Tomb of Sennedjem (TT1)

Sennedjem lived in Deir el-Medina, the village of the artisans, during the Dynasty XIX reigns of Seti I and Rameses II. He was one of the necropolis workers and his title was ‘Servant in the Place of Truth’.

This tomb was discovered intact in 1886. The burial chamber contained 20 mummies, 9 of them in coffins belonging to the deceased and members of his family, along with a rich hoard of funerary equipment, now in Cairo Museum and other museums.

Like many of the private tombs the paintings are simply executed, but remarkable for their colours and interesting scenes. The decoration in the burial chamber is on a yellow ochre background and is extremely well-preserved.

Sennedjem and his wife

The entrance to Sennedjem’s tomb is above the workmen’s village at Deir el-Medina. A very steep staircase leads to a small entrance chamber which originally had a decorated wooden door, now in Cairo Museum. In the short passage leading to the vaulted burial chamber Sennedjem is depicted worshipping the god Atum on the lintel, while on the right-hand side the solar cat slays the Apophis serpent. On the left side of the doorway are two lions facing the hieroglyph for ‘horizon’ (symbolising yesterday and today) and on the inner lintel the deceased is seen adoring the horizon disc held up by the goddess Nut.

To the left of the entrance (the southern wall of the burial chamber) Sennedjem is seen lying mummified on his lion couch tended by Isis and Nephthys as kites. His sons and other relatives are shown in the register below with a sem-priest named as Ramo, offering to the deceased and his wife Iy-neferti. They are dressed in their finest clothes and have perfume cones on their heads.

Sennedjem and his wife

On the western wall (moving in a clockwise direction) the top register below the vaulted ceiling are two Anubis jackals, guardians of the Netherworld gates, on shrines facing each other. Below, Sennedjem is with his wife Iy-neferti worshipping 11 gods of the Netherworld in two rows, led by Osiris and Re-Horakhty. Between the rows of deities is a text from the ‘Book of the Dead’ (Spell 190).

The first scene on the northern wall shows the deceased again mummified and lying on his funerary couch being attended to by a priest wearing the mask of Anubis with an accompanying text from the ‘Book of the Dead’ (Spell 1). The next scene depicts Sennedjem kneeling before a mummiform Osiris, who stands on the hieroglyph for ‘ma’at’, wears an atef crown and holds his sceptre and flail. The god is inside a shrine with an ‘imiut’ fetish (representing renewal) on either side of him. The third scene on the northern wall shows Sennedjem being led by Anubis who holds his hand, to Osiris. Above this is a little cameo of Sennedjem and Iy-neferti receiving offerings from Nut as a tree-goddess.

The most famous picture from the tomb of Sennedjem is on the eastern wall, which depicts in great detail the expected afterlife of the deceased and his wife in the Fields of Iaru. Here the deceased couple share a happy life sowing, ploughing and reaping an abundant harvest of grain and fruit, surrounded by the eternal waters of the Nile. In the register above, Sennedjem and Iy-neferti kneel before the gods Re-Horakhty, Osiris, Ptah and other deities, followed by a small son in a boat and another son performing the ‘Opening of the Mouth Ritual’. The register at the top of this wall shows two baboons worshipping the barque of Re during its morning journey.

The final scene in the tomb on the southern (entrance) wall shows the deceased and his wife worshiping 10 guardians of the Gates of the Netherworld, each crouching on a ma’at symbol and holding knives, with texts naming the gates and the guardians. The register below again portrays relatives of the deceased couple bringing bouquets and offerings and each one is named in the text.

Even the ceiling is brightly painted, with scenes and texts of the deceased worshipping different divinities. The whole tomb portrays in a very lively and colourful way, traditional funerary scenes from ‘The Book of the Dead’ and represents Sennedjem’s journey to the Netherworld and his life afterwards.


The tomb of Sennedjem is in Deir el-Medina, above the Village of the Workmen and is open from 6.00am to 4.00pm in the winter season. Tickets should be bought at the main West Bank ticket office before going to the workmen’s village. Tickets cost EGP 30 for the tombs of Sennedjem, Inherkau and the Temple of Hathor.

~ by Su on February 7, 2009.