The tomb of this Userhat, TT51, was created in the north-east wall of a large sunken courtyard, located in the slopes of the foothills of Sheikh Abd el-Qurna.
This character named Userhat must not be confused with one of the same name, whose tomb, TT56, lies nearby (already published on OsirisNet - see ).
The courtyard provides access to four major tombs (see ). That of Neferhotep, TT50, from the time of Horemheb (18th Dynasty), that of Userhat, TT51, from the time of Ramesses I and Sety I (19th Dyn.), that of Amenwahsu, TT111, from the reign of Ramesses II (19th Dyn.), and finally, that of Kensumose, TT30, which is of a somewhat later date.
The greater part of the total courtyard is now taken up by the brick porch and the walled forecourt of the latest tomb, TT30. The east (right-hand) wall forms the west wall of the courtyard of Userhat's tomb.
The tomb was discovered in 1903 by Sir Robert Mond. In 1909, Norman de Garis Davies, who worked for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, started to completely clear the tomb. In 1927 he produced a publication (in English) under the title 'Two Rameside Tombs at Thebes', which included Userhat, TT51 and also Apy, TT217.
Although one of the most beautiful tombs in Thebes, only the first inner chamber is decorated. However, in 1941, vandals and thieves cut five large pieces of the decoration from the walls, and then chiselled out the eyes of most of the images. Some of the damage has been restored, then the walls were covered with protective glass, this making modern photography very difficult. Fortunately, the publication of Davies contained line drawings, coloured images and monochrome photographs, produced before this damage.
Tomb owner: Userhat or , who was also named Neferhabef in the tomb. He was the "first prophet of the royal Ka (or "soul") of Thutmosis I". This meant that he served in the cult temple of Tuthmosis I. He actually served during the reigns of Horemheb and Ramesses I and died during the reign of Seti I.
To maintain the cult to a deceased Pharaoh was a duty of the reigning sovereign. The Temple of Millions of Years (improperly but conveniently called a funerary temple) was the mainspring of it. Endowed with land, livestock, vessels, etc., they possibly also had a servile workforce. The main positions of responsibility of their administration was pleasingly hereditary, as was the case for Userhat and his family, to who the great priesthood was transmitted from father to son.
Thutmosis I, third king of the XVIIIth Dynasty, reigned from 1504 to 1492 B.C. (chronology of Shaw), and its cult is therefore even there in the time of Sethy I, two centuries later.
This cult of the kings forebears was especially developed at the beginning of the Ramesside time period. Indeed, the latter were commoners who raised themselves on to the throne and it was politically important for them to be connected to the former Thutmoside lineage (see the article ).
His father : was Khensemhab and his mother Tausert .
His wife : was named Hatshepsut (also called just Shepset), but he also had two other wives, however their names have been lost from the tomb.
His children : Two sons are named on the courtyard stela: Ra-emwia and Huy , but he possibly had more sons and also daughters.
The main axis of the internal tomb, as seen when looking into the complex from the entrance doorway, has a south-west to north-east orientation. For reasons of convenience, and to conform to the ritualistic orientation used by the ancient scribes, the whole complex, including the courtyard, will be considered as being east to west (see plan opposite), the direction of the journey into the afterlife.
The tomb itself consists of the entry passageway, leading into a transverse chamber. Immediately opposite the entry is another passage leading into an almost square section chamber with the ceiling supported by four rock pillars and architraves. The pillars and ceiling of this inner chamber were smeared roughly with mud.
Continuing west, at the far end of this chamber, is the entrance to a small burial chamber, at the far end of which is the entrance to a sloping knee-shaped passage, which ends with a raised area for the reception of the coffin. This final entry is preceded by a small enclosed area of bricks, which, if original, may have formed a shrine in front of the door, which would have been closed. In the pillared chamber are two other places of burial. One in the south-west corner (to the left on entering the chamber) is just a small narrow area at floor level, the other, in the north-west corner, consists of a shallow pit, surrounded by a raised area cut from the solid rock, giving access to a roughly cut chamber. Other poorly created burial places are common in the Theban area, even in tombs of considerable note.
Of all these chambers and passageways, only the first longitudinal chamber is decorated, the others being totally undecorated. With the exception of the first chamber, all the rest of the interior is closed to the public and very little information about it is known, other than what has already been stated and the internal measurements.
