A Virtual Exhibition

The Peabody-Emerson Excavations Virtual Exhibit (Display case sketch, 2.6 meters wide, 1.8 meters tall)

The Peabody-Emerson Excavations Virtual Exhibit (Display case sketch, 2.6 meters wide, 1.8 meters tall)

Amelia Peabody Emerson and Professor Radcliffe Emerson are fictional Egyptologists who feature in a series of humoristic mystery thrillers set in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Writing under the pseudonym Elizabeth Peters (who claimed to be the editor of Amelia Peabody’s diaries), was the actual Egyptologist Dr. Barbara Mertz. While the stories chronicle the adventures of the couple and their family and friends fighting spies, tomb robbers, and other criminals, this is against the background of excavations at many of the most important sites in Egypt, with correct information about the sites and Egyptology.

Among the characters are many real people, such as Howard Carter, Sir William Flinders Petrie, Herbert Winlock, and Theodore Davis, and the stories often relate to real finds and the circumstances of real digs.

To a great extent, with his strong standards for proper excavation and documentation, Professor Radcliffe Emerson is based on the famed Egyptologist Sir William Flinders Petrie. His wife, Amelia Peabody Emerson, seems to be at least partly inspired by the novelist and traveler Amelia Edwards, founder of the Egyptian Exploration Fund, who helped to finance Petrie’s excavations. Their son, Dr. Walter “Ramses” Emerson, who in the books is a noted philologist, seems to be purely the product of the imagination of Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Mertz.

Sometimes the finds attributed to the Peabody-Emersons represent things that have still not been found. Sometimes they are portrayed as the “true”, if secret, finders of actual finds by others. Sometimes they are on the spot fictitiously “helping” or otherwise observing real excavators find important things.

This exhibit seeks to illuminate aspects of Egyptology through the fictitious activities of the Peabody-Emerson Excavations. (Note: The objects are displayed in chronological order for Egyptian history, and not in the ostensible chronological order of the Peabody-Emerson excavations or the publication history of the books.)

The excavations:

Year           Site

1884-85    Amarna
1892-93    Valley of the Kings
1894-95    Mazghuna
1895-96    Dashur
1897-98    Sudan (Nubia)
1898-99    Amarna
1899-1900 Dra Abu el Naga (West Thebes)
1903-04    Valley of the Kings
1906-07    Valley of the Kings
1910          Jerusalem
1911-12    Zawyet el’ Aryan
1912-13    Amarna
1914-15    Giza
1915-16    Giza
1916-17    Deir el-Medina
1919-20    Deir el-Medina
1921-22    Deir el-Medina/Valley of the Kings
1922-23    Valley of the Kings

Dra Abu el Naga

Map of some of the more notable Peabody-Emerson excavations (Image adapted from Kiddle.co, under Creative Commons  licence )

Thanks to John Taylor of the British Museum and Silvia Mosso of the Egyptian Museum in Turin for kindly answering my questions about objects in their collections.

The Princesses’ Jewels

Necklace of Princess Khnumet

Necklace of Princess Khnumet, Photo: Creative Commons

As chronicled in “The Mummy Case”, the Peabody-Emersons worked at the dilapidated Middle Kingdom pyramid at Mazghuna during the 1894-95 season. The Director of the Antiquities Service, Jean-Jacques de Morgan, was excavating at the same time at the much more extensive remains in adjacent Dashur.

According to the story, Ramses Emerson, then a very precocious 7 year old, found the jewelry of Middle Kingdom princesses while searching on his own under the Dashur pyramids. He secretly turned them over to de Morgan, apparently in return for his parents being granted the concession to dig at Dashur the following year.

In real life, de Morgan found the jewels of 12th Dynasty Princesses Meret and Khnumet in their tombs, close to the pyramid of King Amenemhat II.

Necklace of Khnumet, daughter of King Amenemhat II and wife of his son and successor King Senusret II, from the Cairo Museum.

More information from TourEgypt.net

Object name: Falcon collar of Princess Khnumet

Material: Gold, inlaid with lapis lazuli, tourquoise, carnelian, garnets, and green felspar.

Measurements: 3.8 cm high (terminals), 4.3 cm wide

Provenance: Found by Jacques-Jean de Morgan in the tomb of Iti and Khnumet, Dashur.

