Das Grab des Paenkhemenu (TT 68) und die Anlage TT 227

Mar 9, 2019

Das Grab des Paenkhemenu (TT 68) und die Anlage TT 227. Karl-Joachim Seyfried. Theben 6, Mainz: von Zabern, 1991.

Das Grab des Paenkhemenu (TT 68) und die Anlage TT 227 by Karl-Joachim Seyfried is part of a series of publications devoted to the Theban tombs of Ramesside officials produced by the Egyptological Institute of the Heidelberg University.

Project description

TT 68 is located in the northern part of the hill of Sheikh Abd el-Qurna in the Theban Necropolis, about 35m northwest of the well-known tomb of Menna (TT 69) and immediately south of the tomb of Hapuseneb (TT 67). It was known as the Ramesside tomb of the uab-priest of Amun of Karnak Paenkhemenu, usurped by the god’s servant Nespaneferhor during the end of 21stDynasty. However, recent excavations presented in this volume reveal that the tomb was initially prepared for the High Priest of Amun, Meryptah, whose career began under Amenhotep III. Altogether, four periods of use and usurpation were detected from the finds as well as the architecture and decoration of the tomb.

Decorative program

Chapter 4 of the publication is devoted to the study of the tomb decoration. The four phases of occupancy within TT 68 are as follows:

Phase I: Meryptah, High Priest of Amun, 18th Dynasty (Amenhotep III from year 20)

Epigraphic and iconographic remains are not detectable for this phase except for stamped bricks and a little mudbrick architecture which had been built over the court of the earlier tomb TT 227.

Phase II: Paenkhemenu, 20th Dynasty (Ramses III?)

Most of the decoration and textual program of the tomb has been created during this phase.

Phase III: Nespaneferhor, 21st Dynasty (Siamun)

A second burial shaft was dug out during this phase. The decoration program of the previous owner was apparently taken over unchanged, only the names and titles were whitewashed and re-inscribed or left "blank".

Phase IV: Hor, 21st Dynasty (Siamun - Psusennes II)

Finally, the tomb was again usurped by Nespaneferhor’s son, Hor. This phase is the most difficult to detect. Only Hor’s name was added in the text and decoration, though fragments of cartonnage bearing his name testify to his being buried here.

Documentation method

The material submitted in the publication was recorded in a total of three field campaigns and then prepared for publication in Heidelberg.

The small-scale scenes and all the texts were copied on a 1:1 scale on Ultraphan foil, then collated for the first time on the original, converted into ink in Heidelberg and compared with the manual copies. In the subsequent campaign, a photographic reduction of the ink drawing was collated a second time by at least one independent person in front of the original, and the corresponding changes were incorporated in Heidelberg in the original ink. These facsimilia are presented on a scale of 1:5 in the supplement.

The large-scale scenes and the ceiling texts were documented only photographically. They were drawn from photographs and then collated with the originals. Schematized wall plans were included in the publication to make the overall structures of the walls clear.

The team has also made attempts to reconstruct scenes of which very little is existing, such as a “Banquet scene”, where, with some certainty, four "guest groups" can be assumed per register (see Supplement II). See also a reconstructed scene below (Supplement VI b). Documentation of the walls and their surroundings, and the collations were done by C. Maderna, with the assistance of F. Werner and H. Roeder.

Visual example(s)

Supplement II: Traverse hall, north wing, east wall. Scenes include adorants before cult image, Nefertum emblem and Sokar bark; Banquet scene.

Color photo for Supplement II.

Supplement IV: Text 63-64, Traverse Hall, east wall, north wing.

Supplement VI b: TT 68, Traverse Hall, north wall. Entablature with flanking Djed-pillars.

Color photo for Supplement VI b.

Cartonnage fragments 118, 124 and 119+120 (Inked in 1:3).

Color codes provided for representing small objects 

What we like

  • Sophisticated and thoroughly applied outline drawing using single-weight Rapidograph ink lines, representing the boundaries of painted decorative elements. 
  • The amount of visual information this time-consuming method adds to the overall presentation can’t be overstated. Reproducing each paint stroke as a shape allows the artist to introduce an important new component: a simplified greyscale color code system built for indicating basic hues on the wall.

  • Although there isn’t one universally applied method for all the published material (two separate systems were developed for indicating color on small objects versus walls), the visual appeal of filling the outlined features with homogeneous textures can’t be denied.

  • The color code system developed for small objects is based on complex patterns, such as horizontal and vertical stripes, which might be confusing in relation with certain patterns the ancient artists applied on their own design. On the contrary, the system representing the walls by attributing each basic color with a dotted greyscale pattern has an immediate visual impact on distinguishing between light and dark painted features.

  • Applying a color code allows the artist to indicate the appropriate hue values even for the thinnest brush strokes, such as vertical text dividers or minuscule hieroglyphs as can be seen on Supplement IV.

  • Basic reconstruction drawn by randomized dashed/dotted single-weight lines is provided to fill in large damaged areas on the walls in order to complete the decorative program by representing basic features wherever they can be discerned.

Additional reading

You can purchase Karl-Joachim Seyfried: Das Grab des Paenkhemenu (TT 68) und die Anlage TT 227 (Theben 6, Mainz: von Zabern, 1991) through numerous retailers, including AbeBooks, Amazon.com or Amazon.de.

Additional material in the article was provided by: 

D. A. Aston, Reviewed Work: Das Grab des Paenkhemenu (TT 68) und die Anlage TT 227 by Karl-Joachim Seyfried, Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt (JARCE), Vol. 32 (1995), pp. 270-271. (The article can be downloaded from JStor.)

Précis and commentary by Júlia Schmied

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