During the Middle Kingdom, it was the centre of the cult of Pakhet. There are 39 ancient tombs here of Middle Kingdom nomarchs of the Oryx nome, who governed from Hebenu. Due to the quality of of rock on the west bank, and the distance to the cliffs there, these tombs were constructed on the east bank, but are otherwise similar to other Middle Kingdom tombs.
Most of the tombs have a similar layout, with a carved entrance, and then a large (usually pillared) room containing painted decoration and the burial shafts. They are famous for the quality of their paintings, some of which the arrival of Asiatics into the region.
Four of the most important tombs are:
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