October 22, 2009

Valley of the Kings update

Filed under: Conservation/CRM, Egypt — acagle @ 10:07 am

Here’s another article on the fractures in the VK, and also one from the Penn State site. And a set of photos.

In the last post I mentioned having some photos of when we mapped a bunch of the joints in some of the uninscribed tombs and that often these things were filled with a hard precipitate stone. Still don’t remember what the heck it is. I thought it was quartzite, but that’s derived from sandstone. Anyway, the stuff is really hard and I found three photos (yeah, I know they’re labeled ‘calcite’ which is decidedly not it but whatever). This first one shows a joint on the side of a hill. It’s the line just right of center, and while some of it is open, a lump of the hard precipitate stone (HPS) is sticking up:

Full image.

In this one there are two veins of HPS still sticking out from the wall that the builders (recent ones, I think) got sick of hammering at it:

Full image.

And here is a similar situation but with it running through a finished tomb:

Full image.
They apparently didn’t even bother finishing whacking the stuff out and just worked around it.

We did map out nearly every drainage channel we could find there, I wonder what happened to all that data. I remember at least one report was written on the smaller tombs (I just looked at my copy) but I think John Rutherford — an excellent engineer who did most of the analysis — was working with Egyptian officials on flood control. I think he sent me a bunch of stuff on it, which I shall need to rummage through my files for.


  1. Hi,
    The hard stone is a form of slickensides, its silica (chert or flint if you like) that permeated the fissures and faults of the Valley.
    If you look at a solid geology map of Egypt you will see that the Valley of the Kings fault is just the north trending upturn of a fault that traverses the Western Desert, it is hundreds of miles long. A compression fault from when the African Plate collided with the European Plate.
    There are basically two sets of fault clusters in the Theban Mountains, east/west from the above collision and north /south from the opening of the oceanic rift at the Red Sea.
    Steve Cross

    Comment by Steve Cross — October 23, 2009 @ 12:28 pm

  2. Hello,
    You can find more information about these veins and their tectonic context in the following article:

    Cobbold, P.R., Watkinson, A.J., Cosgrove, J.W. 2008. Faults of the Pharaohs. Geoscientist, 18 (6): 18-22 (http://www.geolsoc.org.uk/gsl/geoscientist/features/page3994.html).

    Depending on your operating system and browser, you may or may not be able to access the figure capitions in the online version (try clicking on the figures).
    Alternatively, I can supply a scanned copy of the paper version to interested parties.
    Best wishes,
    Peter Cobbold

    Comment by Peter Cobbold — January 10, 2010 @ 7:20 am

  3. Ah, thank you, I will definitely read through that. F Anyone’s I, the link goes bad unless you remove the last parenthesis.


    Comment by acagle — January 10, 2010 @ 10:31 am

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