Sign up for our newsletter

Hungarian Archeological Expeditions

bcs tams leletei



1. Tomb of Djehutimes (TT 32) Location: West Thebes, el-Khokha Field Director: Gábor Schreiber Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest 2. Tomb of Amenhotep (TT -61-) Location: West Thebes, el-Khokha Field Director: Prof. Dr. Tamás Bács, Head of Department of Egyptology Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest 3. Tomb of Nebamun/Imiseba (TT65) Location: West Thebes, Sheikh Abd el-Gurna Field Director: Dr. Tamás Bács Head of Department of Egyptology, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest 4. Tomb of Nefermenu (TT 184) Location: West Thebes, el-Khokha Field Director: Dr. Zoltán Fábián Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts, Budapest 5. Commercial road in the desert Location: Bir Minih, Vadi Hammamat, Eastern Desert Field Director: Prof. Dr. Ulrich Luft, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest . Successfuly completed in 2004. 6. Temple of Taposiris Magna Location: Abu Sir, West of Alexandria Field Director: Dr. Győző Vörös Pázmány Péter Catholic University. Successfuly completed in 2004.

Hungarian excavation in Theban - 61 - tomb in 2007

Hungarian Excavation in Theban Tomb -61-

<!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->G. Schreiber

An expedition of the Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), Budapest has carried out excavation and epigraphic fieldwork in the tomb of Amenhotep (TT -61-) since 1999. Until 2005 the work was conducted by Professor Ernő Gaál, head of the Department of Egyptology and director of the Institute for Ancient Studies in the said institution. Due to the sudden loss of Professor Gaál in 2005, work in the tomb was suspended and it was not until 2007 that the mission could continue the survey of the monument under the guidance of Dr Gábor Schreiber, formerly acting as deputy director.

<!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->The location of TT -61- and its first owners

<!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->The Theban tomb labelled as -61- by F. Kampp is situated in the third necropolis street of the south slope of el-Khokha hillock. The same row of tombs includes those of Nefermenu (TT 184, later 19th dynasty), Kenamun (TT 412, 18th dynasty) and Menkheperra-soneb/Bakenamun (TT -59-, mid-18th dynasty and 20th dynasty). Also in the close proximity is the tomb of Unisankh (TT 413) dating from the late Old Kingdom. The immediate neighbours of TT -61- are TT -60-, an unfinished and now completely destroyed tomb attributed by F. Kampp to the Old Kingdom or the First Intermediate Period, and an unnumbered New Kingdom tomb to the west of TT -61-, partly cleaned by the mission in 2001.

As the excavation of TT -61- has shown convincingly, the construction of the tomb started in the mid-18th dynasty for an owner whose name is lost. It remains unknown to which extent this first owner was responsible for the cutting of the cult chapels (Rooms I-III). What seems certain is that the two small forecourts of the tomb were already finished in the 18th dynasty. Such a conclusion may be deduced from the presence of a burial shaft (Shaft 1) in the first forecourt which was almost certainly intended as the final resting place of the first owners of the tomb. This shaft, provided with two burial chambers, yielded a representative sample of Thutmosid pottery as well as fragments from coffins decorated with yellow-on-black treatment.

The absence of objects datable to the later 18th and 19th dynasties indicates that the tomb remained out of use in these periods. After this long abandonment TT -61- became reused during the reign of Ramesses III by Amenhotep, chief physician in the estate of Amun and wab-priest of Mut, and his wife Mutemhebet. The dating of this phase of the tomb was possible on the basis of a stone fragment from the mural decoration of the tomb, which preserved the cartouches of Ramesses III. Unfortunately, the original decoration of TT -61- dating from this period remained preserved in a much deteriorated state.

As a new owner Amenhotep not only finished and decorated the cult chapels but added a 25 m long sloping passage (Room IV) to the monument. The passage is terminated in a roughly square shaped chamber (Room VI) which, through a shallow shaft, gives access to a burial chamber (Room IX) obviously intended for Amenhotep and his spouse. Although Amenhotep's funerary equipment suffered a bad fate probably as early as the late Ramesside Period when Theban tombs became targeted by systematic looting, numerous objects have remained preserved which allow a partial reconstruction of this once splendid funerary outfit. The shabtis of Amenhotep were made of wood and decorated with a polychrome treatment. One complete example of this set, reassembled from two fragments, preserved the titles of its owner as well as a short extract from the shabti formula of Book of the Dead chapter 6. As demonstrated by fragments from a painted box, the shabtis were stored in wooden containers decorated on one side with an offering scene featuring a seated Osiris as receiving the oblations. The Ramesside burials were also furnished with at least one set of wooden canopic coffins. The head of these coffins, destined to store the internal organs, were individualised, taking the shape of the protective deities of the viscera. The late Ramesside burials in Room IX included an Osiris statue with a headdress, a pair of goat skin sandals, objects of basketry, a significant collection of late Ramesside pottery, two bronze bracelets and a necklace with pendants of seashell.   

