People > Ramesses VII

Ramesses VII

Egypt History - Egyptian Chapter Decoration


Ramesses VII was the sixth pharaoh of the 20th Dynasty of ancient Egypt, ruling from approximately 1136 to 1129 BCE. His reign is marked by further economic difficulties, administrative challenges, and limited monumental construction. Although relatively short, his rule provides insights into the continued decline of the New Kingdom. Here is an overview of Ramesses VII and his reign:


  1. 20th Dynasty:

    • The 20th Dynasty was the last dynasty of the New Kingdom, a period characterized by the grandeur of its earlier rulers but also marked by gradual decline in its later years.
    • Ramesses VII was the son of Ramesses VI, inheriting a kingdom already struggling with economic and administrative issues.
  2. Family and Ascension:

    • Ramesses VII, also known by his throne name Usermaatre-akhenamun, was likely the son of Ramesses VI and Queen Nubkhesbed. His ascension to the throne followed the death of his father.

Reign of Ramesses VII

  1. Economic Challenges:

    • The economic difficulties that began in the reigns of his predecessors continued during Ramesses VII’s rule. There were significant issues with inflation, grain shortages, and labor unrest.
    • The Wilbour Papyrus, a document from his reign, provides detailed records of land and tax assessments, indicating efforts to manage and stabilize the economy, though with limited success.
  2. Administrative and Social Issues:

    • The central administration faced challenges in maintaining control and efficiency. Corruption and inefficiencies within the bureaucracy contributed to social unrest.
    • Labor strikes, particularly by the workers at Deir el-Medina, highlight the difficulties in ensuring timely payments and provisions for state workers.
  3. Building Projects:

    • Compared to his predecessors, Ramesses VII undertook fewer building projects. Economic constraints likely limited his ability to commission large-scale construction.
    • There is evidence of some minor restoration and construction activities, particularly at key religious sites, but no major monuments are attributed to his reign.

Tomb and Burial

  1. Tomb KV1:

    • Ramesses VII was buried in the Valley of the Kings in tomb KV1. The tomb is relatively modest compared to those of earlier pharaohs but still features some decoration and inscriptions.
    • The tomb’s decoration includes scenes from the Book of Gates and the Book of Caverns, reflecting the religious texts commonly used to ensure the pharaoh’s safe passage to the afterlife.
  2. Mummy and Burial Goods:

    • The mummy of Ramesses VII was discovered in the Deir el-Bahri cache (DB320) along with those of other New Kingdom pharaohs. The reburial in this cache was part of an effort to protect royal mummies from tomb robbers.
    • The limited burial goods found with his mummy indicate the economic challenges of his time, contrasting with the richer burials of earlier pharaohs.


  1. Historical Significance:

    • Ramesses VII’s reign, though brief and challenged by economic difficulties, is significant for understanding the continued decline of the New Kingdom. His efforts to manage the economy and administration highlight the ongoing struggles faced by the 20th Dynasty.
    • His rule is part of the broader narrative of the New Kingdom’s decline, leading to the eventual transition to the Third Intermediate Period.
  2. Archaeological Evidence:

    • The Wilbour Papyrus and other administrative documents from his reign provide valuable insights into the economic and social conditions of the time. These records are crucial for understanding the management of land, taxation, and resources.
    • Tomb KV1, though modest, adds to the corpus of royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings and provides information on the burial practices and religious beliefs of the late New Kingdom.
  3. Cultural Impact:

    • Despite the economic and administrative challenges, Ramesses VII maintained the traditional religious practices and supported key temples and priesthoods. His reign reflects the resilience of Egyptian cultural and religious traditions during a period of decline.


Ramesses VII was the sixth pharaoh of the 20th Dynasty, ruling from approximately 1136 to 1129 BCE. His reign was marked by significant economic difficulties, administrative challenges, and limited monumental construction. Despite these issues, he continued to support traditional religious practices and made efforts to manage the state’s resources. His tomb (KV1) in the Valley of the Kings and the Wilbour Papyrus provide valuable insights into the conditions of Egypt during his reign. Ramesses VII’s rule is an important part of the history of the late New Kingdom, highlighting the ongoing struggles and eventual decline of this once powerful period.

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