Controlled Damage: The Mechanics and Micro-History of the Damnatio Memoriae Carried Out in KV-23, the Tomb of Ay

In: Journal of Egyptian History
Richard H. Wilkinson University of Arizona Tucson, Arizona USA, Email:

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Preliminary study of the damaged royal names and images in KV-23—the tomb of Tutankhamun’s successor Ay—conducted a number of years ago and more recent consideration of the data from that research have enabled an understanding of the mechanics of the damnatio leveled against the monument. This research has also enabled the formation of conclusions regarding some of the symbolic aspects of the destruction. Although the details of the recovered evidence are those of a singular event in a particular tomb, the principles of the mechanics and symbolism underlying the destruction have broader application to our understanding of the process of damnatio in ancient Egypt, though many unanswered questions remain.

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