American Research Center In Egypt (ARCE)

Take a Virtual Tour of the Tomb of Menna

Step inside a 3,500 year old Egyptian Tomb


Step Inside

You are standing in the hot, windy desert of Luxor's West Bank, ancient Thebes. Before you is a tomb that was built over 3,000 years ago during Egypt's New Kingdom (18th Dynasty), for a man named Menna. What do you think you will find inside...?

As you enter the tomb, the first thing you see is a shrine at the end of a long hall. Originally, a statue of Menna and his wife, Henuttawy, would have greeted you. But today only the legs remain.

Colors of the Past

As you round the corner of the t-shaped tomb, you begin to see why this is one of the most famous tombs from ancient Egypt: the incredibly colorful wall paintings.

The Life of Menna

Right next to the door is a large image of the tomb owner, Menna, sitting, overseeing work in the field, as he would have during his life.

Menna held several important titles like Overseer of Fields and Plowlands, and Scribe. This scene shows grain production including plowing, harvesting, and winnowing.

Ancient Traditions

On the other side of the entrance is a scene of Menna and his wife, Henuttawy, participating in the Beautiful Festival of the Valley, a yearly celebration to honor the dead.

Offerings to the Dead

The opposite wall shows Menna and Henuttawy receiving huge piles of offerings of food and beer. 

Decorative Elements

Stepping into the long hall, opposite the entrance, you will notice the intricate and colorful ceiling and decorative friezes. 

Preparation for the Afterlife

This scene shows Menna's body being mummified and prepared for burial. Priests perform rituals to enable the mummy and its image to eat, drink, and breath in the afterlife. 

On the opposite wall, animals and goods are brought to the tomb during the funeral procession.

The Final Judgement

As Menna moves into the afterlife, he must face the judgement of the god Osiris, who weighs his heart against a feather. This is one of the first private tombs in Thebes to depict this scene, commonly known as "The Weighing of the Heart". 

The Joy of the Afterlife

This animated scene shows Menna and his family enjoying the afterlife, fishing and catching birds. 

Many types of birds and fish are depicted with incredible detail, a testament to the skill and thoughtfulness of the ancient Egyptian craftsmen.

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Credits: Story

The conservation and documentation of the tomb of Menna was sponsored by American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE) Egyptian Antiquities Conservation Project with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Georgia State University in collaboration with the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities. 

 Created by Tessa Litecky, ARCE
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Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.