Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Department of Anthropology

Committee Chair

Kelly J. Dixon

Commitee Members

Ashley H. McKeown, Donald P. Ryan, James Pokines


cognitive anthropology, Egypt, Egyptian archaeology, Luxor, mortuary archaeology, symbolic systems, Valley of the Kings


University of Montana


The elaborately decorated tombs in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, Egypt, have captured the imagination of scholars and tourists alike for thousands of years. Yet despite the attention lavished on these tombs, they are outnumbered in the Valley of the Kings uninscribed tombs that have been largely ignored. Excavations in several of the uninscribed tombs have demonstrated that although their walls may be bare, the tombs are certainly not empty, and a variety of finds ranging from scattered funerary objects and human remains to several nearly intact burials of high officials have been uncovered. This thesis will assemble the context of funerary practices during the period of Egyptian history when the Valley of the Kings was used. The history of modern exploration and excavation in the uninscribed tombs, as well as the Valley as a whole, will also be examined in some detail. Using a cognitive and symbolic systems approach, the information about each uninscribed tomb will then be examined and interpreted to gain an understanding of each tomb’s possible ownership. Such an analysis of the uninscribed tombs in the Valley of the Kings will shed light not only on the mortuary behavior of the ancient Egyptians but will also provide information regarding the ways that they interpreted and reacted to their social and physical environment.



© Copyright 2012 Roselyn Campbell