last update: 05.02.2010



The monument of the Senenmut on the hill "Sheikh Abd el-Qurna" was opened 1930 by H. E. Winlock. However, already 100 years earlier the tomb was - despite the devastated condition of its walls - the target of numerous "investigations".
Wilkinson (1827 - 33), Hay (1824 - 38) and Wild (1842 - 48) copied remainders of the wall decorations, however, nobody left complete reports about the tomb.
The Prussian expedition headed by Lepsius (1842 - 45) also copied several stamped bricks and the inscriptions of the small steles carved into the walls of the axial corridor. In addition, the group carried off to Berlin the false-door stele (today in the Egyptian Museum in the Bode-Museum, Berlin; see below) that had played a central role in the funerary cult.
The surprising discovery of his second tomb, TT353, by Winlock in 1927 threw new light on TT71, but delayed by projects with greater priority (the excavation of TT353) Winlock could not turn back again to TT71 before the season of 1930 - 31.

The discussion about the "Dating of TT71" is presented on a separate page.  

left the floor plan of TT71 (N= Niches; 1= shaft, 2, 3= bricked door jambs), right a reconstruction of the frontal view (above the entrance of the niche cut into the rock with the unfinished block statue of Senenmut and Neferu-Ra; see below); after Dorman, 1991

TT71 was cut T-shaped into the rock (see floor plan). In front of it was a forecourt (approx. 40 m broad and 25 m deep). To overcome the steepness of the hill an artificial terrace was built across the forecourt. A ramp connected the two parts of the forecourt. The frontal view of TT71 might have resembled therefore - in a smaller form - Djeser djeseru.
The tomb of his parents, consisting of one room only, was discovered under the forecourt by A. Lansing and W. Hayes in 1936. The location of the tomb of his parents directly below the court of TT71 was most likely intended - probably as a joint burial to honor his parents.

  above the front view of TT71 shortly after the tomb of his parents (the entrance is shown in the lower right corner of the picture) has been discovered (photo Dorman, 1991);

above the central entrance to TT71 there is the passage with the rock-cut block statue of Senenmut with Neferu-Ra (see below)

  left a photo from the front view as it looks today (March 2007), taken from a similar position like the left picture;

above the tomb, left on the top of the hill the small chapel of "Scheikh Abd el-Qurna"

The facade of TT71 was carved directly from the rock - only a few minor plaster patches were used to fill small fissures. The central doorway opens into a transverse hall approx. 26 m long which is divided by a central row of eight columns (see photo below) into two aisles. The central doorway of the facade is flanked at each side by four square windows which allow light to enter the transverse hall. The bases for the windows were cut directly from the rock, the lower edge of the windows were about 2.1 m above the bottom. In the height of the lower edge of the windows the facade was still approx. 1.5 m thick. At both sides, between each window niches enliven the battered facade. The pattern of niches is still visible today (see photos above).
The top of the facade is destroyed (see left photo above) and could be reconstructed only due to archaeological investigations.
The central row of eight 16-sided columns with a diameter of approximately 1.4 m were also cut directly from the rock and divide the transverse hall into 2 aisles (an eastern and a western aisle). These aisles were approx. 4.2 to 4.5 m high and all had a differently shaped ceiling. The width of the hall was approx. 5.2 m.

Above the southern part of the pillared hall of TT71, right hand, the entrance to the central corridor.

On the rear wall of the pillared hall several niches of different size were hewn (see floor plan above, position N) into the rock in such a way above that they were illuminated in the morning from the opposite windows. Nothing is known about the function of these niches, but it was assumed that everyone should take up a statue of Senenmut. However, this is not testified at all because there is only one block statue (Egyptian Museum in the Bode-Museum, Berlin) which ever had been connected to TT71 - however, this connection is doubtful.
In the southeast corner of the pillared hall (see floor plan, left corner) a shaft was discovered, which opens after 1.9 m into a small chamber (3,5 x 1 x 1,05 m). Most likely, this chamber should take up the sarcophagus with Senenmut's mummy. This part of the monument was almost finished, when the work on it was stopped.
In the center of the rear wall of the pillared hall a narrow corridor goes 23 m deep into the rock. The far end of the corridor was the funeral focus of the tomb. The lower part of the wall was lined with red quartzite false-door (shown below) which was discovered in situ by Lepsius and removed to Berlin in 1845. Above this false-door stele, approx. 2.6 m over the floor another niche was craved out of the rock (1.15 x 1.3 x 1.74 m). The walls of the nice were covered with limestone forming a small shrine (some the limestone blocks are still located in their original position). Most likely, the niche should accommodate a block statue of the Senenmut - perhaps that one that is shown in Berlin (see below).

