Ancient Egypt: History and culture
Ancient Egyptian texts: The Amherst Papyrus and the Turin Fragment
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The Ramesside tomb robberies:

The Amherst Papyrus

/////////////////// king's-Wife, Nubkhas, L. P. H., his royal wife in the place of his ///, it being protected /// its /// with mortar, covered with blocks. We penetrated them [all (?)], we found her resting likewise. We opened their coffins and their coverings in which they were. We found this august mummy of this king [/// /// ///]. There was a numerous list of amulets and ornaments of gold at its throat; its head had a [mask (?)] of gold upon it; the august mummy of this king was overlaid with gold throughout. Its coverings were wrought with gold and silver, within and without; inlaid with every splendid costly stone. We stripped off the gold, which we found on the august mummy of this god, and its amulets and ornaments which were at its throat, and the coverings wherein it rested. [We] found the King's-Wife likewise; we stripped off all that we found on her likewise. We set fire to their coverings. We stole their furniture, which we found with them, being vases of gold, silver, and bronze. We divided, and made the gold which we found on these two gods, on their mummies, and the amulets, ornaments and coverings, into eight parts." - 20th dynasty
 
Breasted: This fragment, unlike the Abbott papyrus, is part of the court record of the prosecution of the tomb-robbers guilty of the robbery of the tombs on which Peser had reported. It contains the remarkable confession of the eight men who robbed the tomb of Sebekemsaf and his queen, Nubkhas, and the record of their identification of the tomb, on being conducted to it, in the presence of the vizier. All this is omitted in Papyrus Abbott, and only the trial of the innocent coppersmiths is there recorded. A list of prisoners awaiting trial is also appended.
[List of the thieves]:
//////// (Lost name, etc.)
//////// (Lost name, etc.)
//////// (Lost name, etc.)
The stonecutter of the "House-of-Amon-Re,-King-of-Gods," Hapi, under charge of the High Priest of Amon.
The artisan of the "House-of-Amon-Re,-King-of-Gods," Iramon, of the master of the hunt, Nesuamon.
The peasant, Amenemhab, of the house of Amenopet, who administers in the district of Amenopet, under charge of the High Priest of Amon.
The water-carrier, Kemwese (kA-m-wAs.t) of the shrine of King Menkheprure (Thutmose IV), L. P, H., under charge of ////////.
Ehenefer (aHA-nfr), son of Nakhtemmut {nxt-m-mw.t), formerly in the hand of Telamon (tj-n-rA-jmn), the negro slave of the High Priest of Amon.
Total of the people who were in the pyramid of this great god: eight men.
Their examination was held, by beating with a double rod, smiting their feet and their hands. They told the same story. The governor of the city and vizier, Khamwese; the king's-butler, Nesu-amon, the scribe of Pharaoh, L. P. H., caused the thieves to be taken before them, to the west of the city, in the year 16, third month of the first season, day 19; and that the thieves should put hand upon the pyramid of this god, in whose sepulcher-chamber they had been. Their examination and their [///] were put into writing; and the vizier, the butler, the herald, and the mayor of the city reported to Pharaoh concerning it.
//////////////
//////////////     3 men
Thief [///////]    1 man
Total               4
-by beating with a double rod: violence, or the threat of violence, towards accused and witnesses alike was an integral part of the Egyptian judicial system.
-in the year 16, third month of the first season, day 19: during the inundation period in the month of August, ca.1110 BCE. Breasted: This is the date of the expedition of the vizier and Nesuamon, as also related in Papyrus Abbott, but no mention is there made of bringing out the robbers of Sebekemsaf's tomb, to make them identify it.
Thieves of this pyramid of this god, who took to flight, having been delivered to the High Priest of Amon-Re, king of gods, to have them taken and placed among the prisoners at the gate of the "House-of-Amon-Re-King-of-Gods," with their companions secretly, that Pharaoh might determine their punishment:
The artisan of "The-House-of-Usermare-Meriamon-,L.-P.-H.,-in-the-House-of-Amon," Setnakht, son of Penanuket, under charge of the High Priest of Amon-Re, king of gods, the sem priest of "The-House-of-Usermare- Meriamon,- L.-P.-H.,-in-the-House-of-Amon," Nesuamon.
-took to flight: Breasted: Whether this flight took place before the trial or some of them escaped afterward, is uncertain
-at the gate of the "House-of-Amon-Re-King-of-Gods,": courthouses and holding cells were situated by the gates of temples.
-Usermare-Meriamon:Ramses III

J. H. Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, Part Four, §§ 536-541

 

Turin Fragment

Year 17, third month of the second season, day 22. The workmen of the necropolis ceased work, and the butler, governor of the city, and vizier, Khamwese; the workmen of the necropolis and their overseers, went up to the [place (?)] of the (female) singers, to inspect (the tomb of) the king's-daughter, king's-wife, Isis, L. P. H. They opened her tomb, they found the granite block, the eight thieves having done damage in the [///]. They had wrought evil destruction on all that was therein; and they had damaged [its] owner.

J. H. Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, Part Four, §§ 542-543

 

 

-Year 17, third month of the second season, day 22: Julian: in December, ca.1109 BCE
Breasted: The coppersmith Pekharu, accused of robbing the tomb of Queen Isis was found to know nothing about it. It was hence supposed to be uninjured. But in the year 17 our fragment shows that it was found to have been robbed by eight thieves. These can hardly have been any other than the eight thieves of Sebekemsaf's tomb, who must have robbed the tomb of Isis before their arrest in the year 16. Hence it had been robbed when the vizier's inspection was made, but he failed to discover the fact. Hence it would appear that Peser's charges against Pewero were later gradually being verified, and that further examination was being made.

 


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