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Picture 327001
Black granite face from the sarcophagus of Ramesses VI , 20th Dynasty from Thebes, around 1150 BC.
This fragment is then upper part of the lid of the royal sarcophagus from the tomb in the Valley of the Kings.
The kings of the New Kingdom (about 1550-1070 BC) were buried in magnificent stone sarcophagi. In some cases they were given more than one: Merenptah (1279-1213 BC) had four. A number of the earlier examples have survived intact, but many of the later ones are broken.
Substantial parts of the lower areas of Ramesses VI's sarcophagus still lie in the burial chamber of his tomb, in the valley of the Kings
Ramesses VI's tomb seems to have been robbed not long after he was buried. Reports survive, dating at the latest to the reign of Ramesses IX (1126-1108 BC), of the interrogation of five robbers. According to the reports, they took four days to break into the tomb. It is not clear whether it was the robbers who actually broke the sarcophagus - it would have needed considerable force, and it would not have been strictly necessary to the robbery. However, streaks of oil on the sarcophagus might indicate that the damage happened before such oils had time to set, perhaps not long after the burial.
This fragment gives one of the few known sculptural representations of Egyptian kings after those of Ramesses III (1184-1153 BC). It is extremely well-carved, showing the king with the 'divine' beard given to the dead, following the ancient Egyptian convention.
Sarcophagus (plural: sarcophagi)
A stone coffin or outer coffin case. The word comes from the Greek meaning 'flesh eating' and was first used in cultures other than Egyptian for coffins made of a very acidic stone; over time the flesh of the dead body contained in the sarcophagus was dissolved by the acid. Egyptian sarcophagi are not made of this type of stone so this did not happen in Egyptian examples.

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