Sandro Vannini’s Photography – The Theban Tomb of Montuemhat and his son Nesptah (TT34)

The stone sarcophagus of the son of the diplomat Montuemhat - Nesptah, discovered by Dr Farouk Gomaa's team in their excavation of TT34 in Thebes. Click image to skip to the slideshow.Many archaeological excavations are taking place across Egypt as the wonders of the Ancient World continue to reveal themselves to us. One such excavation taking place is at el-Assasif, Thebes at the site of TT34 – the Tomb of Montuemhat. The archaeological dig, led by Dr Farouk Gomaa, is searching for the yet undiscovered burial chamber of the diplomat Montuemhat. Renown photographer Sandro Vannini captured images of the excavations in progress at TT34, as well as covering many spectacular images in his publication “The Lost Tombs of Thebes: Life in Paradise” authored by Dr Zahi Hawass (Watch a video about the Lost Tombs of Thebes here).

As Dr Gomaa and his team progress deeper into the Tomb of Montuemhat, Sandro’s lens captures the work that archaeologists put into the digs, documenting their finds and making notes about the wall paintings.

Sandro Vannini’s Photography

Sandro Vannini is an established photographer of Egyptology artefacts and ancient tombs, having spent that past decade capturing some of the world’s greatest treasures, including the Golden Mask of King Tutankhamun. Working with Sandro, Heritage Key is working to bring these images to the internet and give an insight into our fascinating past. To watch a slideshow of the photographs of the Tomb of Montuemhat, click any of the thumbnails below.

Inside the Tomb of the diplomat Montuemhat, Sandro used a Kodak DCS Pro SLR/n to capture photographs of the archaeologists as they excavate the tomb, and try to understand more about the discoveries they make. These front line images, coupled with the video, gives a fantastic insight into the archaeological dig at TT34.

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The Tomb of Montuemhat (TT34)

Montuemhat’s status as “Mayor of the City of Thebes and Fourth Prophet of Amun” and one of the most powerful officials in South Egypt was high regarded, and as such, his tomb was one which reflected this. TT34, the Tomb of Montuemhat was one of the most lavishly decorated and largest tombs discovered belonging to a non-royal.

He was responsible for overseeing the construction projects being undertaken in Thebes. Supervising the works at Medinet Habu and Karnak, Montuemhat operated under Kings Taharqa and Tanutamun. During this time, the Mut Temple was rebuilt using materials from other earlier temples for construction. A small chapel was dedicated to Montuemhat in the east wall of the Mut Temple.

After Thebes was destroyed by invading Assyrian forces, Montuemhat became the ruler of Upper Egypt, and would later become the highest authority in Thebes. Found inside the tomb was the sarcophagus of Montuemhat’s son Nesptah. Wearing a wig common in the Twenty-Second Dynasty, the long wig extended down to the shoulders but left the ears uncovered.

Nesptah was the deputy of Thebes, or a second in command to his father Montuemhat. In a video interview with Dr Gomaa (Watch the Video here), he tells us how Nesptah’s burial chamber was discovered thanks to the actions of would-be thieves. The tomb robbers went inside the archaeological site and burned the wooden sarcophagus of Nesptah is order to light up the room and look for treasures to steal. However, the smoke from the fire alerted the attention of the authorities, and it wasn’t long before the police came to arrest them!

Work on excavating the tomb was originally started in 1941 by Zakaria Goneim who unfortunately committed suicide before the excavation was finished; a story recounted by Dr Zahi Hawass in another fascinating video (Watch the video). Dr Farouk Gomaa now leads the team excavating the tomb as they continue their search through the several chambers and passages to find the burial chamber of Montuemhat.

HD Video: Dr Farouk Gomaa’s Search for the Chamber of Mayor Montuemhat

Dr Farouk Gomaa talks about his excavations in el-Assasif, Thebes and his work in TT34 – the Tomb of the diplomat Montuemhat. He shows the finds in the tomb so far, including the sarcophagus of Nespta, the son of Montuemhat. Dr Gomaa explains that although his team have not found the chamber of Montuemhat himself, or his sarcophagus, he remains hopeful of uncovering them soon. You can read more about the video of Dr Farouk Gomaa’s excavations in Tomb TT34 in Malcolm’s blog post.

(Transcription of this video.)

You can watch the entire archive of videos on Heritage Key’s Video Page, and find out the latest from excavations in Egypt. You can also learn more about Archaeology on Heritage Key, as well as being able to explore the wonders of the Virtual World in King Tut Virtual – walk through the Valley of the Kings and discover some of the most amazing artefacts in history! You can also keep up to date on the latest new postings of Sandro’s Photography by subscribing to the feed, simply by entering your Email Address!