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For many Visitors the Theban Necropolis consists of a visit to the Memnon then some time in either the Valley of the Kings, Deir-el Medina or the Valley of the Queens. There is however another aspect to the West Bank which is little known, and all you need to find it is the nerve to try the local transport and an ability to ignore people trying to sell you stuff.

And amid long robbed out tombs and in forgotten chambers there are still surprises to be found, like the mummified leg bone shown above which lies in a niche in a small tomb at the entrance to the burial shaft


Many of these tombs are in full view of the hotels on the East Bank at Luxor, and the tourist Busses and Taxis drive past them all day. These visitors probably wonder what these openings on the hillside contain, little realising how easy it is to find out.

This pillared hall belongs to a tomb which, like so many, had an Arab house built on top of it. This particular tomb was only accessible because the house above it had fallen into ruin.

So when you look at the village perched on the hillside you realise the reason why the local Arabs build their houses where they do.

Most of the visible tombs have gates fitted or the entrances bricked up but many of the smaller sepulchers consist of a passage of about 10 metres leading to a chamber. From this chamber there is either a vertical shaft or another steeply sloping passage like the one shown here. This is the tomb where the bone at the top of the page was found.

Unfortunately all the decoration in the accessible parts of these tombs has long since been removed, if indeed they were ever decorated.


Find out more about this tomb, including what was at the bottom of this shaft, more human remains and the present occupants in the Thebes Update

   There is some surviving decoration on the entrance 'porches' of the tombs facing the Nile. On one in particular one end of the roof remains in place, although how long this will remain with local children trying to sell bits of it to tourists is uncertain.

The best of the surviving artwork is in the tombs which are now locked. When I took the photo shown above I had no idea what lay beyond the small breech which existed in the dry stone wall in front of the gate blocking the entrance. I was amazed when the film returned from processing to see this elaborate artwork had survived.
On another entrance 'porch' a very faint scene can be distinguished on the left hand side of the entrance to the tomb itself. Again it is very difficult to make out much detail, but here I have attempted to 'restore' the image from the surviving colour. Unfortunately my artistic abilities don't stretch to filling in the missing bits.


All is not well on the fringes of the Theban Necropolis. Neglect and theft mean that many of the 'minor' tombs are in urgent need of help.


Thebes in Egypt


Life and Death in Ancient Egypt


 Excavating TT99
Recent work in the Theban Necropolis

 The Theban Mapping Project
Including updates on KV5