Remarkably enough, two further chambers (Rooms VII and VIII) in TT -61- also yielded significant collections of late Ramesside objects. Both burial chambers are accessible from Room VI through similar shallow shafts as the one opening to Room IX. Room VIII, which is big enough to house only one or two burials was the find spot of an elaborately painted mummy board, numerous white glazed faience shabtis representing two types as well as a handsome faience canopic jar – all objects dating to the 20th dynasty. The most important Ramesside artefact from Room VII was a cartonnage mummy board inscribed for a certain Tashedamun, mistress of the house and songstress of Amonrasonther.

Post-Ramesside burials in TT -61-

Due to the lack of genealogical information it remains unknown whether there was continuity between the 20th dynasty burials and the burials already deposited in the lower rooms of TT -61- during the 21st dynasty. What seems certain is that Rooms VII and IX were re-used during the later 21st-early 22nd dynasty. At least three coffins – all featuring red painted stolae, a motif characteristic for the coffins of the Amun clergy during the later 21st dynasty – were found in these rooms.

            During the 22nd dynasty the lower rooms of TT -61- were occupied by a family, whose members held priestly titles in the clergy of Amun. Two names, viz. Hori and Ankhefenamun are known from this family. The name of Hori remained preserved on his coffin and cartonnage, whilst that of Ankehefenamun is still to be read on his heart scarab and in Hori's coffin and cartonnage inscriptions. The 22nd dynasty burials were provided with a black coloured outer coffin decorated in yellow as well as with an inner cartonnage coffin painted with multicolour decoration. 

            The lower rooms of TT -61- were also reused between the 26th dynasty and the early Ptolemaic period. Over 50 pieces of glazed faience amulets and three further funerary scarabs, all provided with drilled holes or loops for suspension on bead-netting mummy shrouds were found in the sloping passage and Room VI. It seems that at least one coffin also dates from the 26th dynasty. The iconography of certain amulet types as well as the typology of ceramic vessels discovered in this part of the tomb indicate that some of these intrusive burials may be as late as the 5th-4th centuries BC.     

            The presence of pottery datable to the late 4th-early 3rd centuries BC is suggestive that the tomb was also reused in the early Ptolemaic Period.

            The most recent finds from the concession area are represented by fragments from a Late Roman amphora 7 datable to between the 5th and the 8th centuries AD and by medieval and Ottoman pottery decorated with cross hatching.



The EL-LAHUN SURVEY PROJECT initiated by the Museum of Fine Arts Budapest in collaboration with the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt and the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, University College London, is a multidisciplinary geoarchaeological fieldwork project applying geodesic, GIS, archaeological and remote sensing methods to study the architectural landscape of the area in the neighbourhood of the modern village of el-Lahun (c. N29°14' – 29°16', E30°58' – 31°0'). The site is bordered by the Bashkatib cemetery on the west, the Table Hill on the north, the temple-town complex on the east, and the edge of the high desert plateau on the south.


The primary aim of the project is to assess and record the current state of the site as a whole, and through the utilization of data from both previous excavations and current fieldwork, to achieve a deeper understanding of the architectural landscape during different periods, and the relationship between the site and the accompanying environmental factors. The project is committed to carrying out a risk analysis for the archaeological remains most open to deterioration to promote their longer-term preservation.

Brief overview of the site

The archaeological landscape of the ancient site near the modern village of el-Lahun is dominated by the ruins of the royal necropolis and an adjacent settlement founded by Sesostris II (c. 1880–1873 BC). The mortuary precinct, comprising the king's mud-brick pyramid (envisaged as a tomb of Osirian character) with its subsidiary chapels and a small cult pyramid in the north-eastern corner, also incorporated eight mastabas and the shaft tombs of the royal family. The almost completely dismantled temple dedicated to the royal mortuary cult is situated at some 1200 m distance, east of the pyramid, neighbouring the extensive settlement site, most often referred to as 'Kahun' in the scholarly literature instead of her ancient name Hotep-Senwosret-true-of-voice. The town-site is actually a compound of a western strip of domestic buildings once accommodating the personnel of the temple, and a much larger eastern part having been an important urban centre during the late Middle Kingdom. The site yielded a great wealth of finds including two major papyrus archives, which are amongst our most valuable sources on life, administration and cult-management at a late Middle Kingdom royal foundation. The internal organisation of the town-site, divided into elite versus non-elite sectors, is the architectural reflection of social stratification. The royal monuments as well as the nearby burials of the highest officials of Sesostris II's court have all been heavily looted still in antiquity; most of them having been deprived of their stonework, which makes the identification of their owners rather difficult. Several of these tombs were reused during the New Kingdom as well as the Third Intermediate and Late Periods. Surface burials attested across the settlement site and ceramic evidence suggest that a portion of the town was still inhabited during the New Kingdom, presumably by workers quarrying the monuments for their stonework, though the extent of this settlement within the enclosed area is yet to be defined. Despite the preponderance of features of Middle Kingdom date, the preserved remains of the site range from the Early Dynastic times (Bashkatib cemetery) up to the Coptic Period (indicated by stray finds and a high number of intrusive graves over the temple area and especially in the northern sector of the settlement).


