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Bawiti Travel Guide

Bawiti History

In 1938, Fakhry discovered 4 tombs dating to 26th Dynasty, 2 of which were well decorated and preserved. It is known which the first of the 2 inscribed tombs belonged to Djedamun ef ankh, an apparently wealthy landowner or merchant of Bahariya and though he held no priestly or political titles he was able to commission a large and elaborate tomb, complete with unusual (for Bahariya) round pillars, many painted false doors and extensive religious scenes.

Formerly, Djedamun-ef-ankh is depicted offering to the gods in his burial chamber and the ceiling is painted with representations of the goddess Nekhbet as a vulture in a starry sky. Normally the tombs are reached via an iron ladder down a deep shaft. Well, the second tomb belonged to Djedamun-ef-ankh's son, whose was a powerful businessman whose name was Bannentiu. However this tomb is even larger and more ornately decorated than the first, having a square pillared hall and 3 side chambers.

Actually the tomb has recently been restored and consolidated by the Supreme Council of Antiquities and in that then is stunningly painted in vibrant reds and ochres, the brilliant earth tones of the oasis. However while Thoth and Horus guard the entrance to the burial chamber, the deceased is shown on the plastered walls before a leopard-skin clad Iunmutef priest and an array of gods, including Khons, Wepwawet, Anubis, Horus, Nefertum Re-Horakhty, Amun-Re and others. However both of these tombs had been plundered in antiquity and re-used for collective burials during the Roman Period.

It was historically important in that they show that pious nobility of the oasis during the Late Period, if they were wealthy enough, were able to construct elaborate burial places with scenes previously reserved for more lofty individuals. Unfortunately the decoration in Bannentiu's tomb was damaged some years ago when thieves hacked away some of the reliefs. The culprit was caught and the blocks recovered and taken to Cairo Museum, but they have not yet been restored in the tomb.

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