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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Sobhy

Virtual Tour to Beni Hassan Tombs

To See The Virtual Tour to Beni Hassan Tomb Of Kheti Please Press Here

Beni Hasan is a small village, south of el-Minya, where an important group of rock-cut tombs are carved into the high limestone cliffs on the east bank of the Nile. The tombs date mostly to Dynasties XI and XII, although there are a few smaller and less elaborate ones belonging to Dynasty VI when provincial rulers had begun to establish their independent power along the Nile Valley. The tombs are reached via a long steep flight of stone steps up the hillside, from where there is a magnificent view up and down the river valley.


The most important of the tombs belonged to provincial rulers of the 16th Upper Egyptian nome. Of 39 tombs on the upper part of the cliff, only 12 were decorated and four are currently open to visitors along with another undecorated tomb (BH18). These offer a rare chance to see the distinctive style of mortuary art characteristic of the early Middle Kingdom with their colourfully painted scenes of daily life, recreation and military activities. The location of the cemetery on the east bank of the Nile is somewhat unusual – the west being the domain of Osiris. The necropolis was recorded by several early explorers and between 1890 and 1894 was surveyed by Percy Newerry on behalf of the Egypt Exploration Fund. John Garstang excavated some of the Dynasty VI to Dynasty XII tombs during 1902 to 1904 and Nina de Garis Davis copied wall-scenes in 1931. In the early 1980s some of the Dynasty XII tombs were cleaned of their grime by the Egyptian Antiquities Organisation, restoring the wall paintings to their original bright colors.


Tomb of Khety (BH17)

Khety, also a Dynasty XI governor, was the son of Baqet. The architecture of his tomb is similar to that of his father’s, but with six slender closed lotus pillars in the rear portion. The east and north walls of the tomb are decorated with scenes of fowling and the papyrus harvest, hunting in the desert and local industries below. Khety and his wife are shown presiding over the activities and watch women dancing and playing games. Clappers and dancers and musicians are shown before Khety’s statue being dragged on a sledge.


On the east wall there are long scenes of men practicing unarmed combat or wrestling. The movements can be seen easily because the bodies are painted in contrasting shades. Towards the left-hand side, battle scenes show a fortress under siege, with piles of slain bodies towards the right-hand side. The south wall contains agricultural scenes including wine-making, processions of colorful cattle. The funeral rites are also depicted, with the traditional boats as well as offering-bringers and butchers on the west wall.


How To Get There?

The tombs at Beni Hasan are on the east bank of the Nile, about 20km south of el-Minya. A new rest-house has been recently constructed (which serves very good coffee) and there is a ticket office at the entrance to the site.  Tickets cost EGP 30. Photography is no longer allowed inside any of the tombs.



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