SPANISH-EGYPTIAN MISSION AT DRA ABU EL-NAGA TOMBS OF DJEHUTY AND HERY (TT 11-12)
12th Season Report: January 8th – February 21st
Djehuty lived in the ancient city of Thebes, modern Luxor, in the early 15th century BC, under the reign of one of the few women who served as pharaoh in Egypt's long ancient history: Maatkare Hatshepsut. Djehuty held the position of "overseer of the Treasury" of the royal administration and "overseer of works" of the craftsmen, who decorated with metals, precious stones and exotic woods the monuments the Queen built on both sides of the Nile. It all seems to indicate that he died before Hatshepsut disappeared from the scene around 1470 BC. Unlike the principal dignitaries at the time, who built their tombs on the hill of Sheikh Abd el-Qurna, southwest of the mortuary temple of the Queen, Djehuty placed his monument for eternity across the valley of Deir el-Bahari, about five hundred meters northeast, on the hill known today as Dra Abu el-Naga. Why did Djehuty move away from his colleagues? Why did he choose that particular place?.
The hill of Dra Abu el-Naga stands on the western bank of the Nile, at the north end of the necropolis, right in front of the temple of Karnak, which in the early 15th century BC, with the establishment of the 18th Dynasty, became the main temple of Thebes, and its clergy, dedicated to the worship of the god Amun, gradually acquired greater social and economic relevance. In search of symbolic elements in the landscape that emphasized religious ideas and funerary conceptions, Dra Abu el-Naga seemed a suitable place to be buried, since the sun that in the mornings rose between the obelisks and pylons of the temple of Amun at Karnak, hid behind the hill of Dra Abu el-Naga at dusk.
Moreover, the most important event then in Thebes, the "Beautiful Feast of the Valley ", during which the cult statue of the god Amun was taken in procession from the temple of Karnak and accompanied until the hill of Deir el-Bahari, reached the necropolis precisely at the foothill of Dra Abu el-Naga, right where Djehuty built his house for eternity.Mud shabtis/mummy models and their sarcophagi, made for the mouthpiece of Nekhen, Ahmose
Most likely, the religious symbolism the hill acquired and the strategic position in the most important annual procession had significant influence over the choice of the site. But other political or social factors could just as well have played a part in Djehuty's decision, as, for example, the fact that the hill of Dra Abu el-Naga had been chosen by the royal family in the previous dynasty, the 17th Dynasty, who were perceived as the quintessential Theban rulers. It seems that the early 18th Dynasty kings were also buried there, Hatshepsut being the first ruler to break the tradition and open the Valley of the Kings as the place to locate the royal tomb. At that time, Dra Abu el-Naga became more accessible, while retaining intact its religious and political connotations. So, around 1470 BC, Djehuty decided to find a place for his funerary monument between the royal family and courtiers of the previous dynasty, in an area full of religious symbolism and Theban noble ancestry.