Date: 1894

Additional description: A ‘Falcon Collar’ tentatively reconstructed from elements recovered masse by de Morgan. It comprises seven rows of pendant beads connected by strings of gold ring-beads. Four of the rows consist of three different hieroglyphs symbolizing ‘Life’, ‘Stability’ and ‘Power’ made of gold inlaid with coloured stones and graduated in size.

Current location with inventory numbers: Cairo Museum, Cat Nos. 52861—2 et. al.

Acquisition history: Found by de Morgan and sent to the Cairo Museum

Bibliography: Aldred, Cyril, “Jewels of the Pharaohs,” Andrews, Carol, “Ancient Egyptian Jewelry”.

The only description in Porter and Moss is the footnote: “Uninscribed jewellery of Iti and Khnemt is in Cairo Museum.”

Queen Tetisheri – A Forgery?

As described in “The Hippopotamus Pool”, during the 1899-1900 season, the Peabody-Emersons excavated at Dra’ Abu el-Naga in West Thebes. There they supposedly found the tomb of the 17th Dynasty Queen Tetisheri, whose burial has in fact never been found.

Her mummy is believed to be among those in the Royal Cache found nearby in Deir el-Bahri (DB 320), which contained at least 46 mummies of kings, queens, and royal officials from Dynasties 17 to 22, believed to have been removed from their original tombs and reburied together secretly to protect them from grave robbers.

Queen Tetisheri

A fake? Queen Tetisheri, Photo: British Museum

A number of items bearing the name of Tetisheri have been found, including this statue, which after years on display in the British Museum was determined by W.V. Davies to be a forgery. However, that determination has been questioned by more recent commentators, who suggest that while the statue itself may be genuine, the inscription bearing the name Tetisheri is not.

The statue represents a common problem facing Egyptology, fakes and forgeries and plundered objects from tombs without records of their origins.

Object page in the British Museum

Object name: Statute of Teitsheri, determined to be a forgery

Limestone statue of Tetisheri enthroned; Hieroglyphic text on the block-throne; painted detail on the vulture-headdress

PM I-II: Queen Tetisheri ~,wife of King Senakhtenrec-Taca, seated, with dedication-text of Sensonb ~ ~ r J on back, in Brit. Mus. 22558.

Material: Limestone

Measurements: 36 cm tall, 13.5 cm wide, 24.5 cm deep

Provenance: PM I-II p 662: “From Dra’ Abu el-Naga’, but exact provenance unknown.” Sold by Mohammed Mohassib to E A Wallis Budge of the British Museum in 1890.

Date: 1890

Additional description:

Inscription Type
: inscription
Inscription Script
: hieroglyphic
Inscription Position
: throne

Determined by W.V. Davies to be a fake

Current location with inventory numbers: British Museum, BM number EA22558, Registration number 1890,0412.5

Acquisition history: From John Taylor of the British Museum: It was purchased from the Luxor antiquities dealer Mohammed Mohassib in 1890. It had been in Mohassib’s possession at least as early as January 1889, as the American traveller Charles Wilbour recorded in his diary that Mohassib had shown him the statue at that time. Wilbour adds that it had allegedly been ‘found near Drah Aboo’l Neggah’ (i.e. the region of Dra Abu el-Naga on the Theban west bank). E A Wallis Budge negotiated the purchase of the statue through the Reverend Chauncey Murch and the acquisition was approved by the Trustees of the British Museum in April 1890.


From John Taylor of the British Museum: The case for and against the authenticity of the statue of Tetisheri is given in the following publication: W V Davies, The Statuette of Queen Tetisheri. A reconsideration, British Museum Occasional Paper 36 (London 1984).

