Saturday, 2 March 2013

Mummification Museum Lecture - Amonehotep on the hill

Kindly corrected by Laurent Bavay

Amenhotep back on the Hill (and the pyramid of a vizier as well)

Firstly their website is http://crea.ulb.ac.be

Secondly the lecture was dedicate to Natasha Baron and Michel Wuttman

Now the lecture. Dr Laurent explained how their work started with TT C3 one of the tombs known to exist but not located. They excavated to the south of TT29 Imenemipet an area occupied by ruins used as a stable and documented all the phases of occupation from the modern house to the Pharaonic. It is a T shaped New Kingdom tomb and was filled with debris. The wall paintings were lost, mostly cut away in the mid 19th century but the ceilings with texts remained. The owner was a deputy of the overseer of seal bearers called Amenhotep, he was married to Renena, a chantress of Amun who was the daughter of Senneferi and at least half the tomb is dedicated to her. They realised they had rediscovered a tomb visited by Piehl in 1882 and the wall paintings were gone when he was there.

Senneferi TT99 from the reign of Tuthmosis III excavated recently by Nigel Strudwick had a statue of Amenhotep, a false door of his was found reused by the Romans at Karnak which Traunecker had published. Due to the kind offices of Mansour Boraik this false door is being moved back to the tomb and will be reinstalled tomorrow (the day after the lecture).

Underneath the modern house a mud brick wall encloses part of the pharaonic courtyard and there is a little room with 2 beds. There were a lot of Coptic monasteries and hermitages on the hill and from the ostraca the occupant of this one was identified as Hello. One of the ostraca is a list of Arabic words written in Coptic alphabet with their Coptic translation.

Inside the chapel they had problems from debris descending from the collapsed ceiling. This had to be stabilised before it could be cleared. Eventually they gained access to the long room and cleared the southern part of the chapel. The have installed steel roof beams and a roof which is covered with mud brick to be more aesthetically pleasing as well as cooler. A window was build to allow for light and ventilation. Inside they found more Coptic remains : a bread ( ?) oven and a dividing wall, there were obviously different occupations. There was a trough for animal feed and a loom pit for weaving. In the debris they found some pieces of the original wall paintings, notably a figure of a woman.

Outside the Coptic remains were on top of a mud brick structure which was square, massive and layered with halfa grass. There is a parallel of the Ramesside pyramids at Dra Abu el-Naga which have the same construction, white moona plaster on the outside. The pyramid has a 71 degree slope and they found the pyramidion which shows the deceased worshiping Re-Horakhty. On the mud bricks they found the stamp of the vizier Khay and a red painted inscription on the pyramidion indicates the same title. He was vizier for 15 years under Ramses II years 30-44. Other evidence of him are statues Cairo CG42.165/166. At Gebel Silsila he announces the Sed festivals, also ostraca at Deir el Medina mention him and at Megiddo a seal of his was found.

The tomb has still not been found, so where is it ? Dr Laurent looked at all possibilities, they excavated to the south overlooking the Ramesseum and found the top of a tomb fa├žade but the axis is not in line with the pyramid.

To the east is a modern house and he believes it is there as houses were often built on top of tombs. The map published by Baraize in 1904 shows a tomb in this location. There are currently no plans to excavate and the tomb was most probably plundered in ancient times. Mansour Boraik commented that the owners had been offered a good package to move but had refused

The pyramid is approximately 12 meters square, 71o slope and 16.5 – 17 meters high.

Back to Amenhotep there is still a lot of work to be done there both the long passage and the burial shaft need to be excavated.

They have also been responsible for the tomb chapel of Sennefer and hope this will be open to the public soon.

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