Tomb of Ipi (TT 315)

The funerary complex of the vizier Ipi (also known as MMA 516) was built in the central sector of the cliffs at Deir el-Bahari, somehow distant from some other large complexes such as those of Khety (TT 311) and Henenu (TT 313). Its location in this part of the necropolis should be considered due to the fact that the visir Ipi seems to have been appointed some years later than Khety and Henenu, on the one hand, and that the architects of his complex might have preferred an area without structures in which the geological stratum presented quality stone for the construction.

Ipi’s complex was initially excavated in 1921-1922 by the Metropolitan Museum of Art Mission, led by the Egyptologist Herbert Winlock. A group of 400 workmen supervised by the archaeologists achieved to reveal one of the largest tombs in the area, Ipi’s tomb, in addition to locate some other subsidiary structures within the complex (see plan of the complex).

In spite of the intensive work in the area by the Metropolitan Museum mission, Winlock did not locate the frontal walls of the complex, so we cannot know –at this point– how long was the complex. One should expect a similar length to the other large complexes such as those of Khety and Henenu. As for the other dimensions, the courtyard presents a width of approx. 24 m. In addition, Winlock did not mention if the complex presented any small chapel at the entrance of the courtyard, although the MKTP team expects to find a similar structure at the feet of the cliffs, where the frontal walls of the courtyard would be located. Among other structures, Winlock found a subsidiary tomb (for a relative or dependant on Ipi), where he discovered a set of papyri written by a Theban land-owner, Heqanakhte, to his family. The American mission also found an intact mummification deposit. Surprinsingly, in April 2017 the MKTP re-located and excavated this deposit, finding in-situ most of the findings already discovered a century ago by Winlock. The inner section of the tomb presents a well-known distribution, with a main corridor where a small underground chamber was used to store the funerary wooden models, a cultic chapel where a statue of the deceased was located, and –hidden under the pavement of the chamber– a descending corridor that led to the sarcophagus chamber. Within this space, the most relevant feature was that the sarcophagus –inscribed in the inner sides with religious texts– was built under the pavement of the chamber to avoid the destruction and stealing of the corpse.

Regarding the tomb owner, Ipi was probably the successor of Meketre as “steward” and “treasurer”, although his most important titles show up in a coffin –associated with his persona (private collection)– and in the sarcophagus (in-situ in TT 315). However, the possibility that a series of viziers proceeding from Bershah occupied the vizier-position in the early years of Amenemhat I should take us to think that Ipi was probably in the office of vizier by the mid-years of Amenemhat I. Among his numerous titles, Ipi was appointed in the following offices: