The "Harwa 2001" ONLUS Cultural Association presents
 The Tomb of Harwa

Report of the 1996 Season


This year I had planned to perform a thorough survey of a single room in order to obtain a complete picture of its condition. This would provide a general idea about the time and methods that would be needed for future conservation. The Second Pillared Hall was determined to be the best source for the necessary data. For this reason, the first step was to clear the large amount of debris covering the floor (Fig. 1).

The majority of the fragments came from the fallen ceiling. Among the ceiling pieces, however, there were many inscribed fragments which belonged to the pillars and the walls of the hall. In order to obtain as much data as possible from the cleaning of the floor, the hall was divided into twelve sectors (each one identified by a letter and a number). Each inscribed fragment was stored according to area in which it was found. The fragments are now kept inside the most northern subsidiary room of the First Pillared Hall which was found empty.

Some preliminary results could be achieved from this work and three fragments of stone completing the belt of Anubis and the collar of Harwa (depicted on the southern wall of the passage between First and Second Pillared Hall) were found among the debris (Fig. 2).

Other fragments coming from pillars and walls were discovered and their original position determined. They were stored separately, so as to replace them in the future.

The cleaning of the floor also led to the discovery of objects. In the northwest corner, near the opening of the shaft leading to the subterranean rooms, many little faïence shabtys, whole and fragmentary, were found together with a piece from a wooden anthropoid coffin dating to the Late Period. These findings seemed to demonstrate that the shafts had been used for secondary burials in the Greco-Roman period.

East of the completely destroyed northwestern pillar, a complete (but broken) balsamarium in black glass (Fig. 3) was found along with the fragments of two others. They date to the 2nd century AD and probably were part of a burial ceremony following Roman customs. The fragments of three other balsamaria in transparent glass, and a complete burnt one, all of the same type, were discovered near the entrance to the First Pillared Hall.

Among the superficial layer of debris in the centre of the Second Pillared Hall, near the entrance, a fragment of a white limestone shabty of Harwa was discovered. The name is clearly legible at the beginning of the second line of hieroglyphics. Although at least five shabtys of Harwa are known (J.J. Clère, BIFAO XXXIV, 1934, 129-133), this is the first one whose provenance from his tomb is certain (Fig. 4).

The cleaning of the floor also brought to light a short ramp with smooth steps at the entrance of the hall (Fig. 5). Thus, the passage between the two pillared halls proved to be at a higher level than believed.

Two other subsidiary rooms, attached to the southern side of the First Pillared Room, were cleared of debris, so as to be used as storerooms in further excavations.

A fragment of a second shabty of Harwa was found in the first, southern subsidiary room. This was made of serpentine, a very rare stone for this kind of object. The name of the deceased is preceded by a very rare title, one never attested for Harwa. A fragment of an shabty of Petamenofi, the owner of TT 33 lying few a dozen meters east of the Tomb of Harwa, was also discovered. This shabty was made of green glazed steatite with very fine detail.

In the second subsidiary room, two funerary cones were found. One bore the titles and name of Montuemhat, the owner of TT 34 lying immediately west of the tomb of Harwa; the other cone was not inscribed.  The second cone is bigger and is very similar to cones found in the tombs of the northern cliffs of Deir el-Bahari which date to the XIth Dynasty. A fragment of another balsamarium in transparent glass decorated with two engraved strips on the shoulder was also discovered among the debris covering the floor of the room.

Some very nice fragments from the decoration of the walls were also found. The most beautiful has the head of a man wearing a short wig (Fig. 6). The carving of the stone is very delicate and the colours are well preserved. It must be part of the scenes decorating the entrance to the second subsidiary room, where it was found.

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