This Theban Tomb, TT216, belongs to Neferhotep (II), the son of Nebnefer, who is the son of Neferhotep (I), thus the grandson of the latter, who both occupied the tomb TT6, which is next to TT216. These family links were dealt with in the description of tomb TT6.
These men had succeeded each other in the position of foreman (literally "leader of the team") on the right-hand side of the tomb, a post which their descendants continued to occupy during the greater part of the nineteenth dynasty, making the family one of the most influential in Deir el-Medina. It should be remembered that the work in a royal tomb was performed in parallel by two teams, one for the right-hand side and one on the left, there were two foremen who exercised authority at the same time (and only two), one for each side .
Neferhotep (II) was the son of Nebnefer and his wife Iy, succeeding his father Nebnefer around year 40 of Ramesses II and retained his place as foreman until year 5 of Sethy II, when he disappeared from the documentation.
His wife was called Webekhet and it is possible that this was the daughter of the foreman on the left, Baki.
It is known that Neferhotep had three brothers, who are listed in TT216: Pached (represented as a standard-bearer by two statues), and Anuy and Nebnefer (II). The couple seem to have had no children, because none are named in the chapel. However, Neferhotep distinguished a young boy "his servant (Hm) born in his house" called Hesysunebef, who seems to have become protected, professionally speaking. The latter seems to have occupied the post of "deputy of the left-hand side", a position he seems to have lost, between year 14 and year 24 of the reign of Ramesses III, to become again "a worker".
The disappearance of Neferhotep seems to have not been natural, if one can believe a comment made by his younger brother, Amennakht, in papyrus Salt 124, which says "the enemy killed Neferhotep". This enemy could be 'THE' famous Paneb, with a sinister reputation, whose many abuses have been reported extensively in the literature. Paneb would have wanted to legitimise his appointment as team leader instead of Amennakht, but it is also possible that Neferhotep disappeared during the troubled period which prevailed in Upper Egypt during the reign of Sety II.
TOMB 216 : LOCATION AND OUTER SURROUNDINGS
The ideal location
The tomb is ideally placed towards the top of the hill which overhangs the village on the west bank of the Nile, with a view of the whole site and to the east is a view of the Ramesseum, the Temple of Million Years of Ramesses II (see tb-ramesseum). The privileged location of the tomb, its size, the existence of two courtyards and an access ramp, testify to the influence and the eminent social position which were the those of Neferhotep.
The access ramp
This was built specifically for tomb TT216. It has a steep incline, it has a central flat area for raising the sledge carrying the mummy on its decorative framework and two side stairs for the procession. It is 13m in length and is oblique in relation to the forecourt and courtyard of the tomb. This was because it was necessary to take into account the presence of other tombs, including that of tomb TT8 of an architect named Kha. This ramp was not only useful for tomb TT216, but also those of Neferhotep (I) and Nebnefer (TT6) and the scribe Ramose (TT7), on either side of TT216, were able to benefit from it.
The top of the ramp and forecourt
At the top, the ramp leads to a platform, which further to the west, gives access to a forecourt. This was originally through a entrance in a wall with a double pylon, which is now almost lost. This forecourt then opens up to the main courtyard through yet another wall with a pyloned entrance. Thus, this entry to the tomb tends to resemble a Ramesside temple superstructure. The enclosing walls should have been about 2.80m in height, and as for the pylons, they were originally coated with whitewash.
This measures 10.80m in length, east-west, and 8.50m in width, north-south. The facade of the actual tomb is carved vertically into the hill and included, on both sides of the entry, a roof sustained by a column and a half column on each side (see gm-a). The roof protected the location of two stelae which marked the facade with, above each, an opening which permitted the lighting of the large chamber of the chapel. On either side of the entry to the chapel were two seated statues. On the left side being Kaha, foreman, possessor of tomb TT360 (which hopefully will be presented on Osirisnet). On the other side being his wife "The mistress of house, the chantress of Amon, Tuy" (see pm-P1120256 and pm-P1120266). On either side of the entrance to the chapel, at the same level as the top of the entry, is a opening (a window) which would allow light to enter the first chamber.
