Useramun - TT61

last update: 14.04.2010


Floorplan of TT61 (from: Kampp, F., Die Thebanische Nekropole. Mainz 1996; modified).


Above, entrance to TT61 (photo: E. Noppes). The tomb is closed for visitors. On the left in front of the entrance there is the modern enclosure of the burial shaft.
Below passage to the chapel (photo: E. Noppes).


The tomb TT61 of User consists of an upper part with a forecourt, a passage (= longitudinal hall) and a cult chamber at the end which were hewn horizontally out of the rock. In the forecourt, just few meters south of the entrance to the passage, the lower part with a perpendicular pit, a passage, and the tomb chamber has been hewn out of the rock (see: Dziobek, E., Grber des Wesirs User-Amun Theben Nr. 61 u 131. Mainz 1994). The forecourt is today very small, since a part of the original terrace has slipped. The entrance to the burial shaft has been enclosed with a modern wall (see above).
The facade of the upper part had been brightly plastered in the antiquity, due to the crumbly conglomerate rock in the upper range of the rock the facade had to be repaired already in antiquity. Remainders of a small wall made of limestone blocks form the upper end of the facade in which possibly funerary cones had been set in. There is no indication that the upper part continued with an additional structure, i. e. the small wall  might have served only for a straightening of the upper front.
The doorway to the passage is about 2 m wide and was originally about 3.2 m high. The original impression of the entrance is destroyed by modern changes (installation of stairs and an iron gate).

The passage (L: 19 m, B: 1,8 m, H: 3 m) and the cult chamber are the remains of an unfinished a tomb from the Middle Kingdom (MK). When the tomb had been built in the MK a shaft was begun 6,5 - 8 m behind the entrance but was given up at a depth of approximately 0.5 m. The floor of the passage rises slowly towards the cult chamber. The passage shows no special structural characteristics and closes with a narrowed doorway to the chapel.
On its right and left side the cult chamber has a "bench" (= Mastaba), These benches were probably part of the original plan from the MK and were included by User in his own design. The banks are 1,6 m high but differently deep (the northern one is about 1m deep, the southern one about 1,5 m). Due to the two banks the area of the floor (3 x 4 m) differs from that of the ceiling (5.6 x 4 m) of the cult chamber which is about 3.5 m high.
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The rear (west) wall of the chamber contains a niche. The niche begins approx. 50 cm over the floor of the chamber, is approx. 2 m high, 1.4 m wide, and 2 m deep. At the rear of the niche, just a under the ceiling.  which is about 50 cm large. Dziobek assumed that the niche was intended for a statue of the deceased.
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Only few remains of the decoration in the passage (longitudinal hall) and in the cult chamber have survived. The destruction is mainly a consequence of the bad quality of the rock, damages during the Amarna time, and from damage done by tomb robbers which already took place in antiquity. The bad quality of the rock required the application of mortar and stucco layers without which a decoration of the walls was not possible. Vibrations by occasional earthquakes might be responsible for a majority of the demolished decoration. Nevertheless, Dziobek (1994) could identify some scenes.
On the eastern half of the south wall of the 19 m long passage (longitudinal hall) there are no remains of the original scenes. However, remains of an approx. 60 cm high decoration along the base and a Kheker-frieze show that also this part had been decorated.
In the center of the wall, beginning after approximately 6-7 m, Dziobek could identify on the basis of the remaining decoration scenes of the funeral ritual. About 13 m far away from the entrance the scenes close with a representation of the west goddess. The remaining 5-6 meters of the south wall to the west were probably also decorated, however, only painting at the base and a Kheker-frieze have survived.
The north wall of the passage is just as destroyed as the south wall. On the eastern side to approximately 13 m of the entrance Dziobek assumed that he could identify the scene(s) of a funeral banquet to which three heads of men belong who look to the left (the west). Furthermore, he assumes that the heads of two further men looking eastward belong to scenes which could have shown burial objects carried in(to) the tomb.
On the western side a few more fragments have survived, however, they do not allow to identify the scenes exactly. Dziobek suggested that one part showed an offering scene with guests before the parents of the owner of the tomb. About 2,5 m are further west there were nearly illegible fragments of an offering list.
Only small fragments survived from the decoration of the ceiling. The decoration consisted of three bands with inscription between which rosettes on a white ground and spirals on a yellow ground had been arranged like a chessboard.
On the bands with the inscriptions the hieroglyphics were painted on a yellow ground, all their feet point to the west. On the two outside bands the signs look band in the center of the ceiling, the characters in the central band are looking  to the left (according to Dziobek).

With certainty the architrave (80 cm high, 170 cm wide) above the doorway to the cult-chamber was been plastered and most likely also decorated, one hieroglyphs is still visible.

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Text:
sS xtmtj-nTr n jmn wsr mAa-xrw sA jmj-rA njwt TAtj jmjrA Hwt aAt 6 aAmTw mAa-xrw

Scribe, seal-bearer of the god of Amun, User justified, son of overseer of the town, vizier, overseer of the six great mansions, Aametju justified.

Funerary cone of Useramun from TT61; Macadam Nr. 370;
about 5.2 cm
 
Text:
rmn n jmn m Xnt=f jmj-xt n kA-mwt=f wsr sA jmj-rA njwt TAtj aAmTw [...] mAa-xrw

Bearer of Amun in his sailing, follower of Kamutef, User, son of the overseer of the town, vizier Aametju [...] justified.

Funerary cone of Useramum from TT61; Macadam Nr. 358;
about 5.4cm
 


Copyright: Dr. Karl H. Leser (Iufaa)