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TT99: Facade and superstructure

This photograph shows that the facade of the tomb consists of a flat rock face, above which is some stonework. This stonework is ancient for the most part, and is covered in some places with plaster. Some of the stones are bonded together with a type of mortar. The stones in the structure are mostly a variable-sized mix of pieces of the same rock from which the tomb is made, i.e. material which is easily fractured. There are occasional blocks of a harder limestone in it, roughly hewn, but with a less irregular shape. It seem to be broadly laid in course, once above the join with the natural rock. There is a particular concentration of largish blocks in the course just below the niche in the centre.


This photo shows a closeup of the central area. In the middle is a niche, and above that are the remains of some ancient brickwork. In this area, the laying of the stones seems less even, and with more of an appearance of a rubble fill. There are further traces of mud in the superstructure area at the north end, and perhaps a mud brick about 2 m from the northern corner and 0.5 m above the ledge. It could be from this upper part that the funerary cones originate.

A small sondage was made in 1996 above the tomb to ascertain whether any pyramid or similar superstructure existed there. The upper layer of material was composed over chips of very white limestone, compacted together in a very hard fashion, presumably from rainwater--some of the chips of stone showed the beginnings of disintegration characteristic of limestone affected by water. Below this, the material consisted of limestone chippings and the usual limestone dust. The bedrock was encountered at 7 cm below the top surface, tapering around to a depth nearer the edge of 33 cm. To the east, the bedrock curves away, seemingly approximately in line with the remainder of the facade. The location of the bedrock cleared seems to eliminate the possibility of a superstructure, since there appears to be no flat area on which it could have been built, and no remains of a foundation. It would appear that the traces of mud brick visible on the facade belong to the construction of that facade only and are not part of another structure.

Either side of the facade is an extension to it running part of the way along the side of the courtyard. The extension to the north is made of a similar construction to the main part, with surface plaster still surviving. The extension on the south side is less clear; some of it may have recently been built up, but the bottom 0.5 m has the same mud plaster as elsewhere.



In the centre of the facade, above the entrance door, and just below the point where the stone of the facade may have changed into mud brick, is a small niche. This niche is very roughly made, bordered with thinner pieces of the same roughly shaped pieces of limestone as used for the facade. It is very irregular in shape, and the following dimensions are only very approximate: the dimensions at the front are a height of 0.5 m, and a width at the top of 0.45 m and at the bottom 0.27 m. The depth is approximately 0.63 m, and the height at the back is 0.35 m and the average width 0.25 m. There may have been room here for a small stela or a stelaphorous statue, and this niche may have served broadly the same function as the pyramids of the ramesside epoch (cf Kampp, Die thebanische Nekropole, 70, 109) without the need for a further superstructure.

Summary of superstructure

Kampp has drawn a reconstruction what a tomb such as TT99 might have looked like when built:


© F. Kampp 1996--reproduced with author's permission from Die thebanische Nekropole, fig. 67

She reconstructs the tomb as having the two small extending side walls, common in the early to middle 18th dynasty, and a further wall partly along the north and south sides of the courtyard. In her opinion the existence of a superstructure would be exceptional for a tomb of this date, and the employment of a niche in the facade almost certainly negated the requirement for any further superstructure.

Painted fragments found above the tomb

A number of fragments of wall painting were found when examining whether a superstructure existed. It likely that they came from a tomb of roughly the same date as TT99, but their place of origin cannot be yet identified. The fragments found here vary quite widely in their content.


There are a large number of pieces bearing a text in blue on a yellow background. On these, it would appear that the underlying sketch was in bright yellow paint, and then a more orange yellow background was added (above right). A number of pieces were covered with an orange varnish. The paint on these pieces is very friable. Other fragments include parts of borders and kheker friezes, as well as other decoration. Many are painted in the beautiful sharp formal style of the Thutmoside period; many bear the grey-blue background characteristic of some tombs of the period.

© Nigel Strudwick 1997-2014