Egypt: The Tomb of Pashedu in the Deir el-Medina Necropolis

The Tomb of Pashedu in the Deir el-Medina Necropolis

by Jimmy Dunn writing as Mark Andrews

The Tomb of Pashedu (TT 3) has not been open to the public long. It is located in the necropolis of Deir el-Medina on the West Bank at Luxor (ancient Thebes). Little is known about this individual. He had the title, "Servant in the Place of Truth on the West of Thebes". The tomb itself is probably dated to the early years of Ramesses II, so the deceased probably began working while Seti I was King.

We know that his father, Menna, apparently worked for the Temple of Amun on the East bank, and we believe that Pashedu would have probably been the first member of his family to work with the community at Deir el-Medina.

Pashedu and his Wife, Nedjembehdet on Boat to Afterworld

He was most likely a stonemason who helped clear the passage through the limestone cliffs when tombs were built. He may have later been promoted to a foreman of the left side. Two teams usually built tombs on the west bank, consisting of a left and right work gang (One team worked on the left side of a tomb while a second team worked on its right).

Pashedu was married to Nedjembehdet, and together they had a number of sons (and possibly daughters). Pashedu's tomb was known and apparently robbed during antiquity. It was rediscovered in 1834 by Egyptian soldiers who were probably hunting treasure. A Scottish traveler and artist named Robert Hays happened to be in Luxor at this time and having heard of the discovery, he made drawings within the tomb.

Osiris with the Mountains of the West Behind him

This is a very simple tomb layout with an antechamber and a short corridor leading to a burial chamber. Only the corridor and burial chamber are decorated.

The corridor has a large painting on either wall of the god, Anubis as a jackal sitting on a pedestal. These two images are mirror reflections of each other. Between Anubis' hind paws he holds a nekhakha-flail.

As we enter the burial chamber, just above the doorway on the front left wall is a small image of the deceased worshipping the goddess Nut in a tree. She emerges from the tree trunk and pours a libation over the kneeling pashedu, whose hand are raised to catch the water. In three registers, the rest of the lower wall is a scene depicting rows of the deceased's family in adoration. In the arch above the doorway, we find Pashedu worshipping Sokar-Osiris in the form of a winged falcon on a boat. Above the god is an udjat-eye.

Turning the corner, on the long left wall we first encounter a scene showing Pashedu and his wife with their hands raised in worship of Horus. By there feet are a son and granddaughter. Note the wax perfume on his wife's head. Here, passages from the Book of the Dead surround the images of Pashedu and Nedjembehdet. Further down the wall is a fragmentary image of Horus as a falcon, also surrounded by the text from the Book of the Dead.

Images no longer adorn the lower part of the back wall of the burial chamber, but within the upper arch we find a scene depicting Osiris in full regalia. A deity raises a burning brazier (candles) before him. Behind him are the mountains of the west over which is shown a udjat-eye holding a second burning brazier. On the very left is another falcon (Horus?). We find Pashedu kneeling at the foot of the scene in adoration.

The first scene at the rear of the right wall that we find is of Pashedu and his wife on a boat. The child with them is perhaps a granddaughter or may be an unknown daughter. We are told that they are making their way west to the land of the dead. Before them on the boat is a table of offerings. Next, there is a larger scene showing the deceased and a girl worshipping the gods Re-Harakhty, Atum, Knepri and Ptah, who are seated.

The final scene on the right wall towards the front is of Pashedu worshipping Ptah-Sokar-Osiris, while on the front right wall next to the entrance door we find probably the best known scene in this tomb. Here, Pashedy crouches by a stream in the shade of a palm tree laden with clusters of dates. Chapter 12 of the Book of the Dead describes how the water will quench the fires of the underworld and so preserve the deceased from harm.

Pashedu Drinking from a Canal

On the right part of the vaulted ceiling we find details a procession of gods. These include, from right, Thoth followed by Hathor and the Re Harakhty and finally Neith. A similar procession of gods adorns the left side of the ceiling.


Title Author Date Publisher Reference Number
Guide to the Valley of the Kings Siliotti, Alberto 1997 Barnes & Noble Books ISBN 0-7607-0483-x
Valley of the Kings Weeks, Kent R. 2001 Friedman/Fairfax ISBN 1-5866-3295-7
Valley of the Kings Heyden, A. Van Der Al Ahram/Elsevier