Sennefer's tomb 1159
at Deir el-Medina
The page was last modified on April 30th 2016
Sources:
1. Deir el-Medina in the third millenniuim AD : a tribute to Jac. J. Janssen /
edited by R. J. Demarée and A. Egberts
Leiden : Nederlands Instituut voor Het Nabije Oosten, 2000.
2. Navrátilová, Hana : Sennefer IN : Théby : město bohů a faraónů = Thebes
: city of gods and pharaohs / Jana Mynářová & Pavel Onderka (eds.)
Praha : Národní Museum, 2007. p. 128-131.
3. Bruyère, Bernard: Rapport sur les Fouilles de Deir el Medineh (1928)
Le Caire : Imprimerie de l'Institut Francais d'Archeologie Orientale, 1929.
4. Aubert, Jacques F.: Statuettes egyptiennes
Paris : Libraire dAmerique et d'Orient Adrien maisonneuve, 1974.
5. K. el-Enany, “Un carré de lin peint au musée de l’Agriculture du Caire (inv.
893)” dans BIFAO 110, Le Caire, 2010, pp. 35-45.
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The tomb 1159 is located within Deir el-Medina's western cemetery where around a dozen tombs
have with certainty been identified as dating to the 18th dynasty:
TT8 of Kha, TT291 of Nu and
Nakhtmin, TT 325 of Simen?, TT 338 of May, TT 340 of Amenemhat (also TT354), DM 1089 of
Simen, possibly also associated with TT 325, DM 1099 of Khunefer, DM 1138 of Nakhy and
Amenwahsu, DM 1159A of Sennefer, DM 1166 (name lost) and DM 1352 of Setau (Demarée,2000,
97). The area lies in the southwest part of the cemetery. The site of tomb 1159 is marked with a
red cross.
The tomb was excavated in 1928 by Bernard Bruyère and his team. The Czech Egyptologist Jaroslav
Černý participated in the discovery. Some objects from the tomb are now housed in the Náprstek
Museum in Prague, Czech Republic.

The tomb belonged to a workman named Sennefer, who lived at Deir el-Medina towards the end of
the 18th dynasty. It was suggested by Jacques Aubert (Aubert,1974,62) that Sennefer was most
probably a contemporary of Tutankhamun because the shabtis found in his tomb were made in the
same style as those of this Pharaoh. Sennefer's title was the "servant in the Place of Truth" as
appears on his coffin. He belonged to the workmen of the necropolis, who worked on the construction
of the royal tombs.

The tomb is a pit that was hollowed into the rock. There are two levels within the tomb. The upper
level - in a 3 m deep shaft - contained the burial of Hormes; the lower burial chamber - a further
1.7 m down - belonged to Sennefer and his wife Neferyit. The entrance to the tomb was bricked up
and vaulted. It was 1.25 m high. The burial chamber itself was almost square, measuring 2.35 along
the eastern wall, 3 m along the western wall, 2.70 m along the northern wall and 2.65 m along the
southern wall. Maximum hight of the ceiling was 1.9 m. The walls were roughly cut and were left
undecorated.
The canvas represents profile of a seated
male facing to the right. A heaped offering
table stands in front of him. He wears a
white mid-length pleated kilt, his neck is
adorned with an usekh necklace. On his head
he wears a short black curly wig topped with
an ointment cone. The seat on which he sits
is black, has animal legs and a high curved
back. He holds a piece of cloth in his right
hand while his left hand is extended towards
the offerings, consisting of 3 pieces of bread,
3 pieces of vegetable and a piece of meat. In
the field in front of him, there are two
hieroglyphic columns written in black ink.
They read from top to bottom, the column on
the right first: "Osiris, Servant in the Place
of Truth, Sennefer".
New Kingdom, TT1159 - the tomb of
Sennefer, Deir el-Medina
Egyptian Museum Cairo, JE 54885
The burial chamber contained:
- 2 anthropoid coffins painted black with yellow inscriptions and decorations
- 17 bouquets
- a handle of a large memorial fan made of acacia wood inlaid with ivory and ebony
- 1 white painted bier
- 1 large white linen painted cloth covering the larger (Sennefer's) coffin, containing painted scene of
Sennefer seated in front of an offering table. The inscription reads:
"Osiris, Servant in the Place of
Truth, Sennefer"
- 1 wooden box
- 1 stool, 1 coffer containing 1 pair of Sennefer's sandlas, headrest, 2 shabtis and several pearls
- funerary mask
- necklace, jewelry, 1 heart scarab, pectoral
- head rest
- ebony cubits and rulers
- 2 alabaster perfume jars, 5 bronze vessels
- pottery vessels (Navrátilová,2007,129-131)
Both adult bodies were left to decay with little or no mummification. Only the skeletons survived. It was
noted by Aidan Dodson (Demarée,2000,98) that none of the bodies recovered from Deir el-Medina
belonging to the latter part of the 18th dynasty seem to have been subject to any preservation
treatment other than simple wrapping. In Dodson's view the limited degree of post-mortem treatment
explains the lack of canopic equipment in any of those tombs.
The remains of 3 bodies, one belonging to Sennefer, one belonging to his partner Neferiyt and the third
one belonging to an infant were found within the tomb. Neferyit was adorned with jewels - she had 2
rings made of precious metals. Neferyit's wig was also present in the tomb.
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The text on this page was written by Lenka Peacock
Photography © Lenka and Andy Peacock and kairoinfo4u
Photography © kairoinfo4u
The painted linen, shown below, was discovered inside Sennefer's burial chamber where at the back of
the tomb two anthropoid coffins were found. Both were painted black with yellow inscriptions and
decorations. The further coffin rested on a wooden brier and was covered in a large finely woven linen
shroud. A smaller piece of linen was laid on the top.
This painted piece of cloth is a part of a small corpus of funerary canvases of which only twenty-two
known surviving examples were listed by Khaled el-Enany (BIFAO 110, see bibliography below). Most of
these canvases are kept in major international museums.