Maat-ka-Ra Hatshepsut

The tomb of Meryetamun, TT358

update: 29.08.2010



Floor plan of the northern portico and the location of the tomb TT358 of Merit-Amun (taken from Wysocki, 1985b; modified).
A - D, f   Chapels
b - e B = entrance shaft to TT358; c = passage, d = well, e = burial chamber
g pillared hall in front of the Lower Chapel of Anubis
1 - 15 Columns of the colonnade

 
In 1929 Winlock discovered the partly plundered tomb of Queen Meryt-Amun which was entered by shallow vertical shaft (b) located about 4.5 ms far from north-eastern corner of the portico.
The entrance passage (c) runs to the eastern corner of the northern portico, stops under columns 11 and 12, turns north leading to a vertical shaft (d). Shortly after the bend a smaller passage branches off to the west and ends below columns 8 an 9. Behind the shaft there is another chamber which leads to the burial chamber (e).

Between 4.5 and 5 m from the entrance the cutting of the roof of the passage exposed the under side of the foundations of the back wall of the northern portico. On the left, the passage was cut in to the foundation trench exposing 25 cm in depth, and the roof the under sides of one or two foundation block were exposed. However, since the passage descended at about 8 cm per meter no further blocks were exposed. That none of the foundation stones had fallen into the passage was explained by Winlock with the fact that the blocks were tightly wedged together and that the mortar between them was fully hardened before the passage was dug (Winlock, H.E., The Tomb of the Queen Meryet-Amun at Thebes. New York 1930).
Based on these observations Winlock concluded convincingly that the northern portico was made before the tomb. Otherwise, if the tomb had been in existence before the foundation trench was quarried out, the cutting down into the shale probably would have cause a greater part of the passage roof to collapse and it would not have been possible to put the large blocks of the foundation across the opening without a supporting wall in the passage.
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Although plundered Winlock discovered inside the tomb a lot of items indicating that Meryet-Amun had been buried during the early 18th Dynasty.

 
The drawing above shows the impressions of jewelry left on the mummy of Meryet-Amun (taken from Winlock, loc. cit., figure. 1). The rectangular impression on the left body-side was most likely cast by a plate which had been placed by the embalmers over the 10 cms long incision.   First (inner) coffin of Meryet-Amun according to the reconstruction of the original decoration (taken from Winlock, loc. cit., figure. 4).

The mummy of Meryet-Amun is approx. 160 cm long and was buried in a coffin made of cedar wood which was approx. 185 cms long, at maximum 52 cms high, and 53 cms wide. The mummy had been robbed of its bandages and its jewelries, however various pieces of jewelry had left impressions on the mummy. During the restoration some of the destroyed bandages were thrown on a heap, others were collected in boxes and baskets, which belonged to the original tomb furniture. One strip carried name and title " God's wife, king's wife, Meryet-Amun, ". Remarkable is the location of the incision (see left illustration above) used for the withdrawal of the internal organs - a nearly perpendicular cut between left, lower rib sheet and the hip - which is typical for the time before Thutmosis III.
Also the first coffin had been badly treated by tomb robbers and with the painted restoration done in the 21st Dynasty bore no relation to the original design. However, based on the investigations of Winlock the first coffin followed the Rishi style representing a large bird with human head (see illustration right above). Originally it had been covered inside and outside with a very thin gold foil.
The coffin restored in the 21st Dynasty showed on its front side a vertical inscription of the usual offering formula. Winlock did not include this inscription in his reconstruction of the original design.

The first, inner coffin lay in a second coffin made of cedar wood which had the gigantic length of approx. 313.5 cms, and was at maximum 87 cms wide. This second coffin resembled the large coffin of Ahmes Nefertari in size and stile. It is possibly that the face was to be seen in the naked wood without paint or gilding. The hands my have left also in natural wood.
Eyeballs (alabaster), pupils (obsidian), as well as the original eyebrows and lids including the outside strips of the eyelids (all blue glass) had been inlaid work. An enormous wig with sunken chevrons should represent braided hair, shoulders and arms was covered of sunken feathers. The sunk areas still contained plaster used to fasten of the inserted material, the raised areas still traces of the gesso, which had been originally covered with gold leaf. In the 21st Dynasty the restorers had painted yellow all the raised areas which had been most likely originally covered with gold leaf.
The remaining surface of the coffin was covered with glue and rows of nail holes could be followed around the body down to the toes - probably part of the exterior had been covered with thin gold foils in Rishi style. Also the entire inside of the coffin had been plated with thin metal foils held in place by glue alone.

In the grave remainders of a third coffin made of tamarisk wood were found, which had probably enclosed the two other coffins. So far it could be reconstructed the third coffin  was a colossal anthropoid coffin with a large vulture head made of a coniferous wood like pine. The coffin was probably completely covered with rough lines, on which a white stucco layer had been laid on. The body was left perfectly plain, unless there was an inscription on the front, but it there was one, no traces of it survived.
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1. Portico

2. Portico

3. Portico

Djeser djeseru Location of the Building History of the Building Djeser djeseru - the times after

Copyright: Dr. Karl H. Leser (Iufaa)