Japanese archaeologists from Waseda University have discovered a tomb that probably dates back more than 3000 years to the Ramesside Period of Ancient Egypt (c. 1292–1070 BC). The tomb’s owner was Khonsuemheb, chief brewer for the goddess Mut.

Image of Khonsuemheb and his family. Image: Institute of Egyptology, Waseda University

Led by Professor Jiro Kondo, the archaeologists were working in the Theban Necropolis, across the Nile from Luxor. The team discovered the well-preserved, T-shaped tomb while cleaning the forecourt of the tomb of Userhat, overseer of the king’s private apartment under Amenhotep III.

Khonsuemheb’s tomb is connected to an unfinished and unidentified tomb hewn in the southern wall of the forecourt of Userhat’s tomb.

“Stylistic elements that characterize the Ramesside period are shown in Khonsuemheb’s tomb, such as wall and ceiling decorations,” says Professor Kondo. For example, on a sidewall, Khonsuemheb, his wife Mutemheb and his daughter Isetkha are represented as statues. Several different motifs representing Khonsuemheb and his family are painted on the walls.

One wall depicts the scene of the funeral procession for Khonsuemheb’s burial, which also depicts a ritual to the mummy of Khonsuemheb by his son.

The tomb is crowned with a pyramid. In the centre of the ceiling are an image of the solar boat, the text of the “Hymn to the Sun God”, and two figures of Khonsuemheb making adoration.

Professor Kondo and his colleagues hope that future exploration will reveal further details about the tomb’s decorations and Khonsuemheb’s burial.

A 3000-year-old Egyptian noblewoman

Image: Institute of Egyptology, Waseda University

Since 1991, archaeologists from Waseda University’s Institute of Egyptology have been excavating an ancient necropolis at Saqqara, south of Cairo. In March 2009, a team discovered the previously unknown tomb of an Egyptian noblewoman, who may have been Princess Isisnofret, the granddaughter of Ramses II. This famed pharaoh ruled Egypt for about 66 years, from 1279 to 1213 BC.

Other notable projects include:
• In 1996, a joint Waseda University/Tokai University team discovered the large, free-standing tomb-chapel of Ipay, royal butler and royal scribe, at the Dahshur North Necropolis, south of Saqqara.
• Since 2002, Waseda archaeologists have worked with UNESCO and the Egyptian government to conserve and restore wall paintings in the royal tomb of Amenhotep III in the Valley of the Kings.
• In 2005, the intact tomb of Senu was discovered in Dahshur North Necropolis.
• In 2007, two intact rectangular wooden coffins belonging to Sobekhat and Senetites were excavated at the same site of Dahshur North Necropolis.

For more information about Waseda University’s archaeological discoveries, visit the website of Institute of Egyptology here.

For further information contact:

Professor Jiro Kondo
Institute of Egyptology
Waseda University, Japan
Email: jkondo@waseda.jp