Sennefer was an important Egyptian official during the rule of Amenhotep II in ancient Egypt's 18th dynasty. He was the Mayor of the Southern City.
Tomb Of Sennefer: TT96
The private tomb of Sennefer, TT96 is also known as the Tomb of the Vineyards. The tomb lies in the upper enclosure of Sheikh Abd el Qurna above TT 100. Its alternative name, Tomb of the Vines or Vineyard, comes from the beautiful decoration seen on the ceilings of the burial chamber. It gives the impression of standing under an overhanging vine arbor which has large and many bunches of grapes on it.
Discovery Of TT96
TT96 was discovered in 1826 and most travelers who came to the tomb thought that it consisted of only the underground burial chamber. Englishman Robert Hay de Linplum 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 founded and still receives several thousand visitors every year.
The Tomb's Design
The renovated entrance to the tomb is followed by a steep staircase that ends in an antechamber and the burial chamber which has four pillars. The upper parts of the tombs are used for storage and are now closed to visitors.
Decorations Inside The Tomb
Unlike most other tombs from this era, both chambers of Sennefer's private tomb were decorated. The upper chamber has scenes of harvesting, banqueting, and offering, similar to the other private tombs. The walls of the 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 on the wall somehow create confusion as to how many wives Sennefer had. The short passage to the burial chamber has 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, with four square pillars supporting the ceiling. 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 Tomb's Current Condition
The paintings on the walls and pillars of the Tomb of Sennefer are now protected with glass and have 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 to the public.