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The Tomb Of Irunefer


Irunefer’s tomb, referred to as TT 290, is located at the far end of the Western cemetery in the west of the Ptolemaic temple of Hathor in Deir el-Medina, on the West Bank of Luxor. The tomb consists of an entrance, an antechamber, and a burial chamber.

Who Was Irunefer?

Irunefer is believed to have worked as a necropolis workman, or a worker at the royal tombs, during the Ramesside era. He is known by the title "Servant in the Place of Truth" and lived during the 19th dynasty in the village. The parents of Irunefer were Tausret, his mother, and Siwazyt, his father, who was a priest. Irunefer lived during the era which is considered to be a prosperous time of Egypt’s history.

The Discovery

Tomb TT 290 was discovered in 1922 by the French archeologist Bernard Bruyere. It’s said that the tomb’s possessions were mostly robbed and nothing much remained when he found it. The few funerary types of equipment left were fragments of a wooden coffin and a few stele (slab) fragments.

The Tomb Today

The tomb contains a surface offering a chapel made from subterranean rock and mud bricks. It’s said that the tomb at one time had the typical superstructure of the small pyramid found in Deir el-Medina tombs, with almost nothing surviving presently. The above-ground chapel features deep, vaulted steles, a barrel-vaulted roof, and two stele receptacles located along a short wall.  The underground chambers can be reached through a rock-cut vertical shaft. The plaster inside was first covered with golden yellow paint, characteristic of tombs built in the 19th dynasty. The available space was decorated with paintings of human, divine, and animal figures.

About Tomb TT 290

Irunefer's tomb has some eye-catching features of the Ramesside era, which were differentiated due to its beautifully adorned vaulted burial chambers. Leading to the burial chamber was a short passage which was decorated with the lying jackal Anubis, who was facing the entrance to the tomb, and the hieroglyphs, on the vault made of brick in this chamber, were adorned with colorful scenes and paintings and depicted names of the family members. The background was golden yellow.  The scenes on walls included images of funerary divinities, spells from the Book of the Dead, and manifestations of the deceased’s ba (soul) and his shadow and demons.

The Tomb of Irunefer in Deir el-Medina is among the better-preserved tombs and one of the most colorful places depicting the true art and craftsmanship of this era. It is among one of those three tombs in this area that is open to the public and where people can see the hidden treasures of ancient Egypt.

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