Original locations

Based on previous research, it has been assumed that cones were placed on the outer wall of the tombs, above the entrance. The reasons for this assumption are as follows:

1. Depicted to be there
In the wall paintings of the tombs, such as TT 41, TT 49, TT 55, TT 159, TT 178, TT 181, A.21, cones are depicted as being placed on the outer wall, above the entrance (Figs. 1–8). Also, to the best of my knowledge, there currently exist two papyri (Two parts on a papyrus for Nakht housed in the British Museum: 10471/7, 10471/14 and Louvre: N3068 [Fig. 13]) in which cones have been depicted in two rows above the entrance wall.

2. Old researchers' attestations
Some researchers have reported that they actually found cones placed there. Despite the fact that the actual finding of cones on the outer wall is considerably rare, the following three excerpts from articles prove this claim. The first report is by Rhind as follows:

...Above the scarp, and flush with it, there remained about two feet of coarse building, in continuation, as it were, of the elevation of the front of the tomb; and I mention this here because, imbedded in the building, and stretching very nearly its entire length, were two rows of clay cones, impressed with a hieroglyphic subject on the ends turned to the light.
(Rhind 1862: 136-137. The tomb is probably TT 47
but see Manniche 1988a: 199, n.8.)

The second report can be found in Henry Salt's manuscript, which is preserved in the British Museum and was published by Reeves and Ryan:

...An ancient brick, with Hieroglyphics upon it: and a fine collection of stamped seals which have been found arranged over the door of a Tomb, found by me at Thebes.
(Reeves & Ryan 1987: 47-48.)

Reeves and Ryan suggest that the potential owner of the tomb to which Salt has referred to is TT A.9. However, till date, no concrete or convincing evidence has been provided. Nevertheless, Reeves and Ryan insist that the cone which Salt refers to is Davies & Macadam # 54, which was purchased by the British Museum in 1823 and is still in their possession.

3. Archaeological results
A hard evidence was afforded by Herbert Winlock. He discovered a tomb with cones above its entrance at Deir el-Bahri. The black-and-white photographs of what he found are the only pictures that show cones in situ (Fig. 9).

Based on the above evidence, Borchardt, Königsberger, and Ricke reconstructed the outward appearances of the following three tombs: TT 157, TT 288/289, and TT 181 (Figs. 10–12).

Another evidences was revealed by the Polz-lead DAIK mission to Dra Abul Naga. He states as follows:

...Sehr viel ergebnisreicher war dagegen die bislang ebenfalls nur teilweise erfolgte Freilegung des kleinen Vorhofes der Grabanlage: Hier fand sich ein größerer Teil der Lehmziegelmauer, die einst oberhalb der Felsfassade des Grabes errichtet war. Durch den Einsturz der Decke des Querraumes stürzte auch die Fassadenmauer in den Vorhof. Zwischen den einzelnen, zum Teil noch im Verband aufgefundenen Ziegeln dieser Mauer lagen große Mengen von Cones eines Typs (Abb. 25. DAVIES/MACADAM nr. 214), mit denen die Fassade ursprünglich verziert war (Taf. 63a). Zu den bislang insgesamt 39 Exemplaren, die aus dem Mauerversturz im Vorhof der Anlage stammen, kommen weitere 34 Examplare, die sich verstürzt in den unterhalb von K01.1 gelegenen Grabungsflächen auffinden ließen. Der ursprüngliche Anbringungsort dieser Cones, d.h. die Fassade oberhalb der Grabanlage K01.1 ist also gesichert. Damit ist auch die Identität des Grabbesitzers klar, der nach der Inschrift auf den Cones ein nfw n Hm nTr tpj n Jmn. "Kapitän des Hohenpriesters des Amun", namens Nb-an-n-sw war227. Die Grabanlage dieses herrn liegt demnach nicht in Khokha, wie bislang angenommen, sondern eben inmitten des Hügels von Dra' Abu el-Naga228.

227 Zu dem Namen siehe RANKE, PN I. S. 183 [25].
228 PM I, 12, S. 305 identifiziert den Besitzer der Grabanlage TT 204 in Khokha aufgrund zweier Angaben mit unserem Kapitän: Reste der Deckeninschriften in TT 204 scheinen den Namen Nebanensu beinhaltet zu haben ("name and remains of title of deceased"), der Titel ("sailor of the first prophet of Amun") kommt aber offenbar von einem Cone ("title from cone"). KAMPP folgt dieser Zuweisung vorsichtig, sie scheint aber keine den Namen Nebanensu enthaltenden Inschriften mehr vorgefunden zu haben (Die thebanische Nekropole. S. 490). Es ist demnach sehr wahrscheinlich, daß in den "remains of title of deceased" bei PM nur der Teil erhalten war, der den Namen des Gottes Amun enthielt, was wegen des recht seltenen Personennamens Nebanensu für PM eine Gleichsetzung dieser Person mit der des bekannten Cones Nr. 214 nahelegte. Die Reste der Deckeninschrift in TT 204 könnten sich aber auch auf einen Herrn gleichen Namens mit dem Titel "servant of Amun" beziehen, dessen Statue aus Theben sich in Berlin befindet (so PM I. 21, S. 782, Inv. Nr. 10338) und der vielleicht der eigentliche Besitzer des Grabes TT 204 war.

