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date: 31 March 2020

(p. xi) Preface

(p. xi) Preface

Scholarly and public interest in ancient Egypt, and its royal tombs in particular, has generated many books on the Valley of the Kings (KV). However, recent discoveries, as well as the improved archaeological techniques and initiatives of the past decade, have repeatedly underscored the need for an up-to-date and more comprehensive reference work on the necropolis of the New Kingdom pharaohs. The present volume has been carefully planned to meet that need. With nearly forty chapters and an additional appendix, this work covers many different facets of the history, exploration, analysis, conservation and management of the royal valley, looking both at past and current developments in KV research as well as the future challenges the site will undoubtedly face.

Individually, the volume’s chapters are discrete studies by Egyptologists, archaeologists and other scholars who have worked first-hand in the royal necropolis or with its materials, and these studies are arranged in thematic groups.

First, introductory chapters locate the Valley in its natural setting through discussions of the geology, topography and hydrology of the area. Succeeding chapters then move to focused examinations of the development of the royal necropolis and its tombs, their construction, contents, decoration and significance and administration as well as later history. Additional topics such as the ancient desecration and reuse of the tombs, as well as the study of their human remains are also covered. Recent studies of DNA, filiation, cranio-facial reconstruction, and other aspects of the royal mummies have produced important and sometimes controversial results, all of which are considered. Finally, the book discusses the ongoing exploration of the KV along with current issues of great importance for the area’s preservation - such as conservation, tourism and site management, and the role of the Valley of the Kings in the lives of modern Egyptians.

No other work on the Valley of the Kings has previously attempted coverage of this scope, and no other work has gathered so many experts to discuss the many aspects of this great archaeological site. Many of the included topics have not been dealt with in detail in earlier works, and other topics have been greatly updated through the discussion of recent studies and archaeological work. It is hoped that the resulting volume will provide a valuable addition to the literature of KV studies, and the Editors thank the contributors for the expertise and experience which they have generously brought to bear on their respective chapters. Our thanks also go to Dr. Stefan Vranka as series editor for proposing this Handbook, to Sarah Pirovitz for her help throughout the preparation of the volume, and to all the OUP staff involved in its production.

The Editors (p. xii)