The Beni Hasan cemetery is located in one of the most fertile regions of Egypt. This site includes some of the most impressive tombs of the Middle Kingdom. Its rich and well-preserved tombs attest the economic prosperity that it enjoyed.
The tombs are located in two distinct areas: the upper and lower cemeteries. The lower cemetery contains around 800 tombs, many of them shaft tombs. It mostly contains tombs of various officials from the First Intermediate Period (c.2181–2055 BC) to the Middle Kingdom (c.2055–1650 BC), but late Old Kingdom (c.2345–2181 BC) tombs, like Ipi’s, have also been discovered. The upper cemetery includes 39 rock-cut tombs, which were cut horizontally into the rock face of the cliffs. The walls of 12 of these tombs are decorated with beautifully painted scenes depicting activities of daily life, from agriculture and crafts to hunting and playing games, and also war and the arrival of foreigners on Egyptian lands.
The tombs of the upper cemetery are a testament to the ancient Egyptians’ architectural skills. They were cut into the rock with great accuracy using simple tools like chisels with bronze blades, which were struck with wooden mallets. The tombs are the final resting places of the senior officials of this region, the 16th Upper Egyptian province, which was known as the Oryx nome. They date to the 11th and 12th Dynasties of the Middle Kingdom (c. 2055–1795 BC). The repetition of names like Baqet, Khety, and Khnumhotep through a number of generations suggests that many of the owners of these tombs were related.