Peter A. Piccione
© 1994. All rights reserved.
Presented at the annual conference of the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE) held in Toronto, Ontario, in April 1994.
During the summer of 1993, the Theban Tombs Publication Project, sponsored by the ARCE, resumed work in the tombs of Ray and Ahmose at the top of the hill of Sheikh abd el-Qurna in Western Thebes. These tombs are located at the north end of the necropolis on opposite sides of the upper tomb of Senenmut (No. 71). The work of the 1993 season consisted primarily of copying wall inscriptions in the tomb of Ray and surveying both tombs for structural damage related to the earthquake of October 1992.
The tomb of Ahmose is fairly stable and revealed no damage; however in the tomb of Ray, loose chips and gravel were dislodged from an old fault in the ceiling of the transverse hall, as well as from the ceiling at the west end of the axial corridor. Sadly, recent damage to the exterior of the tomb was not related to the earthquake, but to the actions of local inhabitants stripping the facade of much of its mud brick.
Field work in the tomb of Ray has been ongoing since 1990. We conceive of this project as fully-integrated documentation, ultimately combining epigraphy, archaeology and conservation to produce a multi-faceted record of the two tombs. The epigraphical work of the 1993 season consisted of making controlled hand-copies of the north wall of the axial corridor of the tomb of Ray, which contain scenes and texts of one of the earliest New Kingdom recensions of the Ritual of the Opening of the Mouth.
This paper will describe the work and findings of the project thus far from its inception, as well as the significance of the tombs and the family of their owners for understanding the social history of Egypt in the early New Kingdom.