Elaborately Painted Tomb for Nobleman and Amun Temple Guardian Uncovered in Luxor
A colorfully painted tomb dating to Egypt’s New Kingdom of the 18th Dynasty has been discovered in Luxor. Called the ‘Tomb of Amenhotep’, experts say it belonged to a nobleman and temple guardian for the Egyptian deity Amun. The highly decorated tomb walls reveal 3,000-year-old art.
Discovered by a team of American archaeologists in the city of Luxor, Egypt, the subterranean, T-shaped tomb’s plaster walls are brightly colored with paintings and hieroglyphics, reports International Business Times. This ‘Tomb of Amenhotep’ is said to date between 1543 and 1292 B.C.
It is not thought to be the final resting place of a Pharaoh Amenhotep, but is instead a tomb for a nobleman called Rebiu (and also referred to as Amenhotep) who was “the door-keeper of god Amun,” notes Egypt's Antiquities Ministry in a statement.
Brightly painted scenes cover the tomb walls. Credit: Egypt Antiquities Ministry
To confuse matters further, a 3,500-year-old tomb which was built for a goldsmith named Amenemhat and his wife Amenhotep, was also found in Luxor in 2017. That tomb, recognized as Amenemhat's tomb (or The Goldsmith’s Tomb) for the husband, was unearthed at the ancient cemetery of Dra' Abu el-Naga. It contained several mummies, wooden coffins, skeletal remains, pottery, shabtis, and jewelry.
Antiquities Minister Mamdouh el-Damaty says the title of gate- or door-keeper is believed to be the job description of a high official at the time.
The god Amun was a major figure in the ancient Egypt pantheon, the patron deity of Thebes. This ‘King of the Gods’ was known as a god of air and wind, and was later blended with solar god Ra to become the powerful Amun-Ra.
Amun, an ancient Egyptian god. Amun is usually shown as a striding man wearing a tall, plumed crown. Originally, Amun was depicted with red-brown skin but after the Amarna period he was painted with blue skin, symbolizing his association with air and primeval creation. Jeff Dahl/Wikimedia Commons
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Overall, the T-shaped tomb layout consists of a hall 16.7 feet (5.10 meters) in length and 5 feet (1.5 meters) wide and a chamber 8.2 feet (2.5 meters long) and 6.8 feet (2.1 meters) wide. An unfinished niche is carved out of the wall at the eastern end of the tomb, and a shaft found in the middle of the room makes researchers wonder if it might lead to a burial chamber. No remains or artifacts are reported to have been found.
Striking and elaborate, green and brown scenes cover the plaster walls of the tomb, depicting hunting, farming, and family life.
According to Reuters, Eldamaty says, “Many of scenes represent the tomb owner and his wife in front of an offering table and a view of a goddess nursing a royal child as well as scenes of the daily life.”
The tomb was vandalized in the ancient past for unknown reasons, but it is suspected that scenes or text representing deity Amun were removed during the reign of Pharaoh Akhenaten. Credit: Egypt Antiquities Ministery
The tomb is reported to have been deliberately damaged in the ancient past, with the names and titles of the tomb owner and the deity Amun purposefully erased. The destruction removed hieroglyphic texts and some of the scenes.
“Figures of the solar god Amun inside the tomb were intentionally erased and demolished by the followers of the heretic Pharaoh Akhenaten (1353B.C–1336B.C), who was the first recorded monotheist on earth,” Sultan Eid, Director of Upper Egypt Antiquities tells The Cairo Post.
Akhenaten was a revolutionary king who set about to reform the religion of the time by transforming faith in Amun Ra to the god of Aten (the Sun Disc), thereby creating the first monotheistic religion. Originally born under the name Amenhotep IV, he later changed it to Akhenaten, meaning ‘the glory of Aten’. Under his reign, images of Amun were obliterated throughout all Egypt-controlled territory.
Akhenaten’s revolutionary actions weren’t taken easily by followers of Amun Ra. As a result, his actions faced resistance and it wasn’t very long before his son Tutankhamen restored the old religion, disregarding his father’s actions.
The ‘Tomb of Amenhotep’ was unexpectedly uncovered during restoration work on another nearby tomb by the archaeology mission of the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE). Further excavations are planned for the entire archaeological site of Sheikh Abd el Qurna on the west bank of Luxor.
Featured Image: The ‘Tomb of Amenhotep’ for the guardian to deity Amun has been discovered in Luxor. Credit: Egypt Antiquities Ministry
By Liz Leafloor