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Senneferi and his family

I note that in some places on this site I call the owner of our tomb Senneferi and in some places Sennefer. This is bad of me, but isn't helped by the fact that his inscriptions use both forms!

senneferireads Senneferi sennefer reads Sennefer

Senneferi is known from a number of places other than his tomb (click here to skip this and go to his family):

Papyrus Louvre E3226

It might seem strange for the first reference to be to a papyrus administrative document, but this one is essential for dating our tomb owner. This papyrus records, among other things, various movements of grain, and can be dated to the reign of Thutmose III. Sennefer is mentioned in it, along with a date in year 32, presumably of the same king, so we can say he was active around 1420 BC. The papyrus is published in M. Megally, Le papyrus hiératique comptable E. 3226 du Louvre (BDE 53, 1971), 17, pl. XI (A recto XI, 3-4); 24, pl. XXVI (A verso XI, 3-4).

Gebel Silsila

Gebel Silsila is located between Kom Ombo and Edfu, and is the location from which much of the sandstone used in temple construction work in Thebes was quarried. The major quarries are on the East Bank, while on the West are a number of shrines cut by kings and private individuals who were associated or interested in the site.

Sennefer was the builder of one of the earlier shrines at Gebel Silsila, Shrine 13. His shrine probably mentions the name of Hatshepsut, and is perhaps the earliest attestation of him. It is published in R. A. Caminos and T. G. H. James, Gebel es-Silsilah I (ASE 31, 1963) 37-9, pl. 26, 27, 30, 31. Helck believes, however, that this dating is impossible on the grounds that there was another overseer of sealbearers active at this time, and thinks that Senneferi may in fact have usurped an earlier shrine ('Die Datierung des Schatzmeisters Sennefer', Göttinger Miszellen 43 (1981), 39-41). Some images of this shrine are available at

Serabit el-Khadim (Sinai)

Serabit el-Khadim is a quarry site in Sinai, and contains a temple to Hathor. A number of monuments were left there, particularly by those who visited the site on quarrying expeditions. Sennefer was one of those.

  1. He appears in the temple of Serabit el-Khadim, shown immediately behind Thutmose III adoring Hathor. [Urk IV, 548; Gardiner-Cerny, Inscriptions of Sinai I 2, pl. LXIII, II, 158-9 (194); photo Petrie, Researches in Sinai, pl. 96, p. 80.] This inscription is now lost.
  2. Part of stela from area of Serabit el-Khadim, bearing name of Thutmose III. Gardiner-Cerny, Inscriptions of Sinai I2, pl. LXV (199), II, 161-2 (199).
  3. Another very similar stela from Serabit el-Khadim: Giveon, 'Investigations in the Egyptian Mining Centres in Sinai. Preliminary Report', Tell Aviv 1 (1974), 106-7, pl. 20

Theban Tomb C3

Senneferi is mentioned in lost tomb C.3: K. Piehl, Inscriptions hiéroglyphiques I (Stockholm-Leipzig 1886), CXLII (X) and CXLIII (Z), with a sketch plan in id., Inscriptions hiéroglyphiques II (Stockholm-Leipzig 1888), 111.


Senneferi's important status is emphasised by the fact that four statues (or parts thereof) have survived. unfortunately we do not really know much about where they came from. The first two below probably came from the West Bank at Thebes, but further than that we cannot really advance. It is just possible that the British Museum statue was set up in the mortuary temple of Thutmose III; it would also fit nicely into the niche of TT99, but cube statues in tombs are very rare!

  1. Cube statue of black granite in the British Museum, EA 48: Porter and Moss, Topographical Bibliography II2, 454. The principal publication is Edwards, Hieroglyphic Texts ... in the British Museum 8, pl. V, pp. 4-5; Urk IV, 544-8. The statue also features in R. Schulz, Die Entwicklung und Bedeutung des kuboiden Statuentypus. Eine Untersuchung zu den sogenannten "Würfelhockern". 2 vols (HÄB 33-34, 1992), I, 365-6, Taf. 94; this photograph illustrates what a wonderful statue this is. It bears many titles and epithets not seen in the tomb.
  2. Pair statue of black granite in the Cairo Museum, CG 1013: Porter and Moss, Topographical Bibliography I2, 785: Borchardt, Statuen und Statuetten IV, 25-6, pl. 160; text Bouriant, Receuil de Travaux 9 (1887), 86 (58). Borchardt suggest that it is a Middle Kingdom statue of someone with a similar name and title to Senneferi which he then reused. I find this somewhat unlikely. The text on the back has many similarities with that on BM EA 48.
  3. Fragment of a black granite statue in Cairo Museum, CG 1112: Borchardt, Statuen und Statuetten IV, 64 (without photograph). It seems to show Senneferi holding the otherwise unknown prince Siamun.
  4. Fragment of black granite cube statue in Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum ÄS 5978: Corpus Antiquitatum Aegyptiacarum Wien vol. 6, 221-4.



His wife Taiamu is depicted in TT99. Nothing more is known about her.


No children are named in TT99, although they are mentioned in general terms on one of the pillars in the rear room, and a son may be carrying out some of the rituals shown. However, Theban tomb C3 seems to be the resting place of his daughter Renena and her husband Amenhotep. This tomb was noted by Piehl, but has since been lost. It is thought to be at the top of the northern end of Sheikh abd el-Qurna, somewhere near TT61. A remarkable statue of Amenhotep has been found in TT99.

In the shrine at Silsila (above), a son with a name beginning Neb-s... is probably to be identified.


Both parents are named several times in the tomb and on the British Museum statue. One scene in the tomb probably showed Haydjehuty and Zatdjehuty taking part in an offering ritual with Sennefer. It is clear that they were not of a particularly elevated status, and thus Sennefer obtained his promotion through somehow developing a good reputation in the administration, and perhaps a close bond with the king.

Father: Haydjehuty

In the tomb, Haydjehuty is always called zab, which in this context is no more than the conventional way in which an official referred to his father in a tomb of this date, and probably has no relevance to his real titles or social status. His other title of "overseer of the bureau of Watet-Hor" comes from the BM statue. Watet-Hor is some sort of place name, and goods from Watet-Hor are shown in the tomb of Puyemre (TT39), brought by a "gardener", and are probably wine, and are mentioned also in an unpublished scene from the tomb of Sennefer (TT96A). The location of Watet-Hor not totally certain; if the district produced wine, then it would need to be in the Fayum or Delta. The better-known 'Ways of Horus' across North Sinai are one possible identification, but the writing is different and it is perhaps a different toponym, even if it is perhaps in the Delta. Because of this place name, it seems possible that Senneferi's parents did not come from Thebes.

He is mentioned in ceiling texts in the tomb and was probably depicted with Senneferi and Zatdjehuty in the rear of the tomb.

Mother: Zatdjehuty

On the BM statue she is given the title of "royal ornament", and in the tomb the more conventional "lady of the house". She is shown worshipping Osiris with Senneferi in the front room of the tomb, and was probably depicted with him and her husband in the rear of the tomb.

© Nigel Strudwick 1997-2018