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Tomb of Ankhtifi on a Tour to ElMoalla from Luxor

Some friends had requested to take them on a tour to ELMoalla ,I'v read about it before but the truth is I never visited before,so I started some searches and refreshment readings about the site,frankly there is not much about ,as there is not nuch left on the site ,here is some of what I'v got:
Gebelein is an archaeological site located about 32 kilometers south of Luxor (ancient Thebes) on the western bank of the Nile (The archaeological site is actually known as Naga el-Gherira). There are two hills at the site that give it its Arabic name of Gebelein, as well as its ancient Egyptian name of Inr-ti, meaning "two rocks". In Greek times, it was known as Aphroditopolis, and also Pathyris, from Old Egyptian Per-Hathor ("Domain of Hathor). The site is really not of much interest to casual tourists as there is little in the form of visual remains, though the hills provide a good view of the Nile Valley. It may be of some interest, however, more because of the artifacts that originated here that are now spread around in various museums.This site was known to the authors of the Description del l'Egypte, but it was not explored until 1884, after clandestine excavation indicated its importance. Investigations were then carried out by E. Grebaut and G. Daressy in 1891, J. Morgan and G. Foucart in 1893, G. W. Fraser and M. W. Blackden for the Egyptian Exploration Fund in 1893 and H. de Morgan, L. Lortet and C. Gaillard between 1908 and 1909.The objects found by the first phase of exploration are now kept in Cairo, Berlin and Lyon. The Guimet Museum in Lyon holds two extremely important prehistoric statuettes. The Egyptian Museum of Turin, then directed by Ernesto Schiaparelli, began its excavations in 1910, continuing in 1911, 1914 and 1920. Schiaparelli's successor, Giulio Farina, worked there in 1930, 1935 and 1937. The Turin Museum renewed explorations and excavation during 1990 in order to draw an archaeological map of the site. However, this turned out to be more of a rescue-archaeology mission after the team was informed by the local antiquities inspector that the local farmers were planning on extending their sugar cane fields into some parts of the archaeological site.

