TT6, the tomb of Neferhotep and his son, Nebnefer .
|| Before beginning the following description of this tomb, please read the general article about the village and tombs of Deir el-Medina and the community of craftsmen working in the royal tombs, which will not be listed below.
Only the plates of tomb TT6 were published by H. Wild (see bibliography) in volume II. Volume I should have included the texts and the description, but this was never published. Thus, this presentation is relied primarily on the plates of the Porter & Moss publication.
TT6 is a family tomb which clearly dates from the time of Ramesses II (according to Hofmann). Neferhotep and Nebnefer are father and son, and they succeeded one another in the post of foreman, in the "Place of Truth". Their descendants continued to occupy the area to the right of this tomb during the greater part of the nineteenth dynasty, making this one of the most influential families of Deir el-Medina. It should be noted that tomb TT216, adjoining that of TT6, is that of another Neferhotep, son of Nebnefer thus grandson of the TT6 Neferhotep, which is the largest and best located in the necropolis of Deir el-Medina. The Neferhotep of TT6 will be referred to as Neferhotep (I) and his grandson as Neferhotep (II).
It should be remembered that the work in the royal tombs was done in parallel by two teams, one for the right-hand side and one for the left, there were two foremen (and only two) who exercised authority at the same time, one for each side, Neferhotep was foreman of the right.
Inscribed monuments are very rare for Neferhotep (I), although an offering table in his name was found by Bruyère in the courtyard of tomb TT216. This table refers to "[...] Neferhotep, foreman of the Lord of the Two Lands, Djeserkheper[ure-Setepenre] (Horemheb)". Neferhotep was thus in office under Horemheb, probably from year 7 of his reign and remained there at least until year 5 of Rameses II. He appears with his wife, Iyemuau, in the chapel of the scribe Ramose, TT250.
Neferhotep (I) . No tomb belonging exclusively to Neferhotep has been discovered, and it is thus necessary to follow Cerny when he suggested that he was buried in tomb TT6, with one of his sons and successor Nebnefer.
Only one wife of Neferhotep is known, Iyemuau, who gave him several other children besides Nebnefer. However, not all of the children stayed in the village: Nakhy (son) was "an army scribe of the Lord of the Two Lands and chariot warrior of His Majesty"; Mose (son) was "transport officer of His Majesty, horse groom and porter of the temple of Usermaatre Setepenre (Ramesses II)". At least a fourth son is known, named Turo, and a daughter, named Tuya, existed.
The foremen (or team leaders) had a very important social standing, probably greater than that of the scribes. They were at same a time members of the team of the tomb and accepted it. They are supposed to supervise and co-ordinate the activities of workers, in the manner of a foreman on a current excavation site. They are the ones who represent the team in front of the upper authorities. They must also arbitrate the disputes and litigations and these are the main characters of the courthouse of the brotherhood, which they preside over; they act as witness for the vows and the transactions. They are present at the time of the divine processions. They are also the ones responsible for the tools and necessary supplies for work in the royal tombs. They are usually referred to as "chief of the team" or "team leader".
Neferhotep, chief of the team on right of the tomb, had for colleagues the head of the team on the left, Baki then Pached. He was a contemporary of the worker Sennedjem, possessor of the famous tomb, TT1, recovered intact. Some of the similarities proves to be interesting as will be seen below.
Nebnefer . This was the son of Neferhotep and Iyemuau. His wife was called Iy, daughter of the lady Isis. Both are represented in tomb TT250 of Ramose, however only Nebnefer is present in the funeral procession of Kasa (and Penbui) in the TT10 chapel.
Nebnefer remained in office from year 5 until year 30/40 of the Ramesses II, whereas Paser and then Khay occupied the post as vizier. He then maybe became the foreman of the left-hand side of the Pached tomb (the same as his father), but especially Kaha and, maybe, Ankherkhauy.
The couple's children included Neferhotep (II), Henutmehyt and Iyemuau. Neferhotep (II), who succeeded his father around year 40 of the reign of Ramesses II, accommodated the largest tomb at Deir el-Medina, TT216, which adjoins the tomb of his father and grandfather, TT6. The place is ideally located: at the top of the hill overlooking the village to the west, with a view of the entire site and to the north the Ramesseum, the Temple of a Million Years of Ramesses II (see tb-ramesseum aerial photo).
