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Tombs of the South Asasif Necropolis

Tombs of the South Asasif Necropolis: Thebes, Karakhamun (TT 223), and Karabasken (TT 391) in the Twenty-fifth Dynasty

Edited by Elena Pischikova
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 310
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  • Book Info
    Tombs of the South Asasif Necropolis
    Book Description:

    This volume is the first joint publication of the members of the American–Egyptian mission South Asasif Conservation Project, working under the auspices of the State Ministry for Antiquities and Supreme Council of Antiquities, and directed by the editor. The Project is dedicated to the clearing, restoration, and reconstruction of the tombs of Karabasken (TT 391) and Karakhamun (TT 223) of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty, and the tomb of Irtieru (TT 390) of the Twenty-sixth Dynasty, on the West Bank of Luxor. Essays by the experts involved in the excavations and analysis cover the history of the Kushite ruling dynasties in Egypt and the hierarchy of Kushite society, the history of the South Asasif Necropolis and its discovery, the architecture and textual and decorative programs of the tombs, and the finds of burial equipment, pottery, and animal bones. Contributors: Adam Booth, Julia Budka, Diethelm Eigner, Kenneth Griffin, Salima Ikram, Jack Josephson, Robert Morkot, Christopher Naunton, Elena Pischikova, Miguel Molinero Polo, Kasia Szpakowska, John Taylor.

    eISBN: 978-1-61797-570-7
    Subjects: History, Art & Art History, Archaeology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-xii)
  4. List of Tables
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xvi)
    Elena Pischikova
  6. Contributors
    (pp. xvii-xx)
  7. Introduction
    (pp. 1-2)

    This volume is the first joint publication of the members of the American–Egyptian South Asasif Conservation Project, working under the auspices of the Ministry of State for Antiquities and the Supreme Council of Antiquities, and directed by Dr. Elena Pischikova. The project is dedicated to the clearing, restoration, and reconstruction of the tombs of Karabasken (TT 391) and Karakhamun (TT 223) of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty and the tomb of Irtieru (TT 390) of the Twenty-sixth Dynasty. These tombs, located in the South Asasif necropolis, were considered almost completely ruined by floods and constant re-usage. Therefore, when the project was...

  8. The History and Monuments of Thebes in the Kushite Period

    • 1 Thebes under the Kushites
      (pp. 5-22)
      Robert G. Morkot

      Kushite rule in Thebes lasted from around 750 bc until the transfer of power to Psamtik I marked by the arrival of the Saite princess Nitocris to be adopted by Amenirdis II in 656 bc. During that period, which lasted perhaps a century, Thebes enjoyed a revival of its fortunes, which had been declining with the increased emphasis on the Delta and the north and the loss of the empire in Nubia. The political—and hence economic—background to Kushite rule in Egypt is reflected in the changing phases of activity in Thebes.

      The history of Thebes in the late...

    • 2 Royal Sculpture at the Onset of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty
      (pp. 23-28)
      Jack A. Josephson

      Art historians are generally able to attribute uninscribed or unprovenanced ancient Egyptian sculpture with reasonable accuracy by comparing their stylistic characteristics with objects having archaeological contexts or inscriptions. Often subtle, these individualistic traits vary enough through time to make this task possible. Particularly in the Late Period, this task is often complicated by two politically motivated factors: archaism and usurpation.¹

      In this brief study, a small three-dimensional head, which I believe dates to the beginning of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty, will serve to illustrate the process of ascribing an object to a narrow window of time, and even naming its subject....

  9. The South Asasif Necropolis

    • 3 The History of the South Asasif Necropolis and Its Exploration
      (pp. 31-72)
      Elena Pischikova

      It is not the goal of this publication to participate in the discussion on the dating issues related to the Third Intermediate Period and the Kushite dynasty in particular. A lot of research published on the subject lately gives a much better foundation for our understanding of the period, but some issues, including the length of certain reigns, still remain questionable and need more evidence to become conclusive.¹ The present project utilizes the newest research while taking into consideration its debatable nature.²

      As the dating of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty still remains questionable, it affects the timeline for Theban high officials...

    • 4 Style and Iconography of the Decoration in the Tombs of Karabasken and Karakhamun: Archaism and Innovations
      (pp. 73-92)
      Elena Pischikova

      Archaism as one of the most important factors of Late Period Theban tomb decoration has been recognized since the beginning of the twentieth century.¹ Numerous studies analyzing this ‘phenomenon’ in the late tombs of Asasif have made the Theban necropolis one of the main sources for the exploration of the occurrence of ‘archaism’ in Egyptian art.² Such attention to the Asasif necropolis is understandable, as it is a solid and relatively accessible body of material. Furthermore, due to the long interruption in building private decorated tombs in Thebes during the Third Intermediate Period, the return to this practice under the...

    • 5 Ground Penetrating Radar Survey of the South Asasif Necropolis
      (pp. 93-100)
      Adam Booth and Kasia Szpakowska

      Ground penetrating radar (GPR) is one of a family of geophysical methods that allows buried objects and structures to be detected and mapped from the ground surface without the need for excavation. Under favorable circumstances, GPR provides high-resolution images of features buried at shallow depths, typically up to 5 meters, depending on the system used and the physical properties of the subsurface (fig. 5.1).

      GPR systems typically comprise two antennas, connected to a control console (see fig. 5.1). One antenna is a transmitter of pulses of radio-wave energy, the other is a receiver. On transmission, these radio waves propagate through...

