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Tomb of Neferseshemre [34]

This is probably the earliest tomb in the cemetery. It lies immediately to the north of Teti’s pyramid and to the west of those of his queens and is the first mastaba in the second north-south street, known as the ‘rue de tombeaux’. The mastaba is totally constructed of large blocks of limestone, and is square in shape like other mastabas erected early under Teti, as for example that of Kagemni [23]. Only about one-third of the mastaba area is occupied by a chapel formed of four rooms, a large pillared hall with a staircase leading to the roof and a serdab. The burial chamber is reached through a vertical shaft 21 metres deep and was blocked by a portcullis before the shaft was filled, but unlike all viziers of Teti and early Pepy I buried in this cemetery, Neferseshemre’s burial chamber was left undecorated. As the walls of the pillared hall were in rough stone and also undecorated, compared for example with those of his immediate neighbour Ankhmahor [12],194 it seems possible that Neferseshemre died before the work on his tomb was completed. While the upper courses of the walls in the other rooms have disappeared, and with them any possible decoration, it is fortunate that the entrance to the tomb, the four faces of each of the six pillars in the pillared hall, and the false door in the offering room are decorated, mostly well preserved, and give adequate details about Neferseshemre and his family.