Monuments and Sites of Ancient Egypt

- The Memphite Tomb of Horemheb -

  Saqqara Private tomb of Horemheb:    
  Private tomb of Horemheb   Location and Structure    
        First Courtyard Reliefs    
        Second Courtyard Reliefs    


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First Courtyard Reliefs

At first sight there remained almost nothing of the exquisite reliefs that once covered the walls of the first courtyard. The excavators had to carefully apply moisture to the walls in order to make the reliefs visible.

On the south wall, which appears to have suffered the most damage, a relief was revealed that shows captive foreigners coming to pay tribute to the general or to his king. Among them are Nubians, Libyans, Asians and even some inhabitants of the Aegean Islands. There was also a representation of the Window of Appearances in the royal palace. Only the lower parts are preserved, with the representation of the symbol of the united Two Lands and the rows of captive foreigners being led to it. Most likely, Horemheb would have been represented in front of the window, receiving gifts from the king.

Against the west wall, two stelae were once erected, one to the south and one to the north of the passage to the Statue Room. The southern of the two was acquired by the British Museum in 1835. A cast of this stela was placed by the excavators of the temple where the original once stood. It shows Horemheb in adoration before Re-Harakhte, Thot and Maat. The long text is a hymn to the three gods. Of the northern stela, only fragments were found in 1975. Drawings made by an 18th century visitor have made clear that the stela was still intact at that time and that its upper half, showing Horemheb praying to Atum, Osiris-Onnophris and Ptah, is now in the Hermitage Museum at St. Petersburg.


The southern stela that once stood against the west wall of the First Courtyard, with a detail of its top above. It shows Horemheb to the right in adoration before the falcon-headed Re-Harakhte, followed by Thot and Maat.
The original stela can be seen in the British Museum. A cast of it has been placed in Horemheb's temple.

The north wall appears to have been covered with reliefs representing festivities and military encampments. One of the blocks that comes from this wall shows Horemheb in a typically royal scene: acting as the king's regent, he gives the gold 'collars of honour' to a high official. The name of that official is lost but, based on the age and face of the man, it has been suggested that he may have been general Paramessu, the later Ramesses I (see image below).

horemheb_court01_gifts.gif (45010 bytes)  

Horemheb giving gifts to a high official.
From: G.T. Martin, The Hidden Tombs of Memphis, p. 54.