Mummification Museum Lecture - TT148 TT233 Dr Boyo Ockinga
The Use, Reuse and Abuse of Sacred Space – Evidence from TT148 and TT233 at Dra Abu el Naga Dr Boyo Ockinga of Macquarie University Sydney
The tomb in Ancient Egypt can be classified as ‘sacred space’. This is particularly true of the tombs of the late 18th dynasty and the Ramesside Period when tombs take on the characteristics of temples and as well as being the place where the memory of the deceased person was preserved and the funerary cult practised, it was a place where the deceased could worship the gods of eternity.
Dra Abu el Naga is an important site as it is directly opposite Karnak and on the path to Deir el Bahri which was the route taken by the Beautiful Feast of the Valley. You can actually see Karnak from TT148 and it is probably the reason why so many of Amen’s important officials were buried here for example the first High priest of Amun, Minmonth (TT232) and the first post Amarna High priest of Amun, Parennefer.
Amenemope the owner of TT148 was the third prophet of Amun, son of Tjanefer, and served under Rameses III – Ramses V. the decoration of the tomb was not completed before the reign of Ramses V
The courtyard shows evidence of the reuse of temple blocks and whilst it was common for kings to do this it was unusual for a private individual. The tomb of Tjanefer TT158 has pylons to the front with a large courtyard behind and TT148 would have had the same. The foundations had limestone blocks as well as making use of the natural rock. One can get a better impression of what they looked like from the tomb of Tjanefer which is a little further South than TT148 where they are better preserved.
The limestone decorated blocks were
1) Hatshepsut is identified by her Horus name which enables us to read the nesu bity.
2) with a feminine pronoun in the glyphs so was also probably a Hatshepsut block, these blocks were from the temple she built at the head of the valley, not the Deir el Bahri temple itself. Ramses IV built a colonnaded temple and probably another second temple and reused blocks from this temple. Amenemope was the Third prophet of Amun under Rameses V and may well have been involved in the construction of these and would have had the opportunity to use the material for his own tomb structure.
3) With a masculine pronoun so is not possible to identify
4) Had the name of Thothmosis on it but not possible to identify if it was I or II
Sandstone blocks were even more widely used, for the facing of the courtyard walls and portico as well as to patch up the many areas of poor quality rock in the interior of the tomb. Some of this sandstone was reused.
1) with the name of Thothmosis again not possible to identify I or II
2) with the name of Tutankamun
3) with a fragment of horses and a chariot scene but we don’t know where it came from
4) blocks with decoration including erased decoration of figures of deities which suggest pre Amarna material
5) ink drawing of Amun with a sword typical God sending king of into battle scene
The use of 18 dynasty blocks in a mid 20th dynasty site is not surprising but what was surprising were reused blocks from Ramses II, III, IV and Merenptah. It doesn’t seem to be a problem taking blocks
The excavation of the tomb and its large courtyard must have had an effect on the earlier tombs in the area. If nothing else, the cast amount of spoil from the excavations buried and blocked access to earlier 18th dynasty tombs that were situated at a lower level.
A saff tomb from 21/22 dynasty was found in the courtyard. It would seem that modern tomb robbers broke through from the tomb.
Use of the Tomb in the pharaonic Period
The use and reuse of the tomb over time by its builder and his descendents can be identified. Architectural changes point in this direction.
The tomb is large and complex; it has a T shaped chapel and below there are a large number of burial chambers with three large granite and two sandstone outer sarcophagi. The layout and cutting of these suggest it underwent modifications in design that reflect changes in usage over time, which involved making provision for additional burials not catered for in the original layout.
The main burial chamber is at the end of tunnel. Inside they found the sarcophagus of Ta Mend daughter of Ram Nakht wife of Amenemope. Amenemope’s sarcophagus had been moved. The addition of a subsidiary chamber, gives the impression of being a later development. The entrance is located right up against the right wall of the main chamber, which suggests that when it was being cut the large granite and sandstone sarcophagi for Amenemope and his chief wife respectively had already been placed in the main burial chamber. What was the purpose of this burial chamber? Could it have been for Amenemope’s second wife, Tamit, daughter of another high priest?
The emplacement for a large granite sarcophagus at the bend in the axis of the sloping passage also seems to be an after thought. This is located in such a way that it hinders access into the main burial chamber and certainly would have made it very difficult to negotiate the large granite outer sarcophagus of Amenemope around the corner. It seems most probable that the pit was cut after the sarcophagus in the main burial chamber had been put into position.
The small chamber containing a sandstone sarcophagus to the left of the pit is probably also another later addition. Paralleling the situation in the main burial chamber it is possibly the wife of the granite sarcophagus man. There a re remains of plaster layer that covered the sealed off entrance.