The inscriptions of the tomb have a dual distribution: those on the right half are of Nebnefer, who was the recipient of offerings (which did not prevent his father Neferhotep being mentioned several times). Entries, specifically of Neferhotep, occupy the walls of the left side. This division also exists for the inscriptions of the ceiling.
OUTSIDE AREA AND COLLAPSED ENTRANCE PASSAGE
As seen in the image opposite, tomb TT6 is preceded by a terraced rectangular courtyard, adjoining the one of TT216, which is located to the right. Tomb TT216 belonged to Neferhotep (II), who was the grandson of Neferhotep (I) and son of Nebnefer.
In the middle of the courtyard is a shaft which descends to the burial chamber. The burial chamber is described at the end of page 2.
A pyramidion has been found, and it is known that a small pyramid overhung the entry to the chapel.
The original facade, carved into the rock of the hill, had two stelae, the locations which can still be seen (these are marked by arrowheads in the picture above).
Today the tomb is entered by a collapsed corridor, of which only two small fragments still exist, one with a piece of the ceiling and some hieroglyphs forming the name Neferhotep (see tb-1708), the other with jars, amphorae and a shrine (see image to the right).
Today, the entrance to the tomb is into the main transverse chamber, through the passage which originally linked this chamber and a preceding corridor (see tb-1702).
Upon entry it can be seen that the chamber is very damaged, but what has survived is of good quality.
CEILING AND UPPER FRIEZE
The ceiling is divided into rectangular areas by yellow bands edged with one or two red lines and having blue hieroglyphs. The patterns of the enclosed areas are varied, containing circles, rosettes, leaves, etc. (see tb-1728, tb-1727 and tb-1726).
At top of all the walls runs a frieze. This consists of a red background on which are images of the goddess Hathor with the head of a cow with horns, surmounting a woven basket. The frieze is separated from the underlying scenes by classical band formed of alternating coloured rectangular patterns.
The walls were covered with a thick coating of mud which had been painted white. As is often the case in the Ramesside period, the same scene is no longer limited rigidly to a single wall, but may extend to the adjacent wall.
LEFT SIDE (SOUTH)
East wall - south section
This includes three registers.
(See Wild, pl.5.) This is almost completely destroyed, see the left side of the image opposite. At the extreme right, a man is seen in adoration before the ka sign, which is actually located on the adjoining south wall.
(See Wild, pl.7.) A seated couple receive the homage from four men followed by four women (the seated couple and the most of the image of the four men have disappeared). The women are dressed in a large fringed tunic with bouffant sleeves and wear a wide collar. The one which is furthest to the right is the best preserved, and she holds in one hand a large stem of blue papyrus and in the other a basket or bag. This basket is a little better seen with the woman who precedes her (see tb-1723-01). The basket appears to be divided into four parts, each containing round objects: this is a way of representing different fruits (?) for the dead, sometimes similar partitioning in baskets are found placed on tables.
(See Wild, pl.8 and tb-1724.) This scene is also very damaged. The left side is hardly recognisable, but what remains are of three seated couples and the two or three men who pay them homage, followed by better preserved three women.
South wall (See tb-1714)
This includes two registers on the left, but on the right the wall shares a full height image with one on the south end of the west wall.
• Adoration of the ka.
The ka, which represents the vital strength of the individual, is closely dependent of the food offerings. It is presented here on a pavois, as a symbol. As already mentioned, the image of a man on the adjoining east wall is also connected with this scene. One can see the close relationship between image and writing, since it is also about the hieroglyph , Gardiner D29. The ka remains in the tomb, unlike the ba it doesn't have the possibility to pass from one world to the other. The representation refers to Chapter 105 of the Book of the Dead: "Formula to make favourable to Neferhotep his ka" or "Formula to satisfy the ka"; sometimes the space between the two open arms contains victuals; sometimes a libation or incense are carried on the sign. The plural of the word ka, kau, designates the food offerings, showing the close relationship between one and the other.
