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Built around 1290BC and reused for over 1000 years.

The Rhind Tomb, as it is now known, was constructed in the great city of Thebes shortly after the reign of Tutankhamun for the Chief of Police and his wife. As Egypt's wealth declined, it was looted and reused several times over a period of a thousand years.

The Tomb's final use occurred around 9 BC, soon after the Roman conquest of Egypt, when it was sealed intact with the remarkable burial of an entire family.  

The Tomb was excavated in 1857 by Alexander Henry Rhind, but lost again as a village grew up over it.  Today we are still learning about ancient Egyptian burial practices through objects found in the Tomb.

Burial in Egypt's Golden Age

When Egypt was at its most prosperous and powerful, wealthy officials wanted to take their riches with them into the afterlife.  The tomb served as a gateway between the world of the living and the world of the dead. The wealthy filled their tombs with all the beautiful things they enjoyed in life, from jewellery to furniture.

Statue of the Chief of Police and his wife

A tomb was constructed for a Chief of Police and his wife at the height of the ancient Egyptian empire, just shortly after the reign of Tutankhamun. A beautiful statue of the Chief of Police and his wife is the only surviving object from their burial. 

Decorative box of Amehhotep II

This box is a masterpiece of ancient Egyptian craftmanship. Decorated with the ferocious protective god Bes, it may have originally held cosmetics.

Changing burial practices in a divided Egypt

After Egypt lost control of its empire, the country became divided.  The powerful high priests in Thebes, such as Pinudjem proclaimed themselves kings of the south.  Then around 747 BC, kings of Nubia took control of Egypt. They brought stability to a reunited Nile valley and appointed defeated Egyptian rulers as provincial governors, but Egypt's wealth was no longer what it once was.

Coffin guardian figures

Several hundred years after the tomb was built, small, roughly-carved chambers were added to the upper level to hold additional burials. Repeated looting over time left behind a jumble of broken coffins and scattered burial items. Guardian figures representing jackal and falcon gods originally protected the lids of coffins.

Changing burial practices in Roman Egypt

By the time Egypt became part of the Roman Empire, its burial traditions and religious beliefs were already thousands of years old. Burials now focussed almost entirely on the body itself. Classical portraiture sought to bring the dead back to life through its realism.

Funerary Papyri of Montsuef and Tanuat

Unlike earlier standardised funerary papyri, those of Montsuef and his wife Tanuat are unique, personalised with details about the good lives they led to justify their entry into the afterlife.

Mummy shroud of Aaemka

The son of Montsuef and Tanuat, Aaemka is shown transformed into the god Osiris. He wears Osiris' crown and false beard and holds his symbols of power, the crook and the flail. Across his brow is a frieze of royal cobras.

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