of Senenmut from his tomb
Senenmut had a humble
background (his family (Ramose and Hatnefer) came from Armant),
he was to become under Hatshepsut's reign one of the most powerful
men in the country. There is speculation as to whether this was
down to Senenmut's own natural talents as an administrator that
caused this rise to power - or was there a close personal relationship
between the King and her subject?
Senenmut originally entered
the royal court during the reign of Tuthmosis II, under Hatshepsut
he would eventually hold over 80 titles during his period as
an official and administrator working in the royal court, a few
'Spokesman for King Hatshepsut, Steward of the royal family,
Superintendent of the buildings of the god Amun'.
Despite the claims of
a love affair between Hatshepsut and Senenmut, it is clear that
Senenmut was a man with some talent at his job - he had supervised
the transport and erection of the obelisks at the temple of Amun-Re
at Karnak, he supervised the building of Hatshepsut's mortuary
temple at Deir el-Bahri.
of Senenmut - the majority with Neferure
It is clear from the statues found of Senenmut, that he enjoyed
a very close relationship with Neferure - the daughter of Hatshepsut
(it is possible that this is the only sort of relationship he
had with the King Hatshepsut, as teacher to her daughter. Although
the converse may be argued - that Senenmut educated Neferure
because of his relationship with Hatshepsut).
end of Senenmut
For some reason, towards the last quarter of Hatshepsut's reign,
Senenmut fell from favour and disappears from view (sometime
between Year 16 to Year 19 Hatshepsut). There are theories -
Neferure (Hatshepsut's daughter) died in Year 11, after her death
Senenmut seeks to join with Tuthmosis III. However, Senenmut
was a strong supporter of Hatshepsut, once Senenmut died / disappeared
Hatshepsut herself soon lost the throne.
It is certain, however, that he was never buried in either of
his two tombs (see below).
Due to the sudden disappearance of Senenmut (and the lack of
a burial), speculation remains high:
was he killed abroad, drowned in the Nile, had a lovers' spate
with Hatshepsut who then had him killed, agents of Tuthmosis
III had him killed... and so on.
Many of Senenmut's images and monuments were attacked and vandalised
after his death - but by whom? Hatshepsut or Tuthmosis III?
tombs of Senenmut
He built two tombs for his burial - the first he constructed
at Sheikh Abd el-Qurna (TT71), this tomb still holds a block
statue of Senenmut holding Neferura on his lap. Also found in
the tomb were 150 Ostraca (these included sketch plans of the
tomb, calculations, various reports and also various literary
texts which included: 'The Satire of the Trades, The Tale of
Sinuhe and the Instruction of Ammenemes I).
The second tomb he built to the east of the first court of the
temple of Hatshepsut, this tomb was bigger and better than the
first (TT353) - the entrance was
cut just to the north of Hatshepsut's Deir el-Bahri mortuary
temple, Senenmut's tomb had a long and winding passageway so
that the chamber was located underneath the outer court of the
temple. This tomb was never completed and the images of Senenmut
in it were defaced in antiquity.