If the individual succeeded in uniting his person's different components (mummy, ka, ba, name and shadow) it becomes an efficient mind, an Akhu. The text of Chapter 105 goes farther, it offers to wash his ka of blemish: "I have brought you natron and incense so that I may purify you (...) These evil things which I could hold, these evil sins which I could have committed, which are not returned to me (...) I am quite flourishing and my ka (is quite flourishing) as are those (the inhabitants of the horizon), the food of my ka is like theirs".
• Worship of the serpent Sa-to (or Sa-ta, sata).
The name literally means "Son of the Land". Many snakes inhabit the Egyptian imagination, sometimes lending their protective functions - like the snake Mehen which surrounds and protects the sun on its nightly journey, sometimes destructive - as Apophis trying to capsize and destroy the solar boat every night. They are beings of the earth, particularly wetlands, which live in burrows, from where they emerge in the light of day. In addition, during the moulting period, they seem to revive themselves, the illusion of a perpetually renewed life and and undergoing transformations, during the sun's nightly journey.
The inhabitants of the village of Deir el-Medina show some commitment to the serpent deities, as shown by the numerous stelae and the devotion to the worship of the goddess Meretseger ("she who loves silence") represented as a cobra.
Among the many avatars of these ophidians, the one who adores Neferhotep takes the form, rarther strangely, of the head and the inflated hood of a cobra raised on human legs, an uraeus which walks, associating the idea of mobility to that of transformation. The explanation of this figure is available in Chapter 87 of the Book of the Dead: "Formula for taking the form of a serpent - sata: (followed by the words spoken by Neferhotep, the deceased) 'I am a snake, sata, rich in years, and I spent the night be in the world, every day I'm a snake - sata, who is in the bosom of the earth. I spend the night to come into the world, to be renewed, to be rejuvenated, daily' ". Barguet made the following commented: "The text strongly suggests that the snake, sata, is a form of the sun, the one which takes it into the underworld during its nightly journey during which it is again formed, and formed the new sun every day, the creation of the sun (and the world) recurring every morning.".
Chapter 87 is found in only five tombs, all Ramesside: TT290, TT183, TT214, TT359 and this TT6.
On the wall to the right, today much destroyed, showed a seated couple.
Three sons and two females, standing on the left, pay homage to Neferhotep and his wife. Neferhotep holds in his left hand a folded piece of cloth whilst in his right hand he grasps a Sekhem sceptre. He wears a large necklace of multicoloured beads. His wig is white, streaked with black (see tb-1720) which doesn't necessarily indicate an advanced age, but rather his status as ancestor of a vast family (a similar representation is in the tomb TT290 of Irynefer (see is-19). Iyemuau, his wife, surrounds his shoulders with her arms. She also wears a broad necklace; her black wig is decorated with a headband and a stem of lotus, but without a festive cone. The first son holds out a bouquet to his parents.
(See Wild, pl.4 and tb-1715.) Only part of the the image of the lady Iy, the wife of Nebnefer, remains and she is standing behind her husband who is actually portrayed on the south end of the west wall. "His daughter, who makes his name live, Iy, 'True of Voice' by Osiris [...]". It is also on the west wall that the explanatory text, painted in beautiful coloured hieroglyphs, which ends in front of Iy, begins: "To bring all good and pure things for your ka, the Osiris, master of the west, Un-nefer, master of the Sacred Land, the foreman of the team of the Place of Truth, Neferhotep. His son, who makes live his name, the foreman of the team of the Place of Truth, Nebnefer, 'True of Voice' by the great god. His sister, the chantress of Khnum, Satet and Anuket.".
Iy holds in her hands two instruments with Hathoric connotations: a sistrum in her right hand, a Menat necklace and its counterweight in her left hand. According to the custom of the Ramesside period, her dress is full, occupying a significant space in the composition.
West wall - south section (to the left of the entrance to the shrine)
(Also see tb-1707)
The right-hand side is occupied by the beginning of the scene which has just described, with Neferhotep carrying a brazier, in worship of the kiosk of a seated a divinity - or rarther, where one sat, because Osiris has disappeared completely. Behind Osiris stood the goddess of the west, who protected him with her winged arms. In front of the kiosk are still the remnants of a pedestal on which was placed a golden ewer surrounded by a plant crown.