Monday, 8 March 2010

Fall of Senenmut - New Evidence from the temple at Deir el Bahri - Dr Andrzej Ćwiek

This week’s lecture was by Andrzej Ćwiek and what a riveting one it was. I also got to spend the rest of the evening with him and I thought I just died and went to heaven. He is doing a lot of work at the temple and was showing me loads of pictures illustrating his work with hieroglyphics. If you remember the lecture by Francesco Tiradritti about art there was a lot of similar work and indeed they had Francesco out on site. He is looking at all the variations of hieroglyphs and trying to identify if they are variations or new glyphs. Also when glyphs have colour on they it makes previous assumptions about what they were problematic. Like Francesco talked about black bread there are other glyphs whose representation ought to challenged as the colour does not fit at all. It was fascinating. We talked about whether it was Hatshepsut or not, new technical procedures, who did what damage at the temple. Hatshepsut, Tuthmosis III, Amarna or 26th dynasty, Hatshepsut and goddess who were daughters of Re. Sooooooo much. He briefly mentioned his Phd so I did a little search and found it

Anyway here is the lecture, fortunately English is not his native language so he pauses a lot and gave me enough time to take notes, next week it is Otto Schaden who is another delight to take notes from as he speaks very slowly and deliberately. I love lecturers like that : )

The title was supposed to be the Fall of Senenmut but had been publicized as the Full of Senenmut and he did a very neat work play about that. Pretty impressive for a non native speaker it certainly made the audience laugh. Although he was doing the presentation it was a joint project between him and Marta Sankiewicz. His particular interest is Old and Middle Kingdom evidence and links and her orientation and whilst they were working they got into the Senenmut evidence.

Senenmut was an especially favoured by Hatshepsut, to an amazing degree the object BMEA1513 says “My mistress repeated favours for me….” Were they more than just good friends? Hatshepsut had two fathers Tuthmosis I and Amen Re so her mother had two lovers, could Hatshepsut have decided to have two lovers also. The story is the building of the whole complex but what can be said safely stripping away conjecture and romance.

This is not the first example of separating the tomb from the mortuary complex. It is the same as the Old Kingdom mortuary temple which is attached to the eastern side of the tomb complex. It is just that the tomb complex in this case was the mountain itself. (I have often heard that the intention of KV20 was to continue on its original axis and end up under the temple).

It is believed to have been started during her 7th regnal year when she assumed the full titlulary and attributes of king. Although she represented herself as a king she stressed her feminity and Dr Andrzej showed a number of slides where although she was portrayed as a king she was definitely feminine. Although she started to be king and have a co-regency around year 7 she used the same regnal years as Tuthmosis III.

Senenmut was her main supporter; he was a man of very humble origins that she had raised to a position of power. The burial of his parents identifies them as having no titles. He was VERY closely connected with Hatshepsut and Neferure. He had 90 titles and most of these were connected with posts to do with money.( btw I contacted Kento Zenhiro about his funerary cones and they are type 84, 88 and 261 check Kento believes funerary cones show the titles most important to the owner and the ones on the cones are Steward of Amun, Senenmut, prophet of the (the barque) 'Userhatamun', Senenmut justified, steward of the king's daughter, Neferure, Senenmut, overseer of the cattle of Amun, Senenmut. Overseer of the double granary of Amun, Senenmut, overseer of the fields of Amun, Senenmut, steward of the god's wife Hatshepsut, Senenmut, chamberlain, Senenmut justified. Chief steward of Amun, born of Ramose, born of Hatnefer
Neither of his tombs mentions a wife or children and Dr Andrzej believes he did not have any.

There is a well know picture located in the bottom of a Middle ‘Kingdom tomb that was probably used as shade during the building of the temple. It shows a man having sexy doggy style with a female wearing a nemes head cloth but it is a pure guess that this is Senenmut and Hatshepsut. There is graffiti of Senenmut with a big head which does show he was well known.

The statues that show him with Neferure are an exceptional and unusual group. There is one of him standing and holding Neferure in Chicago which has been suggested shows a fatherly pose. But the only thing that is safe to say is that he had a very important role in her life and was her tutor.

