Giza Western Cemetery
The cemetery to the west of the Great Pyramid is the largest of the Old Kingdom cemeteries at Giza and contains the mortuary chapels of many high-status officials of Dynasty IV. The western necropolis, which can be divided roughly into three separate areas, is dominated by the massive mastaba G2000, which was undecorated but appears to have been built for a person of very high rank during the reigns of Khufu or Khafre. The western cemetery is formed by long streets of mastabas built in blocks and intersected by other streets like modern city blocks.
The Tomb of Duaenre (G5110)
Duaenre’s tomb is one of the Giza tombs newly restored and opened to visitors. He was a son of the pharaoh Khafre and his mother was Meresankh III, whose tomb (G7530-7540) can be seen in the eastern cemetery. Duaenre held the office of ‘Vizier of Menkaure’ during the king’s Dynasty IV reign.
The tomb has an entrance on the eastern side which leads through a passage into the offering chapel. Remains of carved scenes of the deceased can be seen in the doorway, with his attendants carrying offerings behind him. Scenes on the walls of the chapel mostly represent offerings, with men bringing various animals, including gazelle, ibex and a goose as well as the usual illustrations of butchers. Another group of men carry other funerary goods and vessels, including a covered altar. On the western wall there are two false doors and on the southern wall is an opening into a serdab (statue chamber).
When Duaenre’s tomb was investigated by Shiaparelli around 1838, he found a burial shaft which contained an uninscribed red granite sarcophagus and lid, now in Turin Museum.
Tomb of Iymery (G6020)
The G6000 complex of tombs in the Western Cemetery is based on a block of four large mastabas in which were buried Shepseskafankh and his descendants, who served the royal family of Dynasty V for a hundred years. The central tomb of the block is that of Shepseskafankh (G 6040) which contained several burials. To the south, his son Iymery built his own family mastaba and to the east of this his son-in-law Iti (G 6030) built another. Later Iymery’s son Neferbauptah (G 6010) constructed his own tomb. These mastabas are all very large and emphasise the importance of this family.
When Lepsius entered Iymery’s tomb at the south-western corner of the western cemetery, he named it the ‘Tomb of Trades’ because of its colourful painted reliefs depicting many industrial scenes, including carpenters, goldsmiths, jewellers and sculptors at work. The tomb was popular with travellers in the 19th century, who carved their names on its walls. Iymery was the son of Shepseskafankh and Nikauhathor, probably during the reign of Niuserre of Dynasty V. His titles include ‘Prophet of Khufu’, ‘Steward of the Great Estate’ and ‘Scribe of the Archives’.
The entrance to this large tomb is again on the eastern side, with steps leading down into a vestibule which is decorated with many beautiful and important scenes of craftsmen at work. In this chamber Iymery is seen with his father Shepseskafankh, and other family members, including his son Neferbauptah (tomb G6010). On the west wall scenes of food production are shown, which include the brewing of beer in all its stages. An entrance passage here leads to a long recatangular hall, which has on the left-hand wall, three openings into a long serdab chamber, interspersed with well-preserved agricultural and fowling scenes and the funeral banquet, with male musicians entertaining the guests while Iymery is seated in his chair. Fishing and fowling in the marshes is also shown on the opposite wall and many other agricultural pursuits show such themes as tilling the earth and the birth of a calf. In a smaller chamber at the end of the long hall there are more offering scenes with musicians and dancers below and on its western wall is a false door of Iymery. To the north of this tomb is the entrance to a narrow decorated corridor chapel with two offering niches, dedicated to the ‘King’s Aquaintance’, Ity (G6030) who had married Iymery’s sister Wesertka. Iymery’s tomb has been recently restored and re-opened.
Tomb of Neferbauptah (G6010)
The tomb of Neferbauptah, the eldest of six sons of Iymery (G6020), has also undergone recent restoration and is open to visitors for the first time since discovery in the 1930s. The official’s titles were ‘Steward of the Great Estate’, ‘Prophet of Khufu, Sahure, Neferirkare and Niuserre’ during middle to late Dynasty V.
