Monday, November 9, 2009

The Lost Tombs of Thebes

On the West Bank of Thebes, there are over 800 tombs located in the hills of the area known as el-Qurna. Though some of them, such as Theban Tomb 100, that of Rekhmire, may be known to the public, there are many that have been neglected and lost since antiquity. 
There are many sites in Egypt that have not been fully explored, holding many secrets that have yet to be revealed.  It is very important to find these tombs and properly record the paintings and objects inside, as they are deteriorating quickly.  These tombs are in danger, and the scenes could be completely destroyed if they are not properly conserved and recorded.  The purpose of ancient Egyptian tombs was to ensure a successful afterlife for the tomb owner, which is shown in their decoration.  The interior walls of the tomb depict many different kinds of scenes, including daily life activities and religious rituals.
These lost tombs are an important source of information about life in ancient Egypt.  They were completely sealed; when they were opened recently, they revealed mummies and artefacts that had been hidden for 3000 years. The owners of these Theban tombs were the nobles who oversaw many works of the king, they were important in the administration.  By studying their tombs, we can learn about these important people and how they built the golden age of Egypt, the New Kingdom.
The burial chamber of Amun-nakht is a good example of the scenes in these tombs.  A scene in this chamber shows the tomb owner as a mummy on a bed with a lion-head, with Anubis, the god of mummification.  Other scenes in the tomb normally included depictions of the tomb owner’s profession.  For example, Menna, the owner of TT 69, worked for the estates of the king and the god Amun, and his tomb contains scenes of agricultural work, such as harvesting crops.  Theban Tomb 79 showed scenes of grapevines and wine making, indicating the owner was the supervisor of wine production.
There are some famous tombs on the West Bank of Thebes that are known to the public, such as TT 100, the tomb of Rekhmire. Rekhmire was a vizier, and scenes in his tomb illustrate the relationship between himself and his king, providing a unique example from ancient Egypt.  However, there are hundreds of other tombs with valuable information that have not yet been fully explored or understood.

1 comment:

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