The Valley of The Nobles is a recently created name to distinguish the valleys of the kings and queens on the west bank of the Nile from the tombs of the nobles and craftsmen. The graves of the Theban Necropolis are located in an area between the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens. Most of them date from between the 18th and 20th dynasties. In the Valley of the Nobles are the necropolises of Sheikh Abd el Qurna, Asasif, Qurnet Murrai, and El Chocha. The tombs of the nobles differ from the royal tombs in the simple architectural structure and the decorations depicting scenes from everyday life in ancient Egypt. They are less famous than their neighbors in the royal valleys, but they are also better protected from looting. The approximately 500 graves of high Theban officials have exceptionally beautiful wall paintings from the time of the New Kingdom. They are not only smaller, but also very different from the royal tombs. They show a lot more of the life and work of the client, are sometimes noble and meaningful, sometimes a bit pedantic and sometimes downright mischievous.
The numbering of these 415 graves begins with TT, which stands for the English name Theban Tomb. There are also around 50 graves that were described in older publications, but the exact location of which is no longer known. These tombs are numbered according to their respective necropolis (A for Dra Abu el-Naga, B for el-Chocha, C for Sheikh Abd el-Qurna and D for Qurnet Murrai). Several hundred smaller or undecorated graves do not have a TT number. They often follow their own numbering by individual excavators.
Tombs in the Valley of the Nobles
The grave of night TT52
The owner of this grave was a nobleman (Nakht = Egypt .. “the strong”) who had the title of great scribe and probably belonged to the middle class. During the reign of King Tuthmosis IV, he was also an astronomer in the Temple of Amon. His wife Taui was also involved in temple activities as she worked as a temple singer. The tomb is quite small but has some of the most brilliantly colorful scenes, well preserved and of great beauty.
The best-known details of the frescoes of the grave are within the picture of the “Beautiful Festival of the Desert Valley”. Today, however, it is in the worst condition of all paintings in the Night Grave. Celebrations on the occasion of the “Beautiful Festival of the Desert Valley” are shown. During the celebrations, cult statues of the gods Amun, Mut and Chons were brought in a solemn procession from Karnak to West Thebes to symbolically visit the mortuary temples in the Valley of the Kings. The destination was the valley basin of Deir el-Bahari. During this festival, the families of the area gathered in front of the graves of their ancestors to celebrate with them, probably in the forecourt of the graves. In addition, the other cult rooms were probably also included in the festivities.
The tomb of Menna TT69
This is one of the most famous tombs in the Valley of the Nobles and one of the most beautiful. It has a lot of great scenes and is still in good condition. The tomb belonged to a nobleman named Land Surveyor during the time of King Tuthmosis IV. His work was important as he was responsible for estimating the taxes to be collected from farmers. The tomb is full of scenes from everyday life. There are scenes of cultivation including harvesting, threshing, plowing the fields, and harvesting the seeds (separating the chaff from the seeds).
This tomb also contains scenes of Menna and his wife making an offering to the god Osiris. There are also scenes of fishing and bird hunting in the swamps of the Nile. If you look at the depictions of Menna on the walls, you will see that his eyes have been destroyed. It seems that he had an enemy who invaded his tomb after the burial and destroyed the eyes in the paintings, which means that according to ancient Egyptian beliefs, Menna can never see again in the afterlife.
In addition to all the reliefs, there is also a destroyed statue of Menna and his wife, of which nothing but the feet are left
The grave of Ramose TT55
He was the mayor of Thebes at the end of the reign of Amenhotep III. (Amenophis III.) And his son Akhenaten, the vizier. Unfortunately, this tomb is unfinished because Ra-Mose moved to the new capital Akht-Aton (today’s Tell El-Amarna) with Akhenaten, which is why the decoration work was discontinued and the tomb remained unfinished except for the scenes that were completed from this Reason we can appreciate the high techniques of Egyptian art at this time, but we cannot see the final product.
Even the untrained eye can see here when Ramose lived: “Ramose was an extraordinarily distinguished and powerful man, he was also the head of all the handicrafts of the king and judge. His relatives also held high positions in the empire.
The entrance area to his grave is a hall of imposing dimensions, which was still in use during the reign of Amenhotep III. and then clearly swung into Akhenaten’s Amarna style. The sun disk Aton is very characteristic shown with the hands on the rays that hold the Ankh sign when they touch the Pharaoh. But even in the grave of his dignitary Akhenaten could not escape the ostracism and chiselling by his successors.
The grave of Sennefer TT96
He was mayor of Thebes and apparently very rich, but apparently the most important thing in his life was his wife. The fact that marriage was extremely important in ancient Egypt is often felt, but Sennefer has Merit, his wife, depicted in the grave 17 times – a record.
All the representations in the burial chamber, which were normally left undecorated in others, are wonderfully preserved and with colors that look as if they were new. As in many cases, they are protected with panes of glass,
Sennefer’s grave was built in an area with poor rock. So it was difficult to make a good ceiling. The artist saved himself by not even trying to smooth them out, but instead made them curved like a tent and painted accordingly. Elsewhere it was painted with grapevines, which is why the grave is also known as the “grape grave”.
The fact that the wall decorations in the burial chamber of Sen-nefer remained largely undamaged is probably due to its location in the depths of the rocks. Tomb robbers looking for amulets or connecting shafts to other rooms only smashed parts of the west and south walls; minor further damage occurred after 1900.
The grave of Rechmire TT100
Deses grave is another important grave in this cemetery. It belonged to Re-khme-e, who was the vizier of Tuthmosis III and Amenhotep II.
He was vizier of Lower Egypt, mayor of Thebes and held over 100 other important titles. He claimed that there was nothing in heaven, on earth, or in any corner of the underworld that he was not familiar with. And his grave looks like he wants to prove it now and forever. At every nook and cranny, Rechmire emphasized how important he was to this and what he knew, knew and controlled. The passage of the grave rises steeply and reaches the enormous height of 9 meters. And from top to bottom the walls are densely littered with depictions of the things and events for which Rekhmire was responsible – an almost unbelievable range. Craftsmen, artists, agriculture, administration, hunting, tributes and state gifts.
One of the most beautiful scenes is that depicting the arrival of foreign delegations at the court of Rechmire, bearing gifts and tributes to the King of Egypt and his men.