West Tombs

The West Tombs are located within Enclosure 4 (Area D/7). These tombs were monumental and constructed in classical style. They pre-date Enclosure 4 and were probably built during the first centuries of Roman rule. Only parts of their sandstone pavements remain, which were built upon mud-brick platforms and approached by flights of sandstone steps. The two tombs had central chambers, but only that of West Tomb 1 is preserved.

Both chambers were surrounded by a peristyle colonnade and both also had subterranean, barrel-vaulted chambers, accessible via shafts. This architechtural style is unlike that of any other structure in the oases of Dakhleh or Kharga and is largely non-Egyptian in character. Almost one dozen human interments were discovered in West Tomb 1; however, they appear to have been interred in the late 3rd or very early 4th century, and all had been disturbed.

View overlooking the West Tombs, facing northwest
View overlooking the West Tombs, facing northwest

The following link contains a detailed report on the West Tombs, written by C. A. Hope and J. McKenzie:

Reproduced from C. A. Hope and A. J. Mills, eds, Dakhleh Oasis Project: Preliminary Reports on the 1992-1993 and 1993-1994 Field Seasons, Oxbow Books, Oxford, 1999 – courtesy of the editors.

The burial chamber of West Tomb 1, showing wrapped interments and grave goods


An extensive list of publications relating to Ismant el-Kharab is available for consultation.