The mud-brick pyramid of Sesostris II

The relatively scant documentation of the site during the early fieldwork seasons, however, does not meet the current standards of Egyptian archaeology: hardly any of the individual find-spots were recorded even for papyri and sealings, only a selected corpus of pottery and tomb equipment was published instead of the full content, and plans were provided exclusively for architectural remains deemed by
the excavator to be of special interest. Despite the town being the most extensive settlement site from late Middle Bronze Age Egypt, no information was given by Petrie about its stratigraphic and building sequences. Moreover, the systematic re-investigation of selected residential buildings by the expedition of the Royal Ontario Museum has revealed discrepancy and deficiency in Petrie's plan of Kahun, and limited excavations at still unexplored or just superficially surveyed areas have brought to light traces of structural remains suggesting vast areas under intensive utilization in antiquity, perhaps accommodating installations known up-to-now from the textual sources alone. Since Petrie's days, the ancient site has been heavily eroded and disturbed by illicit plunderers and local brick robbers. The present condition of the monuments calls for urgent documentation and preparing plans to promote their long-term preservation.


The mayoral residence has undergone rapid deterioration during the past ten years


The first and relatively short fieldwork season took place from 18th until 30th October, 2008. The mission has accomplished the work on the following areas:

Initiation of the long-term mapping project aimed at producing a 1:1000 archaeo-topographic map of the site.Surveying three distinctive sections of the vast monumental area.Sampling the ceramic material found during the field-walks in association with archaeological features, and sampling the large concentration of sherds found in pottery heaps north of the temple area.As requested by the SCA, the recently excavated portion of the valley temple has been cleaned, photographed and mapped.Photographing and mapping of the recently unearthed mud-brick constructions on the south side of the pyramid.Re-investigation of the old excavation dumps in the southern sector of the temple area in search for decorated limestone fragments.


The main objective of this research panel was data capture (locations and elevations) in order to produce a 1:1000 archaeological topographic map in the future, available for recording the mapped architectural remains as well as each individual find-spots recorded during the survey. As preliminary to all kinds of fieldwork method, including recent and future excavations of the SCA, a grid-system has been laid over the area concerned.

The available survey map of this area is at scale 1:25.000, produced in 1928 and edited in 1950, which is inappropriate to serve as the base of our work. The projection system of the new Egyptian topographic map is the Universal Transverse Mercator, based on the Clarke – 1880 ellipsoid. However, as no geodetic survey points might have been located in the area investigated, a system based on UTM projection of the WGS-84 ellipsoidal was preferred facilitating the location of registered archaeological features by GPS receivers.
Geodesic work in this season focused on the area of the valley temple and that of the settlement site. A grid system composed of 10 x 10 m squares has been laid as preliminary to the archaeological as well as architectural survey. The area covered will provide precise data on location and elevation of points selected, but features beyond the specified area have been recorded on the available survey map and a satellite image. Data processing and mapping will be accomplished subsequently in Hungary.


During this short season, three sections of the vast area have been surveyed.

During the first field-walk, we set out from the main East Gate of the settlement, and proceeded towards Petrie's Table Hill. Each feature observed has been recorded by its GPS coordinates, dimensions, and a short description. Photographs have been taken, and samples have also been collected from the associated material wherever it was possible. The survey records include concentrations of stone implements, and some oval and rectangular pits with a few sherds scattered around. These depressions might well indicate graves, yet how they were once related to Cemetery 900 in the nearby, needs to be clarified. On top of Table Hill, a large and deep shaft has been located – evidently excavated by Petrie or some of his colleagues some time between 1914 and 1921. At a distance of about 6 m from the E side of the shaft, a fragment of a stone scarab amulet was found.The second survey route started from the eastern face of the pyramid, just beyond the heaps of debris, and ended on top of a small hill, situated north of the pyramid precinct at some 800 m. There we observed a rectangular shaft and several pits in the vicinity. A faience udjat-eye amulet was found.The extensive cemetery south and west of the temple area, labelled temporarily as South Cemetery, has been surveyed twice, as we were informed about plans of the SCA to remove the humps (in fact old excavation dumps still rich in finds) from this burial ground in the not too remote future. The area contains clusters of shallow pits and rock-cut tombs – all plundered and later excavated by Petrie's men without providing plans and data on tomb content. Apparently, the groups of burials differ in terms of date and possibly of social strata. Sample graves representing various tomb-types have been recorded in full, and sherds have been collected to specify the chronological sequence of the burial ground. Around the southernmost pits, pieces of pottery coffins have been found, of the type which was in use from the Late up to the Ptolemaic Period.

