Sheikh Abd el-Qurna

Sheikh Abd el-Qurna necropolis

The best-known region of the Theban necropolis is Sheikh Abd el-Qurna, named after the little shrine of a local saint on top of the hill. The ancient cemetery designated by this modern name consists of three parts: (1) the main hill, surrounded by the “upper enclosure wall,” erected by Sir Robert Mond at the beginning of the twentieth century; (2) the plain at the foot of the hill, directly west of the Ramesseum; and (3) a small region, topographically better assigned to el-Khokha, called the “lower enclosure,” named after a surrounding wall built under Mond’s supervision.

The necropolis of Sheikh Abd el-Qurna (2)

The “lower enclosure” forms the end of the northern access road to the main hill of Sheikh Abd el-Qurna and is a natural continuation of el-Khokha. Many tombs of the 18th Dynasty line the sides of this road. After the Amarna period, the road seems to have had no further use; three important tombs of the 19th Dynasty were constructed at the end and directly in the middle of the former road.

Dra’ Abu el-Naga

The earliest tombs in the region of Sheikh Abd el-Qurna date from the second half of the 11th Dynasty and the very beginning of the 12th Dynasty. In contrast to the New Kingdom, when only the eastern half of the hill was in use as a cemetery, during the Middle Kingdom all slopes of the hill were occupied by tombs. Every side of Sheikh Abd el-Qurna afforded a view of the royal mortuary temples and their causeways.


As most of the upper parts of Sheikh Abd el-Qurna had been occupied at the end of the reign of Amenhotep II, the majority of the tombs dating to the time of Tuthmose IV and Amenhotep III are situated in the lower regions of this site.

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Unfortunately, only two of the numerous saff and corridor-shaped tombs, belonging to Herbert Winlock’s cemeteries no. 800 and 1100, have been entered into the official numbered list of Theban tombs.

Sheikh Abd el-Qurna

The architectural development of these Middle Kingdom tombs has been investigated by Dieter Arnold in his publication of the tomb of Intef. Although there are no decorated tombs of the 17th Dynasty at Sheikh Abd el-Qurna, Friederike Kampp has pointed out that there can be no doubt about an occupation of the site during this period, because of some significant architectural features, visible in otherwise undated constructions.

The necropolis of Sheikh Abd el-Qurna (2)

The first decorated tombs from the beginning of the New Kingdom at Sheikh Abd el-Qurna can be dated to the reigns of Ahmose, Amenhotep I, and Tuthmose I. From this period until the reign of Amenhotep III, Sheikh Abd elQurna became the most popular part of the Theban necropolis. All the highest-ranking officials and priests built their tombs in this region, following geographically the order of the royal mortuary buildings from north to south. The connection with the position of the tombs, the social rank of their owners, and the orientation to the mortuary temples has been worked out by Wolfgang Helck and had already been mentioned by Georg Steindorff and Walther Wolf.

The necropolis of Sheikh Abd el-Qurna (2)

As most of the upper parts of Sheikh Abd el-Qurna had been occupied at the end of the reign of Amenhotep II, the majority of the tombs dating to the time of Tuthmose IV and Amenhotep III are situated in the lower regions of this site. However, it was not only the density of occupation that caused the high-ranking officials of Amenhotep III to erect their tombs on the plain. As in el-Asasif, the new type of enlarged tombs reminiscent of funerary temples needed not only sufficient space for constructing the sunken courtyards and the huge inner halls but also a good quality of rock, which is not to be found in the upper parts of the hill.

Signpost to the Tombs of Sennefer and Rekhmire

By: Rodolfo Valverde

In the first half of the Ramesside period (19th–20th Dynasties), the lower regions of Sheikh Abd el-Qurna were used as a cemetery of some importance. Aside from three major tombs in the area of the “lower enclosure,” most of the minor Ramesside tombs were cut into the side walls of the already existing courtyards of 18th Dynasty tombs. With the 20th Dynasty, a new era of tomb usurpation began; many tombs at Sheikh Abd el-Qurna were reused in this period, some of them receiving new decoration or architectural modifications. During the Third Intermediate Period most of the tombs at Sheikh Abd el-Qurna, as in the other parts of the Necropolis, served as places for simple burials, and until the end of Dynastic Egypt, there were no further rock-cut tombs constructed at Sheikh Abd el-Qurna. The most important tombs of Sheikh Abd el-Qurna are listed below in chronological order, according to their numbers (TT=Theban Tomb), giving the name and title of the tomb owners.

