|One of the largest and most beautiful tombs of the Middle Kingdom on the hill of Qubbet el-Hawa is that of Sarenput I, which marks the apogee of funereal architecture in Asswan.
The provincial Nomarchs, living far from the Residence in Memphis, enjoyed autonomy and revenues, which allowed them to consider themselves as minor sovereigns.
Sarenput lived in the Middle Kingdom (~2055 - 1650 BC) reign of Senuseret (Sesostris) I (~1956-1911 BC)
The “biographical” inscription, which Sarenput
left in his tomb, well shows how this powerful character
I have built my tomb to show my gratitude to the king
Kheper-Ka-Ra (Senuseret I).
His majesty made me great in the land. I have overturned
very ancient rules and, it resulted that I reached the
sky in an instant.
I have employed artisans to work in my tomb and his
Majesty congratulated me highly and often in the presence
of courtesans and the Queen..
The tomb was equipped with palace furniture, decorated
with all sorts of accessories, filled with decorative
parts and provided with offerings. I should not want
for any necessary thing, it was at the treasure house
that all this was claimed for me. His Majesty saw to
it that I could have a good life. I was full of joy
at having succeeded in reaching the sky, my head touched
the firmament, I grazed the stars. I appeared like a
star. I danced like the planets, my town celebrated
and my troops were jubilant.
For me, the Elephantine gods extended the reign of His
Majesty as king they caused His Majesty to be reborn
for me in order that he might repeat millions of Sed
festivals for me, they granted him eternity as king
that he might install himself on the throne of Horus,
just as I had wished for him.”
Sarenput had no hesitation in according himself a stellar
destiny and, thanks to the notable's wishes,
the king of Upper and Lower Egypt could regenerate
himself eternally in order to permit Sarenput. to profit
from the same destiny. We see, nevertheless that, in
spite of the bragging, the proud Nomarch doubtless
considered himself a royal servant. This shows us that,
in the time of Sesostris I (Senwosret), royal authority
had been restored throughout the kingdom.
In 2016, a causeway leading to the tomb of Sarenput Iwas uncovered. It is made of blue sandstone, a building material only available in the area of Shat el-Saba Regal, near Kom Ombo, which was also used at the mortuary temple of Mentuhotep II at Deir el-Bahari and the temple for Satet on the Island of Elephantine.
The causeway is considered the longest ever found on the western bank of the Nile in Aswan, stretching for 133 metres to connect the tomb to the Nile bank. It is decorated with engravings, the most important of which are found on the eastern part of the ramp's northern wall and depict a group of men pulling a bull and presenting it as an offering to Sarenput (view EES1 and view EES2).
The decoration of the causeway was already underway in year 10 of the reign of Senwosret I (1910 BC). As the pottery shows, the causeway was in use for almost 600 years as a place of memory and funerary ritual activities.
Access to the tomb is via a monumental staircase,
which is an integral part of the funerary complex.
Unlike those of Sabni and Mekhu for example, it is
not perpendicular to the face of the cliff but makes
an angle of 85 degrees.
From the porch doorway, which gave access to the
forecourt, there remain two side jambs of fine limestone
(a rare stone in this region, probably imported from
far away), each carrying a portrayal of Sarenput
with his instruments of power, the Sekhem sceptre
and baton of authority.
The forecourt is cut directly into the slope. It
comprises a series of six decorated pillars surmounted
by architraves and which supported a roof, which
has today disappeared. The general effect reminds
us of a temple vestibule.
The façade of the tomb comprises hieroglyphic
inscriptions, above all around the door, which they
frame. Laterally, more figurative representations
Around the door are portrayals of Sarenput in the
form of larger-than-life statues as on pylons in
The first room, with 4 pillars, is decorated with
frescos and hieroglyphs painted in colour, though
-Hans Wolfgang Müller:
Felsengräber der Fürsten von Elephantine
aus der Zeit des Mittleren Reiches,
-Dietrich Wildung: L' âge d'or de l'Égypte,
SOME OF THE PHOTOGRAPHS ARE FROM MARJOLAINE MOREAU, THE OTHERS HAVE BEEN TAKEN BY ME IN AUGUST 2003.