important courtier of the late eighteenth dynasty. Although his tomb near Akhmim was desecrated in antiquity, later quarrying and treasure-seeking operations additionally destroyed evidence. The tomb can be dated to the reign of Tutankhamun of the eighteenth dynasty; its decoration shares themes found in the Amarna tombs (royal chariot procession and window of appearances scene). Sennedjem's titles are best preserved on the lintel over the portico of the tomb, which was difficult for desecrators to reach. His title of office was “Overseer of (male) Nurses,” but his titles of rank indicate that he was an important person in his own right: “Prince,” “Count,” “Sole Companion,” “Fan-bearer on the Right of the King.” An archaic and, in the New Kingdom, rare title “Judge and District Administrator,” indicates that he played a central role at a king's (Amenhotep III or IV/Akhenaten) sed-festival. Immediately following the title “Count,” the title “Father of the God, Beloved of the God,” indicates that he participated in the royal coronation.

In a later alteration to the lintel inscription, the title “God's Father” was inserted in front of the title “Overseer of Nurses.” Research since the 1980s indicates that this title—as distinct from “God's Father, Beloved of the God” earlier in the title sequence—was held by men related to the king. Since it was inserted secondarily, the king in question cannot have been Tutankamun, under whom the tomb was begun, or any of his predecessors. The obvious candidate is Ay, known also to have come from Akhmim. Unique to the chariot procession is the appearance of another person in the royal chariot; this person is arguably Ay (before he became king). That Sennedjem included Ay in this way in his tomb decoration is another indicator of the familial relationship between them. In the struggle for power at the end of the eighteenth dynasty, won by the general and later king Horemheb, the family of Ay and Sennedjem, including the general Nakhtmin and another “Overseer of (male) Nurses” Senqed (who shared Sennedjem's tomb), fell from power and their monuments were desecrated.


  • Ockinga, Boyo G. A Tomb from the Reign of Tutankhamun at Akhmim. The Australian Centre for Egyptology Reports, 10. Warminster, 1997.

Boyo Ockinga