|"Three tombs of the ‘Servants in the Place of Truth’
open to the public at Deir el-Medina"
Three tombs have been opened to the public for the first time on May 13th 2016 after the completion of
their renovation, Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Anany has said in a statement. Located in the western
cemetery at Deir el-Medina, TT218 belonged to Amennakht, TT219 to Nebenmaat and TT220 to
Khaemteri, who all held the same title of "Servant in the Place of Truth" during the reign of the 19th
dynasty's king Ramesses II (1,279 BC-1,213 BC), said Mahmoud Afifi, the Head of Ancient Egypt
Antiquities Department at the Antiquities Ministry.
All three tombs were originally excavated by Bernard Bruyère in 1928. They lie within the southern part
of the western necropolis, between Sennedjem's TT1 and Irynefer's TT290. The tombs belong to one
family - the tomb chapel of Nebenmaat (ii) TT219, which nestles between those of his father Amennakht
(xxi) TT218 and his brother Khaemteri TT220, can be accurately dated to the first half of the reign of
Ramesses II on account of the data contained in mostly intact painted scenes on the tomb walls. They are
of great importance in compiling invaluable genealogical data (Davis,1996,278).
The recent IFAO season finished the preparations for the opening of the tomb complex to the public. Past
missions were spent clearing the tomb floors, making their topographical plans, photographing the walls and
their paintings and also installing wooden floors, electricity and finally glass panels to protect the painted
scenes, Cédric Gobeil, the director of the IFAO mission at Deir el-Medina said.
The courtyard of the group of these tombs leads to the first antechamber, which presents polychrome
paintings, similar to paintings in Sennedjem's, Pashedu's and Inherkau's tombs. The second antechamber,
in which the plastered walls were painted white, leads to the tomb complex. TT218 is almost equivalent in
its decoration to the first antechamber. Here the images include traditional views of family members
engaged in different activities as well as illustrations from different spells of the Book of the Dead and
images of funerary deities. It belonged to Amennakht and his wife Iyemwaw. The burial chamber of
Nebenmaat and his wife Mertseger in TT219 is totally different: its walls were painted in monochrome
manner - the background is white with scenes painted in yellow, red and black colours. This style of
decoration is unique in Egypt: among the 53 decorated tombs at Deir el-Medina only 22 are monochromous.
The scenes here include the image of Nebenmaat as priest censing and libating to his parents, a motif of
the deceased and his wife with gods and family members, an image of Anubis tending to a mummy upon a
couch, and views of offerings by the deceased given to divinities and made by Mertseger and her sons to
various gods. An illustration of the funeral procession to the tomb also adornes the walls. The vaulted
ceiling carries images of gods and the deceased. Further into the tomb we find TT220, that belonged to
Khaemteri and his wife Nofretsatet. The walls in this part are rather damaged, but traces of scenes
show it was painted in monochromous style on the white background. The scenes include images of
divinities, a motif of a mummy on a couch, a view of a funeral banquet and an illustration of Anubis-
Press report from the Luxor times magazine with many photos taken inside the tombs and with an
excellent video containing interviews with Cédric Gobeil (Egyptologist, IFAO) and Mostafa Al Saghis
(Director of South Qurna Antiquities area) conducted above the site of Deir el-Medina and inside the
burial chambers of TT218 and TT219 :