Southern Tomb 25 at Amarna was intended for the burial of Ay, who later became Pharaoh, after Tutankhamun. The tomb was never finished, and he later buried in the Western Valley of the Valley of the Kings, in Thebes. The tomb was only partially carved from the rock, with the first part of the pillared hall only being anything like completed. The tomb contains depictions of Ay receiving rewards from Akhenaten and Nefertiti. The tomb also contains a version of the Great Hymn to the Aten.
Ay was the penultimate Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt’s 18th dynasty. He held the throne of Egypt for a brief four-year period, although he was a close advisor to two and perhaps three of the pharaohs who ruled before him and was the power behind the throne during Tutankhamun’s reign.
Records and monuments that can be clearly attributed to Ay are rare, not only due to his short length, but also because his successor, Horemheb, instigated a campaign of damnatio memoriae against him and other pharaohs associated with the unpopular Amarna Period.
Ay is usually believed to be a native Egyptian from Akhmim. During his short reign, he built a rock cut chapel in Akhmim and dedicated it to the local deity there: Min. He may have been the son of Yuya, who served as a member of the priesthood of Min at Akhmin as well as superintendent of herds in this city, and wife Tjuyu. If so, Ay could have been of partial non-Egyptian, perhaps Syrian blood since the name Yuya was uncommon in Egypt and is suggestive of a foreign background.
Photo Credit: Mikael