The Theban tombs TT176 and TT177 are presented together, because they are now linked internally, even though at least two centuries separated their construction. The interest of this presentation also seems double: on the one hand, to make known the small tomb TT176 of Userhat, which has just been the subject of a publication by Bram Calcoen, in collaboration with Christiane Müller-Hazenbos; on the other hand, to present some rare enduring images of the scenes of the tomb TT177 of Amenemopet, which has never been published.
The two tombs are located at el-Khokha (see ), which is the area located between the Ramesseum and the temple of Hatshepsut, at Deir el-Bahari. The site is named after a modern village and is situated around the base of a hill.
Because of the upheaval of the land since antiquity, the tomb entrances are located below the level of the gebel. It is necessary to descend a staircase to enter the tiny common courtyard which is in front of the entry of TT177; the main entrance of TT176 remains under the rubble (see and ).
The oldest burial is TT176, which dates from the time of Amenhotep II - Thutmosis IV (in the middle of the 18th Dynasty, about 1400 years B.C.). Tomb TT177 is of the Ramesside period (19th Dynasty, probably Ramesses II).
In the 19th century, a breach was created in the adjoining walls between the two chapels, the passageway mutilating the decoration. Together they were converted into place of storage (if it had served as dwelling or stable, traces would have testified to this).
Because of the interconnection of the two tombs, the Service of Antiques didn't judge it useful to clear the area at the front of both entries, the common entry being made by that of TT177.
No report of excavation exists for either of the two tombs. In her work, Bram Calcoen specifies that his authorisation was valid to copy for publication, not to search, tomb TT176 only.
The different walls of both tombs will be examined, based on the number order which was given to them in the Porter & Moss (P&M) publication - see bibliography on page 2.
Also, although numerically tomb TT176 comes first, it will be TT177 which is dealt with first.
Amenemopet was an employee of the Ramesseum, the Temple of Millions of years of Ramesses II, as was Nakhtamon, whose tomb () was added to this site (Osirisnet) recently, but they occupied different functions. Amenemopet was
"Lector Priest of Amon in the temple of Usermaatre-Setepenre" and
"Scribe of Truth in the temple of Usermaatre-Setepenre (which is) in the domain of Amon".
The tomb is small (no measurements are available) and it has suffered a lot. It includes an entrance to a longitudinal chamber, and opposite, slightly off-centre, is the opening to a small square internal chamber. At the left extremity of the first chamber is the breach in the wall leading to tomb TT176. The decoration, which was never finished, exists very punctually on the walls, but somewhat better on the ceiling.
Arched, it is partitioned by a large central yellow longitudinal band edged with white (there were possibly two other parallels borders, one at each side). There are also similar transverse bands passing either over or under the main central band. These bands carry some texts in blue hieroglyphs, which provide the titles of the deceased and information about his father, who was called Nebqed, and he was
"Scribe of the divine seal in the domain of Amon". The text bands create rectangular areas which are painted in two different classic geometric motifs (see the above image).
On the right-hand side, it bears, on a yellowish background, a representation of the deceased and his wife (?) who seem to be leaving the tomb for the day, arms raised in worship in front of the rising sun. The lady's whole upper part is lost, leaving only her large white dress and her two naked feet. Amenemopet is better preserved. He has a shaven skull, naked chest and feet. He wears a long white garment, down from his waist, a pair of wrist bracelets and a large necklace on his chest. The top of the wall is decorated with a colourful frieze, bordered at top and bottom by a red line with two outer thin white ones. In between these is a display of plant motifs in blue and white.
This wing is at the geographical south, but ritually to the north. It should be remembered that it is by the decoration that the Egyptians compensated for the chance of mis-orientation. Here is found the small remains of the winged goddess, Ma'at, who, with expanded arms, protected a divinity seated on a throne (probably Osiris). Above her, below the upper frieze, is an udjat eye (see ). This time the upper frieze consists, at the top, of the same design seen in the entrance, however, below it is one of a different design.
Porter and Moss, in their publication, mention a sketch of a seated man, probably at a banquet. Currently no images are available.
Here is the most interesting representation and the best preserved of the chamber. The deceased and his family's members are in front of the Hathor cow, which leaves of the mountain of the west. More precisely, it represents Hathor-Meresger, as the text specifies. Meresger, who appears most often as a snake, is the manifestation of the Theban Summit, the head of the necropolis and is more especially revered by the craftsmen of the village of Deir el-Medineh, those who produced the royal and princely tombs. It is maybe necessary to see here an indication connecting Amenemopet to the latter, because it is rarely mentioned in the tombs of the officials.
The body of the Hathor cow, painted in a golden colour which now appears orange, extends halfway out of the mountain. The representation is not of great quality, as can be seen by the image of the crown, formed of a solar disk and two upright papyrus reeds. She wears around her neck a menat necklace (the front part of which should have passed around the neck). In front of her is a high black pedestal on which rests a libation vase. To the left of the vase is Amenemopet who offers the incense with the aid of a small portable brazier. The importance of the representation of the garment he wears should be noted. It certainly contains very amply sized white main section with a large front piece, characteristic of Ramesside artistry.
Behind Amenemopet are two women and three men, but alas no names are preserved (see ).
The women are also clothed in a dress made of white linen, which descends to their ankles. Their long tripartite wigs don't include any detail. On the head of the second woman is a high Theban festive cone. The outline triangular sketch of a lotus flower should be noted, which was probably attached to the front of the cone.
The three men, represented smaller than the women, are the priests, indicated by their shaven skulls and the piece of white fabric which crosses their chest. Their lower garment is also white.
This passageway is in the wall which faces the main entrance, slightly moved to the right in relation to the entry. The image shows a fragment of the decoration of the lintel showing a double scene in front of Osiris and another god, as well as a doorpost carrying the deceased's titles.