A Chip Off the Old Block

KV17, The Tomb of Sety I
Plan of the Tomb of Seti I

When I was at the Carlos Museum and we purchased the Niagara Collection, in it were two pieces of painted limestone relief. One was a bit of a cavetto cornice, and I recognized the style of painting from fragments I’d seen in other museums that had come from the tomb of Seti I in the Valley of the Kings (KV 17) that had been taken back as souvenirs in the nineteenth century. The director of the Carlos at the time scoffed at how could I tell from these little bits precisely what tomb and where it came.

The cavetto cornice fragment, however, was a clue that they came from the bench that ran along the sidewall of chamber Jb in the rear of the tomb. The Carlos conservator, Therese O’Gorman, made casts of the fragments and came with me to Egypt to see if they did indeed it. When we tried them in the chamber, they clicked right into place.

The Carlos Museum then gave the original fragments back to the Egyptian Antiquities Service and they were put back into place. When a delegation from the Carlos Museum went to Egypt with the mummy believed to be Ramesses I, we visited the tomb of Seti to see the fragments restored with James B. Miller who was head of the Board of the Carlos at the time and who had not only agreed to send the fragments and the mummy back to Egypt, but was the one most responsible for securing the Niagara collection for Atlanta.

James B Miller
James B. Miller with the cornice fragment

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