In Arabic, ‘The Valley of the Queens’ means ‘Wadi al-Malikat’ and ‘Ta Set Neferu’ in Ancient Egyptian means ‘The Place of Beauty”. It contains more than 80 tombs of queens, princes, and princesses of the Eighteenth, Nineteenth and Twentieth Dynasties. Normally, queens were buried alongside their husbands in the Valley of the Kings with the belief that they were to continue living as a family in the afterlife – just as their ancient gods existed in a “holy family”. Significantly, since the Ramses I’s wife, Queen Sit-Re, was buried here in his reign, this tradition was changed. Mostly, this valley contains unfinished tombs, without decoration. After the limestone walls were covered with a layer of Nile mud, they were whitewashed and then painted. Nearly ninety tombs were located in the valley, some of which were merely simple pit tombs, while others had corridors, pillared halls, stairways and large burial chambers.
Probably due to the poor quality of the bedrock, many of the tombs that had been primarily constructed in the valley were never finished: since poor stones meant that heavy layers of plaster had to be applied before walls could be decorated, some of them fell of their own weight.
Either damaged by floods or plundered by thieves, the majority of the tombs here are anonymous. There is some evidence that the activity of burying people continued after the New Kingdom: tombs from the 4th century AD were found and a Christian monastery called Dair Rumi was built. Three tombs are currently open in this valley, all from the reign of Ramses III of the 20th Dynasty. The Tomb of Nefertasri is now closed for some security measures. Towards the end of the New Kingdom, the tombs of the Valley of the Queens were plundered (just like those of the Valley of the Kings) and their mummies moved to more secure hiding places.