  10. The Tomb of Karakhamun (TT 223)

    • 6 Titles of Karakhamun and the Kushite Administration of Thebes
      (pp. 103-108)
      Christopher Naunton

      An individual’s titulary—the words or phrases used to designate an individual, which usually occur before the name in inscriptions²—can provide an indication of his or her social status, roles and responsibilities, and the context in which their work was undertaken. In general they can be divided into groups as follows: ranking titles, vocational titles, and laudatory epithets.

      Karakhamun held ten titles—a significant number—including the classic sequence of four ‘ranking’ titles:iry-p‘t(‘the noble’ or ‘hereditary prince’),H3ty-‘(‘count’),htmty-bity(‘seal-bearer of the king of lower Egypt’) andsmr w‘ty(n mrwt) (‘(beloved) sole companion’)³ (figs. 6.1...

    • 7 Karakhamun Revisited: Some Remarks on the Architecture of TT 223
      (pp. 109-118)
      Dieter Eigner

      In April 1976, I paid my first visit to the tomb of Karakhamun in the course of a study on the Late Period tombs of Western Thebes. The location of the tomb was then marked by a large oval gap in the ground, the place where the ceiling of the First Pillared Hall had collapsed. A huge mass of debris, covered by a layer of dirt and refuse, filled this hall up to one meter above the former ceiling level and higher. Only the northwestern corner of the hall was visible for a short stretch, just below some scant remains...

    • 8 Vestibule: Daily-life Scenes in the Tomb of Karakhamun
      (pp. 119-130)
      Elena Pischikova

      The discovery of the vestibule of the tomb of Karakhamun occurred in September 2011, at the end of the season. Only the top registers of the vestibule’s decoration were visible on the south and north walls of the room. The images in the top register were unfinished and left in preliminary drawings. The images belong to the so-called daily-life cycle of scenes and most probably are an indication of the theme of the whole room. Based on the pronounced Old Kingdom iconography of the scenes, there was an expectation that the clearing of the room might reveal two mirror images...

    • 9 The Textual Program of Karakhamun’s First Pillared Hall
      (pp. 131-172)
      Miguel Ángel Molinero Polo

      From the end of the ninth century bc, funerary texts became extremely rare in the Theban necropolis. Different explanations have been given as to the reasons for the simplification of coffin design and the near disappearance of formulaic spells: the impoverishment of the local elite after decades of opposition to the Delta court; cultural control, and even repression, by Tanite kings through the closing-down of the workshops where mortuary equipment had been produced; modification of aesthetic tastes, discarding previously crowded ornamentation in favor of austerity. In the next generation, it is mainly in the royal tombs of Tanis and the...

    • 10 The Book of the Dead from the Second Pillared Hall of the Tomb of Karakhamun: A Preliminary Survey
      (pp. 173-200)
      Kenneth Griffin

      Since 2009, excavations have been carried out in the area of the tomb of Karakhamun now designated as the Second Pillared Hall. These excavations were completed during the 2011 season, revealing a hall consisting of four pillars and four pilasters. This hall has suffered greatly due to the collapse of the ceiling, with the pillars and walls largely destroyed. Despite this, it has already been possible to identify over 90 percent of the texts through the recovery of approximately 5,000 fragments from the floor of the hall. This chapter will examine the texts of theBook of the Dead(BD)...

    • 11 A Bright Night Sky over Karakhamun: The Astronomical Ceiling of the Main Burial Chamber in TT 223
      (pp. 201-238)
      Miguel Ángel Molinero Polo

      A small number of documents with astronomical features in their design are known from ancient Egypt. They include Middle Kingdom representations of diagonal clocks in coffins’ lids; New Kingdom ceilings in royal and private tombs and in several temples, as well as the inner side of some sarcophagi’s lids; and a wider variety of documents in the Ptolemaic and Roman Periods, such as sanctuary walls and ceilings, sarcophagi and coffins’ lids, and clepsydrae and astronomical texts on papyri. Few examples come from the Late Period, and only two ceilings older than TT 223 are known of in private tombs;¹ this...

    • 12 Preliminary Notes on Coffin Fragments Discovered in TT 223
      (pp. 239-246)
      John H. Taylor

      The following brief observations are based on an examination of photographs of fragments of painted and carved wood which have been provisionally identified as parts of coffins. The intention has been to assess the probability of this identification and to make some preliminary suggestions as to the dating of the objects.

      The numerical grouping of the fragments follows that provided by the excavators. In some cases, a single group appears to include fragments which originally belonged to coffins of different periods (for example, ‘Coffin 4’), and in one instance (‘Coffin 7’), the larger fragments can be identified as parts of...

    • 13 Pottery from the Tomb of Karakhamun (TT 223)
      (pp. 247-262)
      Julia Budka

      A first season of recording the pottery from TT 223 was carried out in August 2011. The main aim was to establish dating for the ceramics, and thus, to gain insights into the use-life of the tomb. A first corpus of wares and of pottery types was established. Additional goals were the clarification of the general character of the ceramic material and of possible differences and variations between individual areas and locations within the tomb, and an initial assessment of its functional use. The purpose of this report is to present a preliminary overview of the material (corpus of wares...

    • 14 A Preliminary Note on the Faunal Remains from the South Asasif Conservation Project
      (pp. 263-268)
      Salima Ikram

      The South Asasif Conservation Project is extremely rich in faunal remains. This brief report only evaluates the nature of the different deposits, as it is based on a very short site visit made in June 2011. Identifications were made in the field with a very small comparative collection. Ageing is based on Silver.¹ The bones had been collected by hand and none were sieve finds. They had been bagged and stored by the mission in the tombs. It is clear that the vast majority of bones are part of the taphonomic history of the different tombs and unrelated to the...

  11. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. 269-270)
  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 271-290)