Thebes Tomb 5 (Ramesseum)


Adapted from Quibell, The Ramesseum, 1898. p. 3.
The most important tomb of the Xllth dynasty period consisted of a long, oblong shaft, skew to the wall of one of the chambers (No. 5) and running under it In the shaft were scattered two types of ushabtis, one of green glaze, another of clay painted yellow but not baked. These were of XXIInd dynasty style, as were also a wooden head from a coffin lid, some small wax figures of the four genii, and fragments of red leather braces.

At the bottom of the shaft, 13 feet down, two small chambers opened. These were cleared out and found to be empty. Lastly, the heap left in the middle of the shaft was removed, and in it, in a space about 2 feet square, was found a group of objects.

First was a wooden box about 18 X 12 x 12 inches. It was covered with white plaster, and on the lid was roughly drawn in black ink the figure of a jackal. The box was about one third full of papyri which were in extremely bad condition, three quarters of their substance having decayed away ; if a fragment of the material were pressed slightly between the finger and thumb it disappeared in a mere dust But the papyrus was inscribed ; characters apparently of the XIIth dynasty hieratic could be distinguished.

In the box was also a bundle of reed pens, 16 inches long and a tenth of an inch in diameter, and scattered round it were a lot of small objects ; parts of four ivory castanets incised with the usual series of mythical creatures, a bronze uraeus entangled in a mass of hair, a cat and an ape in green glaze, and a handful of beads. These comprised spherical beads in amethyst and agate, barrel-shaped in haematite and carnelian, glaze and carnelian beads of the shape of an almond, and one covered with minute crumbs of glaze. The green glaze object like a cucumber in shape is not understood. There is one at Gizeh and another has lately been found in a Xllth dynasty grave at El Kab. The ivory piece is pierced at the round end for the insertion of a handle ; similar objects were found at Kahun, but their use is not known. The rude doll, without arms or legs, is made of a flat slip of wood 1/2 inch thick, the painted cross-lines on the body seem to represent some plaid material. The next two dolls, with arms but cut off at the knees, are of limestone and glaze respectively. A patch on the latter is covered, not with smooth glaze like the rest of the figure, but with minute grains of blue frit ; this must be due to imperfect firing, and shows that the glaze was applied as a wash of ground frit The same method is seen in the ushabtis of a far later period.

The figure of a dancer is in wood ; the girl wears a mask and holds a bronze serpent in each hand (cf. the canvas mask found at Kahun). The doll is in limestone, the ape in blue glaze, the dad in ivory, and the coarse cup in blue glaze, while the plain castanet, and the handle with two lions engraved on it, are of ivory. Seeds of the dom palm and of balanites were also found here. A very curious fragment is the ivory boy with a calf upon his back (length 2 inches). Found alone this might have passed for Roman work, but the position can leave no doubt that all these objects are from one interment and of one date.

The history of the tomb would appear to be as follows. The XIIth dynasty interment was discovered and robbed long ago, perhaps by the workmen of Rameses II, the valuables being taken away and the other objects thrown out into the shaft and left. When the Ramesseum was ruined and had been given over to some families of the XXIInd dynasty as a cemetery, the ready-made shaft was again utilised ; it was cleared out until the mouths of the chamber were reached, and in them the second burials were placed. At some later period these too were disturbed, but in neither of the two last instances was the bottom of the shaft reached : so that when we, after finding the chambers empty, cleared completely the ground between them, we found this patch covered with the remains of the first interment.