ABSTRACT:

The Valley of the Kings (also known as King's Valley, KV) in Egypt is recognized as one of the richest archeological world heritage sites. Thousands of tourists visit the valley each day and its rock-cut tombs, of which many were excavated close to or into the steep cliffs of the valley. The rock mass properties and environmental conditions of the area were gathered from literature to conduct a preliminary stability assessment of the fractured cliff above the 18th Dynasty tomb KV42 constructed for Hatshepsut-Meryet-Ra, the wife of Thutmose III, reused by a mayor of Thebes, Sennefer, and his family members. A 2D numerical model was developed in RS2® using the Shear Strength Reduction (SSR) modelling method, which indicates the importance of vertical fractures on the cliff stability. Preliminary results suggest that failure could be more influenced by the orientation of vertical joint sets rather than bedding planes. We installed a monitoring station to record the local environmental parameters such as temperature and relative humidity along with crack meter readings and discuss the impact of daily and seasonal climatic variations on vertical discontinuity opening and closing cycles. A coupled thermal and geomechanical model is recommended to be developed in further stages of this research to validate the effects of climatic variables on the extension of fractures and cliff stability at KV42.

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