Valley of the Kings for years to come.” 

The Theban Mapping Project website can be accessed here.

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Valley of the Kings with pyramid-shaped Qurn above. Photographed by Francis Dzikowski.

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Article Source: American Research Center in Egypt press release

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