Sandro Vannini’s Photography – The Tomb of Montuemhat (TT34) at Thebes

Dr Farouk Gomaa discussing the Tomb of Montuemhat TT34 Image Copyright - Sandro VanniniA video featuring Dr Farouk Gomaa was recently featured on Heritage Key as he explains his progress on archaeological excavations being carried out in el-Assasif, Thebes at the site of TT34 – the Tomb of Montuemhat. Dr Farouk Gomaa explains that the search in the tomb continues for the burial chamber of the diplomat Montuemhat, which has yet to be located. The mysteries ofThebes are uncovered in a new book featuring photography from the renown Egyptology photographer Sandro Vannini in the publication “The Lost Tombs of Thebes:Life in Paradise” authored by Dr Zahi Hawass.

The excavations at TT34 were photographed by Sandro as the archaeological team set about documenting the finds and detailing the tomb walls. The search for the sarcophagus of Montuemhat continues, as Dr Gomaa’s team progress deeper into the tomb.

Sandro Vannini’s Photography

Sandro Vannini has spent over a decade in Egypt capturing images of some of the greatest discoveries and treasures in history, such as the famous Golden Mask of King Tutankhamun. Heritage Key is working with Sandro to bring these stunning photographs to the internet, to spur the interest in our ancient past. To watch a slideshow of the photographs of the Tomb of Montuemhat, click any of the thumbnails below.

For his venture into TT34, Sandro used a Kodak DCS Pro SLR/n to photograph the archaeologists as they studied their finds, and worked to understand more about their discovery. These images are from the front line dig at this tomb, and along with the video, gives a fantastic insight into the work that goes into such archaeological excavations.

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See More Amazing Photography by Sandro

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The Tomb of Montuemhat (TT34)

Montuemhat was an important enough figure to warrant his own tomb, yet he was not a Pharaoh. Montuemhat’s official title was “Mayor of the City of Thebes and Fourth Prophet of Amun” and was probably the most powerful official of the time in Southern Egypt. This tomb, TT34, was one of the most lavishly decorated and largest tombs of a non-royal that has been discovered to date.

As the Governor of Upper Egypt, Montuemhat was responsible for the construction work in Thebes and serving the Nubian Kings Taharqa and Tantamani, working with them on key projects such as developing the Mut Precinct of Karnak.

When the Nubian Kings were driven out by the invading forces of the Assyrians, and then replaced by the kings of the 26th Dynasty, Egypt was in a state of instability. It was at this time when Montuemhat effectively ruled Upper Egypt, and would hold this power right up until his death. During this time, Montuemhat saw it upon himself to build his tomb – a complex spanning several levels with numerous halls and an open courtyard at the centre.

The tomb itself bears no mention of Montuemhat’s first two wives – Neskhonsu and Shepenmut, and there is no evidence that either wife is buried in the tomb. Instead, the inscriptions concentrate solely on Montuemhat’s Kushite wife Wedjarenes. It is believed that they may have married in Nubia, and that she may be the reason that Montuemhat was selected to be the Governor of Upper Egypt. Wedjarenes was the grand-daughter of the Nubian King Piye.

Work on excavating the tomb was originally started in 1941 by Zakaria Goneim who unfortunately committed suicide while the dig was in progress; a story recounted by Dr Zahi Hawass in another fascinating 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 see 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!