Entry into the courtyard of Userhat's tomb is at the north-east corner, when using the ritualistic orientation, at the end of the walled area of the courtyard of tomb TT30. Userhat's courtyard is irregular in shape, being wider at the entry end (about 3.3m) than at the other end (about 2.2m), with a length of just over 6.0m. The ground level having been lowered from that of the other part of the total courtyard. Near the entry descent to the courtyard, in the north wall, is the entrance to tomb TT111, that of Amenwahsu. At the time of construction, flooding from occasional rainstorms was apparently a problem, so the ancient quarrymen constructed a raised sill at the tomb entrance and lowered the floor of the courtyard before it.
To the left of the tomb entrance, against the south wall of the courtyard, was carved a limestone stela, currently 92cm in height and 1.10 in width. It originally had a sandstone frame, the left-hand side of which still exists, as seen in . It must have originally been rectangular in shape, with a corniced lintel. In front of it is a flat piece of masonry, possibly for the placement of offerings. The stela contains the funerary rites of Userhat which would normally have been located in the main chamber (but this was never decorated). At the top is imagery of the rites, whilst below are eight lines of text, giving a standard offering formula and the names of family members. At the left, in the imagery, is the standing coffin of Userhat, whilst kneeling in front bewails his wife Hatshepsut and standing at her side are two sons. This is ministered to by two priests who each stand behind piles of offerings onto which they pour incense. It is possible that one or two relations were at the right-hand edge.
The appended text states:
"A ritual offering to Amen-Re to Atum, to Harakhti, to Geb, to Osiris, to Isis, Lady of the West, to Hathor, residing in the necropolis, to Anubis, foremost in the hall of the god, to the company of the gods… [to the gods] and goddesses there, the great ones of the necropolis, to the temple of the south, to the temple of the north, to the Sektet-bark, to the Manjet-bark, to the gods who are in heaven and on earth; that they may grant cooling waters (?) and the scent of the breezes, that the soul may not ever suffer repulse, that your name may be called and be forthcoming at every festival continually, that you may see Re at dawn and follow Sokar of Rostau, that you may see the gods on thrones, that Re may give you passage in the Sektet-bark, that the West may receive you, that libations be poured on the offerings, that (you) receive the offerings of a god, and that Hapi give you all manner of good food, thousands of bread, beer, oxen, fowl, thread, linen, fat, incense, wine, milk, greens, fragrant flowers, … (for the ka of] the high-priest of [Akheperkare, Userhat], the justified one. He says, 'My rank (?) was that of a wab-priest (?)… the shrine of the god, high-priest of… [born of the house-]mistress, [the singer of] Mont, lord of On, Tausret.' [His wife], the house-mistress, [Hat]shepsut. His son, Ra-emwia. His son, Huy, His son, …"
The sandstone base of a column, which remains to the right of the entrance to the tomb, must have been one of a pair which supported a porch of some sort. It may even have been one of four, forming a portico along this side of the courtyard. The position on the base of the one which has survived is shown in solid form in the , the possible other three are in outline.
This approximately 6m long wall has at its centre the entrance to the inner chambers of the tomb. The entrance was originally surrounded with a sandstone door-frame, but today it has a cement version. There is now no evidence of decoration as most of the smooth surface has been lost. The lower part of the left side still retains, at the bottom, part of the original smooth area, and immediately next to the door, on the left side, is the lower remains of possibly another stela.
As already mentioned, the entrance doorway floor level is raised above the floor of the courtyard. The entrance was originally sealed by a wooden door set into sandstone doorjambs, an original pivot still exists; now a metal gate is in place. The lower course of masonry remains on the right-hand side of the passageway, and three sandstone slabs were found which evidently belong to it; showing a painted figure of the owner entering the tomb, the hymn to Ra, and assurances that the deceased
"shall take possession of his pyramidal tomb… and hand over his staff to the coffin (that is, "that he shall lie down to rest")
". It should be noted that there are no remains of a pyramid on top of the tomb. The passageway is approximately 1.8m long, by 1.2m wide and 2.0m in height, although the outer protection sill, the internal steps and the fragmented ceiling vary the height.
The first chamber is entered by descending steps (see ).