Egypt: The Private Tomb of Benia (Pahekmen)on the West Bank at Luxor

The Private Tomb of Benia (Pahekmen)
on the West Bank at Luxor

by Jimmy Dunn writing as Mark Andrews

The Private Tomb of Benia (Pahekmen)

The private tomb of Benia, a man perhaps better known as Pahekmen, is located on the West Bank at Luxor (ancient Thebes) in the Tombs of the Nobles. Benia had the title, "Overseer of Works, Child of the Nursery" and lived during Egypt's 18th Dynasty.

This is a fairly simple tomb, with a fairly classical T shape. However, it is fairly complete and unlike some of the private tombs, is completely open. In a number of the other private tombs, the burial chamber is often closed, but here, visitors may enter this back section of the tomb, which is also decorated.

One enters this tomb through a courtyard and then through a very brief corridor leading into a transverse vestibule. Though there is a decoration in the corridor, it is a highly fragmented scene of a title being conferred and of the deceased at worship.

The Private Tomb of Benia (Pahekmen)

Within the vestibule, on the left front wall we first encounter encounter a scene depicting the deceased worshipping before offerings. However, the next scene portrays Benia apparently performing his duties, which included weighing and storing gold, silver, ivory, ebony and turquoises, as two scribes meticulously records the event. Here, the items are being weighed on a scale with a counterweight shaped as a small calf. Benia is shown examining the entries in three ledgers.

On the short southern wall, is a stele with text, alongside Benia kneeling in the act of offering. In front of this scene in the floor of the vestibule is a ritual shaft.

The Private Tomb of Benia (Pahekmen)

On the back left wall of the vestibule we find a scene depicting musicians, including a harpist and lute player playing at Benia's funeral banquet. The musicians are being followed by three applauding men. The deceased's parents sit before the musicians with a table before them with offerings. Here, the mother, Tirukak, is affectionately embracing her husband, Irtonena, and under her seat is a mirror. Other male quests also appear within this scene. In another scene on this wall, we find Benia before a table of offerings, with an unknown man making an offering.

On the right rear wall, we find Benia, as "Overseer of Works", seated before a table of offerings. Benia, who is seated and wielding a stick, is inspecting the bearers and offerings, which consist of cattle, birds, fish, lotus flowers and a variety of food. This is broken up into a number of scenes in three registers.

The Private Tomb of Benia (Pahekmen)

On the short northern wall of the vestibule we find a stele, over which are depicted two udjat-eyes. Beside this scene is another of Benia kneeling in an act of offering. On the right front wall of the vestibule is a scene showing the deceased before a table of offerings where he is receiving gifts.

Entering the rear chapel, on the long left (southern) wall, we find a scene depicting the funeral procession and offerings to the goddess Hathor Imentit who carries a scepter. There is also a scene of the deceased before a table of offerings. At the rear short wall of this chamber is a statue niche, with seated statues of the deceased, along with his mother and father.

Finally, on the northern long wall of the chapel is a scene showing the deceased, once again, before a table of offerings. There is also a scene of these offerings being purified, the pilgrimage to Abydos, and another depicting the "Opening of the Mouth" ceremony.

The Private Tomb of Benia (Pahekmen)






Reference Number

Complete Valley of the Kings, The (Tombs and Treasures of Egypt's Greatest Pharaohs)

Reeves, Nicholas; Wilkinson, Richard H.


Thames and Hudson Ltd

IBSN 0-500-05080-5

Guide to the Valley of the Kings

Siliotti, Alberto


Barnes & Noble Books

ISBN 0-7607-0483-x

Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, The

Shaw, Ian


Oxford University Press

ISBN 0-19-815034-2


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