See also:

PM I Part 2: p.612,which reads:

MuRRAY in Ancient Egypt {1934), p. 6 and frontispiece, pp. 65-6 with pl. and figs. 1, 2; Guide, Eg. Call. (1909), fig. on p. 113, (1930), fig. 180, p. 334; Guide, 4th to 6th, fig. on p. 124 [4o]; Summary Guide to the Egyptian Antiquities, pl. 2, p. 6; BuDGE, A History of Egypt, iii, fig. on p. 64; id. Eg. Sculptures, pl. xvii; id. The Mummy, pl. viii [ 1]; id. By Nile and Tigris, ii, pl. facing p. 291; KING and HALL, Egypt and Western Asia, p. 339 and pl.; MASPERO, Egypte, fig. 305; MuRRAY, Splendour, pl. 1 [2], p. 146; WEIGALL, Anc. Eg . … Art, 123 ; CAP ART, L’ Art eg. ii, pl. 295; NEWBERRY in Ross, The Art of Egypt, fig. on p. 171 [1]; BRUNNER, Jlgyptische Kunst, Abb. 37; FECH-HEIMER, Kleinplastik der Agypter, pl. 51; LUGN, Konst, fig. 51; PIJOAN, Summa Artis, iii (1945), figs. 31o-11; ALDRED, N.K. Art, pl. 3; WoLF, Die Kunst Aegyptens, Abb. 367; SMITH, Art … Anc. Eg. pl. 85 [B]. Text, WILBOUR MSS. 2 K. 32. See WINLOCK inJ.E.A. x (1924), p. 247 with note 3; WILBOUR, Travels in Egypt, p. 507 (giving provenance).

Henry Moore: Early Carvings 1920-1940, Leeds 1982, p.66 [X].
BM OP 28, p.12

Exhibition history
: Exhibited: 2011 10 Feb – 10 June Coventry, Herbert Museum, Secret Egypt

Condition: Good

Nefertiti and Amarna

The final novel in the Amelia Peabody series ,”The Painted Queen”, completed posthumously by Joan Hess, takes place during the 1912-13 season, with our heroes at Amarna, where they had excavated on several previous occasions.

That year a German expedition was digging there at the site of the capital of the heretic King Akhenaten, who had banned the worship of the traditional gods in favor of the sun disk Aten. There they found one of the most spectacular objects ever uncovered in Egypt, the bust of Akhenaten’s Queen Nefertiti.

Bust of Nefertiti

Bust of Nefertiti, Photo: Creative Commons

Under the laws at the time providing for the sharing of objects between the Egyptian Museum and the excavators, such a unique item ought to have stayed in Egypt. For reasons still unclear, the Germans managed to get it out of the country, and it is currently on display in the Neues Museum in Berlin.

The recovery of objects illegally removed from the countries of origin is a serious concern, not only in Egyptology but also in archaeology, ethnography, and other fields.

The object at the Neues Museum

Object name: Bust of Nefertiti

Material: Limestone, gypsum crystal, and wax

Measurements: 49 cm tall, 24.5 cm wide, 35 cm deep

Provenance: Found in 1912 by Ludwig Borchardt during the excavations of the German-Orient-Association in Tell-Amarna, in House P, the workshop of the master sculpto Tuthmosis. Removed from Egypt under suspicious circumstances, and sent to Berlin.

Date: 1912

Additional description: The individualized face and the special crown, tall, flat-topped decorated with a ribbon and the remains of a uraeus at the front identify the statue as Nefertiti. The bust served, as did many other masks found in the workshop of the Tuthmosis, as a model for artists producing portraits of the queen. She is shown as a grown woman with a harmonic and balanced beauty which is not disturbed by the slight folds under the eyes and chin as well as the slightly sunk cheeks.

The bust is made of limestone which is covered with modelled gypsum. The eye is inlayed with crystal and the pupil attached with black coloured wax. The second eye-inlay was never carried out.

Current location with inventory numbers: Neues Museum, Berlin, Inventory no. ÄM23100

Acquisition history: Excavated in Tell el-Amarna, 1912, taken to Berlin. Kept in several museums there, and hidden to safeguard it during World War II, before finally being transferred to the Neues Museum.


