Tomb R3

Tomb R3, the owner of which is unknown, lies about 50 m to the east of the tomb of Udjahorresnet. The superstructure is formed by a square building of mud bricks measuring 11.5 x 11.5 m. Due to erosion and perhaps also later human activities, only three lowermost layers of masonry have been preserved. Approximately in the middle of the south wall, a narrow corridor leads into the middle of the structure, i.e. to the mouth of the main shaft. This arrangement, which is otherwise unattested for this tomb type, thus resembles the passage created in the Saite period, approximately in the middle of the 7th century BC, under the southern part of the step pyramid of Djoser, the oldest Egyptian pyramid. The corridor leads from a court sunk about 0.4 m under the level of the surrounding terrain, and its entrance was gradually narrowed and finally completely walled up. The inside of this tomb was thus accessible for some time, probably in connection with the funerary cult.

The underground are of the tomb is formed by a 23 metres deep shaft. At its bottom, widened to the form of an underground hollow, a limestone sarcophagus was found. Except the black painted symbol in the form of the sacred Horus eye (udjat), the sarcophagus bore no decoration or inscriptions. Probably already in antiquity, thieves removed the sand that had filled the main shaft, destroyed the lid of the sarcophagus and carried away the mummy, of which no trace was found. The sarcophagus, 2.5 metres long and 1.4 metres wide, is larger than the shaft (2.1 x 1.8 m), and was thus probably lowered to its bottom in vertical position. The thick ropes of plant fibres, the remains of which were found in the superstructure of the tomb, had undoubtedly served this purpose. The manipulation with the heavy sarcophagus was facilitated by a device consisting of a shallow trench with two transverse beams, and ropes hung over them. A similar device, which probably served as a friction brake or nascent sheave pulley, has been preserved also at the western shaft of Iufaa’s tomb.

No remains of the burial chamber were discovered around the sarcophagus. Due to the premature death of the tomb owner, its construction was probably not even initiated. Approximately halfway through the main shaft, two niches were cut into its walls. In the northern one, remains of a skeleton buried in a wooden coffin were found. No inscriptions or other objects that would enable us to determine the name of the tomb owner were discovered in the tomb or in its immediate vicinity. Thus, we may only presume, that the tomb belongs to the same period as all others.

Cf. also:
• L. Bareš – M. Bárta – K. Smoláriková – E. Strouhal, „Abusir – Spring 2002“, Zeitschrift für ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde 130 (2003), pp. 149-151.

  Ladislav Bareš