Ramose Theban Tomb TT55

TT21 User, Scribe, Steward of King Thutmose I
TT22 Wah, later usurped by Meryamun
TT23 – Tjay
TT30 Khonsmose, Amun treasury official, Ramesside
TT31 – Khonsu
TT38 Djeserkaraseneb, Scribe, Counter of grain in the granary of the divine offerings of Amun
TT41 Amenemopet called Ipy, Amun temple high steward
TT42 Amenmose, Captain of troops, Eyes of the King in the Two Lands of the Retenu
TT43 Neferrenpet
TT44 Amenemhab, wab-priest in front of Amun
TT45 Djehuty, Steward of the high priest of Amun Mery
TT46 Ramose, Steward of the Mansion of the Aten, Fanbearer at the right of the King, Overseer of the granaries of Upper and Lower Egypt

TT50 – TT139

TT51 – Userhat called Neferhabef
TT52 – Nakht
TT55 – Ramose
TT57 – Khaemhat called Mahu
TT66 – Hepu
TT69 – Menna
TT71 – Senenmut (unused)
TT83 – Amethu called Ahmose
TT96 – Sennefer
TT100 – Rekhmire
TT109 – the tutor Min
TT120 – Anen
TT170 Nebmehyt, Scribe of recruits of the Ramesseum in the estate of Amun
TT171 Unknown
TT224 Ahmose Humay (J’h-ms, Hm.j), Overseer of the estate of the God’s Wife, Overseer of the double granaries of the God’s Wife Ahmose-Nefertary
TT225 unknown / perhaps Amenemhet, High priest of Hathor
TT226 Heqareshu (Hq3-ršw), Royal scribe, Overseer of nurses of the king
TT227 Unknown
TT228 Amen(em)mose (Jmn-msj(w)), Scribe of the Amun treasury
TT229 Unknown
TT230 Men (?) (Mn), Scribe of troops of Pharaoh
TT249 Neferrenpet (Nfr-rnp.t), supplier of dates/cakesin the temple of Amenhotep III
TT251 Amenmose, Royal scribe, Overseer of cattle of Amun, Overseer of magazine of Amun
TT252 Senimen (Sn(.j)-mn(.w)), Steward, Nurse of the God’s Wife
TT259 Hori (Hr.j), wab-priest, Scribe in all the monuments of the estate of Amun, Head of the outline-draughtsmen in the Gold House of the Amun domain
TT263 Piay (Pj3jj), Scribe in the granary in the Amun domain, Scribe of accounts in the Ramesseum
TT269 Unknown
TT280 Meketre (Mk.t(.j)-R’), Chief Steward, Chancellor, early Middle Kingdom
TT309 Unknown
TT317 Thutnefer, Scribe of the counting of corn in the granary of divine offerings of Amun
TT318 Amenmose, Necropolis-worker of Amun
TT331 Penne (P3-n-njwt, P3-n-nwt) called Sunero (Srr, Sw-n-r3), High priest of Monthu


TT343 – Benia
TT367 Paser, Head of the Bowmen, Child of the nursery, Companion of His Majesty
TT368 Amenhotep Huy, Overseer of sculptors of Amun in Thebes
TT384 Nebmehyt (Nb-mhj.t), Priest of Amun in the Ramesseum
TT385 Hunefer (H3w-nfr), Mayor of Thebes, Overseer of the granary of divine offerings of Amun
TT391 Kerebasken (K3-r-b3-s3-kn, Krbskn), Prophet of Khonsemweset-Neferhotep, Fourth prophet of Amun, Mayor of the City


TT403 Merymaat (Mrj-m3′.t), Temple scribe, Steward

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