Tomb of the Mayor of Thebes and Fourth Priest of Amun Karabasken (TT 391)

Excavation of the tomb of Karabasken was completed in 2019. The layout of the tomb is comprised of the entrance staircase,  ‘staircase vestibule’, an open court with a Tornische on the west wall, a pillared hall and the main burial compartment.

Two of the most notable discoveries in the tomb of Karabasken concern uncovering of the sarcophagus of Karabasken and the identity of Padibastet, the high official who reused the tomb of Karabasken during the Twenty-Sixth Dynasty.

There are three architectural features decorated for Padibastet in the tomb of Karabasken: the entrance doorframe, the south wall of the ‘staircase vestibule’, and a stela on the west wall of the open court. Erhart Graefe identified the newly discovered high official who usurped the tomb of Karabasken as the High Steward of the God’s Wife, grandson of Pabasa A (TT 279) and successor of Padihorresnet (TT 196). The texts dedicated to Padibastet consist of the offering inscriptions on the entrance doorframe, the solar hymn in the vestibule, and the text of the Ritual of the Second Hour of the Day on the stela. None of the texts include a royal name or the name of a God’s Wife. However, according to Graefe’s research, Padibastet should have held office during the reign of Psamtik II, serving the God’s Wife Nitocris. Padibastet’s name and titles found in the tomb of Karabasken are the first mention of this previously unknown official. Padibastet probably died prematurely and reused a Kushite tomb in South Asasif.

The south wall of the staircase vestibule features scenes of Padibastet in adoration of the sun god and the text of a solar hymn in the lower register and an offering scene with Padibastet’s son Horsiese presenting flower offerings to Padibastet in the second register. The quality of carving shows how exquisite his own tomb could have been if constructed next to that of his grandfather in the main Asasif necropolis.

The sarcophagus of Karabasken was found in 2016. It is 2.41 m high (base 1.63 m, lid 0.77 m), 3.06 m long, and 1.30 m wide. The base of the sarcophagus is a rectangular box with a rounded head end. The lid is vaulted with a convex upper surface and an almost flat lower surface. It is uninscribed and decorated with a single horizontal band 0.27 m in width. The monumental sarcophagus occupies almost the whole space of the burial chamber (5.74 m x 3.54 m x 4.06 m). The angled descent to the burial chamber (9 m long and 2.25 m wide) starts in the center of the cult room, which features six niches on the north and south walls and remains of a false door on the west wall.

Excavation of the open court of Karabasken was completed in 2015.  One of the most important original features of the court is a 1.54 m x 2.63 m and 1.3 m deep plant basin carved into the floor along the main axis in the western part of the court in front of the Tornische. Traces of dark soil found at the bottom could be original, preserved by the flood layer of fine sand filling the rest of the basin. Two round shallow depressions, 0.32 m in diameter, were carved on the floor along the eastern edge of the basin, perhaps for the purpose of supporting offering stands. An 0.80 x 0.80 m brick structure to the south is all that remains of the stand for the offering table. Excavation of the superstructure was completed in 2018 and is currently being recorded by Dieter Eigner.

The tomb of Karabasken is currently at its conservation stage. Despite numerous damages caused by floods and later occupants, most architectural features of the tomb of Karabasken are intact and remain stable. The majority of damage in the tomb was done to the carved decoration. Some decorated areas were found still in situ and hundreds of detached fragments were discovered in the debris during the excavation of the tomb. The fragments found in the tomb of Karabasken were examined and divided into groups based on the quality and color of the stone, character of damage, scale of the hieroglyphs, and style of execution, etc. It was established that the fragments belong to five different areas: the entrance to the tomb re-carved for Padibastet, the Tornische decorated for Karabasken, the entrance to the cult chamber, the false door above the burial chamber, and the entrance to the side room on the south wall of the pillared hall, probably decorated for Padibastet. Reconstruction work in all of these areas continues. Reconstruction of the Tornische is one of the goals of the 2020 season.