The unusual position, so close to the entrance of the sloping passage, of yet another burial chamber at the top left side of the sloping passage, which contains the remains of a large uninscribed granite sarcophagus, suggests that it too is a later addition and not part of the original plan of the tomb.
So there are 4 chambers, the main burial and the southern passage.
The northern burial passage is also puzzling feature of the tomb, Could it also have been an after thought. It certainly breaks the wall decoration which seems that covered the full height of the wall.
The general impression one gets is that, over time, provision was made for the subterranean burial complex of Amenemope to receive additional high status burials over and above that of Amenemope and his wives, for who the tomb was originally built.
The conclusions drawn for the modifications observed to the architectural plan of the burial complex are supported by some of the small finds made.
A large number of shabities was recovered, both worker and overseer type inscribed for Tjanefer, Amenemope’s father. In additional, a fragment of wood inlaid with coloured paste hieroglyphics giving his name was also recovered (although this may of course be part of any object inscribed for Amenemope but including his affiliation)
Shabitis inscribed for a woman Adjedet-aa were also found – could they have been for his mother in law Adjedet.
There is a possible link between the evidence found and with the tomb robbery papyrus written in Year 13 of Ramses XI, in this the robbers describe how they desecrated the tomb of Tjanefer and his body.
“We….. went to the tomb of Tjanefer, who was third prophet of Amun. We opened it and brought out his inner coffins and we took his mummy and left it there in the corner of his tomb. We took his inner coffins to this boat, along with the rest, to the island (?) of Amenemope. We set fire to them in the night and we made away with the gold we found on them”
The fate of Tjanefer’s original burial may help to explain the extensions made to TT148’s burial complex and the presence of so many shabitis of Tjanefer in the tomb. It is possible that after the calamity of the desecration of Tjanefer’s tomb the family decided to concentrate the burials of the ancestors in one location
The outer granite sarcophagus of Tjanefer was left in TT158 and one can see evidence of damage at the head end. Perhaps this and because it had been desecrated was the reason it was not taken to TT148
The decoration in the southern half shows many members of the family (grandparents, parents, brothers, brothers in law, parents in law of both wives and it would make sense that those tombs that were in danger, the occupants would be moved.
The parents of Tamit the second wife were Siese and Tawenesh and the northern side has the last text.
The robberies were in Y13 of Ram XI and Amenemope died during the reign of Rameses V but his son and daughter would have still been alive and important enough to insist that these desecrated family members were properly reburied in the family tomb of their father. Also, at this time the first prophet of Amun was a member of the family of Ramessesnakhy with whom Amenemope was related. The High priest of Amun Amenhotep was a son of Ramessesnakht and thus a brother in law of Amenemope. These people would have had an interest in securing the burials of their family
The importance the family attached to its ancestors is illustrated by the emphasis on the theme in the decoration of TT 148, which includes Usermont who was a vizier of Tutankamun and 200 years earlier but one suspects a distant and honourable relative.
How compelling is this? It is true shabitis are often found in places other than the tombs of their owners but usually these are individual pieces and not, as in the case of Tjanefer, a large number, including different types, workers and those wearing the dress of the living. The quantity found suggests they were part of a full set.
But even if the additional burial chambers were not rebuilt for the reinterment of Tjanefer we can be fairly certain they are a modification to the original plan of the tomb and took place in the late Ramaside period. The occupants of these chambers will have been members of Amenemope’s family, for example Usermerenakht his son who would succeed his father as High priest of Mut…
TT233 was used from 18th dynasty to late roman. Originally for Saroy the father, the Scribe of the offering Table of the Lord of the Two Lands and Amenhotep the son and assistant, called Huy. It is very complex burial which incorporates the 18th dynasty tomb. It has decoration from the Book of the Dead and not being exciting it was ignored and neglected. The Northern door has biographical details and talks about his different appointments and finishes with Confident, Beloved of his lord. These titles also made it possible to identify him with the owner of two statues found in the Karnak cachette.
Abuse of the sacred space
There was much evidence of the robberies in the courtyards behind the mud brick pylons underneath an old Coptic oven around the time of 3rd Intermediate period there was a site of a fire, hidden behind the mud brick pylon. They found remains of the funerary equipment, the wood charred and blackened and even some remains of gold leaf. Robbers commonly burned furniture with gold leaf to easily get the gold off.
Reuse of the sacred space
There were mummy straps from 21st dynasty, Coptic texts on the walls, together with papyrus and ostraca. Textiles with embroidery. There was a Coptic monastery nearby at Deir el Shebeef. More modern activity was old cigarette packets, matchsticks, match boxes and a cigarette holder. A cope of the Spectator dated 17th Feb 1912 and addressed to Howard Carter.
More information on the website www.egytptology.mq.edu.au
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January 6th, 2007