Deir el-Bahri was used as a place to bury the elite of Ancient Egyptian society for millennia, most famously in association with the temples of Montuhotep II and Hatshepsut but the burials continued long after this. And any given tomb might be used long after it was first dug.

These pottery fragments (ostraca) illustrate both those points: they were found in the courtyard outside tomb TT312 which was built for Nespekashuty who was a Vizier during the reign of Psamtik I in the 26th Dynasty, but two of the ostraca are from a later date than that.

The two drawings of column tops are probably contemporary to the tomb’s construction and may even be preliminary sketches for the decoration. At the back is an incised design of a crocodile which is probably from a couple of hundred years later during the Ptolemaic Period.

The ostracon to the left is part of a group of textual pieces that seem to’ve been a single scribe practising his writing (and then discarding them) around a hundred years after Nespekashuty’s burial (based on his handwriting style). It lists the days of the month.

The museum doesn’t give a suggestion for the grazing antelope piece, so it presumably isn’t quite close enough in style to any of the other pieces to be sure where it fits in.

Ostraca from the Tomb of Nespekashuty. From courtyard rubbish at the Tomb of Nespekashuty (TT 312, MMA 509), Deir el-Bahri. Late Period, Dynasty 26, reign of Psamtik I, c. 656-610 BCE (except 23.3.30, with a sketch of a crocodile, which is Ptolematic Period, c. 332-30 BCE). Acc. No.s: 23.3.29, 23.3.30, 23.3.34, 23.3.35

All 5 were excavated by the Met Museum at Deir el-Bahri in the 1920s, and are now housed in the museum, acc. no.s: 23.3.29, 23.3.30, 23.3.34, 23.3.35, 26.3.168

See it on my photo site:

Jigsaw Puzzles:

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