Surface pottery collection and analysis

In 2008, ceramic material has been collected from two different contexts: from various find-spots located in the course of the survey, and from the so-called "temple heap" situated north of the valley temple.

The corpus of sample sherds collected during the field-walks was composed of mostly small, undiagnostic sherds (ca. 130 pieces in total), and some 30 diagnostic pieces.Owing to the extremely large concentration of sherds in the area partly overlapping the "temple heap", the sampling was based on 5 x 5 m and 2 x 2 m squares. Every single sherd – whether diagnostic or not – has been
collected from the 2 x 2 m sample squares, whereas only diagnostic pieces have been picked up from the rest of the area.
By the end of the season, the total of ca. 1000 sherds have been collected including some 200 diagnostic. 103 pieces were kept for drawing, photographing and further analysis; these were transported to the magazine in Kom Aushim.

Architectural survey

The architectural survey focused on recording all visible architectural remains including recently excavated structures like the unearthed portion of the valley temple, the mud-brick constructions situated south to the pyramid, and remains excavated by the Illahun Expedition of the Royal Ontario Museum between 1988 and 1997 in the settlement site. The architectural documentation was based on the 5 x 5 m squares as part of the 10 x 10 m grid laid by the surveyors. The architectural remains have been drawn at a scale of 1:50 or 1:20, and will be converted by subsequent digital processing into a reproducible A3 and A4 format appropriate for publication. All plans will then be inserted into the general topographical map of the site. The architectural survey also included taking levels across areas excavated, and data capture as preliminary to producing 3D-reconstruction models.


During his two fieldwork seasons at the valley temple area, Petrie managed to retrieve only a small amount of limestone fragments with painted relief decoration from the ruins of the dismantled temple, although he claimed that his workers had explored all dumps in search for pieces of sculpture and relief fragments. Since Petrie's days, the systematic re-excavation of other Middle Kingdom royal cult complexes has not only revealed that the temple of Sesostris II was an important station in the evolution of royal mortuary temples, so to gain a better view of its structure would be inevitable, but provided a solid background for the reconstruction of the decoration programme of these royal mortuary temples. For this reason, and also to test the archaeological potential of these old excavation dumps, the heaps situated in the southern area of the valley temple have been systematically investigated. Despite the brevity of the season, altogether 69 decorated limestone fragments have been collected from the surface of these heaps (some in painted reliefs). These include pieces of modest size which would hardly allow reconstructing whole scenes or motifs; a part of them once belonged to the temple's monumental inscriptions. Nevertheless, the high number of surface finds indicates the high archaeological potential of these heaps, which need to be thoroughly reinvestigated before being removed by the SCA.

The expedition

In season 2008, the el-Lahun expedition of the Museum of Fine Arts Budapest included:
ZSOLT VASÁROS and MARCEL HELLENDAHL, architects (Research Institute for Visualization, Architecture and Archaeology), ASHRAF EL-SENUSSI, archaeologist (SCA), MÁTÉ PETRIK, archaeologist-egyptologist (Museum of Fine Arts Budapest), LÁSZLÓ SZŰCS and ÁKOS GREGORI surveyors (Szent István University Department of Public Utility and Civil Engineering), and ZOLTÁN HORVÁTH, egyptologist (Museum of Fine Arts Budapest).


First of all, I thank all members of the expedition for their invaluable work in the field. Furthermore, I am highly indebted to all persons and institutions supporting and facilitating our work at el-Lahun: Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt, Mr. Magdy El-Ghandour, Chairman of the Permanent Committee and General Director of the Department of Foreign Missions' Affairs, Dr. Abdel Rahman Al-Ayedi, General Director of Antiquities of Middle Egypt, Mr. Ahmed Abdel Aal, Director of the Fayum Inspectorate, and I would especially like to thank Mr. Mohamed Rageiy Abdel Hakeem for his able assistance as inspector of the SCA. In Hungary, thanks must go to Dr. László Baán, General Director of the Museum of Fine Arts Budapest, Dr. Ferenc Makovényi, Dean of the Szent István University, Department of Public Utility and Civil Engineering, Dr. Éva Liptay, Head of the Department of Egyptian Antiquities, Museum of Fine Arts Budapest, and Dr. Ulrich Luft, Department of Egyptology, Eötvös Loránd University Budapest. I am also grateful to Dr. Stephen Quirke, University College London for acting as a scientific supervisor.

