Tomb of Henenu (TT 313)

The mortuary complex of Henenu (also known as MMA 510) is located in the western part of the necropolis and is one of the largest complexes found in the area, where one can also identify the tomb of the royal treasurer Khety (TT 311). Its position to the west of many other tombs in the necropolis could indicate that Henenu might have been one of the earliest officials building their tombs in the necropolis (together with that of Khety). Their complexes would respect the space to the west of the hills, associated with the courtyard of the funerary temple of Mentuhotep II.

The mortuary complex of Henenu presents a large courtyard around 20 m wide and 90 m long, with two significant structures within it. One of them is the chapel made of adobe and limestone, which was excavated by Howard Carter in 1910-1911, situated at the entrance into the court perimeter. This architectural feature finds its antecedent in a similar kind of chapel built at the entrance of some mortuary complexes from the cemetery of El-Tarif dating to the mid-Eleventh Dynasty. The other relevant feature in Henenu’s courtyard is a magnificent approach of rock-cut steps as wide as the courtyard that led the visitor to the entrance into the tomb. Inside, the tomb of Henenu presents a complex plan with various chambers and multiple shafts and subsidiary rooms that will be examined in detail. Numerous fragments with scenes and texts –painted and in relief– were found during our excavation of the inner sections of the tomb. Most of them proceed from various stelae and sarcophagi that were once deposited in the inner rooms and chambers of the tomb.

Regarding the tomb owner, Henenu is one of the earliest high officials attested at Thebes in this period. In the written evidence, he shows up as “king’s attendant” by the end of the Eleventh Dynasty, at the time of Mentuhotep’s reunification. He is mentioned as jmj-r(A) pr in some pieces of linen belonging to the queen Miyet, Mentuhotep’s wife. He is also attested in a rock-inscription in Wadi Shatt er-Rigal (near Gebel el-Silsilah) and was also represented in a relief from the temple of Mentuhotep II. However, the most complete series of titles is attested in his tomb: