Shabti Coffin of Nemty-em-weskhet



Nemty-em-weskhet was the king’s high steward, the third highest position in Egypt during the 13th Dynasty. Nemty-em-weskhet was an official of such importantance that he would have been buried near to the king in a royal cemetery near the capital. People like Nemty-em-weskhet would also want to be remembered at the burial site of Osiris, the king of the Underworld. To honour Nemty-em-weskhet, his family erected a memorial and buried miniature copies of his sarcophagus and coffin at Abydos. Huge numbers of people visited Abydos every year to take part in festivals dedicated to Osiris. By having a second burial there, Nemty-em-weskhet believed he could continue to take part in the festivals after his death. The coffin is rectangular in shape with a separate vaulted lid. On the surface are traces of yellow paint with decoration in blue and black. There are four vertical lines of hieroglyphic text on the long sides which is typical for coffins of the mid-12th to early 13th Dynasty, as is the mutilation of animal-signs within the text. The coffin is in excellent condition external but the interior has been damaged by termites. The coffin once contained a “gilded shabti” but its location is no longer known (no reference to where it went following the excavation, and may perhaps have been retained by the Egyptian authorities. The shabti and coffin were nested within a plain limestone sarcophagus (in the collections of the Garstang Museum, University of Liverpool, accession number E.712). All were buried seven feet below the west side of a solid brick structure with a stela-niche in each of its four sides, numbered Tomb 321 A'07 by the excavator, John Garstang. Egyptologist, Dr Wolfram Grajetzki, made the following comment on 18 September 2007: “Nemty-em-weskhet is also known from two stelae (Cairo CG 20100, 20087) and several seals (Martins, Seals nos. 353-356). He was the high steward, which is the third most important office in the Middle Kingdom (after the vizier and treasurer). The coffin is likely to the Thirteenth Dynasty, I would suggest somewhere around the middle. His ranking title khetemty-bity (royal sealer) is written with the red crown, which does not appear in the 12th Dynasty and only more often in the later 13th Dynasty. Nemty-em-weskhet has a number of seals, which is also more typical for officials of the mid-13th Dynasty.”