Monday, 1 February 2010

Royal Family Necropolis of the Third Intermediate Period at the temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el Bahri Dr Szafranski

Royal Family Necropolis of the Third Intermediate Period at the temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el Bahri Dr Szafranski

Discovery of these burials has been a side effect of their excavations of the temple, its surroundings and foundations. The Polish/Egyptian missions has been excavating there for 50 years. The Third Intermediate Period used many temples and locations as necropolis like at the Assasif. This was the time that Africa and Asia came to know each other and to come into conflict. Dynasties 21, 22, 25 and the beginning of 26 are all found at Thebes.

They knew there was a tomb under the protective platform (4th terrace) and around the temple of Tuthmosis III which was discovered 40 years ago. Photographs taken in the time of Naville show many tombs, over 20 were discovered. There was a big earthquake around 1200-900 and the tombs were after that. From 800BC for about 150 years the area was in use as a royal necropolis.

Various chapels were used dependent of whether the roof was still existent. The Amun chapel, both the northern and southern chapel of Amun, the Hatshepsut chapel in the royal mortuary complex and the vestibule. They also excavated the third terrace festival courtyard and coronation colonnade, the solar court to the right. The mortuary complex to the left is like a small temple within a temple with a main barque hall, 6 niches, statue hall, 3 niches one of which was changed in the Ptolemaic period and dedicated to Amenhotep son of Hapu and Imhotep. The portal leading to the chapel has pictures of the king wearing the whit crown on the south and the red crown on the north with the cartouches replaced by Tuthmosis III. It is decorated with a barque of Amun and shows various members of the royal family Tuthmosis II, Tuthmosis III, Neferubity (Hatshepsut’s sister), Neferure (her daughter by Tuthmosis II).

The tombs situated inside the Hatshepsut chapel are simple in design, a shaft, and chamber, they are undecorated. Typical sizes are 2 meters long and 1.8 meters high. The position of the crossed arms indicates they could have been royal.

The so called Bahris tomb had a lot of cartonage and they are trying to collect pictures from various museums over the world so they can publish a collection. Typically graves were furnished with a rectangular outer coffin, an anthropoid inner coffin, shabities, a canopic chest and a stele.

The cartonage of Padiamonet a vizier is of high artistic quality but over 1000 fragments. The occupants are mostly Amun priests although there are some Montu priests. One structural element of the tomb is a small hole in the floor underneath the sarcophagus.

Further excavation revealed shrouds dated to year 27 of xxxxx Maat-Re which fits to Wsir-Maat-Re Oskerkon III

The temple is constructed on an artificial platform but they found the original gebel with plant material.

Grave goods of ‘dolls’ small flat wooden models of goddesses like Nephthys and Sheshat. He is unsure as to their purpose.

Various mummies in different states, the crossed arms could indicate royalty although Salima Ikram says that this arm position was common in the third intermediate period

Ostraca from both Hatshepsut and Ramses II, both Ramses and Horemheb restored the temple from Amarna damage
Evidence of a Coptic monastery

Funerary cones from Menhemhat and his wives, these together with other objects originating in the Assasif and Ramasseum were probably moved there by Copts

Instruments from the opening of the mouth ceremony

Simple ushabities, only 5 were inscribed

So the site was used from 800-660 BC 150 years approximately 5-6 generations of prominent or eminent people

Why this location?

At various other places like Medinet Habu there are chapels to God’s wives and tombs. The tombs are located in special places within chapels, under offering lists, or offering bearers or offering tables so they could benefit from the decoration. Tombs were not found in the solar complex or other areas with no roofs as these quickly filled with debris. Further excavation is needed in the area above the Tuthmosis III temple.

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