Tomb of Dagi (TT 103)

Dagi’s tomb (TT 103, MMA 807) is located in the northern side of the hills of Sheik Abd el-Qurna, looking toward Asasif’s plain, and his plan experienced some changes as this high official, Dagi, acquired new administrative offices. In fact, the building of his tomb is believed to have started before he was appointed as vizier. In the 1845s, Richard Lepsius and his expedition discovered Dagi’s tomb. Until that moment, the construction was barely visible due to the Coptic monastery that had been built in its court. Within the tomb, Lepsius found Dagi’s sarcophagus (JE 25328), currently in Cairo Museum. Some years later, Norman de Garis Davies studied the tomb and, finally, the team of the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York, led by Herbert Winlock, conducted several archaeological excavations at the site.


Dagi was a high official under Mentuhotep Nebhepetre (II) who lived at the end of the 11th Dynasty and the beginning of the 12th. He must have died between the 8th regnal year of Mentuhotep III and the 2nd of Mentuhotep IV. Based on the evidence found at his tomb and other sites, it is believed that Dagi accumulated numerous administrative offices being the title of vizier the most important one, under Mentuhotep II. The fact that he acquired honoured titles that linked him to the royalty and the elite allows the study and analysis of funerary equipment, decorations, and structures of the Middle Kingdom in the Theban necropolis. Some fragments found at the mortuary temple of Mentuhotep II, at Deir el-Bahari, mention two main characters depicted together with the king: the viziers Bebi and Dagi. In these fragments, titles obtained by Dagi are provided, such as “high official, overseer of the pyramid town, dignatary of the curtain, Dagi” and “member of the elite”. Similarly, allusions to Dagi were discovered in some graffiti at Wadi Shatt el-Rigal: “overseer of the great enclosure of the six, Dagi, born of Nemti”. In Dagi’s tomb, a sarcophagus bearing his name and titles such as “overseer of the gate” and the designation of “king’s sealbearer” together with the title of “vizier” was found. This finding has been significant for establishing the period when Dagi developed his offices and lived. The paleographic and typological features of the sarcophagus allowed experts to conclude the aforementioned period. Finally, Dagi also was appointed as “sem priest”, “priest of Horus” and “god’s father and beloved”, among other priestly titles.


Originally, Dagi’s tomb had an outstanding façade with seven entrances and six pillars. Only one of the central entrance leads to the tomb interior. It consisted of a first corridor that drove into a square hall; a second corridor that ended up in another room (funerary chamber), where the sarcophagus was found and that was in a higher level than the rest of the ground. Both rooms had decorations in the ceilings and the ground was plastered. The tomb’s chapel decoration is not well preserved but the passages of the corridors were ornamented with scenes such as the collection of vine fruits, the production of fibres for spinning and weaving, and the making process of bread; other scenes where Dagi is depicted as supervisor of the royal treasure and scenes depicting him together with a lady named Neternemty were found. The discovery of the sarcophagus and the related funerary scenes, together with textual evidence are key factors that allow us to approach this high official and decipher the period when he lived. Furthermore, a relationship between these finds and fragments of reliefs, scenes and other paralleled examples found in the surroundings of his tomb can be inferred in order to provide a better understanding of this period in the Theban area.