(TT 37)
Versione italiana

The following study presents work done
on a XXVth Dynasty tomb located
near the Mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut
on the Nile west bank at Luxor.

Francesco Tiradritti

Civiche Raccolte Archeologiche e Numismatiche

Tomb -- Hall -- Sanctuary -- Other -- Top

The main aim of the study of the tomb of Harwa (TT 37) was to analyse and copy some texts carved in the inner pillared rooms of the tomb. The work lasted from October 30th to November 7th, 1995.

I would like to thank Carlo Cataldi Tassoni (architect), Carlo Usai (Conservator) and Franco Lovera (Photographer) of the Archaeological Mission of the "La Sapienza" University in Rome who gave assistance on some specific subjects. I would also like to thank Prof. Alessandro Roccati, director of the Archaeological Mission of the Rome University, who accorded the permission for them to help in the work.

A warm thanks also to the staff of the Qurnah Inspectorate of the Supreme Council of Antiquities for their help and their kindness. I would like to mention the Director Sabri Abd el-Aziz, the Chief Inspector Mohammed A. El-Bialy, and the Inspector Aly Abd el-Gelil, who followed the work.

In the tomb
Introduction -- Hall -- Sanctuary -- Other -- Top

Since this was the first time that the tomb was entered in many years, we first made a preliminary and general inspection of the various parts of the huge tomb to verify its current state (Plan).

The floor of each hall is covered by fragments of limestone fallen from walls and roofs during the centuries. Many fragments are decorated and inscribed and for this reason we decided to move them (not far away from their original position) so as to create paths leading to the most important parts of the tomb (see Fig. 2). Doing this, we preserved the integrity of the fragments. During the operation, one limestone fragment with some hieroglyphics referring to the "twelfth hour of the night" was found in the first pillared hall.

This renders it probable that the pillars (now completely destroyed) were inscribed with the Book of the Hours. A sandstone fragment of an offering table was also found in the South-west part of the first pillared hall. As our main purpose was the study of the texts, the inscribed fragment and the fragment of the offering-table have been left in situ.

The second pillared hall
Introduction -- Tomb -- Sanctuary -- Other -- Top

The walls of the second pillared hall were carefully examinated. A large part of the northern wall were found in danger of falling down. A conservative intervention was carried out by Carlo Usai, to prevent this from happening. The delicate area has been secured by means of some bandages.

The texts on the walls are almost completely preserved, but they are entirely covered by remains of bats urine. A preliminary examination led us to believe that they could be recovered by an accurate cleaning.

The texts and the images on the walls of the passages between the various rooms have been carefully copied and documented (Fig. 5, 6). They seem to demonstrate that the deceased in the second pillared hall (where there is a shaft leading to the funerary apartaments of Harwa) undergoes a special ritual giving him new youth, before his entrance into the Netherworld (Fig. 3, 4). His arrival in the Realm of the Dead takes place in the room, found immediately after this second pillared hall, a sort of sanctuary where an image of the god Osiris is carved on the rear wall.

The sanctuary
Introduction -- Tomb -- Hall -- Other -- Top

In the northern wall of the sanctuary, left of the image of Osiris, there is a niche containing the remains of a seated statue of Harwa. The fragments of the statue are scattered in front of it. The statue is placed in order to look to the southern wall where a door opens, leading to a subsidiary room. Here there is a deep shaft.

A careful examination of scanty traces of a hieroglyphic inscription, written on the lintel of the door of the room, permitted the reading of the owner is name of the shaft, whose identity is still to be investigated. In any case, the position of his funerary shaft inside the tomb makes it very probable that Uzery was a relative of Harwa.

Other parts
Introduction -- Tomb -- Hall -- Sanctuary -- Top

From the room of Uzery it is possible to enter the corridor surrounding entire the subterrain complex of Harwa. In the Northern branch of the corridor (Fig. 7) we discovered a hole in the wall giving access to the pillared hall of the Tomb of Padineith (TT 197). We closed the hole by cement and stones in order to secure the tomb of Harwa. The entrance to the pillared hall of Padineith (undecorated) has also been locked with a stone wall covered by the sand.

Inside the first pillared hall of the tomb of Harwa, near the gate, a little plastic bag was found, which contained some objects deriving from a superficial cleaning of the forecourt, carried out by Salah Bayoumi, Inspector of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, on December 3rd, 1994, after the massive rainstorm of that year. Dr. Zsuzsanna Varek (Eötvös University, Budapest) examinated the fragments of ushabtis, giving them a preliminary dating. This proved to be very interesting because the pieces examinated can be dated from 25th Dynasty to the Graeco-roman period, suggesting that the tomb was used over a long period of time.

Francesco Tiradritti

Civiche Raccolte
Archeologiche e Numismatiche
Via Luini 2
20123 Milano (ITALY)

Photography by Franco Lovera,
via Pascoli 7, I-10036 Settimo Torinese (TO).