Where Did Menna’s Face Go?

Why is Menna's face erased from history?

By American Research Center In Egypt

Menna and his wife venerated (left), heading a festival procession (right) (2009-03) by Katy DoyleAmerican Research Center In Egypt

Look Closely

If you visit Menna's tomb in southern Egypt, you'll notice something very strange... 

Menna's has no face! In every scene throughout the tomb, his face has been destroyed. Explore the tomb and see if you can find more scenes where faces have been destroyed. 

Menna and his wife venerated (left), heading a festival procession (right) (2009-03) by Katy DoyleAmerican Research Center In Egypt

Sometimes, Menna's wife, Hennutawy, is also defaced.

False door Stela in the Broad Hall (2009-03) by Katy DoyleAmerican Research Center In Egypt

Living Images

Tombs in ancient Egypt were gateways to the afterlife. 

The Egyptians believed the images their tombs were magical, and could feed and sustain them forever in the afterlife.

Damaging the image damages the person represented. So if the image of the tomb owner was destroyed, they would be damned to a second death and deprived of eternal life. 

Menna, tomb owner (2009-03) by Katy DoyleAmerican Research Center In Egypt

Was Menna defaced by someone who knew him and wanted to destroy his memory?

Or did someone much later damage the tomb in fear of the magic power of the ancient Egyptians.

Conservation work (2008-09) by Project PhotographerAmerican Research Center In Egypt

For now, it will remain a mystery. But ongoing conservation work is helping to preserve ancient Egyptian tombs, therefore protecting the memory of people like Menna for centuries to come.

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Credits: Story

The conservation and documentation of the tomb of Menna was sponsored by American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE) Egyptian Antiquities Conservation Project with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Georgia State University in collaboration with the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities. 

Created by Elisabeth Koch and Tessa Litecky, ARCE 
Visit ARCE at www.arce.org

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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