Tomb of Ramesside-era royal scribe uncovered in Luxor

Nevine El-Aref , Tuesday 31 Jan 2017

Uncovered Ramesside-era tomb
Photo: Courtesy of Waseda University

A Japanese mission from Waseda University discovered a private tomb in the Theban necropolis in Luxor, Mahmoud Afifi, the head of the antiquities ministry's Ancient Egypt Department, said on Tuesday.

Afifi says that the tomb, located at the El-Khokha area on the west bank of the Nile, is beautifully decorated and likely dates to the Ramesside period, based on its style. Early inspection of the tomb suggests that it belonged to a royal scribe named Khonsu .

Jiro Kondo, the head of the Japanese mission, told Ahram Online that the tomb was discovered while excavators were cleaning the area to the east of the forecourt of the tomb of Userhat, a high official under king Amenhotep III.

He added that the team aslso stumbled upon a hole hewn connected to the south wall of the transverse hall of the previously unknown tomb of Khonsu.

The tomb is built on a T-shape on an east-west axis, with the main entrance, currently covered in debris, facing the east.

The tomb measures approximately 4.6m in length from the entrance to the rear wall of the inner chamber, while the transverse hall measures approximately 5.5 m in width.

Decoration scene

Photo: Courtesy of Waseda University

Kondo explains that on the north wall of the entrance doorway, a scene shows the solar boat of the god Ra-Atum being worshipped by four baboons in a pose of adoration.

On the adjacent wall, hieroglyphic texts are inscribed vertically describing Khonsu as a “true renowned scribe.”

On the southern part of the eastern wall in the transverse hall, Khonsu and his wife worship the gods Osiris and Isis in a kiosk, behind which is a depiction of the two ram-headed deity, likely Khnum or Khnum-Re.

On the upper register of the northern part of the tomb, there are carved seated figures of Osiris and Isis, though the upper parts of their bodies are broken.

On the lower register, a portion of the paintings shows the followers of the tomb owners.

"Regretfully, most of the wall paintings on the western wall of the transverse hall are no longer there," says Kondo.

Hani Abul Azm, the head of the Central Administration for Upper Egyptian Antiquities, says that the wall where the hole hewn is found hold vertical inscriptions at the top.

The name and title of tomb's owner are identified. The frieze pattern near the ceiling shows a typical khekher-frize of the Ramesside period.

The ceiling decorations are better preserved than the wall paintings, while more images may be discovered in the inner chamber once the debris is cleared.

The scene of the baboons

Photo: Courtesy of Waseda University

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