TT218, TT219 and TT220

"Three tombs of the ‘Servants in the Place of Truth’ open to the public at Deir el-Medina"

Three tombs have been opened to the public for the first time on May 13th 2016 after the completion of their renovation, Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Anany has said in a statement. Located in the western cemetery at Deir el-Medina, TT218 belonged to Amennakht, TT219 to Nebenmaat and TT220 to Khaemteri, who all held the same title of "Servant in the Place of Truth" during the reign of the 19th dynasty's king Ramesses II (1,279 BC-1,213 BC), said Mahmoud Afifi, the Head of Ancient Egypt Antiquities Department at the Antiquities Ministry.

All three tombs were originally excavated by Bernard Bruyère in 1928. They lie within the southern part of the western necropolis, between Sennedjem's TT1 and Irynefer's TT290. The tombs belong to one family - the tomb chapel of Nebenmaat (ii) TT219, which nestles between those of his father Amennakht (xxi) TT218 and his brother Khaemteri TT220, can be accurately dated to the first half of the reign of Ramesses II on account of the data contained in mostly intact painted scenes on the tomb walls. They are of great importance in compiling invaluable genealogical data (Davis,1996,278).

The recent IFAO season finished the preparations for the opening of the tomb complex to the public. Past missions were spent clearing the tomb floors, making their topographical plans, photographing the walls and their paintings and also installing wooden floors, electricity and finally glass panels to protect the painted scenes, Cédric Gobeil, the director of the IFAO mission at Deir el-Medina said.

The courtyard of the group of these tombs leads to the first antechamber, which presents polychrome paintings, similar to paintings in Sennedjem's, Pashedu's and Inherkau's tombs. The second antechamber, in which the plastered walls were painted white, leads to the tomb complex. TT218 is almost equivalent in its decoration to the first antechamber. Here the images include traditional views of family members engaged in different activities as well as illustrations from different spells of the Book of the Dead and images of funerary deities. It belonged to Amennakht and his wife Iyemwaw. The burial chamber of Nebenmaat and his wife Mertseger in TT219 is totally different: its walls were painted in monochrome manner - the background is white with scenes painted in yellow, red and black colours. This style of decoration is unique in Egypt: among the 53 decorated tombs at Deir el-Medina only 22 are monochromous. The scenes here include the image of Nebenmaat as priest censing and libating to his parents, a motif of the deceased and his wife with gods and family members, an image of Anubis tending to a mummy upon a couch, and views of offerings by the deceased given to divinities and made by Mertseger and her sons to various gods. An illustration of the funeral procession to the tomb also adornes the walls. The vaulted ceiling carries images of gods and the deceased. Further into the tomb we find TT220, that belonged to Khaemteri and his wife Nofretsatet. The walls in this part are rather damaged, but traces of scenes show it was painted in monochromous style on the white background. The scenes include images of divinities, a motif of a mummy on a couch, a view of a funeral banquet and an illustration of Anubis-jackals.

Press report from the Luxor times magazine with many photos taken inside the tombs and with an excellent video containing interviews with Cédric Gobeil (Egyptologist, IFAO) and Mostafa Al Saghis (Director of South Qurna Antiquities area) conducted above the site of Deir el-Medina and inside the burial chambers of TT218 and TT219 :

On the occasion of the commemoration of a century of archaeological work (1917-2017) conducted by the IFAO at Deir el-Medina, an exhibition organised by Hanane Gaber, Laure Bazin Rizzo and Frederic Servajean, collected objects from the excavations, preserved in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, and documents of the IFAO archives (excavation diaries and photos). General public and researchers were able to discover, apart from the installation of objects from Deir el-Medina that are usually displayed in various rooms around the Museum, a virtual visit of an unpublished tomb of Deir el-Medina - TT218-
TT219-TT220 - on screens installed in the room. The visit was conducted by @Olivier Onezime, a research engineer at the IFAO.
The 3D model of the tombs is now available on Facebook at
1. Davis, Benedict G.: Genealogies and personality characteristics of the workmen in the Deir el-Medina community during the Ramesside period. Thesis submitted in accordance with the requirements of the University of Liverpool for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
Liverpool : University of Liverpool, February 1996.
2. Dodson, Aidan - Ikram, Salima: The tomb in ancient Egypt : royal and private sepulchres from the early dynastic period to the Romans
London : Thames & Hudson, 2008.