The text records the construction of the tomb as a favor from Menkaure,
and as such is one of the earliest texts to describe specific events in the life of
the owner. There is some controversy about the date; Kloth 2002: 38–39 puts
it not before the middle fifth dynasty, suggesting that various features of the
decoration and the type of the biography (and one rather questionable section
of text) might indicate that the scenes were erected posthumously by
Debehen’s son. The phrasing of the text almost reads as if it was set up as a
royal decree, but whether this means it should be dated later or be seen as a
very early example of a biography is unclear. The tomb is in the Central
Cemetery (PM III2, 235–36).
(2) He speaks:
With regard to this tomb of mine,
it was the king of Upper and Lower Egypt,
Menkaure [may he live for ever] who gave me its place,11
while he happened to be on the way to the pyramid plateau
(3) to inspect the work being done on the pyramid of Menkaure.
… The [royal master] builder [came]
with the two Great Controllers of Craftsmen12 and the craftsmen,
(4) to be present at it in order to inspect the work done on [the
[he arranged for] 50 craftsmen to do the work on it daily
and they were assigned the (5) completion of the wabet.
His majesty commanded that they were not to be taken for any workduty,
other than carrying out work on it (the tomb) to his satisfaction.
(6) His majesty also ordered the clearance of the building-site (?)
[especially for the construction of (?)] this tomb of mine.
His majesty ordered [that someone come (?)] …
(7) for the clearance of the building-site …
[His majesty ordered] that two seal-bearers of the god come;13
they said/his majesty said …
(8) [large gap] … gold was given to them (?) …
(9) [large gap] … the two Great Controllers of Craftsmen.
His majesty decided to pay a visit to the work which had been
assigned (10) …
Stone was brought from Tura with which to clad the temple
(11) as well as a double false door and entrance doorway for this tomb
Two boats with the two Great Controllers of Craftsmen
and the royal master builder it was who came (12) … [large gap] …
bringing for me a statue to receive offerings14 … [large gap]
(13) … every … daily.
Now it is finished on the desert with its statue shrine
(14) … [large gap] …
together with two other statues which were authorized, one of which
(15) [large gap] … the festival of the Apis bull in the divine tent-shrine
(16) … [large gap] … He did this through the wish
that his state of imakhu exist in the sight of his lord
(17) … [large gap] … [I was beloved (?)] of [my father] and my mother,
and I protected (?) them
(18) … [large gap] … green and black eye-paint … a document (?) …
(19) at the door of the office.
Then I requested … of all types from Lower Egypt,
in particular from the sixth nome (the place) called Iatmen.
(20) A royal decree was made for the overseer [of all works of the king
that the craftsmen (?)] should make it,
a tomb 100 cubits long (21) and 50 cubits in breadth and five cubits
[high (?)] …
larger than that which my father (could have [?]) made when he was
His majesty commanded … (22) …