Stela of Nesshutefnut


In 1905, John Garstang, Harold Jones and a team of 80 others spent three months excavating the site of Hissaya, a burial place used in the Ptolemaic and Roman Period, mainly by priests of Horus from the temple city of Edfu, which is 20km to the north of the site. Most graves in the cemetery had been robbed, except for the intact burial of Nesshutefnut, a priest of the god Horus. Nesshutefnut’s mummy was adorned with brightly painted and gilded cartonnage and placed within a black painted coffin. Placed beside the coffin was a canopic chest, a stela and a Ptah-Sokar-Osiris statue. This round topped wooden stela depicts the dead priest Nesshutefnut making offerings to seven gods associated with the afterlife: Osiris, Isis, Nephthys, Re-Harakhte, Hathor, Anubis and Wepwawet. The text below is a hymn to the sun-god Re-Harakhte at dawn. The stela is mounted on two wooden plinths and is topped with a figure of a human-headed bird with solar disc headdress, representing the ba of the deceased. Many examples of ba-birds exist but this is one of a very small number found in its original position on top of a stela.