The region was obviously dedicated to the cult of Hathor, but was also a major cult region for Sobek, the crocodile god as weThe eastern hill at Gebelein is dominated by the remains of a temple of Hathor, the decoration of which dates primarily from the 11th to the 15th Dynasties. However, this temple was certainly established by the end of the Early Dynastic Period and was still in existence during the Roman Period. It was later destroyed for its limestone.
The temple of Hathor stood within a fortified wall of mud bricks (dating to the Late Period), on which the cartouche of the high priest Menkheperre, son of Pinudjem, is carved. Objects found include a royal stela from the 2nd or 3rd Dynasty, many fragments of wall reliefs from the reign of Nebhepetre Montuhotep I (11th Dynasty) and from the 13th and 15th Dynasties, a foundation deposit from the time of Tuthmosis III, stelae and some stela fragments from the New Kingdom and some Ptolemaic reliefs. Hence, the site was occupied over a long period of Egyptian history.
From the area of the town, located below the eastern hill, have come several collections. Together with papyri, there are probably more than four hundred Demotic and Greek ostraca, discovered by Shiaparelli, which reflect the life of the mercenary garrison quartered there from 150 to 88 BC. Other Greek and Coptic (Christian) texts on sheets of leather, dating from the late 5th and early 6th centuries AD, constitute evidence of the presence of the Blemmyes at Gebelein or on the island facing it.The necropolis extends along the eastern slopes of the western hill and onto the northern plain. It yielded evidence from the Predynastic Period to the end of the Middle Kingdom. Among the most important discoveries were a Naqada II painted sheet, showing boats and funerary dancers, some Predynastic tombs with black-topped pottery and a series of administrative papyri from the end of the 4th Dynasty, which show great similarity to slightly later papyri discovered at the pyramid of Neferirkare at Abusir. Notable features of the necropolis included an intact tomb from the 5th Dynasty containing three burials with rich furniture, a tomb with equipment from the end of the 6th Dynasty, a 10th Dynasty tomb (now reconstructed at the Turin Museum) with unique stylistic characteristics belonging to Ini, nomarch and high priest of the temple of Sobek, Lord of Sumenu. The porticoed tomb of another Ini, a general and treasurer of the 11th Dynasty, was decorated with a series of paintings of ceremonial scenes (in the chapel) and images of daily life (on the pillars and walls of the portico). These paintings are of extraordinary interest because they combined Egypt's classical style with novel and lively elements, typical of provincial culture. The end of the 12th Dynasty is attested by some inscriptions of Coffin Texts and by the remains of the rich equipment of Iger that was devastated by thieves and termites.
Stelae of Nubian mercenaries of the First and Second Intermediate Periods display a rough, vigorous style. These are now in various collections, including the Turin Museum, along with objects from the C-Group and Pan-Grave cultures that displayed both provincial elements and some Nubian influence.
El Moalla: We started the Tour at 9am .and we drove for nearly 40 min. toward ElMoalla ,it is a small village on the east side of the river Nile ,after we crossed the railway road ,we were right at the feet of the mountain where The Tombs of The dignitaries (Noble's) of the region were cut into the mountain rock, the biggest and the best recognized is the tomb of Ankhtifi ,who was the mayor of the region ,showed a degree of independence from the central power weekend at the end of the old kingdom, and from here the importance of the region, as the tombes consider a rare reference recording that particular period of Egypt's History nearly around 2000BC.
the tomb of Ankhtifi ,will impress you as a visitor ,the tombe size is huge comparing to similar tombs of that period ,the columns are unique in  architect design  reflect the simplicity and the primary in columns architect further south way from the great pyramids builders in Giza ,The intact scenes and colours will definitely impress you .
The Biography of Ankhtifi : Ankhtifi was the nomarch of Hierakonpolis and a supporter of the Herakleopolitan based 10th dynasty which was locked in conflict with the Theban based 11th Dynasty kingdom for control of Egypt. Hence, Ankhtifi was a rival to the Theban rulers Mentuhotep I and Intef I. He lived during the early First Intermediate Period when the Egyptian Old Kingdom state had collapsed and chaos, hunger and famine stalked the land. Ankhtifi, as nomarch or governor of the third nome of Upper Egypt, built and extensively decorated his tomb at El-Mo'alla and inscribed the tomb’s walls with his autobiography which details his initiatives in re-establishing order in the land, his resistance against Thebes and the appalling suffering of the people of Egypt during his lifetime. It is one of the most significant inscriptions to come from the early First Intermediate Period after the collapse of the Old Kingdom. Ankhtifi states in his tomb autobiography:

"The Prince, Count, Royal Seal-bearer, Sole Companion, Lector-priest, General, Chief of scouts, Chief of foreign regions, Great Chief of the nomes of Edfu and Hierakonpolis, Ankhtifi, says: Horus brought me to the nome of Edfu for life, prosperity, health, to re-establish it, and I did (it)...I found the House of Khuy inundated like a marsh, abandoned by him who belonged to it, in the grip of the rebel, under the control of a wretch. I made a man embrace the slayer of his father, the slayer of his brother, so as to re-establish the nome of Edfu (...) I was as concerned for the lowest of men as for the highest. I was the man who found the solution when it was lacking in the country thanks to poor decisions, and my speech was clever and my bravery won the day when it was necessary to join the three provinces together. I am an honest man who has no equal, a man who can talk freely when others are obliged to be silent.
"The general of Armant said to me: 'Come, oh honest man. Sail with the current down to the fortress of Armant!' I then went down to the country to the west of Armant and I found that the forces of Thebes and Koptos had attacked the fortress of Armant (...) I reached the west bank of the Theban province (...) Then my courageous crack troops, yes my bold crack troops, ventured to the west and the east of the Theban nome, looking for an open battle. But no one dared to come out from Thebes because they were afraid of my troops."
(Inscriptions 1-3, 6-7, 10 and 12; Vandier, 1950, 161-242)[1]
"I gave bread to the hungry and clothing to the naked; I anointed those who had no cosmetic oil; I gave sandals to the barefooted; I gave a wife to him who had no wife. I took care of the towns of Hefat [i.e. el-Moalla] and Hor-mer in every [situation of crisis, when] the sky was clouded and the earth [was parched (?) and when everybody died] of hunger on this sandbank of Apophis.The south came with its people and the north with its children; they brought finest oil in exchange for the barley which was given to them.
"The whole of Upper Egypt died of hunger and each individual had reached such a state of hunger that he ate his own children. But I refused to see anyone die of hunger and gave to the north grain of Upper Egypt. And I do not think that anything like this has been done by the provincial governors who came before me....I brought life to the provinces of Hierakonpolis and Edfu, Elephantine and Ombos!" (Inscriptions 1-3, 6-7, 10 and 12; Vandier, 1950, 161-242)[3]
Ankhtifi's autobiography highlights the political fragmentation of Egypt during his career as nomarch of Hierakonpolis because he describes himself "first of all as the chief of his province" or of his three nomes rather than the governor of a region of Upper Egypt as Pepi I's confidant Weni did during the 6th dynasty. His autobiography also shows that he only became nomarch of Edfu after seizing it from Khuy, who was an ally of Thebes.While Thebes later defeated his forces and won control over Edfu, Hierakonpolis and Elephantine under the Theban kings Intef I and Intef II, the completion of his tomb suggests that Ankhtifi was not personally defeated in battle himself.
Ankhtify's autobiography demonstrates that the fear of an economic crisis was endemic in the early First Intermediate Period when local town magnates publicly boasted of their ability to feed their own towns while the rest of Egypt was starving. Evidence that famine did afflict the land comes from a worker of a Koptos 'overseer of priests' who modestly relates that he "stood in the doorway of his excellency the overseer of priests Djefy handing out grain to (the inhabitants of) this entire town to support it in the painful years of famine." It was previously uncertain if a series of Low Annual Nile floods caused the mass famine rather than the outbreak of chaos following the collapse of the Old Kingdom since some archaeological observations from Elephantine appear to indicate that Egypt was actually experiencing slightly above average flood levels during the First Intermediate Period. However, more recent archaeological evidence since 2000 now suggests that Ankhtifi's comments concerning the severity of the famine--at least during the early First Intermediate Period--are indeed based on fact and not propaganda.

