The Tomb of Khnumhotep II

The Tomb of Khnumhotep II

Khnumhotep II was Overseer of the Eastern Desert under Kings Amenemhat II and Senusret II (c.1911–1870 BC) in the Middle Kingdom.

The entrance to Khnumhotep’s tomb chapel is in the form of a portico with two columns, and is set in a forecourt. The forecourt itself was once reached by a long causeway that ran up the hill and whose course can still be seen thanks to the boulders on either side of it. The portico has two fluted columns. These columns are in the proto-Doric style, so called due to its resemblance to the much later Ancient Greek Doric column style. The chapel contains two burial shafts and was designed with two rows of two columns, probably laid out in square formation around the centre of the tomb chapel and ending in front of the statue shrine.

Khnumhotep’s life is recorded in 222 columns of text which run across the lower section of the chapel walls. On either side of the statue shrine, painted scenes also show him fishing and fowling in the marshes. The most famous scene in this tomb, however, is on the north wall, to the left of the entrance: a delegation of 37 ‘Amu (people who lived to the east and north-east of Egypt) consisting of men, women, and children dressed in beautiful, colorful clothing bringing eye-paint to Khnumhotep. The head of the delegation has his own caption, which gives us his name, Absha, and which describes him as a heqa khaset – ruler of a foreign land. This is the oldest known example of the word that is far better known today in its Greek form, Hyksos.

On the west wall, on your left directly after entering the tomb chapel, you will notice a fascinating scene depicting three monkeys helping fruit gatherers collect figs from the tree!

Location