Zoltán Horváth


TT 184 Zoltán Fábián's report 2008

Theban Tomb 184 (Nefermenu)

and the Upper Section of the South Slope of El-Khokha – 2008

(Hungarian Archaeological Mission)


Zoltán Imre Fábián


The research area of the Hungarian Archaeological Mission working in and around Theban Tomb 184 covers the 46 m wide upper section of the south slope of the El-Khokha hillock, Qurna.[1]

            In past seasons the actually accessible parts of the rock cut shrines, sloping passage and burial chamber of TT 184 (Nefermenu, 19th Dynasty) were identified, excavated, and partly restored. Its forecourt(s) and the "northern" half of the transverse hall are, however, part of a modern building; their excavation has been postponed until the owners gain some new abode. Given that the monument is a typical post-Amarna Theban tomb, the area above its rock cut parts had also been researched and – as expected – the remains of a probably pyramid-like superstructure have been exposed. No epigraphic evidence proves, however, that it once belonged to TT 184. The research has also resulted in exploring further rock cut monuments, and the chronological position of these and the already known and partly recorded tombs has also been investigated. Their archaeological context and relation to TT 184 needed further excavation. The closest one to the superstructure is an eight-pillared saff tomb, where excavation began years ago, but its clearing from debris was hindered by the very fragile state of the bedrock.

            The long-term purpose of the ongoing research is the investigation of this relatively small section of the Theban necropolis, where ancient monuments were created from the Old Kingdom, through the Middle and New Kingdoms and later periods as well: outlining its history, accumulating data on chronological and prosopographic problems, examining changes in burial customs, architectural designs, inscriptional and decoration materials of mortuary monuments related to the funerary beliefs of different periods. In 2008, the following activities were thus scheduled:[2]


1.      Excavation in the forecourt and in the transverse hall of TT 184. This activity has not been possible as Bet Boghdady, the modern house is still standing above the forecourt.

2.      Excavation, architectural survey and systematic restoration in the upper section of the south slope of El-Khokha including TT 204, 205, 206, Tombs (Kampp) -41-, -42-, -43- and further related monuments explored in past seasons, including the above mentioned saff tomb.

3.      Analysis, restoration and recording of finds excavated in the earlier and the present seasons.


I. The investigated monuments and changes in their state of preservation


At the beginning of the 2008 season, a survey was carried out related to the possible changes in the state of the monuments under investigation since last years work. It can be established that in the upper row of the rock cut tombs (TT 204, 205, 206, Tombs (Kampp) -41-, -42-, -43- and Saff 1), the state of preservation indicates no change. The cracks and damage of the decorated surfaces of TT 184, however, show that the pressure of the modern house above the monument has a rather undesired effect on the ancient artefacts (Fig. 1). The previous owners of the house have passed away, but new heirs have appeared who do not live in the house and do not seem to intend to reoccupy it, but whose insistence on their heritage delays the government program of removing modern buildings standing above ancient monuments. The house, called Bet Boghdady does not only damage the painted reliefs of TT 184 (Nefermenu), but it also occupies the space above TT 412 (Qen-Amun, 18th Dynasty) and TT 185 (Seny-iqer, Old Kingdom), possibly not with an advantageous influence on their architectural and decorative elements.

            I am very sorry to report here that one of the Old Kingdom reliefs on the façade of TT 185 behind the house has apparently suffered some damage: it seems to have been whitewashed together with the outer walls of the eastern part of the mud brick construction of Bet Boghdady after I left the site in April 2007 (Figs. 2–4). This deliberate damage can hardly be reasoned and I am not able to find any explanation for the motivation of such a grave attack against one of the most ancient monuments of the whole necropolis.


II. Excavation, architectural survey and restoration on the south slope of the El-Khokha


In past seasons, GPS mapping of the surface under investigation was carried out. The digitised map was developed with details after an architectural survey of the rather ruined and partly cleared monuments of TT 204, 205, 206, Tombs (Kampp) -41-, -42-, -43- and further related monuments explored during the research.

            In 2008, work was mainly concentrated on the excavation of two parts of the site: the eastern saff tomb of the slope (Saff 1) and some related monuments, and on the surface west of Bet Boghdady.


1. Saff 1 and related monuments


The eight-pillared façade of the saff tomb had already been exposed in earlier seasons. Its portico-room suffered rather much damage in both ancient and modern times. The ceiling collapsed with only a small portion of the western corner surviving. In the eastern part several phases of ancient reuse can be pointed out.

