In 2006 the GCI began a six-year collaborative project with Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities to develop a plan for the conservation and management of the Valley of the Queens, part of the World Heritage Site of Ancient Thebes with its Necropolis. More than three millennia ago, the Valley of the Queens was the necropolis of the royal wives and children of Egypt's New Kingdom.
In September 2007 the GCI and consultant Heinz Rüther of the University of Cape Town carried out fieldwork in the valley to produce a new topographic map of the site that will include the locations of its nearly one hundred rock-cut tombs, ancient features, and modern infrastructure. The work was carried out with long- and short-range laser scanning instruments and additional survey equipment to produce a highly accurate, precise, and detailed map covering the entire catchment area of some 205 acres (83 hectares).
The results of this work are contained in a geographic information system (GIS) that will serve multiple needs, including precisely locating tombs and other ancient features; accurately defining the catchment area and drainage paths to assess flood risk in order to design mitigation measures; aiding in the understanding of the structural geology of tombs and their stability; planning of shelters and visitor infrastructure; and designing visitor routing. Assessing the flood risk to tombs is one of the most pressing needs addressed by the mapping, as throughout its history, the necropolis has been subject to the devastating effects of periodic flash flooding—most recently in 1994.
After completing the current assessment phase, the project will begin a second phase of detailed design and planning for site interventions scheduled to begin in 2009.
For more information on the Valley of the Queens project, visit the Getty Web site.