From Porter and Moss:

Sculptor’s models, including heads and statue of Nefertiti and princesses, mask and bust of Amenophis IV, &c:, id. op. cit. in Mitteil. d. Deutsch. Or. Gesell. No. 52, Abb. I9 – 25, pis. 3 [left], 4 [right]-6; head of princess [BoRCHARDT, Abb. 21], id. Der Porlriitkopf der Konigin Teje, p. I3, Abb. I I; head of Nefertiti [BoRCHARDT, Abb. I9], in Berlin Mus. 2 I3oo, id. Portriits der Konigin .Nojret-ete, pis. z-6, cf. pp. 30-8; SCHAFER, Die Neuaufstellung der Funde aus El-Amarna in Berliner .#Eusem Berichte, xiv ( I924), p. I, Abb. I; id. Kunstwerke aus El-Amarna, i, frontispiece (called I in text); id. A marna in Religion und Kunst, pl. 20 ; ScHAFER and ANDRAE, Die Kunst des a/ten Orients, 336 ; WEIGALL, Anc. Eg. Works of Art, zoo, zoi; unfinished head of Nefertiti [BoRCHARDT, Abb. 20 ], KEES, Agyptische Kunst, p. I04 [32 J; bust of King [BoRCHARDT, pl. 4 (right)], in Berlin Mus., BoRCHARDT, Portriits [&c.], p. 6, Abb. 2 ; statue of Queen [BoRCHARDT, Abb. zs], in Berlin Mus. 2I263, ScHAFER, Sonderausstellungm der Funde [&c.] in Amtliche Berichte, xxxv, p. I3 7, Abb. 78, reprinted in A.z. Iii, p. 83, Abb. I8; id. op. cit. in Berliner Museen Berichte, xiv (I924), p. 9, Abb. 7; id. Kunstwerke aus El-Amarna, i, pl. 7 (called 8 in text); id. Amarna in Religion und Kunst, pl. zr; id. op. cit. in A.z. lv, pl. 6 [z]; STEINDORFF, Die Bliitezeit des Pharaonmreichs (I926), p. 179, Abb. I67; id. Die Kunst der Agypter, p. 223; ScHAFER and ANDRAE, op. cit. 338; WEIGALL, op. cit. 202; brown sandstone head ofNefertiti [BoRCHARDT, pl. 6], in Berlin Mus. Zizzo, SCHAFER, Kumtwerke aus El-Amarna, i, cover; id. A marna in Religion und Kunst, pl. 34 ; SCHAFER and ANDRAE, op. cit. 337; WEIGALL, op. cit. 199; NEWBERRY in Ross, The Art of Egypt through the Ages, p. q8 [ 2 J; head of princess [BoRCHARDT, Abb. 23], ScHAFER, op. cit. in Amtliche Berichte, xxxv, p. 139, Abb. So, reprinted in A’.z. Iii, p. 83, Abb. 19. Grey granite head of Nefertiti, in Berlin Mus. 2I358, ScHAFER, Kunstwerke aus El-Amarna, i, pl. 6 (called 7 in text) ; id. A marna in Religion und Kunst, pl. 35; STEINDORFF, op. cit. (r9z6), p. q8, Abb. 166.


The Peabody-Emersons excavated in Deir el-Medina and in the Valley of the Kings during the 1921-22 and 1922-23 seasons. As chronicled in ”The Serpent on the Crown”, in 1921 they were given a small golden statue of what turned out to be the then little-known King Tutankhamun. In a magnificent coincidence found only in fiction, the statue was discovered to be one of a few items stolen from the tomb of the king in antiquity, and buried by the thief in Deir el-Medina, together with a papyrus confessing his deed.

The following year, as chroncled in “Tomb of the Golden Bird”, the Peabody-Emersons are on the scene as Howard Carter discovers and begins the excavation of the tomb of Tutankhamum for his patron Lord Carnarvon. They even witness an improper nocturnal entry into the tomb by Carter and Carnarvon before its official opening, an event which is generally accepted to have occurred.

Gilded Wooden Figure of Tutankhamun on a Skiff, Throwing a Harpoon

Gilded Wooden Figure of Tutankhamun on a Skiff, Throwing a Harpoon, Photo: Creative Commons

Information at the Supreme Council of Antiquities website

Object name: Gilded Wooden Figure of Tutankhamun on a Skiff, Throwing a Harpoon

Material: Gilded wood

Measurements: Height 75.50 cm, depth 5.6 cm, length 18.50 cm

Provenance: Found in KV62 by Howard Carter in 1922. Sent to the Cairo Museum.

