Deir el-Medina overview
© M. Kacicnik
TT 217
© M. Kacicnik
Plan of TT 217 after Davies
© N. de Garis Davies 1927
Chapel of TT 217
© M. Kacicnik
Carpenters scene
© M. Kacicnik
Fishermen scene
© M. Kacicnik
Gardeners scene, fragment
© M. Kacicnik

TT 217, the tomb of the sculptor Ipuy and his family, is located on the upper terrace of the Western Necropolis of Deir el-Medina. It consists of a courtyard with at least one shaft leading to a sub-structure and ten rock-cut chambers dug into the local rock. The tomb was built in the first half of the reign of Ramesses II (1279–1250 BC) and then re-used in later periods. It is famous for its chapel which contains a number of unusual polychrome wall paintings depicting various ancient professionals from lower social strata, e.g. carpenters, gardeners, fishermen, and laundrymen. Practitioners of most of these professions are rarely depicted in any medium across the 3000 years of pharaonic history, and some of the depictions in TT 217 are truly unique.

Known to scholars since the end of the 19th century, TT 217 was first investigated by Norman de Garis Davies. Bernard Bruyère reinvestigated the tomb and began using it as a magazine for human remains. A complete investigation and publication of the entire structure nonetheless remains a considerable desideratum. In light of this, my project comprises the full re-investigation and documentation of this important funerary complex, an epigraphic and iconographic analysis of its inscriptions and wall paintings, and the development of modern architectural plans of the site.

As part of the Mission d’étude et de conservation Deir el-Médina, the project will ensure the current physical preservation and reconstruct the tomb incl. its decorations using virtual tools. Drawing on various historical documents, it will digitally restore many wall and statue fragments, as well as seeking to identify further objects from the tomb that are scattered in various museums and archives around the world. The goal is to reconstruct the microcosm of the tomb, and the world of Ipuy’s family as fully as possible.

This project will serve as the basis for the development of a new open-access research platform called ResearchSpace Deir el-Medina. This platform will facilitate the seamless collection, documentation, analysis, and publication of complex data from Deir el-Medina using one tool.

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