Of the several thousand nobles’ tombs identified in the Theban Necropolis, nineteen are today open to the public. They span a period of nearly five hundred years, from the mid-18th Dynasty onward. We have chosen not to describe these tombs in geographical order, as a tour guide might arrange them for a visit, but instead to deal with them in chronological order.
The tombs divide themselves chronologically into several distinct stylistic groups, and discussing them in such an order makes it easier to understand the subject matter of their reliefs and paintings, and the details of their iconography. For those who have time, it is recommended that a visit be arranged to at least one tomb from each of the five groups we have identified. That will allow one to trace the changing patterns of Egyptian private mortuary art through the New Kingdom.