Date: 1922

Additional description: The figure was found missing following the looting and vandalism that happened in the museum on January 28, 2011. It seems to have been broken off by the looters, and all that remains are the king’s feet, right arm, harpoon and the bronze hoop that the king had held in his left hand. ahramonline wrote on April 29, 2014 that 10 artifacts stolen from the museum had been recovered, including “a wooden statue of King Tutankhamun covered in gold sheets”.

Current location with inventory numbers: Was to be restored following its recovery, and placed in a special exhibit at the Cairo Museum for three months from May 2014, before being returned to its original location, Catalogue no. JE 60710.1

Acquisition history: Found in KV62 and taken to Cairo Museum.

Bibliography: On the statue: Two, 275 c, E, wooden, harpooning on reed-float, Ent. 6o7o9-10. CARTER, iii, pls. xiii, lx, pp. 54-5; German ed. (1951), Abb. 83; see Descr. somm. [407, 994]. One, Fox, Treasure, pl. 57. and Schatz, Abb. 65; CAPART, fig. 76; id. L’Art eg. ii, pl. 358; CARTER in Ross, The Art of Egypt, fig. on p. 198; Encycl. phot. Caire, pl. 12o; HAMANN, Jig. Kunst, Abb. 270 [middle]; DRIOTON and SVED, Art egyptien, fig. 89 [middle]; LAURENT-T.ii.CKHOLM, Faraos blomster, pl. facing p. x6; ALDRED, N.K. Art, pl. I 57•

On the tomb: CARTER and MACE, The Tomb of Tut-ankh-Amen, i-iii, passim, with plan, i, p. 223; Ger-man eds. (abridged), Tut-ench-Amun. Ein iigyptisches Konigsgrab (1924), and CARTER, Das Grab des Tut-ench-Amun (1951), passim, with plan; ELLIOT SMITH, Tutankhamen, passim; MACE in M.M.A. Bull. Pt. ii, Dec. 1923, pp. 5-11; CAPART, Tout-Ankh-Amon, pp. 84-112, with plan, fig. 30; Fox, Tutankhamun’s Treasure, pp. 14-34, with plan, p. 41, and German ed. Der Schatz des Tut-ench-Amun, pp. 9-80, with plan on p. 81; BREASTED in Art and Archaeology, xvii (1924), pp. 9-17. Plans and sections, CARTER MSS. i. G. 1-6; plan, CAL-DERINI in Aegyptus, iv (1923), pl. ii facing p. 28; MALLON, Toutankhamon, son tombeau et son siecle in Scripta Pontificii lnstituti Biblici (1924), p. 11; plans showing positions of objects as found, CARTER MSS. i. G. 10-19. Hieratic texts on boxes, vases, &c., CERNY, forthcoming publication. Excavated by Carnarvon and Carter.

KV 5 and KV 55

During the 1906-07 season, as chronicled in “The Ape Who Guards the Balance”, the Peabody-Emersons are excavating KV5 in the Valley of the Kings, with the permission of the American millionaireTheodore Davis, who holds the concession for the Valley. Close by, Edward Ayrton, working for Davis, finds and excavates KV55. Davis believes it to be the tomb of Aktenaten’s mother Queen Tiye, but modern scholars believe that while the coffin and tomb may have been intended for Tiye at some point, the mummy found there was in fact that of Akhenaten, relocated from Amarna. The Peabody-Emersons witness Davis’ hasty and sloppy emptying of the tomb, an opinion shared by later Egyptologists.

Indeed, Professor Emerson insults Davis so vociferously about the botched excavation of KV55 that the Peabody-Emersons are banished from the Valley of the Kings, and have to abandon the excavation of KV5. Little did they know it would prove to be one of the largest and most remarkable tombs ever found in Egypt, the burial site of the 100 sons of King Ramses II of the 19th Dynasty. In 1995 Kent Weeks began excavations there, revealing dozens of mummies in what appear to be 130 rooms.

While an initial survey of the tomb was carried out as early as 1825, the interior was filled with debris that had hardened like concrete. Heavy rains are rare in the area, but half a dozen over the past 3000 years had filled the chambers of KV5 “to their ceilings with stones, limestone chips, sand, and silts”. (Weeks, 2005) The Peabody-Emersons had only begun excavating Chamber 1 when they were forced to leave. Had they continued in Chamber 1, they would have found this shabti of Sety I (father of Ramses II and grandfather of those buried in the tomb).

