Model Mason's Float from the Foundation Deposit for Hatshepsut's Tomb

New Kingdom

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 116

The location of tomb 20 in the Valley of the Kings was first recorded in 1799 by an expedition of artists and scientists organized by Napoleon. Most of the tomb was choked with debris and the accessible part was undecorated, so the owner remained unknown until the early twentieth century. In February 1903, while working with Theodore M. Davis, Howard Carter was clearing the entrance to the tomb, looking for evidence that would reveal the name of the king who had commissioned it. From previous work in the area, Carter had an inkling of the owner's identity, and his theory was confirmed when he discovered a single foundation deposit of model tools and small jars inscribed with the cartouche Maatkare, the coronation name of Hatshepsut (see 30.3.1–30.3.20). This model mason's float was among the objects discovered in the deposit.

Foundation deposits often contained tools or models of tools that would have been used for the construction of a building or the excavation of a tomb. The entrance of Hatshepsut's tomb would have been blocked with mud bricks and a mason's float would have been useful for this process.

Model Mason's Float from the Foundation Deposit for Hatshepsut's Tomb, Wood, paint

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