Tombs of the Nobles

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The Tombs of the Nobels, also known as the Qubbet el-Hawa, is an ancient Egyptian necropolis on the western bank of the Nile, opposite Aswan. The Tombs of the Nobles date mainly from the Old Kingdom and provide an insight into the burial traditions of Upper Egyptian Nome 1 during the later Old Kingdom.

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Location

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Overview

These ancient tombs are roughly cut from the natural rock, and though they are not as well preserved as some of those to be visited in the Luxor or Cairo areas, these show fine examples of hieroglyphic texts detailing the careers of their owners as well as scenes of daily life in the earlier periods. Tombs of this period are usually fairly inaccessible in most places south of Cairo. Many of the tombs in the Qubbet el-Hawa necropolis of nobles are linked together as family members added their own chambers.

The tombs are still being excavated, though significant finds were made in 2014 and 2017. Most of the tombs in the Princes' cemetery follow a simple plan, with an entrance hall, a pillared room and a corridor leading to the burial chamber.

Qubbet el-Hawa

circa

The Tombs of the Nobels is part of an archaeological site, today known as as the Qubbet al-Hawa (Dome of the Wind). The modern name is derived from the dome of the tomb of an Islamic sheikh situated atop the peak of the hill. Archaeologically, the term is also usually understood as referring to the site of the tombs of the officials lined up on artificial terraces below the summit of the Nile bank upon which the Islamic tomb stands.

Tombs

circa 1950 BCE

QH31: Tomb of Sarenput II
Sarenput II built for himself the finest and largest tomb of Qubbet el-Hawa (No. 31). In spite of the tomb's grandness, only the niche and few pillars of the innermost chamber are decorated; nevertheless, the scenes are vividly painted and detailed, chiefly depicting the tomb owner. After crossing a courtyard, a hallway lead to a large hall whose ceiling is supported by six pillars. Then another hallway – with several niches containing osirian statues of Sarenput on both sides – lead to the inner room, with four pillars and a niche once hosting a granodiorite statue whose remains are now in the British Museum (EA98).

circa

QH33:

circa

QH34:

circa 2260 BCE

QH35: Tomb of Heqaib

circa 1885 BCE

QH36: Tomb of Sarenput I
Sarenput I was buried in a large rock-cut tomb at Qubbet el-Hawa (No. 36), which was decorated in sunk reliefs at the outside, and lively painted in the interior. The tomb is composed of three rooms connected by hallways; the first two chambers are provided with colonnades while the innermost has a niche that once housed a statue of the owner. Unfortunately, the whole tomb suffered significant damage over time.

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