Tomb of Two Brothers

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Tomb of Two Brothers
Two brothers.JPG
Statuettes of Nakht-Ankh found in his tomb at Deir Rifeh
LocationDeir Rifeh, Egypt
Completion date12th Dynasty
Dedicated toNakht-Ankh, Khnum-Nakht

The Tomb of Two Brothers is an ancient sepulchre in Deir Rifeh, Egypt. It contains the chamber tomb of the ancient Egyptian high status priests Nakht-Ankh and Khnum-Nakht, which dates from the 12th dynasty.


Coffin of Khnum-Nakht

The brothers' tomb was found untouched in 1907 by Flinders Petrie at the Deir Rifeh cemetery. Petrie first described the burial in his excavation report of Rifeh.[1] After the finds went to the Manchester Museum, Margaret Murray published a monograph on this tomb group.[2]

The burial chamber of the two individuals was found in a small chamber placed within the courtyard of a bigger tomb, perhaps once belonging to a governor buried at Deir Rifeh. The chamber tomb contained a set of two coffins, one outer wooden box coffin and one inner anthropoid coffin for each of the tomb owners. The coffins are decorated on the outside with a palace facade motif and several text lines. The coffins and the texts are very close to coffins found at Asyut and it seems possible that they were produced there.[3]

Next to the coffins was found a canopic box with four canopic vessels. There were three statuettes of the tomb owners. Also, some wooden models of servants, models of boats and some pottery vessels. The whole tomb group is now in the Manchester Museum.

The mummies of the tomb owners were already heavily decayed when found and basically just preserved as skeletons. They had the title son of a governor. Khnum-nakht was also great wab priest of Khnum.

The tomb group is one of the best preserved and best known burials of the Egyptian Middle Kingdom.

Ancient DNA[edit]

Ancient DNA analysis of the mummies of Nakht-Ankh and Khnum-Nakht, which were entombed at the Deir Rifeh cemetery, found that the brothers belonged to the M1a1 mtDNA haplogroup, confirming that they were half-siblings (they had the same mother, but different fathers) and African in origin with 88.05–91.27% degree of confidence .[4]


  1. ^ Sir W.M. Flinders Petrie; with chapters by Sir Herbert Thompson and W.E. Crum: Gizeh and Rifeh, British school of archaeology in Egypt and Egyptian research account. Thirteenth year, pp. 12-13, pls. XA-XE
  2. ^ Margaret Alice Murray: The tomb of two brothers, Manchster 1910
  3. ^ Marcel Zitman: The Necropolis of Assiut, A Case Study of Local Egyptian Funerary Cul-ture from the Old Kingdom to the End of the Middle Kingdom, Text (Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 180), Leuven, Paris, Walpole MA, 2010, ISBN 978-9042921061, pp. 346-347.
  4. ^ Konstantina Drosou, Campbell Price, Terence A. Brown (February 2018). "The kinship of two 12th Dynasty mummies revealed by ancient DNA sequencing". Journal of Archaeological Science. 17: 793–797. doi:10.1016/j.jasrep.2017.12.025.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link) - Supplementary Fig. 1


  • Rosalie David: The Two Brothers, Death and Afterlife in Middle Kingdom Egypt, Rutherford Press, Bolton 2007 ISBN 978-0-9547622-3-0