April 6, 2012

The Tombs of the Royal Ladies | Ancient Egypt

The Tombs of the Royal Ladies 
In 1920, the shrines and shaft tombs of six young royal ladies - Henhenet, Kemsit, Kawit, Sadeh, Ashayt and Muyet - were found under the pavement at the back of Mentuhotep It’s tomb-temple. The youngest, Muyet, was only about five years old and none of the others were more than 20. Henhenet’s sarcophagus was made up of six limestone blocks fitted together on a sandstone base, but the lid was inscribed for Kawit and clearly did not belong to it.

Egyptian Tombs
Numerous other royal ladies were buried in the area too, including Queen Tem, who was the mother of Mentuhotep II Sankhkare. Another of Mentuhotep I’s queens, Neferu (his sister), lay buried in a tomb a little to the north. In later years this obstructed the building of Hatshepsut’s temple, but it was carefully conserved and obviously the object of interest for 18th Dynasty tourists. In spite of the earlier visitors, Herbert Winlock’s excavations recovered fragments of finely carved wall reliefs and some sad remains of Neferu’s funerary provision, including small wax ushabti figures.

The wooden Models of the Chancell or Meketre 
The tomb of Meketre, chancellor to Mentuhotep I, was located near his master’s, and built according to the contemporary fashion with a steeply sloping approach ramp and a huge entrance with a passage cut deep into the cliff face. Although the tomb had been heavily robbed and damaged in antiquity, investigations conducted by Herbert Winlock in 1919-20 revealed a small concealed chamber containing 25 of the most exquisite wooden models of daily life that have survived. The cache includes the great cattle count model, two female offering bearers, model butchers’ and bakers’ shops, granaries, weavers’ and carpenters’ shops, fishing skiffs and the great man’s flotilla, including the kitchen tender that obviously must have sailed unobtrusively down wind. There were even two models of Meketre’s porticoed house, complete with its garden pool shaded by trees.

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