Tombs of the Elite

The first thing  that interested me in the super tombs of the Hierakonpolis was their tremendous size.  One of the first super tombs unearthed in Hierakonpolis was 5.5 meters by 3 meters in size; it was the largest tomb to be discovered at the HK6 site that dated to the Naqada II period at that time. Later on large halls were excavated that were in close proximity to the super tombs. Now, when considering the fact that one of the largest structures unearthed at HK6 was 5.5 meters by 3 meters, the halls which were recorded as 15 meters by 10.5 meters practically dwarf the tombs themselves. Of the eight large halls that were discovered, each held a plethora of mortuary items that were both elegant and unique. In the majority of the  halls there were ceramics and ostrich eggs with carvings on them and palettes and many more items. One of these large halls even included the life size marble statue discussed in class. These structures that are tremendous in size prove the complexity of the people if they can become this deeply immersed in mortuary practices and privileges. But it even shows how incredibly important those people who live in the upper echelon of society were to the rest of their people.

Now, for me, the most important question is why. These super tombs and their surrounding structures were essentially the first of their kind. What happened in Hierakonpolis that made this upscale move to increase the mortuary importance of the elite? I mean,  even the animals of the elite were buried in structures around them. One of the animal tombs was even the final resting place of an elephant. I don’t care how much I love my mother, I am not digging an elephant grave next to hers just to honor her in the afterlife. So, why then did the people of Hierakonpolis decide to elate the levels of those dead elite beyond what they already were? Before Hierakonpolis, the elite were honored through mortuary practices, but nothing even close to this scale. At one time it was believed that mortuary practices of this large of a proportion didn’t even exist in the predynastic era, and yet here it is years before it was even considered possible. The fact that this happened is just such an interesting concept to me and I hope that someone else will find this subject as interesting as I do so they can help to point me in the right direction.

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