From the town site at Elephantine, the most visible marker of the elite cemetery is the double tomb of Mekhu and Sabni (I)
Mekhu and Sabni were father and son, nomarchs during the reign of Pepi II (end of dynasty VI).
The forecourt is common to both tombs, cut into the bulk of the cliff.
Originally begun as single monument for Mekhu, the tomb was expanded over a series of building phases to incorporate a separate chapel space for his son Sabni1.
From the entrance to Mekhu's tomb we reach a vast hall whose ceiling is supported by three transverse rows of unfinished columns, some of which have had the lower 1.5m recut. From the entrance we have a perspective view to the stela at the rear in the form of a false door. A small offering table inserted between two pillars can be found at the entrance.
The inscriptions above the false door refer to the offerings (htp di nesu) which the deceased requests by the intervention of Osiris and Anubis for he who is Prince, Chancellor of Lower Egypt, the one friend, justified. Strangely, there are no sacerdotal titles. On a little “placard” we read the list of the “thousands” of offerings of loaves, beer, poultry, cloth… which he desires. The remaining decoration, of which there is little, is represented by small scattered scenes.
Moving north we arrive at the tomb of his son, Sabni, as they share a largely continuous internal space. In Sabni1’s autobiography he writes of his efforts to retrieve his father Mekhu’s body from Nubia, in order to give him a burial in accordance with the rites, but does not indicate Mekhu died in any type of military conflict.