(Polz 2003b: 380-381.)

However, a discovery made by Annelies and Artur Brack may shed a new light on this discussion. During their expedition conducted in 1973–1974, they unearthed cones located in the courts of the tombs (Fig. 14). The cones were placed neatly side by side, which allows us to assume that these cones were in situ.
Added to this, Bruyère attested as follows:

...Il résulte des opinions ci-dessus que les cônes funéraires ont été jusqu'ici découverts seulement dans les cours des tombes, soit disposés en tumuli, soit fischée en terre, la pointe en bas, alignés côte à côte sur un ou plusieurs rangs sur le périmètre de la cour.
(Bruyère 1927: 19-20)

N. de G. Davies also states as follows:
...Whether the pottery cones of Nefer-ḥotep were ranged as a finishing and protective line at the top, as was sometimes the case, may be doubted. Only about fifty of these cones are known, thirty-four of them having been found in our excavation of the site. Unless there has been a throw-out beyond the limits of our clearance, this is quite insufficient to furnish even one row along the frontage. Two rough holes were found in the floor of the court, one of which, however, may belong to the adjacent (intrusive) tomb. These little pits might have been meant to hold the cones as a kind of foundation deposit, but it is doubtful if they could contain as many as fifty. This point must, therefore, be left quite undecided.
(Davies 1933b: 6 & Pl. I [Fig. 15])
It can be deduced that in some instances cones were placed on the floor of the courts, and not on the tomb façades.

Added to this, the archaeological mission to TT 47 by Waseda University revealed five funerary cones placed in situ on the side wall of the court (Kondo et al. 2016: 120, 122-123). They were placed in a horizontal line at nearly regular intervals (Fig. 16). Considering this case, cones were placed on side walls, too.
In fact, there is a model house that probably shows the side wall cones. It is the Middle Kingdom object called 'soul house (UC18400)' and is housed in the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology at UCL (Fig. 17). The soul house has many circular protruding objects on the façade as well as side walls. If these small objects may refer to funerary cones, it might not be rare that cones were place on the side walls of each tomb court.

Also, Waseda excavation team found a stamped brick in situ on the same wall, just below the funerary cones described above (Fig. 18). This is the first report that informs us of such an in situ stamped brick. This brick was not placed at the upper part of the inner wall of the court but at the foot level. The function(s) of funerary cones at the later period of the Amunhotep III's reign is not the symbol of the wooden beam even though they were at the early stage of their history.

Fig. 1 Suspected cones depicted in TT 41. Assmann 1991: Taf. 40. Courtesy of Dr. Jan Assmann

Fig. 1-2 Suspected cones depicted in TT 41. © Dr. Eva Hofmann, Ägyptologisches Institut Universität Heidelberg

Fig. 2 Suspected cones depicted in TT 49. Davies. 1933b: Pl. XXIV.

Fig. 3 Suspected cones depicted in TT 49. Davies. 1933b: Pl. XX.

Fig. 4 Suspected cones depicted in TT 55. Davies 1938 [JEA 24]: Fig. 4.
Courtesy of the Egypt Exploration Society.

Fig. 4-2 Suspected cones depicted in TT 55.
© Jaume Vivó.

Fig. 5 Suspected cones depicted in TT 159. Davies 1938 [JEA 24]: Fig. 14.
Courtesy of the Egypt Exploration Society.

Fig. 5-2 Suspected cones depicted in TT 159. © Dr. Eva Hofmann, Ägyptologisches Institut Universität Heidelberg

Fig. 6 Suspected cones depicted in TT 178. Borchardt etc. 1934 [ZÄS 70]: 28 Abb. 3.

Fig. 7 Suspected cones depicted in TT 181. Davies 1938 [JEA 24]: Fig. 2.
Courtesy of the Egypt Exploration Society.

Fig. 8 Suspected cones depicted in A.21. A part of Fig. 124 in Institute of Egyptology, Waseda University 2007.
© Institute of Egyptology, Waseda University.

Fig. 9 Cones discovered in situ.
© The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Fig. 10 Reconstruction of TT 157. Borchardt etc. 1934 [ZÄS 70]: 29 Abb. 5.

Fig. 11 Reconstruction of TT 288/289. Borchardt etc. 1934 [ZÄS 70]: 29 Abb. 6.

Fig. 12 Reconstruction of TT 181. Borchardt etc. 1934 [ZÄS 70]: 29 Abb. 7.

Fig. 13 A part of Louvre's papyrus N3068.
© Jaume Vivó

Fig. 14 Funerary cones discovered at the court of TT 74. A part of Taf. 52a in Brack and Brack 1977.

Fig. 15 The little pit in the center of the court of TT 49. Davies thought this may have held funerary cones (Davies 1933b: Pl. I.)

Fig. 16 The mud-brick wall with the five cones of Userhat found in situ (Kondo et al.2016: 118)

Fig. 17 The 'soul house' in the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, UCL (UC18400)

Fig. 18 The stamped brick found in situ in the mud-brick wall of TT 47 (Kondo et al.2017: 48).

& Width
Image galleryMacadam's unpublished
manuscripts in Sudan
Data on
each cone
Museum HoldingsCones not listed
on Davies & Macadam
Stamped bricksAbbreviations
& References

Last updated on 13th Jul. 2017.


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