            The special subjective of the excavation in Saff 1 in this season was aimed to point out the burial place that belonged to the first, original phase of the tomb,[3] most probably prepared in the Middle Kingdom. The whole monument including the axial corridor and side chambers of the tomb had already been explored and the architectural features recorded. Three shafts have been identified in the monument and a breach in the rear wall of the axial corridor. Last year, the latter was excavated and it turned out that from the top of the El-Khokha hillock a 5.80 m deep shaft tomb with a burial chamber on the north was carved in the limestone, with a possible dating to the New Kingdom as indicated by the rectangular shape and measurements and general outlook of the shaft. However, the earliest, very few and fragmentary New Kingdom finds are mixed with much later ones to such an extend that I would not rule out even an early Late Period dating either.

            A further chamber was also detected on the south of the shaft, at a lower level, which had the connection to the saff tomb, too, through the breach at the rear wall of its axial corridor. As last year the floor level of this chamber south of the shaft was not yet reached, all architectural elements appeared to indicate that the shaft tomb may have been expanded with this further chamber (Fig. 5). Now that digging could go on, the exposed architectural elements allow a new interpretation of what was thought to be the southern part of the shaft tomb (Fig. 6).

            The rock cut floor level (6.90 m deep from the mouth of the shaft), which was considered as that of the south chamber continues in ten steps of a stairway to the south, reaching a further entrance, where the steps go on in a roughly carved chamber (width: around 1.60 m, height: around 1.70 m). Then the passage again continues to the south and turns west. This section of the passage has been cleared from debris but it is much longer and deeper than expected. The actual depth of the passage is more than 6.70 m from the floor level of the "southern chamber", 13.60 m from the mouth of the shaft (Figs. 7–9). Further seasons are, however, needed for understanding the character of this feature.

            At the moment I can propose the following interpretation. The western wall of the "southern chamber" is related to a passage giving access to TT 205 (Thutmosis, 18th Dynasty). As it is still covered by debris, it was considered to be a breach last year. Now, however, as the two connected passages appear to be parts of one and the same monument, I am more convinced that the 18th Dynasty monument of TT 205 could have a later phase of reuse, probably in Ramesside times, when a long sloping passage was created leading east, whose descending staircase part has been detected during this season.

            The chronological framework of the related monuments can thus be outlined as follows:

            Centuries after the Middle Kingdom saff tomb had been created, TT 205 was carved west of it together with other decorated New Kingdom rock cut tombs in the upper row of El-Khokha, probably including "TT 206" directly above the saff tomb. TT 205, which – according to 18th Dynasty standards – has a burial shaft in its forecourt, was then reoccupied in Ramesside times, when a sloping passage was added. It opens in the northern axis of the tomb chapel, and first turns to the east, then, with the staircase to the south, and then back to the west. Its actually known course can be followed for about 20 metres. If the New Kingdom dating of the shaft opening from the top of the hillock is correct, one of the two monuments cut in the other. If a Late Period dating is taken in consideration for the shaft − as shabtis, cartonnage and wooden coffin fragments indicate – by its creation the Ramesside sloping passage was disturbed.

            In this time the rear wall of the Middle Kingdom saff tomb was probably still intact, but soon a further shaft was dug inside "TT 206" just above this rear wall. This shaft destroyed the rear wall of the axial corridor of the saff tomb. Probably a part of the ceiling also collapsed then, including the floor of a further tomb, (Kampp) -43- (Neb-mehyt ?, Ramesside phase certain), and five monuments were thus interconnected: Saff 1 – "TT 206" – (Kampp) -43- – the Ramesside sloping passage (of TT 205 ?) and the shaft tomb of the top of the hill.

            I have also examined the area around the mouth of the shaft on the top of the hillock in the hope that remains of the superstructure of the construction can be detected. The 0.5–1 m debris, mostly the waste of the nearby modern houses has been cleared from the bedrock in a trapezoid surface of 3–4 m. Apart from the greyish patches of the lower part of the solidified debris, however, no trace of any construction can be pointed out (Fig 10).

            The excavation of the saff tomb itself revealed the outlines of three shaft-like features during previous seasons: one at the end of the axis, oriented east-west, the other in the north eastern corner of the eastern side room of the axial corridor, oriented south-north and the third one in the western side chamber of the axial corridor. The measurements of the outlines of the shafts are rather similar: 200/210 x 90/110 cm, rather characteristic. Two of them have now been excavated, the ones in the axis and in the eastern side room. The latter (Fig. 11) has proved to be the place of only one coffin with its depth of around 1.30 m (length: around 2 m, width: 0.9 m, Fig. 12). The cavity, as usual, contained rather mixed finds. Besides broken human remains (skull, mummified foot, long bones and also burnt body fragments), a considerable amount of mummy wrapping, a few varnished black-yellow coffin fragments, only one Third Intermediate Period shabti, pottery sherds of different periods, a sandstone fragment with some hieroglyphs, a fragmentary funerary cone and a modern iron sickle were found together.

