Tomb 291 at Deir el-Medina

The Theban tomb 291 was discovered by the French Institute in the middle of their 1922 season. It is situated in the north-west part of the main cemetery at Deir el-Medina, at altitude of 115 m. It is about 90 m away from the south-west corner of the enclosure wall of the main Ptolemaic temple.
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The owner of the tomb was Nakht-Min.
Late 18th dynasty
Nakht-Min's titles:  1. Servant in the Great Place
                                    2. Servant in the Place of Truth
The picture on the left is taken from the courtyard, looking west, the Theban hills are behind the tomb. The tomb shaft is visible in the foreground.
Below is the picture from beyond the pyramidion
of the tomb, looking East towards the settlement on the right, the temple enclosure wall in the distance on the left.
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On the dating of the tomb

  Precise dating of the tomb is difficult.

  • the epigraphic style of this tomb is more elaborate and less cursive and without any doubt older than the style in the 19th and 20th dynasties tombs at Deir el-Medina

  • the title "Servant in the Great Place" is characteristic for the 18th dynasty rather than the Ramesside era

  • depiction of the god Amun is intact and it is situated in the prominent, well visible place, suggesting that the tomb predates the reign of Akhenaton

 

  • the style of painting also gives good indications: the frieze is made up of series of lotus flowers alternating with bunches
    of grapes - an ornamental motif characteristic of the 18th dynasty

 

  • the human figures have big heads for the size of their bodies. The body shape can be studied well on the two women in the 2nd register of the West wall for their transparent clothes show their silhouette: the stomachs are too big, the thighs are round, the arms are to the contrary slender. These characteristics do not meet the Ramesside style, but rather correspond with the Amarna style. The tomb's painted reliefs seem comparable in style with the tomb of Ay in the Western Valley in particular.  

 

The now missing relief with depiction of the god Osiris in his shrine and with the offering table and the person making the offerings to the god can be seen in this picture. The graffito mentioned at the end of this page might be the one visible just above the lotus flowers on the offering table.

Considering all these chronological indications and resemblances of the style, Bruyère dated the tomb to the end of the 18th dynasty or more exactly to the period immediately following the reign of Akhenaton.

The interior of the tomb 291
I found a black and white picture of the interior of this tomb in a 1926 publication: to my horror the missing relief on the right side was still in place! The relief on the right (Northern) side of the chapel was clearly removed - cut out!
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E55_Tomb_291_at_Deir_el-Medina_copy-2.jp
The now missing relief with depiction of the god Osiris in his shrine and with the offering table and the person making the offerings to the god can be seen in this picture. The graffito mentioned at the end of this page might be the one visible just above the lotus flowers on the offering table.
The tomb belongs to the category of chapel tombs. It had a following plan: at ground level a small open courtyard, the vaulted chapel of one room surmounted by a brick pyramid topped with a stone pyramidion and with a large funerary stela beyond. The vaulted chapel was very brightly decorated. The shaft near the courtyard leads into the underground passage and two burial chambers.
A plan of the tomb of Nakht-Min, no. 291. Drawn by Lenka Peacock, after a
drawing of Bernard Bruyère, in Tombes Thebaines I. Tombe de Nakht-Min.
dem_tomb-4.jpg
In the chapel of the tomb a graffito in black ink echoes a 21st dynasty message left by Ankhefenamun, "a scribe of the Tomb", son of Butehamun.
"Yours is the West, ready for you, all blessed ones are hidden in it, sinners do not enter
nor any unjust. The scribe Butehamun has landed at it after an old age, his body being
sound and intact. Made by scribe of the Tomb Ankhefenamun".
To view and browse the digitised version of The Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Statues, Reliefs and Paintings, (also known as Porter & Moss or TopBib) for this tomb, go to
http://www.griffith.ox.ac.uk/topbib/pdf/pm1-1.pdf#page=392
Material for the Bibliography is gathered from an ever-expanding range of multi-lingual sources, encompassing both specialist and semi-popular Egyptological and Near Eastern publications, periodicals, museum guides, exhibition and auction catalogues, together with the growing wealth of web resources. The Bibliography also analyses a range of unpublished manuscripts, including those housed in the Griffith Institute Archive. Published in May 2014 by the Griffith Institute, University of Oxford, the volumes are constantly revised and augmented.
The text on this page was written by Lenka Peacock
Photography © Lenka and Andy Peacock
With many thanks and gratitude to the late Douglas James Peacock for the translations of the French text
Sources:
1. Taylor, John H.: Death and the afterlife in ancient Egypt London : British Museum Press, 2001.
2. Shaw, Ian: British Museum dictionary of ancient Egypt. London : British Museum Press, 1995.
3. Bruyere, Bernard : Tombes Thebaines. La Necropole de Deir el-Medineh. Tom 1. Cairo : 1926.
4. Černý, Jaroslav: A community of workmen at Thebes in the Ramesside period
Cairo : Institut Francais d'archeologie Orientale du Caire, 1973.