Dishasha, (Deshasheh) to the west of the Nile in the Beni Suef region, is the nearest village to a cemetery of rock-cut tombs belonging to Old Kingdom officials, cut high into a cliff above the desert plain. The site is on the very edge of the cultivated land and accessed by a long flight of stone steps which lead up to the terrace containing the main tombs, above which the open desert stretches out towards the west.
The site was investigated by Petrie in 1897 and it was excavated under the auspices of the Egypt Exploration Fund. Petrie found tombs dating to Dynasty V and several artefacts. The site is probably best known for the tomb of Inty, which contains a rare relief depicting a siege of a fortified town and industrial scenes including woodworking. Two well preserved linen garments were found as well as pottery, now in the Petrie Museum in London. The tomb of Inty has attracted the most attention at Dishasha and is now closed by a large metal door. It was published by WMF Petrie, with a chapter by F Llewellyn Griffith in 1898.
In the serdab of the nearby tomb chapel of Nenkheftkha a typical Old Kingdom statue of the tomb owner was found. The limestone statue stands 134cm high and represents Nenkheftkha wearing a short kilt, short black wig, standing with his left leg striding forward and with arms by his sides (now in the British Museum). Another limestone statue of the owner and his wife Neferseshems, is now in the Museum of the Oriental Institute of Chicago. This statue pair measures 69cm high and shows Nenkheftkha is a similar pose to his serdab statue while his wife wears a close-fitting robe, necklace and long wig.
The entrances to other Dishasha Old Kingdom tombs are at present covered by sand, but the entrance chapels and courtyards, some with worn reliefs on their outer walls, can still be seen. There is a gafir at the site who usually holds the key to the tomb of Inty.
How to get there
The modern village of Dishasha, about 130km south of Cairo, is on the western edge of the cultivation, close to the Bahr Yussef canal, and 20km north-west of Biba. Ehnasya el-Medina (Herakleopolis Magna) is around 20km to the north of Dishasha and may easily be combined in one trip.