Above: TT71, corridor with niche; at the end of the corridor remainders of the painting can be detected at the ceiling. Probably, the false-door stele and the block statue of the Senenmut with princess Neferu Neferu-Ra (Museum Berlin, objects Nos 2066 and 2096) had their original position under or in the niche, resp.. Below, a picture of the block statue of the Senenmut with Neferu-Ra (foto taken by M. Stuhr). This statue was purchased 1843 by Lepsius from a private collection, unfortunately, the site of the discovery and i.e. the original place were the statue had been erected is not documented.



Above the unfinished block statue of Senenmut with princess Neferu-Ra in the rock-cut shrine above tomb TT71 (photo taken December 2001). Over thousands of years  the originally corridor was completely destroyed.
Above TT71 a special architectural supplement can be visited. 

Exactly over the corridor of TT71 and at height of the upper edge of the horizontal front of the facade a corridor was cut 7 m long and 2 m a broad into the rock. At its western end, in a flat recess, a block statue was hewn directly from of the rock. Like the corridor the uninscribed block statue had not been finished.

The roughly formed statue resembles well-known representations of Senenmut and Neferu-Ra. Therefore, it is obvious that Senenmut and Neferu-Ra, who is covered by Senenmut's cloak, are also represented here.

There are, however only few monuments that show a comparable supplement. Senenmut's contemporary, Senimen - who for some time was regarded to be a brother of Senenmut - has erected a comparable statue above his tomb, TT252, which shows him with Neferu-Ra on his lap and together with his mother, Seniemyah, standing beside him.

Status of TT71
The greater part of the transverse hall is destroyed, only at the southern end the ceiling and a few supporting columns have been preserved. The ceiling of the northern wing is completely collapsed. .
The walls and the ceiling of TT71 were completely decorated with colored scenes which had been finished without those in the chapel. Today, from the original colored decoration of the walls and the ceiling only few remainders have survived, so among others 9 smoothed wall parts, each formed like a stele and containing inscriptions. All inscriptions show signs of intentional destruction.
These 9 wall-steles belong the rather unusual decoration elements seen in TT71. Therefore, they are arranged and described in detail on their own page - TT71 - Wall-stelae.
The remaining decoration of the Corridor as well as the remaining decoration of the Transverse Hall  are presented on own pages.

On the ceiling of the transverse hall the names of his parents, Ra-ms and @At-nfrtwho were called zAb (Honorable, Senior) and nbt-pr (Lady of the House), as well as the only preserved name of the Senenmut had been found, together with a curse of the Senenmut against all who cause damage to his tomb:

"Concerning any man, who will cause damage to my statue,
he may not follow the king of his time;
he may not be buried in the western cemetery;
he may not be given any lifetime on earth.
(see Meyer, 1982)

The curse was obviously not of great power, because a large part of the decoration has been destroyed clearly with intention. Most likely, the Amarna period was responsible for destroying the names of the Gods. However, for the destruction of his pictures and names both, Hatshepsut and Thutmosis III. may have been responsible. Frequently, it is assumed that Senenmut has fallen into disgrace (see also "Career and Fall (?)"- if so than Hatshepsut is the first candidate who may have given the order to damage his monuments.

The inscriptions in TT71 give, like his statues, a strong reference to his relation to Hatshepsut or to his outstanding position at the court - probably promoted by her. Inside TT71 there are no  references to Neferu-Ra, only the rock statue above TT71 (and some funeral cones) gave a reference to the princess and probably suggest that she was still alive when the construction of the monument commenced.