An Egyptian scientist, professor Fekri Hassan from University College London has discovered clear evidence that a sudden global climate change caused the complete drying up of Lake Faiyum--a major body of water which was fed by the Nile and is 65 metres deep--between 2200 to 2150 BC, around the start of the Old Kingdom's collapse. The evaporation of the lake's water, which occurred over a period of several years, hints at the severity of the drought which impacted Egypt during this time ,the fascinating details of  the scenes are highly remarked ,The bareback ass scene and the asses are still intact scenes ,represent their primary transportation ,another perfect intact scene of a  Barbecue of fish and beef ,the cartouch of Nb Ka Ra still preserved ,the turquoise colored is well recognized as the green color as well ,after we finished this tomb of Ankhtifi we proceeded to Tomb of Sobekhotep which was not in a good condition as the whole area was vandalized  and robbed  ,the tombe consisted of 3 shafts and traces of decoration and colours ,still hardly to be recognized ,outside is a storage room located to store what has been saved from the area .
we proceeded back to Luxor ending our special tour.
Photo Gallery :

The natural pyramid shape can be clearly seen in this picture and there are many tombs here but only two that are open to the public and only one - that of Ankhtifi - that makes the journey worthwhile to anyone less than an expert.

The entrance to Ankhtifi's tomb is the dark area at the centre of the picture and thankfully once through the doorway you are directly in the tomb.

The light comes from the entrance which is on the right of this picture directly in line to the cordoned off shaft to the burial chamber.On the pillar on the far side of the shaft is carved Ankhtifi which is more clearly seen in the next picture.

They show, amongst others, this fishing scene - of which we can only show you part of in this picture.

This very detailed scene shows many types of fish.The use of colours is quite unusual to what we are used to seeing in the Theban tombs.

 Just one of many scenes painted on the columns. You can see more in the next picture.
It is the line of donkeys painted along the lower section of the back wall of Ankhtifi's tomb that really fascinated us as we have never seen this in any other tomb. Donkeys do appear occasionally as on the walls of Queen Hatshepsut temple but then there is just the odd one or two not an entire row like this.

A barbecue scene ,and the man who is on barbecue is tasting the barbecue.

A bugs bunny to be barbecued

On the back wall behind the shaft we see Ankhtifi and his wife seated but little remains of the detail on the rest of this section of the wall.

 Tod Temple

 what are these? They look like Egyptian cartoon characters.

 If you want to go there contact me and Ahmed ,we always recommend this tour for Luxor 2nd time visitor who is enthusiast to see new staff every time.

Nahla Elkady
Egyptologist tour guide


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