Excavation Diary

A model of the mythical Tomb of Osiris at Sheikh Abd el-Gourna

Author: admin/01 January 2015/Categories: Diario di scavo

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On January 1, 2015, beginning the year, the Minister of Antiquities, Dr. Mamdouh El Damaty, announced to the media the existence of a funerary complex representing the mythical Tomb of Osiris in Luxor. This complex is located in one of the two tombs that the Canarian-Tuscan Archaeological Mission (MIN PROJECT) in cooperation with the Ministry of State for Antiquities holds in concession in the Valley of the Nobles, specifically in the area of Sheikh Abd el-Gourna.

Interior of tomb -327- (Photo Mostafa AlSaghir © MIN PROJECT)

The Osirian tomb is located inside the tomb of Kampp -327-. The owner of this tomb is unknown, and its main entrance is now through the tomb of Min (TT109). A sketch made by Davies hinted at the peculiar structure this area could contain. However, it proved to be even more complex and with characteristics that made it unique in the Theban Necropolis.

Access to the tomb is through the transversal hall of -327-. A doorway leads to a staircase (now covered with rubble) that descends several meters and leads to another doorway. Once inside, a vaulted chapel containing a statue of the god Osiris appears. In front of it there is a shaft of nine meters deep which in turn leads to another shaft of 6 meters, ending in a burial chamber that seems to be just below the statue of Osiris. The chapel of the god is surrounded by a corridor that on one side hosts a room with another shaft of 8 meters deep with four more burial chambers.

Reconstruction of the replica of the tomb of Osiris (drawing by Raffaella Carrera © MIN PROJECT)

Mila Alvarez in one of the shafts of the Osirian tomb (Photo by Paolo Bondielli © MIN PROJECT)

The architecture of this tomb is peculiar and all the elements remind us of the mythical "Tomb of Osiris": a staircase leading to a sculpted chapel containing a statue of the god, who is on a higher level as if on an island, and the empty corridor surrounding the central core symbolizing a channel of water.

Chapel of Osiris (Photo by Paolo Bondielli © MIN PROJECT)

The central shaft was cut into the stairs leading to the Osiris statue. In this way, the burial chamber underneath could be hidden from sight by recarving the steps.

Irene Morfini looking for inscriptions in one of the shafts (Photo by Paolo Bondielli © MIN PROJECT)

If we compare this funerary complex with other similar tombs containing these types of Osirian elements, it can be linked with the great tombs of the Asassif area (TT33 Petamenophis, TT34 Montuemhat, TT36Ibi, TT37 Harwa, TT389 Basa, TT414 Ankhor), which gave us the possible dating in the 25th-26th dynasty.

Only future research will allow us to delve into the meaning of this mortuary complex dedicated to the god Osiris.


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