One of the most important finds in TT71 is the false-door stele illustrated above (today Berlin, object 2066; Photo: L.Franke, 2010) and the coffin of Senenmut.
The expedition headed by Lepsius discovered the false-door stele lying at the end of the corridor (at the western wall). Based on the location of its discovery it is assumed that its original position was directly below the niche, where both had built the funeral focus of the tomb. It consists of a only one yellow quartzite block, whose front builds a false door. Already in the antiquity the stone block possessed some defects, the smaller ones with filled with mortar, the large ones at the left corner of the block were filled with two blocks of masonry - which are missing today - which were set in mortar.
The decoration shows the facade of a chapel with a torus molding and and crowned by a cavetto cornice. Several jambs form a false-door in the center which rests on a rectangular base. Above the false-door a funeral banquet scene shows Senenmut and his parents. The stele is inscribed with portions of Chapter 148 of the Book of Dead. On either side it is decorated with deities associated with this text: on the right exterior Anubis (top of the row) and the four mummy-like rudders of heaven, on the left exterior the bull and the 7 cows of the sun God. This message from the dead book is to protect the deceased in beyond before each possible damage and protect its food supply.
Above the door fall two Udjat-eyes (wDAt) are shown. Senenmut himself is represented in in the center of a funeral banquet scene - above the two wDAt-eyes. The scene is completed by his father who is sitting on the left side behind him and his mother who is sitting opposite to him. His father is shown putting his arm around the shoulder of Senenmut, and his mother holds a lotus flower to his nose. No offerings are shown.
This false-door stele of the Senenmut is in several respects remarkable:
1. the used stone - quartzite - was exclusively reserved for the king (e.g. for sarcophagus) - private individuals were allowed to use only different types of rock, e.g. granite.
2. nevertheless, Senenmut uses quartzite for a part of his tomb, which was accessible to the public - thus by no means hidden.
3. the false-door stele show some remainders of a blue/green painting (in the photo to unfortunately hardly to detect - a little still on the right, inside the figures of the Anubis and the mummiform rudders). However, a blue/green color was normally never used to paint quartzite (if necessary a yellow color was taken to paint quartzite ), but it was used for granite. 
This leads directly to the conclusion that this stele does not only imitate a false-door, but - by painting - it also imitated granite, a type of stone Senenmut was allowed to use at best .

From his tombs the following funerary cones have survived.
Inscription (Zenihiro, 2009):

jmj-rA pr n jmn sn-n-mwt
Hm-nTr n jmn wsr-HAt sn-n-mwt mAa-xrw
jmj-rA pr n sAt-nswt nfrw-ra sn-n-mwt
jmj-rA jHw n jmn sn-n-mwt

Steward of Amun, Senenmut,
prophet of the (barque) 'Userhat-Amun', Senenmut justified,
steward of the king's daughter, Neferure, Senenmut,
overseer of the cattle of Amun, Senenmut.

Funerary cone of Senenmut attributed to TT71 (see: Dorman 1991); Macadam No. 84;
Ø ? cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Inscription (Zenihiro, 2009): 

jmj-rA Snwtj n jmn sn-n-mwt
jmj-rA AHt n jmn sn-n-mwt
jmj-rA pr n Hmt-nTr HAt-Spst sn-n-mwt
jmj-rA aXnwtj sn-n-mwt mAa-xrw

Overseer of the double granary of Amun, Senenmut,
overseer of the fields of Amun, Senenmut,
steward of the god's wife Hatshepsut, Senenmut,
chamberlain, Senenmut justified

Funerary cone of Senenmut attributed to TT71 (see: Dorman, 1991); Macadam Nr. 88;
Ø ? cm

  Inscription (Zenihiro, 2009):

jmj-rA pr wr jmn jrj.n ra-ms ms.n HAt-nfr

Chief steward of Amun, born by Ramose, born by Hat-nefer

Funerary cone of Senenmut (TT71 or 353); Macadam Nr. 261;
Ø ? cm

TT71 - Remains of the decoration of the Transverse Hall

TT71 - Wall stelae

TT71 - Remains of the decoration of the Corridor

Finds around TT71  


History Career and Fall (?) back

Copyright: Dr. Karl H. Leser (Iufaa)