Abstract: The Romance of Archaeology—NOT!: The University of Pennsylvania Museum’s Theban Tomb Project


The unpublished Ramesside private tombs at Dira Abu el-Naga South are located on a ridge along the road running between Hatshepsut’s Temple at Deir el-Bahari and the Valley of the Kings.  This site has been investigated previously by two University Museum expeditions.  There, in large rock-cut tombs with commanding views of the whole Theban plain, were buried some of the most powerful officials of the realm under Ramesses II (1270-1212 BCE) and his immediate successors; these noblemen include three High Priests of Amun-Re of Karnak, a Third Prophet, two Viceroys of Kush, and two Commandants of the Troops of Kush.  A tier of much smaller tombs of lesser officials, mostly priests, is located on a lower terrace.  The abandoned tombs were inhabited into modern times, first by Christian monks and then by Muslim villagers.  The lecture will concentrate on excavation techniques, the architecture and decoration of the tombs, and efforts undertaken on behalf of their restoration and conservation.  Some of the most significant artifacts associated with the use and reuse of the tombs will be featured.

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