The whole chapel was destroyed by fire and little remains of the beautiful paintings which covered the walls. It consists of two chambers and at the end of the latter one is a niche. Although the scenes are now difficult to identify, they are the subject of a non commented slideshow (the link to the slideshow is found below).
This measures 2.15m in length and 1.43m in width. Most of it has collapsed and a good part of the ceiling, which was flat. About a quarter distance in is a narrower section and lower section of curved ceiling, supported by two column structures of a square section on either side.
The transverse chamber
This chamber measures 8.50m in width, 5.25m in depth and 3.20m in height.
• On the walls of the south (left) part of the chamber, are the remains of three registers. The upper one has the temple grotto of Anukis with a gazelle on the Island of Elephantine, and Ramesses II with a fan-bearer and the deceased before the bark of Amon-Re. On the middle register there are people kneeling, the Theban triad and three men before the god Osiris and Hathor. On the bottom register is the procession of Hathor, including fan-bearers, royal statues with captives on base, deceased with offerings, and bark of Hathor dragged.
• On the walls of the north (right) side of the chamber are various scenes. Dealing with them, starting on the east wall, are three registers. The upper two contain the deceased and his wife with girls making offering to them and banquet. The lower register has the deceased and his family fowling.
The next area has two registers. The upper one has two priests carrying the head of Anukis, and Satis with Khnum. The lower register is a continuation of the banquet.
Next is an image of the deceased before possibly Re-Harakhti and a goddess.
The next part of the walls is divided into two registers: the upper one having a kneeling woman, and the lower one with offerings and a kiosk.
Finally, is a scene of a man before Ramesses II in kiosk, and possibly the deceased and his wife adoring Re-Harakhti with a winged goddess.
• Middle of the west wall.
Here is the entrance to the longitudinal chamber. This is flanked on either side by a statue of the deceased's brother, Pached, standing and holding the stem of a bulwark (see pm-P1120246). On the right-hand statue he is accompanied by his wife.
The longitudinal chamber
This measures 8.70m in length, by 2.30m in width and 3.05m in height. Near the far left corner opens a shaft in the ground, giving access to the burial chamber, via an amazing route, which is described below.
• The entry has two outer jambs and then a wider section. On the outer jambs are the remains of text, with the deceased and his wife seated at the bottom. Both sides of the wider section have two registers. On the left, the upper register has the pilgrimage to Adydos with towed boats, and in the lower one is a boat on a lake and birds. On the right, the upper register has the deceased drinking below a palm tree and the remains of a cow.
• The left side wall has two registers. The upper one shows the deceased followed by his father, Nebnufer, and his other grandfather, Kenhirkhopshef, who was the "Royal scribe in the Place of Truth", and another man carrying a barge. Men with standards are before Osiris and Anubis. Kenhirkhopshef was the adopted son of Ramose, also the "Royal scribe in the Place of Truth" (= royal craftsman), of Ramesses II. The wife of Ramose, therefore the mother of Kenhirkhopshef, was Mutemwia, also known just as Wia. More details can be found about the scribe Ramose in tomb TT7. The lower register has an offering-scene to deceased and his wife.
• The right-hand wall has the deceased offering a brazier to the cow goddess Hathor in mountains protected by Amenhotep I, Osiris and Hathor in a kiosk, with Sokari on top of it, with five goddesses. Behind deceased, the wall is divided into three registers. In the upper one is a man offering to Osiris and there is an offering-list. In the lower two registers is a funeral procession to the tomb with priests, mourners, and men and oxen dragging a sarcophagus with a statue of deceased in the upper of the two, and men carrying funeral equipment in the bottom one.
• At the far end of the chamber, the wall on either side of the niche is decorated with a standing figure. On the right side is the god Min and on the left is Osiris (see pm-P1120233).
