Bahr Yusuf leads water to the fertile Fayum area. Photo: Janne Klerk
At the entrance to the fertile Fayum region, in the narrow area of desert near the town of Sedment lay a burial area. A large number of tombs date from the First Intermediate Period, c. 2155-2050 BC. Petrie was therefore convinced that the tombs belonged to the town of Herakleopolis, from which the rulers of the First Intermediate Period ruled over the Northern part of Egypt. Herakleopolis, however, is not situated particularly close to Sedment, and today the site is regarded as a more local cemetery.
Excavations at Sedment
Tents in an old tomb in Sedment where Petrie and his team stayed
© Petrie Museum, University College London
Previous investigations of Sedment in 1904 were unsuccessful. However, the 1920-1921 season, saw the bringing to light of innumerable tombs with finds from several different periods. From the only completely undisturbed tomb from the First Intermediate Period, which belonged to a man by the name of Wadjethotep, the Glyptotek received all the finds.
What, in Petrie’s words was the most significant tomb at Sedment belonged, however, to Meryrahashtef from the close of the Old Kingdom. A short distance down into the tomb shaft stood three finely carved wooden statuettes of Meryrahashtef. The largest one, with a staff and sceptre of rank went to the museum in Cairo, the middle one with a staff and deep furrows in the cheeks is in the Glyptotek. The smallest figure is today in the British Museum in London.