            The other shaft-like feature oriented east-west (2.05 x 0.85–0.90 m), in front (south) of the rear wall of the axial corridor of the saff tomb (Figs. 13–15) proved to be a staircase (Figs. 16–17) leading to a roughly rectangular chamber on its west (2.10 x 2.20 m, height: 0.9–1.15 m, Fig. 18–19). Five steps descend to a depth of 1.60 m, where an entrance was begun on the north, but work then abandoned. This seems to be result of the detection of the already existing sloping passage (of TT 205 ?), though this cannot date the western chamber, which may already have existed when the attempt to hew the northern entrance was made. The western chamber, though its outlook indicates rough work, is rather elaborate in certain respects. As the more solid limestone layer of the floor in the saff tomb is topped by a taffla layer, just at the ceiling line of the small, western chamber, the bedrock is very fragile here. At the entrance of the chamber, the ceiling was stabilised with the application of an inlayed architrave of suan stone (25 x 90 cm, Figs. 15–16, 20). The architrave was also fixed with mortar, whose remains survive in the southern corner of the inner side (Fig. 21).

            The finds are again rather mingled both in the staircase-shaft and the western chamber. Piles of faience beads of nets and coffin fragments may mark Third Intermediate or Late Period burials (bones, mummified human remains of several individuals), but a considerable amount of the Middle Kingdom pottery set related to that of the upper sections of the saff tomb would date an earliest dating possibility (Figs. 22–28). I would however be careful with the dating of the construction on the basis of the earliest finds, as the bulk of the well preserved Middle Kingdom pottery material was found in other places of the saff tomb. Still, though no Middle Kingdom coffin fragment has yet been identified in the wooden material of the western chamber, it cannot be ruled out with certainty that this was the place of the original burial reused in later periods. The excavation of the third shaft in the western side room of the axial hall may perhaps provide some further data on the burial chamber of the Middle Kingdom monument.


2. Excavation in the area of Bet Bogdady


The large mud brick structure standing above the forecourts of TT 184 and TT 185 also partly covers TT 412 (Qen-Amun, 18th Dynasty). As the building is still in place, no attempt could be made during this season to research the monuments beneath it. Excavation was begun however, west of the building in order to clear up the connections of already known ancient monuments. East of the line of the forecourt of TT 32 (Djehutimes), a 3 m wide north-south trench was deepened 1 m and then widened another 3 m to the east, so that access is still provided towards the house. The researched area thus covers a 6 x 11.5 m surface. As remains of the stone built walls between TT 412 and TT 413 could soon be detected, the trench was deepened another half metre in its northern half. (Figs. 29–30)

            About 3.5 metres high above the assumed forecourt's floor level of TT 413, a small mud brick chapel turned out to have been built apparently on debris, and stuck to the above mentioned stone walls separating the two monuments (Fig. 31–33). (Measurements of bricks: 35 x 15 x 10 cm.) The walls of the construction are standing at a ca. 1 m maximum height (Fig. 34), and it is surrounded by a plastered pavement on the southern and western sides. The outer surfaces of the walls are white plastered. The door opens approximately in the axis of the southern wall (width: 81 cm, remains of mud brick threshold and nests for jambs). This southern wall, in the eastern corner is supported by a pilaster-like feature, thus its outer length is 310 cm. At the corner of right angle, after 80 cm the mud brick wall continues to the north, and the north-western corner also survives (length of western wall: 3.40 m). The width of the mud brick walls are 60 cm on the south and around 52 cm (1 cubit ?) on the west. The floor of the apparently one-room building also survives in the south western inner corner (Fig. 35), and the inner measurements are also clear: 1.90 x 2.32 m.

            The painted decoration survives in several places on the inside walls of the building. Rather well preserved 18th Dynasty style scenes can be reconstructed: the owner stepping outside on the eastern thickness of the entrance (Fig. 36), scenes of "everyday life" specifically "workmen scenes" on the south wall, depicting preparation of bread and beer (Fig. 37–40), offering bearers on the western wall (Fig. 41–42), and the fragments of a deity's (?) throne in the north-eastern corner. Though the paintings seem to have been unfinished (hair and other details are only partly coloured, in larger areas only column separating lines are drawn without any inscription, Fig. 43), some fragments even bear witness to hieroglyphic texts: one is the beginning of an offering formula above a hkr frieze (Fig. 44), another seems to be the end of a personal name (... -btn ?, Fig. 45).

