Finds

Painted coffin
Painted coffinAn intact pit burial was discovered just outside the massive south wall of Horemheb's tomb. It must have escaped destruction when Horemheb ordered the construction of his huge temple-tomb in the middle of a New Kingdom cemetery which had already been in use for several generations. Probably a number of other such tombs were simply removed in order to make place for the high official. The burial pit contained the mummy of a 22-24 year old male inside a painted wooden coffin inscribed for a ‘chief servant'. On the chest of the mummy lay a heart-scarab and the remains of a wooden pectoral. A second pectoral was found under the back of the mummy, together with numerous beads of the chain from which this was once suspended. Under the neck was a wooden headrest. Finally, there was a bronze signet ring on the left hand. The whole tomb-group is datable to the reign of Amenhotep III (c. 1400-1350 BC). 

Grasshopper box
Grasshopper boxThis wooden cosmetic box is shaped like a grasshopper. The head has exquisite details, the sides are ribbed with a meticulous rendering of the folded legs. The underside shows two dowel holes for fixing onto a plinth. The top of the abdomen has a roughly oval recess, originally closed by means of two ivory wings and two wooden wing-cases, both of which swivelled around two common dowels. The extant wing-case still has a painted pattern of green dots. There are two other boxes in grasshopper shape, one in the Cairo Museum (found in the Teti pyramid cemetery at Saqqara) and the other from Thebes and now in the Brooklyn Museum. This just shows how rare such objects are. The present example was discovered in the burial-chamber of a Ramesside shaft tomb just south of the tomb of Horemheb.

Jar stopper
Jar stopperMud jar stoppers like this one were moulded over the flat lids of wine jars in order to provide an air-tight sealing of their precious contents. The soft surface provided the additional advantage that it could easily be stamped by the vintner responsible for the final product. The present stopper has three such dockets, presumably identical. The text reads: [wine] of the estate of Nefer-neferu-aten, the beloved of Wa-en-Re. Nefer-neferu-aten was part of the name of Queen Nefertiti, the wife of Akhenaten. However, the epithet ‘beloved of Wa-en-Re' was not a usual extension of her name (Wa-en-re was the throne name of Akhenaten). The whole name with extension was only employed by Akhenaten's successor, who ruled for no more than one or two years. Was this Nefertiti herself, or the mysterious Smenkhkare? Even an unattractive object such as this stopper can be seen to have historical consequences.

Hoard of coins
Hoard of coinsA very unusual find was made in the Old Kingdom shaft situated near the south-west corner of Horemheb's tomb. This 23.3 m deep shaft has a secondary tomb-chamber at a depth of 12 m. This was cut during the Ptolemaic period in order to bury a group of 66 mummies. In the centre of the chamber, half under a chunk of rock which had collapsed from the ceiling, was found a hoard of 246 coins. These proved to be silver-alloy tetradrachms, stamped with the image of king Ptolemy XII Neos Dionysos - the father of the famous Cleopatra who lost her empire to the Romans. The year-dates on the coins vary from year 7 to year 22, so that it must have been deposited in 59/58 BC. This was the year that civil war forced Ptolemy to give up his kingship. Was the hoard deposited here by a funeral undertaker who wanted to hide his savings?