Shabti of Sety I from KV5, Photo: Francis Dzikowski, Theban Mapping Project

Shabti of Sety I from KV5, Photo: Francis Dzikowski, Theban Mapping Project

Shabtis are small statues found in tombs representing servants who will work for the deceased in the afterlife.

Object name: Body fragment of shabti of Sety I, 19th dynasty, with inscription; body light blue-green.

Material: Faïence

Measurements: 7.2 x 4.5 x 2.7 cm.

Provenance: Found in KV5, Chamber 1, northwest quadrant, 2.2 m below ceiling, between 0.8 and 0.5 m above floor

Date: January 24, 1999.

Additional description: The inscription reads:

1. The illuminated one, the Osiris, Men-ma’ at-Ra, the Justified, he speaks: O,

2. this shabti, if one calls, if one reckons, the Osiris, Sety Mery-en-Ptah

3. [to do] all the work, which is to be done in Necropolis, to cultivate…

Current location with inventory numbers: Theban Mapping Expedition reference no. 14986, Object no. 1.21,  Current location uncertain.

Acquisition history: Found in KV5


Weeks, Kent, “KV5: A Preliminary Report on the Excavation of the Tomb of the Sons of Ramesses II in the Valley of the Kings (Publications of the Theban Mapping Project)”, Cairo, 2006. (This mentions Chamber 22 only briefly in the Update section, and makes no mention of objects found in the room. Most of the information above is from the Theban Mapping Project website.)

Much farther in, after years of excavation, the Theban Mapping Project found this fragment of a relief of Ramses II, in Chamber 22.

Fragment of a relief of Ramses II

Fragment of a relief of Ramses II, Photo: Theban Mapping Project

Object at Theban Mapping Project

Object name: Fragment of a relief of Ramses II

Material: Stone

Measurements: “Life sized” (based on the measurement dashes, and with the help of Professor Troy, I have estimated the size at about 20 cm x 40 cm)

Provenance: Found in pillered chamber 22 in KV5.

Date: Probably 2003, when the photo was taken.

Additional description: I have written to the Theban Mapping Expedition to ask for more details about this object, which is pictured on their website, but have received no answer. (In their faq they do say they probably won’t respond to queries for homework assignments.)

Current location with inventory numbers: Theban Mapping Expedition reference no. 19567, Object no. 22.? Current location uncertain.

Acquisition history: Found in KV5


Weeks, Kent, “KV5: A Preliminary Report on the Excavation of the Tomb of the Sons of Ramesses II in the Valley of the Kings (Publications of the Theban Mapping Project)”, Cairo, 2006. (This mentions Chamber 22 only briefly in the Update section, and makes no mention of objects found in the room. Most of the information above is from the Theban Mapping Project website.)

Personal Piety

During the New Kingdom, the workers who built the tombs in the Valley of the Kings lived in a village near the area, today known as Deir el-Medina.

Deir el-Medina

The workers’ village at Deir el-Medina, Photo: Steve E-F Cameron, Creative Commons

During their excavations at the site in 1916-17, the Peabody-Emersons make some remarkable finds, as chronicled in “The Golden One”. Examing the ostrica and papyri found there, philologist Dr. Walter ”Ramses” Emerson, comes to believe they support the theory previously advanced by the American James Breasted that the Egyptians were developing a feeling of ”personal piety” at this time in the New Kingdom.

In the real world, this is the same year that Battiscombe Gunn published an article in the “Journal of Egyptian Archaeology” further developing this theory, and one of the key finds supporting this from Deir el-Medina was the earliest known papyrus of the Book of the Dead, containing the “Negative Confession”, a spell the deceased should utter when confronted with the judges of the afterlife, denying any wrong-doing.

Book of the Dead of Kha

Book of the Dead of Kha

This is a section of the Book of the Dead from the tomb of the architect Kha, from Deir el-Medina, showing the weighing of the heart ceremony when the deceased is judged.

Object name: Book of the Dead of Kha

Material: Papyrus

Measurements: 40 cm wide x 1380 cm (unrolled)

Provenance: TT8, the tomb of Kha and Merit in Deir el-Medina

Date: 1906

Additional description: Note: in describing TT8, Porter and Moss do not mention the finding of the Book of the Dead.

