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Egypt Reopens Neferhotep Ancient Tomb in Luxor After 20 Years

Artwork in the tomb of Neferhotep, in Luxor, Egypt.
Artwork in the tomb of Neferhotep, in Luxor, Egypt. Credit: Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

After two decades of meticulous restoration work, Egypt has reopened the ancient tomb of Neferhotep, the scribe of Amun, in its former condition with the site now open as a new Luxor tourist attraction.

Dating back to the reign of King Ay from 1326 to 1323 BC during the Eighteenth Dynasty of 1550 to 1292 BC, the newly restored burial chamber in the Al-Khokha area on Luxor’s West Bank was inaugurated by Mostafa Waziry, the secretary-general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities.

It has been two decades of tireless restoration work by an Argentine mission affiliated to the University of Buenos Aires, headed by Violeta Pereyra, under the council’s supervision.
Argentina’s envoy to Cairo and several other representatives of the South American country were also present at the opening ceremony.

Burial chamber artwork in the tomb of Neferhotep, Luxor, Egypt.
Burial chamber artwork in the tomb of Neferhotep, Luxor, Egypt. Credit: Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

Waziry reportedly noted that the burial chamber added an important new tourist destination to the attractions of the western mainland in Luxor, offering an array of detailed and colorful painted scenes and inscriptions.

Head of the Central Administration for the Antiquities of Upper Egypt Mohammed Abdel-Badie said that Neferhotep was a senior statesman in his time, holding a number of official titles, including the scribe of Amun.

Abdel-Badie suggested that the significance of Egypt’s newly restored Luxor tomb could be understood through its views and inscriptions. These illustrate the transformation in funerary practices that took place after the Amarna period of religious change, which saw the capital transposed from the north of the country to the south.

The tomb also houses a statue of the owner of the cemetery and his wife, Meritamun, who was a vocalist for the god Amun. The burial chamber restoration and maintenance project began in 2000, according to Fathi Yassin, the director general of antiquities in Upper Egypt.

Statues of the owner of the cemetery and his wife, Meritamun.
Statues of the owner of the cemetery and his wife, Meritamun. Credit: Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

How was the Tomb in Luxor, Egypt Restored?

Researchers at the University of Buenos Aires recorded and analyzed the texts in the burial chamber before setting out to do their work. The actual restoration work began in 2013, when a German archaeological team cleaned wall paintings in the tomb. They also fixed damaged stonework and layers of color on inscriptions.

Fragile materials were cleaned using laser technology, bringing back clarity to the wall paintings and hieroglyphics.

Artwork in the tomb of Neferhotep.
Artwork in the tomb of Neferhotep, scribe of Amun, in Luxor, Egypt. Credit: Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

Pereyra thanked the Egyptian council for its cooperation during the restoration period.

Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said in a statement, “This tomb inauguration marks the addition of a new and important tourist destination to Luxor’s West Bank monuments, amidst the significant influx of tourists during the winter tourism season in Egypt. Featuring a multitude of beautifully painted scenes and inscriptions, the tomb offers visitors a captivating and detailed glimpse into ancient Egyptian history.”

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