Unravelling the Past
The UAH archaeological mission in Egypt:
an international innovative project
in the search of the secrets in the Theban necropolis
Digging diary 2023
Follow the steps of our archaeologists, epigraphers, and conservators in the VII season at the necropolis of Deir el-Bahari and Asasif. Our diary will bring you an outline of the progress of our excavations, the most significant moments, and the most fascinating aspects of the day to day excavation.> See Digging diary 2023
researchers and students
years of distance
The Middle Kingdom Theban Project:
Documentation and publication of Theban tombs from the late Eleventh Dynasty and the early Middle Kingdom.
The University of Alcalá and the Middle Kingdom Theban Project work together in a scientific initiative in which archaeology, exploration, and adventure combine for achieving –by means of an international and multidisciplinary effort– an extensive knowledge on the Middle Kingdom. This phase is considered one of the golden ages of cultural, intellectual, and social developments in the history of pharaonic Egypt. By the hands of specialists in different fields and disciplines, and by means of multiple methods, approaches, and techniques, this archaeological expedition becomes a platform from which to develop these studies, document the findings, and promote its discoveries by scientific and popular publications.
The concession of the project is located in the West Bank of ancient Thebes (modern Luxor), between the plain of Asasif and the northern side of Deir el-Bahari, just in the area where king Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II came to establish at the end of the Eleventh Dynasty one of the most astonishing cemeteries ever known in Egypt. He initiated the development of this area with the construction of his own funerary complex in the heart of the necropolis and the organization of a cemetery for his own high officials and other important individuals from following generations. The tombs of the royal treasurer Henenu (TT 313), the vizier Ipi (TT 315), the royal seal-bearer Harhotep (TT 314), and the bowmen Neferhotep (TT 316) constitute some of the most important targets of study by the project in the upper section of the necropolis, as well as the monuments of Dagi (TT 103) and Djari (TT 366) in the plain of Asasif.
An innovative, international and multidisciplinary project
in the search for the origins of the Middle Kingdom
Meet the team
Meet the multidisciplinary team of international researchers who have participated in the campaigns of the Middle Kingdom Theban Project
Deir el-Bahari literally means the “monastery of the north”. It actually consists on a well-defined area of funerary temples and tombs, located in the West Bank of the river Nile, in the 4th nome of Upper Egypt, just in front of the ancient city of Thebes, actual Luxor (Egypt).
Asasif is a necropolis situated in the West Bank of river Nile in Thebes, near the necropolis of Deir el-Bahari and to the south of the cemetery of Dra Abu el-Naga.
The Middle Kingdom Theban Project
The Middle Kingdom Theban Project deals with the archaeological excavation, conservation, and epigraphic work in the tombs of Henenu (TT 313) and Ipi (TT 315) in the northern hills of Deir el-Bahari, the surveying and excavation of tombs in the eastern sector of the necropolis, and the excavation and study of the tombs of Dagi (TT 103) and Djari (TT 366) in the nearby Middle Kingdom necropolis of Asasif.
Henenu (TT 313)
As royal steward for Mentuhotep II, he is attested in the linen marks offered to queen Miyet in the king´s temple.
He was royal sealbearer and was appointed with very particular titles, such as overseer “of horn, hoof, feather, and scale”, “of fowl that swin, fly, and land”, and “of what is and what is not”.
Harhotep (TT 314 / CG28023)
Harhotep was royal seal bearer under the reign of Sesostris I, in the early XII Dynasty.
His mortuary chamber and sarcophagus made it to the Cairo Museum in 1883, when Maspero took them from the complex TT 314 to exhibit them as typical artistic production from Deir el-Bahari in the Middle Kingdom.
Ipi (TT 315)
Ipi is attested as vizier, member of the elite and overseer of the town of Thebes in several sources from Deir el-Bahari.
He succeeded Meketre as treasurer but seems to have been associated mainly with the early XII Dynasty and the reign of Amenemhat I.
Dagi (TT 103)
Definite evidence for the prestigious position of Dagi is his extensive list of titles and his presence in the inscriptions at the wadi of Shatt el-Rigal.
He was appointed as vizier, royal seal-bearer, and “sole friend” of king Mentuhotep II, and built his impressive tomb just in front of the large funerary complex of the king. He preceded in the same office the vizier Ipi (owner of TT 315).
Djari (TT 366)
The situation of the staff-tomb of Djari in the necropolis of Asasif, away from the main geological bay of Deir el-Bahari, indicates that his position in the administrative Theban echelons was not as high as other officials buried in the most prominent areas in the necropolis.
However, the wall paintings decorating the façade of his tomb have no parallel in the entire necropolis.
To the east of Meru’s funerary monument (TT 240), there are four other tombs that catch the attention of the visitors. Three of them were previously excavated by the expedition of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, but the fourth one, the easternmost one (tomb E1) has remained unexplored.
Tomb E1 presents an inner space full of debris and sand almost up to the ceiling, and will be a main target in our project for the coming seasons.