This was formed by cutting further into the rock and the entry is narrowed slightly by two pillar structures, 0.40m and 0.55m wide, as if entering by a doorway. This gives it the characteristic of a monolith shrine, as in a temple. It is entered by several steps (see again pm-P1120233). The floor of the niche is raised as if to form a seat - as in many shrines - but it doesn't seem that there were statues carved in the mountain as found elsewhere. On the left doorway thickess is an image of a squatting god facing into the niche. On the ceiling (see pm-P1120232) is a representation of the winged goddess Nut, on a background which imitates wood. This reflects the assimilation of a shrine for the coffin in which is placed the mummy. This has the effect of a domed lid having the representation of the goddess of the sky, who absorbs the deceased and makes him be reborn. On the west (end) wall stands, with a winged globe, a djed pillar between Isis and Nephthys. On the south (left) wall (see pm-P1120230) are the seated images of Horus, son-of-Isis, and Hathor. On the north (right) wall (see pm-P1120231) are the seated images of Anubis and Hathor. As already stated, the walls outside the niche have images of Min on the right and Osiris on the left.
BURIAL SHAFT AND CHAMBERS
The burial shaft is located in the far left corner of the longitudinal chamber, in front of, but to the left of the niche (see upper tomb plan). It measures 1.70 x 0.82m in cross-section and is 3.80m in depth.
In order to reach the actual burial chamber (D on the plan), it can be seen from the plan that it is necessary to pass through three interconnected chambers, each with a floor at a lower level than the previous one.
The burial chamber
The chamber has a different orientation, the rear wall being to the north (right) on entry, see the line drawing to the right. It has an arched ceiling which, like the walls, is decorated, however, regrettably, no images or photographs are available.
Bruyere, in his publications, describes scenes which were damaged by a fire, then by bats and hornets. According to Bruyere: The rear wall, to the right, has a tympanum (semi-circular) structure with Nephthys kneeling between the Anubis jackals. On the west wall are the deceased and his wife; they pray to the sun-disk. There are also baboons, the falcon of the West, four crouching demons, also a cat sits under an ished-tree and beats a snake. On the east wall are doorways and guards with knives. On the vaulted ceiling are, in the centre, two scenes: One has the gods of the east and west before an incarnate Djed-pillar with a scarab and sun-disk. The other has the winged tree-goddess Nut on a Djed-pillar, pouring a libation drunk by two images of the deceased.
At the bottom of the burial shaft, about fifty fragments were found which allowed to reconstitute a statue and two groups:
• The statue shows Neferhotep on his knees having in front of him a stele for worship of the sun.
• The first group shows Neferhotep seated on a chair which has legs ending with the paws of a lion. He is accompanied by his wife who stands to his right. Around his neck he wears a gold necklace, whilst his tunic has an extended front-piece; on the left side of the seat have been sculpted in bas-relief, a young naked boy. This is Hesysunebef, the deceased's protector, who holds out a bunch of grapes towards a monkey, who faces him and who is almost the same size; the boy is identified as "his servant, born in his house" (see yr-20 and Bruyère p41-fig1).
• The second group shows Neferhotep and his wife standing side by side.
Also on the site of this tomb have been found eight tables of offerings, including one in the name of Neferhotep.
| • BRUYERE Bernard : Rapport sur les fouilles de Deir el-Medineh (1923-1924), FIFAO, p.36-46, 1925.
• BRUYERE Bernard : Rapport sur les fouilles de Deir el-Medineh (1924-1925), FIFAO 3, p.16-17 and 30-42, 1926.
• PORTER Bertha, MOSS Rosalind : Topographical bibliography of Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic texts, reliefs and paintings, Second Edition, Part I, p.312-315, Griffith Institute, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 1994.
|Web page by Thierry Benderitter
Text by Thierry Benderitter
English translation by Jon Hirst
Photographs by Philippe Martinez (pm), Yann Rantier (yr)
Christiane Hachet (ch) Howard Middleton-jones, Massimo Moreni (mm)
Thierry Benderitter (tb), Gilberto Modonesi (gm)
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