            The building obviously collapsed in antiquity, vault bricks and lots of larger fragments of the ceiling and the upper parts of the walls were also found in the debris, including the western part of the vaulted ceiling of the entrance (Fig. 46). The painting above the entrance depicts flying ducks.

            The preservation and possible reconstruction of the painted chapel pose rather complicated strategic questions as it seems to be standing on rubble in the forecourt of TT 413 (Unis-ankh, Old Kingdom). Temporarily, until further treatment all the walls have been covered with courses of mud bricks, and the whole construction with plywood in order to protect the surviving walls, paintings and plastering.


Cairo, 22nd March, 2008.


List of Figures



"Southern" wall in the transverse hall of TT 184, with new cracks.


Relief on the facade of TT 185 in 2007 and 2008, now whitewashed.


Newly whitewashed walls of Bet Boghdady.


The presumed "southern chamber" of the Khokha shaft tomb before excavation in 2008.


The "southern chamber" turned out to be the stairway part of a sloping passage.


The steps of the sloping passage from above, from the north, and form below.


The cleared area around the mouth of the shaft on the top of the El-Khokha.


The shaft in the eastern side room of the saff tomb, before and after excavation.


The shaft in the axis of the saff tomb, in front of the rear wall, before and after excavation.


The staircase-shaft from the east.


Steps leading down to the western chamber.


The western chamber.


Position, plan and section of the western chamber with its staircase-shaft in the axis of the saff tomb.


The architrave-like feature above the entrance of the western chamber, with mortar fixing it in the inside corner.


Characteristic vessels from the western chamber, added to the material of previous seasons.


The excavated area west of Bet Boghdady before and after excavation.


18th Dynasty painted mud brick chapel west of Bet Boghdady, south of TT 413, from the south and from the north.


Position of the 18th Dynasty painted mud brick chapel west of Bet Boghdady, south of TT 413.


Nine surviving courses of the western mud brick wall of the painted chapel. The floor was above the first course of the bricks built on the debris.


Surviving floor of the chapel.


The deceased person depicted stepping out of the chapel, on the western thickness of the entrance.


"Workmen scenes" on the south wall of the chapel, depicting preparation of bread and beer.


Details of "workmen scenes" on the south wall of the chapel.


Offering bearers depicted on the eastern wall of the mud brick chapel, and on a fragment found in the debris.


Column separating lines are drawn without any inscription, on a painted fragment from the chapel.


The beginning of an offering formula above a hkr frieze.


The end of a personal name (?) on a fragment from the mud brick wall of the chapel.


Western part of the vaulted ceiling of the entrance in the mud brick chapel.


[1] For the details of the Hungarian Mission's work at the site, see my Preliminary Report on the First Two Seasons in Theban Tomb 184 (Nefermenu), SAK 24 (1997) 81–102; Nefermenu (TT 184), April 2003, ASAE 79 (2005) 41–59; Theban Tomb 184 (Nefermenu) and the Upper Section of the South Slope of El-Khokha Hillock – 2005, Acta Arch. Hung. 58 (2007) 1–42; and also my reports submitted to the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt on 3rd April 1996, 8th April 1997, 27th April 1998, April 1999, 6th April 2000, 26th April 2001, 28th March 2002, 7th April 2004, 28th March 2005, 8th April 2006, and 1st April 2007. For the location and general description of the site cf. Porter–Moss, Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Reliefs, and Paintings, I. The Theban Necropolis, 1. Private Tombs, Oxford 19602, 290–291, Plan: 282, Map IV. D-5, c, 9; Survey of Egypt 1921, Map of El-Khôkha and Assâsîf c-9; and Kampp, Fr  Die thebanische Nekropole zum Wandel des Grabgedankens von der XVIII. bis zur XX. Dynastie, /Theben 13/ 1996, 474, Beilage, Plan IV. H-3.

[2] The season was carried out from 16th February to 17th March, in 27 workdays, when 6–23 workmen were employed on six days of the week. The members of the staff were as follows: Zoltán I. Fábián, field director; Noémi Darvas, Egyptologist, recorder; Emese Farkas, conservator; Zsuzsanna Köllő, graphic designer, Bori Németh, Egyptologist, recorder. The Supreme Council of Antiquities was represented by inspector Ezz El-Din Kamal, Qurna. This work would have been impossible without the financial, material and other support kindly offered by the Hungarian Ministry of Culture and Education and the National Scientific Research Fund of Hungary (OTKA).

[3] For the location and architectural arrangement of possible burial places in similar monuments, see D. Arnold, Das Grab des Jnj jt.f, /AV 4/ Mainz 1971, 36–48.




28 29 30 31 1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31


No events


No events