With the kind permission of the Ministry of State for Antiquities, we have launched the new Ankh-Hor Project in Asasif, Western Thebes, Egypt. It is based at Ludwig Maximilians University Munich, conducted in close cooperation with the Austrian Academy of Sciences (OREA and Austrian Archaeological Institute).

The aim of the new Ankh-Hor Project, directed by Egyptologist Julia Budka, is to complete the analysis, conservation and documentation of all finds excavated in the Austrian concession (directed by Manfred Bietak, 1969-1979), focusing on finds from the Saite Theban Tomb 414 and preparing their final publication.

All finds from TT 414, the tomb of Ankh-Hor, currently still stored in the Asasif will be consolidated, studied, registered and prepared for publication. This large corpus of objects holds much potential for an in depth-study of burial customs and funerary equipment during the First Millennium BC.

The eastern part of the Asasif has a long period of use from the Middle Kingdom to Roman times and our project will contribute to a more holistic understanding of the history of this part of the Theban necropolis which might also be relevant for other missions, providing new dating criteria for mixed remains of burials covering several phases of use and re-use.

The tomb and its finds

Ankh-Hor was as High Steward of the Divine Adoratrice Nitocris during the 26th Dynasty (6th century BCE) one of the highest officials of Late Period Egypt. His tomb in the Asasif (TT 414) belongs to the type of monumental tombs with temple-like superstructures in Thebes (Egypt). TT 414 was completely excavated by an Austrian mission directed by Manfred Bietak in the 1970s; it was also restored, published and opened to the public in 1982. The majority of the numerous finds, however, remains unpublished until today and was left in a provisional magazine at the site.

The finds from the tomb of Ankh-Hor (TT 414) attest to a very long use-life of this monumental temple tomb located in the Asasif. The objects date from the 26th Dynasty until Roman times. During the Saite Period, TT 414 was used as family tomb for several members of Ankh-Hor’s family – as yet, we know of two brothers, a sister and a daughter. The second phase of burial activity in TT 414 can be dated to the 4th-3rd centuries BC (30th Dynasty to Early Ptolemaic): a large family of a group of Amun priests of the temple of Karnak, led by a Padi-Imen-Nebnesuttaui, were buried in Ankh-Hor’s burial chamber as well as in secondary shafts and rooms. In order to reconstruct the specific time-spans of use and the individual tomb groups, all of the fragmented coffins, cartonnage cases, wooden stelae and statues as well as shabtis hold first hand significance. Large amounts of coffins and wooden objects are in urgent need of consolidation and are therefore still undocumented.