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Frequently asked questions about the tomb of Senneferi

How was the tomb found?

The tomb was not actually 'found' as such, but it was first noted in scholarly writings by the British Egyptologist P.E. Newberry in 1895. The reason for this is that the tomb was not covered in sand and rubble and had to be dug out, but rather it was lived in by a local family--for how long we do not know, but perhaps not more than 100 years or so. Many of the 'Tombs of the Nobles' were in this position. Thus some of the damage inside them is due to having been inhabited. No tombs are lived in now as such, although a few undecorated ones are used as storage areas.

What is the best thing you have found?

This is always a much more difficult question than it seems. Some objects which would not appeal much to the general reader can tell us an enormous amount, and the reverse can be true for attractive objects. Take the tomb of Tutankhamun for example--it has told us very little about what was going on in Egypt in the reign of that king. But anyway, here are a few pictures of favourite objects from TT99; each is linked to the page on the site on which it is discussed.

statue

pso

enigma

Statue of Amenhotep

A Ptah-Sokar-Osiris figure

Opening of the Mouth adzes

Can you take the objects out of Egypt?

I believe that no 'divisions' as they are called have taken place since the mid 1980s. Egypt is naturally concerned about the loss of its cultural heritage abroad, which is understandable after the past 200 years. It is sometimes allowed to remove objects temporarily for analysis, but they always have to be returned. We have always believed that the material should stay in Egypt; it is always possible that one day space may be found in a museum in Egypt to show some of the better objects, although there of course is vast competition for such space. Two objects from the tomb (the statue of Amenhotep and the Ptah-Sokar-Osiris, both shown above) are now in the Cairo Museum.

Where are the objects stored?

Two places. When the work was finished in 2001, the majority of the objects were moved to an SCA storeroom or 'magazine'. The particularly important objects were photographed and registered in the SCA Register book. All that remained in the tomb were heavy pieces of stone, the pottery and the human remains.

How do I get on such a dig?

Difficult. There is no scope for volunteer labour on Egyptian digs, since it is tradition that the excavation is done by local workmen (and women in the Delta), supervised by members of the foreign expedition. This means that some sort of Egyptological knowledge or archaeological experience is necessary; in addition, the SCA vet all members of an expedition for their suitability. Some digs, such as this one, will take students--I personally believe that this is the only way the subject will thrive in the field--but others concentrate only on taking specialists. So if you have a particular skill which might be of use, that is the line you should promote with a director of a dig in Egypt.

© Nigel Strudwick 1997-2014