Spanish archaeologists Francisco Martín Valentín and Teresa Bedman see ‘Baraka’ in their long history with the vizier Amenhotep Huy, who exercised his power at the time of Pharaoh Amenhotep III (1360-1353 BC, also known as Amenophis). Providential luck in the West, divine blessing in the East led in 2009 to the directors of the Institute for Ancient Egyptian Studies so that the country’s authorities granted them the almost unique opportunity to excavate the virtually intact tomb of the governor.
From then until today neither pandemics nor revolutions They have been able with the efforts of both to unravel all the mysteries of the necropolis and the figure of the high president, key in a critical era of Egyptology. Thirteen
campaigns later, their efforts have been rewarded and the essential pieces that recreate their history and their incredible legacy are now exhibited, and for a whole year, in the Luxor Museum of Ancient Egyptian Art, which has chosen the Spanish mission to celebrate the 46th anniversary of its opening to the public.
It was the same director of the museum, Allah H. El Menshawy, who proposed to Martin and Bedman to rescue their findings from the Carter Warehouse, where all the discoveries made by the archaeological missions on the western shore of Luxor end up. “He had come several times to see our tomb – narrates the archaeologist – and he told us that he knew the pieces and that they seemed magnificent. ‘Would there be any chance of displaying them?’ he asked. ‘All’, I answered.
Allah H. El Menshawy was in charge of all the bureaucracy and they were in charge of choosing the pieces and carrying out a Catalogue, of whose funds the Embassy of Spain in Luxor was in charge. «It is the first time that an exhibition of the results of an excavation project has been made. But Teresa and I decided that we had to do a plus, the pieces later go to the museum collections, but the catalog is what remains», explains the scientist.
The director of the museum “was aware of the importance of the tomb because it is the largest of the Eighteenth Dynasty (it has more than a thousand square meters), and the vizier himself was a very important character,” Francisco clarifies. the high ruler opposed the Amarna Revolution, starring Amenhotep III, who is deified while alive as Aton, and his son Amenoteph IV, who adopts the name of Akhenaten. The governor stands as a defender of the god Amun, for which he was pursued and the works of his tomb, abruptly paralyzed. After this period, when religion returns to normal, the vizier becomes a kind of saint and his burial place, in a sacred space chosen by the high priests to make the journey to the Beyond.
“Although there are signs of occupation around 1,200 years BC, it is fundamentally from the year one thousand, in the Third Intermediate Period, when burials are made in the patio, in the corridor and in the chapel”, explains Martín Valentín. The sarcophagi and grave goods of this time that this mission has found are not at all common in the Theban necropolis. “Almost all the tombs have been looted and the objects have been taken to Cairo, European or American museums, so finding a set of this many pieces of this quality is something exceptional, as rare as it may seem in Egypt,” specifies the archaeologist.
For this reason, the exhibition is divided into two rooms. In the first, the objects related to Amenhotep Huy are exhibited and, in the second, those belonging to this Third Intermediate Period. Among the objects of the high president, a double stele of the head of the stonemasons of Amon, Pa-Ny-Amon, stands out. «It is like freshly made, it is beautiful. And it has some texts that speak to us precisely of the exact moment in which the Amarna revolution is emerging with the new solar ideas. From the documentary point of view, it will bring some kind of consequence in the religious study of the period to see how they are born, ”says the scientist.
Also on display are two maces that the workers left on the ground when they left the works on the tomb and another series of objects related to the celebration of the jubilee of the 30th year of Amenhotep III. “And then a precious document, a ostracon, a drawing made in this case on a block of limestone in which the shaft and capital of a column appear”, summarizes Martín.
The Singer and the High Priest of Amun
The room of the Third Intermediate Period is presided over by a large showcase in which two sarcophagi of the graves they found intact, along with his funeral trousseau. One belongs to the Singer of the god Amun-Re, from the end of the 20th dynasty (circa 1100 BC). “The other is from a high priest of Amun, Anj-ef-en-Jonsu. The curious thing is that we have found the burial also of his brother inside the tomb of the vizier and has given some spectacular finds, ”says Bedman. From a unique silver knife that was used for her mummification to a concubine that was taken for her journey to the afterlife passing through a clíster (It was used to introduce different oils through the anus of the corpse to dissolve the viscera), his funerary mask, that of his wife, hundreds of ‘ushebtis’ with his name… », specifies the archaeologist.
“From the point of view of mummification they are very important objects because they are evidence that it has been practiced, we also have some tweezers that were used to depilate the bodies, a large number of amulets, ceramics for mummification, a papyrus… A whole variety that tells us about the funerary customs of this emblematic place of world archeology for more than twelve hundred years”, points out the researcher.