On Sunday February 11th, 2024, the Tomb of Neferhotep at Al-Khokha (Luxor’s West Bank), was opened to the public. Neferhotep was a Scribe of Amun in the 18th Dynasty, c. 1550-1292 B.C. He worked during the reign of king Ay.

February 21, 2024

Tomb of Neferhotep, Scribe of Amun - Egypt MuseumDouble seated statue of Neferhotep and his wife Merytre eerily emerge out of the tomb wall. Inscriptions surround them. This is likely a false door, where the spirit of the deceased were believed to emerge to receive the tribute of offerings from the living or earthly realm.

On Sunday February 11th, 2024, the Tomb of Neferhotep (TT49) at Al-Khokha (Luxor’s West Bank), was opened to the public.
Neferhotep was a Scribe of Amun in the 18th Dynasty, c. 1550-1292 B.C.

Since the collapse of the Ancient Egyptian empire, the tomb of Neferhotep had been used for storing cattle and even as housing. When Jean-François Champollion entered the tomb, he wrote, “Now the tomb is almost completely damaged. The preserved parts make us very sorry for what has been lost.

However, Champollion’s grief may be soothed now, as due to modern technology, laser cleaning has been able to remove the dirt and soot (due to fires) from the paintings in a delicate exercise, and such technology has brought forth the original art, appearing almost untouched by time.

Tomb of Neferhotep, Scribe of Amun - Egypt MuseumTT49 was the burial place of the ancient Egyptian official Neferhotep, who was a Chief Scribe of Amun. Neferhotep lived during the reign of Tutankhamen, Ay and Horemheb, at the end of the 18th Dynasty of Egypt. He was a son of Neby, who was a servant of Amun and the lady Iuy. His wife was named Merytre.

The tomb has been under restoration work since 2000. Recently, a German team worked on a non-invasive cleaning treatment using a modern laser technique, to preserve and clean the ancient subterranean structure without harming the delicate remnants. Thus, we can now see the tomb in its original technicolour glory, or at least as close to how it was as is possible today.

Alongside the German team, was a team from the Buenos Aires University in Argentina, who painstakingly documented and recorded fine details of the project and the tomb itself, including inscriptions and iconography both easily and less visible.

Tomb of Neferhotep, Scribe of Amun - Egypt MuseumThe refurbished Tomb of Neferhotep. Photograph provided by the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.

Neferhotep lived and worked during Ancient Egypt’s 18th Dynasty, under the rule of the mysterious King Ay, c. 1327 to 1323 B.C.
Ay was the penultimate pharaoh of Ancient Egypt’s 18th Dynasty. He held the throne of Egypt for a brief four-year period in the late 14th century BC. Prior to his rule, he was a close advisor to two, and perhaps three, other pharaohs of the dynasty. It is speculated that he was the power behind the throne during child ruler Tutankhamun’s reign.

Tomb of Neferhotep, Scribe of Amun - Egypt Museum

Face from the Ancient Egyptian sculptor, Thutmose’s workshop in Tel el-Amarna. This face is believed by some scholars to be that of the elusive King Ay.

Mohamed Abdel-Badiae, the Director of Antiquities in Upper Egypt, explained that the tomb’s architectural structure is arranged in an east to west orientation, symbolizing the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. This design reflects the ancient Egyptians’ belief in the regeneration of the deceased and the sun’s daily journey.

Tomb of Neferhotep, Scribe of Amun - Egypt Museum

Mostafa Waziry, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities said of the project; “The opening of the cemetery today adds a new tourist shrine of extremely importance and uniqueness to the shrines of the Western Mainland in Luxor in the light of what the province is seeing a large influx of tourists.”