Tomb of Khaemhet (TT57)

Khaemhet, who was also called Mahu, was a royal scribe and ‘Overseer of the Granaries of Upper and Lower Egypt’ during the Dynasty XVIII reign of Amenhotep III. His tomb can be found in the village area of Sheikh ‘Abd el-Qurna very close to the tomb of Userhet and near to the tomb of Ramose.

The tomb has three chambers and has superbly carved reliefs with an interesting range of subjects. Steep steps lead down into the courtyard where there is a remaining stela depicting canopic jars and the instruments for the ritual of ‘Opening the Mouth’.

A short passage leads to the transverse offering hall and here a cast has replaced the original relief of Khaemhet adoring and a hymn to Re which is now in the Berlin Museum. On the left-hand side of the entrance wall Khaemhet is shown in offering scenes to Amun-Re-Horakhty with butchers and offering bringers below. Agricultural scenes follow, showing the measuring and recording of the crop. The serpent-goddess Renenutet (Termuthis) in a shrine, suckles the infant king while Khemhet offers a sheaf of corn to her. At the end of this wall there are scenes of freight ships being unloaded and produce taken to market.

A niche at the southern end of the hall contains statues of Khaemhet and the royal scribe Imhotep with a relief of the deceased’s wife Tiyi between them and offering texts on either side.

The southern end of the eastern wall depicts reliefs of men bringing cattle before Amenhotep III who sits in his kiosk. (The original head of the king is also in Berlin Museum and replaced by a cast). On the other side of the entrance to the inner passage (north) another cast replaces reliefs of Khaemhet and other officials being rewarded by the king with a text from year 30 of the reign of Amenhotep III. The northern end wall has remains of offering scenes.

The right-hand side of the entrance wall depicts more agricultural scenes, with men measuring the crop. A mule-chariot is waiting while food is being prepared under the trees. A man is also asleep and a boy drinks from a waterskin under a tree while others are threshing grain, ploughing with oxen and felling trees. The harvest is offered to the gods and Khaemhet is also shown giving offerings on braziers.

Inside the wide passage on the left-hand side the funeral procession is depicted moving towards Osiris and the Western Goddess. The usual portrayals of mourners and burial goods are shown with boats below.

On the right-hand side wall the funeral rites are continued, showing Khaemhet in the ‘Fields of Iaru’, the idyllic Netherworld. The ‘Abydos Pilgrimage’ is also depicted here – note one of the boats even contains a horse and chariot. Priests and mourning women pay their respects to the deceased.

The passage leads to another transverse inner chamber with three statue niches each containing the remains of statues of the deceased and his relatives. There are also offering texts and litanies inscribed on the walls.


The tomb of Khaemhet is open 6.00am to 4.00pm in winter. A ticket for the tombs of Ramose, Userhet and Khaemhet can be bought at the ticket office.

~ by Su on February 7, 2009.