Neferure was removed from inscriptions or changed to her grandmother for uncertain reasons but not everywhere. The last inscription is in year 11 where a stele in the Sinai shows Neferure and Senenmut offering to Hathor in poses similar to that of a reigning monarch. It could be a connection with Senenmut going down.

There is no proof that Senenmut was the architect however he was the overseer of temples. The well known figures behind the shrine doors have given rise to this idea. The popular misconception was that there were some tiny figures behind a couple of doors in the sanctuary but the reality is that he is in at least 74 places (found by Marta) behind many doors in many places. Another misconception is that his fall was because of this hidden action and when Hatshepsut found out he dared to do this he lost his place. However the text in the Amun chapel makes it quite clear that Senenmut had been granted this unique privilege by Hatshepsut not only at Deir el Bahri but at all cult temples and his figure is know in 2 other places the Mut temple at Karnak and at Elephantine.

There is some cryptographic writing used as a frieze and Senenmut was probably the creator of this as it is shown in 3d with his own statue at Brooklyn and Fort Worth. This symbol of a cobra seated within a ka sign with a sun disk is actually on the top of the Hathor columns in the Hathor shrine in the temple. From below it just looks like two double urea but when you climb to that level you can actually see the hammered out ka arms either side of the urea. This was also perhaps invented by him. The falcon at the bottom of the ramp was also embracing a cobra with a sun disk on a ka sign. Like the statue of Kafra with the Horus falcon transferring the divine, royal Ka to the king. There were at least 70 sandstone sphinxes which were found by Winlock.

The tomb TT71 faces east to the midpoint between Karnak and Luxor temple. In the niche above the tomb there is a statue of Senenmut with Neferure in the style of the block statues. TT353 goes under the courtyard of the temple which stresses his devotion to Hatshepsut but he was not buried in either tom. TT71 was destroyed and TT353 was just closed. In TT71 not only his name but also those of Amun Mut and Hatshepsut were destroyed but these are the results of different actions. His name was removed (by Hatshepsut?), Hatshepsut’s name was removed later (by Tuthmosis III) and finally Amun (by the Amarna period?).

He was given a quartzite sarcophagus an enormous privilege but instead of being reused it was smashed to pieces. At Deir el Bahri there are 2 nice small pictures of him in the Hathor shrine but all the others were chiselled out. In the upper shrine of Anubis the carving had not been completed but there was a sketch of Senenmut so almost at the same time they were still carving his name and then were destroying it. This chapel is a later addition around year 16.

There are other pictures of Senenmut in the decoration. On the northern wall of the punt portico there is a large figure of the queen which has been erased. There are 3 officials in front of the queen which have also been erased Howard Carter (working under Naville) did an extremely good drawing recreating the text and showing the damage. However when you look at the damage it is done by a different hand. The first official is identified as Nehes and then the next 2 figures it says dignitaries of the king. The second figure is named as Senenmut and the third is unidentified. The name of Senenmut has been removed by a left handed carver making the two dignitaries unmade general figures. The subsequent erasure was by a different figure.

In the obelisk scene Senenmut was there in the prow of the boat and the left handed guy has removed this during Hatshepsut’s reign. Also by the rope of the tug boat there was a navigational inscription ‘turn left’ this has been removed and replaced further over. This has given them enough room to insert the names of the dignitaries, so for some reason it was important to name these dignitaries and one of these was Minmose overseer of the granaries, a title that used to be held by Senenmut.

In the temple courtyard there is a small gate on the northern wall and beside this is the tomb MMA59, this is a reused grave but the coffin of the original owner was used to block the shaft and therefore we know his name Minmose. This tomb goes under the courtyard and is therefore located within the temple prescient like TT353, this is not by chance. So did Minmose take over the favourite position from Senenmut?
Fantastic lecture bet you wished you were there


Kento said...

Wow thanks a lot!
I'm honored.

Tine said...

Thanks again Jane for keeping us updated with what's going on in Luxor - and especially all the interesting lectures in the Mummification Museum. Wish I were there!

Bre Morningstar said...

This is wonderful information. I am very interested in the life and accomplishments of Senenmut. Please keep it coming!