Private Tomb of - Sheikh Abd el-Qurna (TT96)
Sennefer was an important Egyptian official during the rule of Amenhotep II for the period of the 18th dynasty. He was the Mayor of the Southern City.
Tomb of Sennefer
The private tomb of Sennefer named as TT96 is referred by most visitors as the Tomb of the Vineyards. The tomb lies in the upper enclosure of Sheikh Abd el Qurna above the tomb TT 100 of Rekhmire. The name Tomb of the Vines or Vineyards is due to the beautiful decoration seen on the ceilings of the burial chamber which gives an impression of standing under an overhanging vine arbor which has large and many bunches of grapes on it.
The discovery of TT96
Tomb TT96 of Sennefer was discovered in 1826 and most travelers coming to this thought that the same consisted of only the underground burial chamber. Englishman Robert Hay de Linplum who visited this made copies of the decorations inside the tomb which can still be seen at the British Museum. TT96 was opened to the public soon after it was found and still receives several thousand visitors every year.
The tomb plan
The renovated entrance to the tomb is followed by a steep staircase that ends into an antechamber and the burial chamber which has four pillars. The upper parts of the tombs, used for storage are now closed for visitors.
Decoration inside the tomb
Unlike most other tombs from this era, the private tomb of Sennefer had both chambers of his tomb decorated. The upper chamber had scenes of harvesting, banqueting and offering scenes which were similar to the other private tombs. The walls of underground chamber were covered with mud plaster and had an uneven surface. Scenes in bright colors very well preserved are there. The antechamber has a painting of Sennefer sitting under the grape arbor ceiling with his daughter Mut-Tuy leading a procession of priests. The many ladies depicted in the paintings in the wall somehow create confusion as to how many wives did the deceased have. The short passage to the burial chamber had a double-scene of Anubis jackals sitting on top of pylon-shaped shrines on either side of an altar.
The ceiling of the burial chamber has an exceptional decoration and the unique grape design offers any person the impression of standing under a rising and falling canvas tent. The numbers of square pillars that support this ceiling are four.
The other walls of the chamber have various other scenes of the couple and their daughter offering to the deities and also showing the funeral procession of the deceased.
The present condition
The paintings on the walls and pillars of the Tomb of Sennefer are now protected with glass and have fairly good lighting arrangements. Travelers can only see the underground part of the complex. The tomb is a popular one in the area due to the beautiful decorations that are somewhat missing in most other tombs of the 18th dynasty. Access to the upper part of the tomb is blocked for the public.