Mummification deposit for a Middle Kingdom vizier discovered in Luxor

The Ministry of Antiquities has informed of the relocation of the embalming materials of Ipi, vizier, overseer of Thebes and member of the elite in the reign of Amenemhat I in the early Twelfth Dynasty.

Within the framework of the Middle Kingdom Theban Project –an international mission under the auspices of the University of Alcalá (UAH, Spain)– archaeologists cleaning the courtyard of the tomb of Ipi (TT 315) have relocated fifty-six jars filled with embalming materials for the mummification of the vizier. In his campaign in 1921-22 the American Egyptologist Herbert Winlock found these materials inside an auxiliary chamber located in the NE corner of the upper courtyard of Ipi’s tomb. Likely, embalmers and priests deposited the unclean equipment, bandages, oils, and salts used in the process of mummification. While a few jars, bowls, scrapers, and a mummification board (decorated with ankh-signs) were taken to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, fifty-six jars and the contents of these objects were left behind in this auxiliary chamber. The identification of these materials is of great importance for understanding the mummification techniques used in the early Middle Kingdom and the assessment of the kinds of items, tools, and substances involved in the process of embalming.

The deposit of the mummification materials used for Ipi included sixty-seven jars with potmarks and other types of inscriptions, various shrouds and linen sheets (4 m. long) shawls, and rolls of wide bandages, in addition to further types of cloths, rags, and pieces of slender wrappings destined to cover fingers, toes, and other parts of the vizier’s corpse. In addition, the team specialist Salima Ikram has identified what seems to be the mummified heart of Ipi, an uncommon practice that no doubt deserves more investigation. Furthermore, the deposit also contained around three hundred sacks with natron salt, oils, sand, and other substances, as well as the stoppers of the jars and a scraper. Among the most outstanding pieces of the collection are the Nile clay and marl large jars, some with potmarks and hieratic, various large bandages of 6 m. long, a shroud used for covering the body of the vizier Ipi, a fringed shawl with a length of 10 m., natron bags that were deposited in the inner parts of the vizier´s body, twisted bandages used as mummy packing, and small pieces of bandages for the upper and lower extremities. The collection of materials will provide to the members of the Middle Kingdom Theban Project an excellent opportunity for the scientific analysis of the substances, components, textiles, and human remains found in the embalming cachette, as well as the technical procedures and religious acts implied in the mummification of a high-official in the early Middle Kingdom. Although the amount of textile found is similar to the collection of linen materials stored for the overseer Wah, housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Ipi´s assemblage resulted from the mummification process itself.

The discovery has been made during the third season conducted by the University of Alcalá Expedition to Deir el-Bahari in collaboration with the Ministry of Antiquities and the Luxor Inspectorate. The mission is overseen by the Manager of the Middle Sector (Deir el-Bahari) Ezz Er-Din El-Nobi, and directed by Antonio Morales, Professor of Egyptology at the University of Alcalá. The head archaeologist of the excavation for the tomb of Ipi and discoverer of the deposit is the Egyptologist Mohamed Osman (Freie Universität Berlin). The main purpose of the project is the archaeological study and epigraphy of the tombs of Henenu (TT 313) and Ipi (TT 315), the funerary chamber and sarcophagus of Harhotep (CG 28023), as well as the conservation and detailed publication of these monuments and others located at Thebes.

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MKTP - Middle Kingdom Theban Project - Recuperando el pasado

El proyecto

El Middle Kingdom Theban Project tiene como objetivos la excavación, estudio y publicación de varias tumbas de la necrópolis del Reino Medio en Deir el-Bahari (Henenu, Ipi, Neferhotep, E1) y de las tumbas de Dagi (TT 103) y Djari (TT 366) en la necrópolis de Asasif.

MKTP - Middle Kingdom Theban Project - Ministerio Egipcio de Antigüedades

Con la colaboración del Ministerio Egipcio de Antigüedades y las autoridades del Alto Egipto, Luxor y la Orilla Occidental.

Las tumbas

Las tumbas de Henenu (TT 313) e Ipi (TT 315) se encuentran en la colina norte de la necrópolis de Deir el-Bahari, donde fueron enterrados algunos de los oficiales más importantes de Mentuhotep II y principios del Reino Medio. 

La cámara funeraria de Harhotep (CG 28023) fue localizada en el patio de la tumba TT 314 y constituye uno de los ejemplos más interesantes en arquitectura, iconografía y epigrafía del yacimiento. 

En la planicie de Asasif, las tumbas de Dagi (TT 103) y Djari (TT 366) también representan monumentos a la memoria de altos cargos tebanos del reinado de Mentuhotep II que ayudaron a construir un gran estado.

MKTP - Middle Kingdom Theban Project - Patrocinadores - Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación
MKTP - Middle Kingdom Theban Project - Patrocinadores - Gobierno de Castilla-La Mancha
MKTP - Middle Kingdom Theban Project - Patrocinadores - Fundación para el Conocimiento madri+d
MKTP - Middle Kingdom Theban Project - Patrocinadores - Ministerio de Cultura y Deporte
MKTP - Middle Kingdom Theban Project - Patrocinadores - Fundación Palarq
MKTP - Middle Kingdom Theban Project - Patrocinadores - Parque Científico y Tecnológico de Castilla-La Mancha
MKTP - Middle Kingdom Theban Project - Patrocinadores - Asociación Española de Egiptología
MKTP - Middle Kingdom Theban Project - Patrocinadores - Asociación de Amigos de la UAH

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