Nefertari, the favorite queen of Rameses II, was buried
about 3,200 years ago in the most exquisitely decorated tomb in Egypt's Valley
of the Queens. Discovered in 1904 by Italian explorer Ernesto Schiaparelli, the
tomb had deteriorated to a disastrous extent when emergency consolidation began
in 1986. The six-year conservation project of the GCI and the Egyptian
Antiquities Organization was completed in 1992.
In this fascinating exploration of the tomb, John McDonald takes the reader
through each chamber, describing the hieroglyphic messages depicted in the
brilliant wall paintings and discussing the images within the context of
Egyptian beliefs. He also offers insights into the life of Nefertari, the
development and symbolism of royal tombs, and the construction and decoration
of the tombs. House of Eternity is
illustrated with historic black-and-white images and more recent color
photographs that reveal the vibrant beauty of the wall paintings.
In November 1995 the tomb was reopened to the public. Because of the potential
for damage and deterioration to the fragile wall paintings caused by increased
humidity, carbon dioxide, and microbiological activity introduced by visitors
to the tomb, the number permitted to enter daily is strictly controlled by the
Egyptian authorities. This book results from a desire of the GCI to enrich
visitors' experience by providing a detailed descriptive walk-through of the
tomb while conveying a strong message regarding the need for conservation and
continuous monitoring to ensure the long-term survival of the tomb's paintings.
Visitors to the tomb and the armchair traveler alike will find House of Eternity to be an excellent resource for
understanding Nefertari's journey to the afterlife and for appreciating the
extraordinary depictions of that journey on the walls of Nefertari's tomb.