This large tomb comprises of five chambers plus a serdab on its southern side. The eastern entrance opens into a large courtyard containing two square pillars and the burial shaft but many of the scenes in this room are incomplete. An entrance to the south leads into another chamber with pillars and agricultural scenes on the walls. The third room to the south, is square in shape, again with two pillars and has three openings into the serdab chamber. Reliefs of the tomb-owner and his relatives can be seen around the doorway into a smaller chamber on the western wall. This small rectangular offering-chapel has the most important scenes in the tomb where the reliefs depict men bringing animals, including desert animals and cattle, led by the deceased’s eldest son, Neferseshemptah. Neferbauptah is shown with is wife receiving these offerings. Texts record the agricultural products and amounts of crops. On the end wall the tomb-owner is seated and receives a lotus flower and other offerings, according to the prescribed lists. The western wall contains two false doors with offering lists and vignettes of the deceased seated at a table with funerary priests and offering-bringers before him. The tomb also contains a life-size statue of the deceased carved into the wall.
Tomb of Iasen (G2196)
Iasen, ‘Tenant of the Royal House’ and ‘Overseer of Priests’ during Dynasty V or VI, was the owner of a small rock-cut tomb at the western side of the western cemetery. The tomb’s entrance leads into a long narrow vestibule with a false door stela. The main part of the tomb-chapel consists of a large rectangular room with a niche on the western wall containing a standing statue of Iasen, wearing a stiff triangular kilt, typical of the period. Reliefs in this chamber depict many scenes of offerings and preparation (including cooking scenes) for the funerary banquet. Musicians entertain the deceased, while men fill wine jars in the scene below. There are many colourful scenes of daily life and agriculture in this tomb. A small unfinished room is cut into the rock on the southern side of the chapel.
Tomb of Senedjemib-inty (G2370)
Several mastaba tombs dating to late Dynasty V and are grouped together in a modern courtyard at the north-west corner of the Great Pyramid. When investigated by Reisner’s team during the first half of the 20th century they were found to be in a poor state of preservation, but four of the tombs have recently been restored with the addition of protective ceilings, new wooden floors and lighting and the reconstruction of missing pillars and damaged wall reliefs. They are now open to visitors.
Senedjemib, whose ‘good name’ was Inty, was ‘Chief Justice and Vizier’, ‘King’s Architect and Builder in the Two Houses’ during the reign of Djedkare-Isesi of Dynasty V. His tomb chapel, fronted by a portico, consists of four other chambers, the last of which was a pillared hall containing the sloping burial shaft, where the inscribed granite sarcophagus of the tomb-owner was found. Unpainted reliefs in the tomb show many important scenes of daily life in the Old Kingdom, including industrial, agricultural and nautical scenes and priests performing the funeral rites. The deceased is portrayed in the pillared hall with his wife Thefi and his son, Senedjemib-mehu.
Tomb of Khnum-inty (G2374)
Khnum-inty, whose tomb is close to that of his father Senedjemib-inty, was a royal scribe and ‘Overseer of the Granary and of all the King’s Work’, probably during the reign of King Teti of early Dynasty VI. Blocks were found in the tomb-chapel bearing the name of Teti’s pyramid and a bowl bearing Teti’s cartouche was found in the burial shaft. The tomb-chapel contains the usual offering scenes and illustrates the funeral procession. There is also a large ornate but unfinished false door with an offering table before it.
Tomb of Akhetmehu (G2375)
Akhetmehu’s titles were ‘Judge and Elder of the Hall’ and ‘Overseer of the House of Weapons’ during the time of Merenre I or Pepy II. His tomb-chapel contains scenes of daily life and religious rites during the Old Kingdom as well as an impressive false door behind inscribed pillars supported by an architrave. A burial shaft contained a box-sealing of the ‘Inspector of Embalmers’ with the Horus name of Merenre or Pepy II.
Tomb of Senedjemib-mehu (G2378)
Senedjemib, whose ‘good name’ was Mehu (or Mehi) was ‘Chief Justice and Vizier’ and ‘King’s Architect and Builder in the Two Houses’ during the reign of Unas of Dynasty V. He was another son of Senedjemib-inty and Thefi and brother of Khnum-inty. His wife is named as Khentkawes, a ‘King’s Daughter’ and ‘Prophetess of Hathor’. His eldest son was also called Senedjemib and two other children were Mehi and Khentkawes.
This tomb comprised a forecourt leading into a hall where many scenes are carved relating to the daily activities of the deceased and his family. There are remains of many industrial and agricultural scenes, and in the inner hall, reliefs of funerary rites and offerings. An unfinished false door of the deceased is located at the rear of the inner hall.
Tombs in the Western field are often opened on request by the guards. Photography is no longer allowed inside any of the tombs.