The Tomb of Ahmose (EA3) at Amarna

The Tomb of Ahmose (EA3) at Amarna

by Jimmy Dun

Ahmose was 'Fanbearer on the King's Right Hand', 'Steward of the Estate of Akhetaten' and 'Royal Scribe' at Akhetaten during the Amarna Period. The tomb of Ahmose (Ahmes), located in the northern group of private tombs at Amarna, is somewhat atypical of many tombs in the region, being somewhat less extravagant since it has no columns in its narrow halls. Also, the hall it is much longer and narrower than some of the other examples at Amarna. Nevertheless, it was cut with considerable care and accuracy, and there is some fine examples of the draftsmen's outlines in ink that remain. It is also one of the earliest tombs of the group.

Side drawing of the tomb of Ahmose at Amarna

Side drawing of the tomb of Ahmose at Amarna

Plan of the tomb of Ahmose at Amarna

The symmetrical plan of this tomb is very simple with a cruciform layout consisting of a deep, corridor-like hall connected to a broad hall and a shrine at the very rear of the tomb.

The doorway is surrounded by a simple frame containing texts of prayers and figures of Ahmose adoring cartouches, though these depictions are barely visible today.

Within the entrance to the outer hall (a short corridor), Ahmose stands in a pose of adoration. Here, the texts is an abbreviated version of the Hymn to the Aten. Ahmose is shown with the symbols of his office, a tall fan and an inverted axe, slung over his shoulder. Additionally, portions of the original painted designs on the ceiling have been preserved.

Within the outer, deep hall, the roof is vaulted at the front but flattens out to a ceiling at the end. As a way of improving on the poor quality of the native rock, the wall surfaces were given a fine coating of plaster. The decoration of this hall was left unfinished. The right hand side of the hall was carved in relief and include figures of the King, Queen and the three princesses of the royal family beneath the Aten (near the entrance), but the left side has sections that were only partially drawn with the draughtsman's red outline only. The upper register of the left side depicts a royal visit to the Great Temple to the Aten. Near the front of the tomb in this register is an abbreviated architectural drawing of the temple itself.

Ahmose adoring the abbreviated Hymn to the Aten

Ahmose adoring the abbreviated Hymn to the Aten

Lines of soldiers in the tomb of Ahmose

In this depiction of the temple, we may note that statues of the King and Queen stand beside some of the columns and also the main altar in the middle of the large courtyard, which is otherwise occupied by smaller altars and side chapels with doors. Just in front of the temple are two short rows of seated male musicians. Below the temple is the animal slaughter court and to the right of it is a low platform supporting the sacred benben-stone with a rounded top. This is the ancient symbol of the sun.

To the right of this depiction the wall is damaged, but further into the left wall are four lines of soldiers in two groups, running in a stooped posture, and preceding the royal chariot. In the front of each line are Egyptian soldiers, followed by a few foreign soldiers. The foreign soldiers consists of Syrians with pointed bears, a Libyan with a feather in his hair and a Nubian with closely cropped hair and earrings. Some of the soldiers carry standards. Between and in front of the two groups of soldiers stands a trumpeter. An officer with a baton runs at the back of each line of soldiers. Towards the rear of the chamber in this register, their is a partially finished red outline of the King and Queen riding in a chariot.

In the lower register, only a partially finished area near the front of the left wall survives. Here, to the left, we find a representation of the King's House in Central City. It shows the King's bedroom in the top left hand corner, with a bed, mattress, headrest and steps carefully depicted. In the center of this group of scenes are a group of girls, some of whom are playing musical

The statue of Ahmose in the shrine at the rear of his tomb

instruments. To the right are traces of a large depiction of the King (right) and Queen (left) seated and eating a meal. There is also shown one princess sitting on the Queen's lap, and another on a stool below her chair.

From the deep hall, a short passage leads into the broad hall, which runs transversely to the axis of the tomb and is mostly undecorated. It has a burial shaft opening at either end, one finished and the other unfinished, surmounted by a door-shaped stela carved in the eastern and western walls.

The shrine opening from the very back of the broad hall on the center axis of the tomb was undecorated, though a seated statue of the tomb owner was cared at is back. However, this is now badly mutilated. A libation basin was cut into the floor in front of the statue. The roof of this chamber is vaulted. Note that there are pivot-holes carved into the floor of the shrine entrance, showing that the shrine was once sealed by wooden, pivoting doors. The doorway to the shrine has rows of uraei above the transom.

Many Greek graffiti are scratched on the walls of this tomb. A total of fifty-nine have been recorded. Most are thought to be of the Ptolemaic Period, and record the names of visitors, several of them being from Thrace, perhaps, mercenary soldiers. The most interesting occurs on the wall outside, just on the right of the doorway: "Having ascended here, Catullinus has engraved this in the doorway, marveling at the art of the holy quarries."


Title Author Date Publisher Reference Number
Dictionary of Ancient Egypt, The Shaw, Ian; Nicholson, Paul 1995 Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers ISBN 0-8109-3225-3
History of Egyptian Architecture, A (The Empire (the New Kingdom) From the Eighteenth Dynasty to the End of the Twentieth Dynasty 1580-1085 B.C. Badawy, Alexander 1968 University of California Press LCCC A5-4746