Rock tomb

Rock tomb.jpg

A tomb carved into a hill in a horizontal direction, often with a façade. Built from the 4th Dynasty on as a cheaper, safer alternative to mastabas. Like mastabas, rock tombs were provided with separate areas for offerings and for cult statues, in addition to the inaccessible actual tomb. From the Middle Kingdom on, rock tombs were given monumental façades with columns, which gradually led to the development of a type with a flat front and a corridor leading deep into the mountain to the cult chamber. The New Kingdom tombs at Thebes keep to this type, resulting in a T-shaped tomb with a wide, shallow first chamber and a long corridor leading to a cult statue, often in a separate niche or chapel. In the New Kingdom a small pyramid was often built above the façade, topped with a pyramidion. Tombs dating from the late 18th Dynasty and later often copied (parts of) the royal tombs, particularly in the inaccessible parts of the tomb, which meant that the significance of the accessible cult chambers gradually decreased.