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The tomb of Benia in the valley of the nobles

Benia, who is also called Pahekmen, had the titles of ‘Overseer of Works’ and ‘Child of the Nursery’ during mid-Dynasty XVIII. His tomb in the village of Sheikh ‘Abd el-Qurna is grouped close to those of Khonsu and Userhet. It is likely that Benia was brought to Egypt as a child from an Asiatic land (because of his name and the names of his parents), to be brought up in the royal court. This was often the custom during the New Kingdom.
In the entrance to the tomb there are fragments of his names and titles, and a relief of Benia worshipping with a text of the ‘Hymn to Re’. The transverse hall contains the burial shaft on the left-hand side. To the left of the entrance Benia is shown in the usual scenes of offering after which he is seen supervising the weighing of gold and precious items from the treasury, which are then recorded by scribes.
The end wall is a carved stela in the form of a false door which is painted pink to resemble granite, with three rows of figures in offering poses at the sides.
The wall opposite the entrance, on the left-hand side depicts banqueting scenes – Benia and his relatives are entertained by male musicians, including a harpist. On the right-hand side opposite the entrance the deceased is seated holding his overseer’s staff of office while inspecting offerings of cattle, birds, fish, geese and other produce – presumably some of which have been placed on the heavily laden offering table before him.
The right-hand end wall is also a stela, this time painted to represent gold with two wadjet eyes at the top and contains an autobiographical text. The wall to the right of the entrance portrays Benia seated before offering-bearers.
An inner chamber has scenes of the funeral procession on the left-hand side, in which Benia’s sarcophagus with the accompanying burial goods is dragged to his tomb. The procession moves towards the Western Goddess and scenes below show boats in the ‘Abydos Pilgrimage’. On the opposite side the funeral rites are shown, with the ‘Opening of the Mouth’ ritual before the mummy and offerings for the deceased.
At the rear of the inner chamber is a statue niche which contains well-preserved painted limestone seated statues of Benia with his parents (his father Irtonena and his mother Tirukak) on either side.


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