Phyto-religious Symbolism in the Funerary Banquet Scene of the Tomb of Sennedjem (TT1) at Deir el-Medina

نوع المستند : المقالة الأصلية


1 Faculty of Archaeology, Cairo University

2 Faculty of Science, Cairo University

3 Heinrich Barth Institute for Archaeology and Environmental History of Africa, University of Cologne, Germany


The tomb of Sennedjem (TT1) is lavishly painted with spells and vignettes of the so-called Book of the Dead except for some parts. One of these exceptions is the lower register of the south wall, which is separated by the entrance door. The two sides of the entrance are decorated with the funerary banquet scene through which the relatives of the deceased broke the fast following the burial. The purpose of the banquet scene is to commemorate the tomb owner by showing his presence together with the living and his involvement in their activities. However, the fact that the tomb owner is dead led to include elements that should help him to be born in the afterlife.
This article provides a glimpse into the discovery of the tomb of Sennedjem, briefing its decoration program, and reviewing its previous studies. Whereas, it focuses on plant identification and interpretation, revealing the phyto-religious symbolism of plants depicted within the funerary banquet of Sennedjem. The identification is made based on the morphological features with a mention of the valid Latin binomial and the updated taxonomy together with English meaning. Whereas, the interpretation is derived from the textual reservoir of Egyptian religious corpus, as well as scenes and tomb texts. The article gives through plant iconography an example of studying human-plant interaction, which is among the principal objectives of Environmental Archaeology.

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