Current location with inventory numbers: Egyptian Museum of Turin, Suppl. 8438

Acquisition history: Found by Schiaparelli in 1906 in Deir el-Media in TT8, the tomb of Kha and Merit. Sent to the Egyptian Museum of Turin.

Bibliography: ScHIAPARELLI, Relazione, ii, pp. 1-18o, with plan and section, fig. 6; BRUYERE, Rapport (I923-I924), pp. 53-6, with plan and section, on pl. xiv, cf. pis. i, ii.

From the Theban Mapping Project about TT8:

(H’j, Khai)  XVIIIth Dynasty, [reign of Amenhotep III (Kampp)]; Dayr al Madinah; Map VII, E-3, d, 6.

Bruyère, Bernard. Rapport sur les fouilles de Deir el-Medineh (= FIFAO, 1923-1924).  Cairo: 1924.  Pp. 53-56.

Bruyère, Bernard.  Rapport sur les fouilles de Deir el-Medineh (= FIFAO, 1924-1925).  Cairo: 1925.  Pp. 50-51, 194.

Bruyère, Bernard.  La chapelle de Khâ (= MIFAO, 73). Cairo, 1939.

Forbes, Dennis CTombs, Treasures, Mummies: Seven Great Discoveries of Egyptian Archaeology.  Sebastopol, CA: KMT, 1998.

Kampp, Friederike.  Die thebanische Nekropole. Zum Wandel des Grabgedankens von der XVIII. bis zur XX. Dynastie (= Theben, 13).  2 vols.  Mainz am Rhein: Verlag Philipp von Zabern, 1996. Pp. 188-190, figs. 90-92.

Porter, Bertha and Rosalind MossTopographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Text, Reliefs, and Paintings. I, 1. The Theban Necropolis: Private Tombs.  Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1960.  Pp. 16-18.

Schiaparelli, Ernesto.   La tomba intatta dell’architeto Cha. In: Relazione sui lavori della miassione archeologica Italiano in Egitto (Anno 1902-1920), 2. Turin, 1927.

Vandier d’Abbadie, Jeanne.  Deux tombes de Deir el-Medineh (= MIFAO, 73).  Cairo, 1939.  Pp. 1-18.

Royal Wives of the God

 Bronze door hinge bearing the names of the Gods Wives of Amun Amenirdis I and Shepenwepet II, Photo: British Museum

Bronze door hinge bearing the names of the Gods Wives of Amun Amenirdis I and Shepenwepet II, Photo: British Museum

Also during the 1916-17 season, the Peabody-Emerson’s partner the American millionaire Cyrus Vandergelt (a conscientious excavator perhaps created as a light side counterpart to Theodore Davis) discovers on the hillside above Deir el-Medina a Cache of the Royal Wives of Amun. During the Third Intermediate Period, when the land was often divided between north and south, these usually royal women were the ostensible rulers at Thebes. Sadly no such cache has ever been found, but there have been interesting tombs found above Deir el-Medina, such as that of the architect Kha.

The Royal Wives were certainly real, and finds attributed to them have been found in other places, such as this door hinge in bronze, bearing the names of the Gods Wives of Amun Amenirdis I and Shepenwepet II.

The object at the British Museum website

Object name: Bronze door hinge bearing the names of the Gods Wives of Amun Amenirdis I and Shepenwepet II

Material: Bronze

Measurements: 38 cm long, 24.4 cm high

Provenance: From John Taylor of the British Museum: Purchased from the antiquities dealer Mohammed Mohassib. No provenance is given, and the hinge was among 215 miscellaneous antiquities of all periods, evidently bought as a group. 1902 is the date at which the acquisition was registered, but sometimes these registrations took place many months after the actual acquisition, so it is possible that Murch actually bought the objects in 1901.

Date: 1901 or 1902

Additional description:

Current location with inventory numbers: British Museum Room 65, EA 36301

Acquisition history:

From John Taylor: The acquisitions register in our departmental archives records that EA 36301 was purchased in 1902 from Mohammed Mohassib via Chauncey Murch (who regularly acted as Budge’s intermediary in these transactions).


Pope, Jeremy W., “The Double Kingdom Under Taharqo: Studies in the History of Kush and Egypt”, p 230.