last update: 26.03.2008

TT71 and TT353


Senenmut has built two memorial monuments for himself, TT71 and TT353.

The the ink-drawing above from his 2nd monument, TT353, shows the title "jmj-rA pr n Jmn = Chief of the Domain of Amun" and his name. The sketch consists of the head and shoulders of Senenmut, who faces toward the entrance. The sketch which has be drawn with the help of a red grid of squares shows some correction of the neck. The wig is separated into 6 horizontal sections each filled by wavy lines. The sketch depicts a prosperous official as illustrated by full cheeks and a double chin.

Influenced by findings during their discovery (see also the single descriptions of TT71 and TT353) both monuments were interpreted as independent tombs. The building of these monuments were thought to have begun successively and should to reflect the "social" rise of their owner.
The monument, TT71, located at the very crest of "Sheikh Abd el-Qurna" was thought to be probably a tomb that a high civil servant could afford. In contrast, the monument in Deir el-Bahari, TT353, directly beginning beside Djeser djeseru, has almost "royal" extents. This monument was thought reflects the development of his career. 
Therefore, both monuments are listed as Theban Tombs (= TT) 71 and 353. The following maps and photos should explain the location of TT71 and TT353.

Location of the two monuments built by Senenmut; please note,  the entrance of TT353 is located in the so-called "Quarry of Senenmut (Steinbruch des Senenmut)"; both monuments are presented on an own page.

Above the area "Sheikh Abd el-Qurna" with the monument TT71 (red arrow), about 10 to 15 m below the top; this picture was taken from the causeway to the temple of Hatshepsut, Djeser djeseru; the  blue arrow points to the (blue) chapel of the Sheikh

Above an aerial photograph showing both "Sheikh Abd el-Qurna" and the temple of Hatshepsut. The 2nd building below the summit of "Sheikh Abd el-Qurna" is the the monument of Senenmut, TT71.

The "Quarry of Senenmut" with the modern entrance to the monument TT353, in the background Djeser djeseru. Due to security reasons TT353 is not accessible today.

One Tomb or two?
During the last decades numerous doubts had been raised concerning the acceptance that TT71 and TT353 are 2 separate tombs which were built successively.
First of all Dorman (1988) raised objections against the dating of the ostracon of the year 16 and its allocations to the start of construction work of TT353. Therefore, all dates tied up with this ostracon are dubious - this applies also to temporal sequence of the start of construction work on TT71 and TT353. Therefore, the terms 1st (older) tomb for TT71 and 2nd (later) tomb for TT353 are not correct.
Secondly, Dorman pointed out to the fact that none of two monuments contains all necessary components of a typical Theban tomb.
TT353 is entirely subterranean and has had no cult chapel.
TT71 complies with the typical surface cult chapel of Theban tombs of this time, however, unambiguously it has no coffin chamber which fits to a tomb of this scale. The little coffin chamber in the south-eastern corner of the transverse hall can only be considered to be intended - at the very most - for a subsidiary burial.
On closer examination both tombs complement each other, and only together they could function as a typical private tomb.
Although the separation of tomb and cult chapel has been a characteristic feature of royal tombs at the beginning of the 18th dynasty, it was not limited to the royal family, but appeared also with private tombs - provided that the owners could  "afford" it (e.g. Maiherpri, Amenemope, Vizier User).

However, it is puzzling, when and for what the quartzite sarcophagus of Senenmut had been brought to TT71 on the hill "Sheikh Abd el-Qurna" where it was finally shattered in pieces. Since TT71 had apparently no suitable burial chamber, the presence of the sarcophagus was absolutely gratuitous.
The possibility mentioned by Dorman, that the unfinished sarcophagus has been [temporary] stored in TT71 because TT353 has not been finished yet, appears in view of the great effort to drag the sarcophagus up the steep hill, only hardly conceivable. An official who could afford such an imposing monument with a cult chapel separated from the tomb had of course other possibilities to store a sarcophagus.
Maybe, so Dorman, TT71 served as a final disposal site for a sarcophagus which was required no more and was therefore left unfinished, because the intended user was no more available for the usual obsequies.

TT71 TT353

History Career and Fall (?) back

Copyright: Dr. Karl H. Leser (Iufaa)