Archaeology of Saqqara



Saqqara (سقارة‎), aslo spelled Sakkara or Saccara in English, is an ancient burial ground of Egyptian kings and royals, serving as the necropolis for the ancient Egyptian capital, Memphis.

The Saqqara necropolis contains numerous pyramids, including the world-famous Step pyramid of Djoser, sometimes referred to as the Step Tomb, and a number of mastaba tombs. Located some 30 km (19 mi) south of modern-day Cairo, Saqqara covers an area of around 7 by 1.5 kilometers (4.3 by 0.9 miles). Saqqara contains the oldest complete stone building complex known in history, the Pyramid of Djoser, built during the Third Dynasty.

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Featured Article: Tomb of Wahtye

The richly decorated tomb was discovered after digging 16 feet (five meters) beneath the sand at the archaeological site in Saqqara. The tomb, which contains four shafts, is covered in untouched painted hieroglyphic, sculptures, and inscriptions that date back to 4,400 years ago.

The inscriptions and carvings depict Wahtye himself who put his name in every corner, his wife Ptah-Weret, his mother, Merit-Meen, his four siblings, one daughter, and three sons. It also vividly depicts scenes of the other world; in particular, the production of food to sustain the dead for eternity, and the receipt of offerings. Explore >

Featured Article: Famine Relief

This fragmentary but vivid scene of starving people depicts a famine; originally installed in the 750 meters long causeway running from the east side of Unas’ pyramid to his valley temple. This startling image of people starving, thought to be due to a famine during Unas’ reign, though some scholars suggest that it describes Unas’s aid to famished desert tribesmen.

It is believed to be the earliest depiction of a famine, occuring around 2650 BCE. Explore >

Featured Article: New Kingdom Cemetery

The New Kingdom (circa 1550–1069 BCE) cemetery, south of the causeway of Unas, is where several important officials of the Eighteenth to Twentieth Dynasties were buried. Among them are Ptahemwia, the "Royal Butler, Clean of Hands" under Kings Akhenaten (circa 1353–1336 BCE) and Tutankhamun (circa 1336–1327 BCE), Maya, the overseer of the treasury under Tutankhamun, and Tia, the overseer of the treasury during the reign of Ramses II (circa 1279–1213 BCE). This is also the site of the tomb, which Horemheb was planning for himself before he became king. However the past glory of this ancient necropolis can never be reinstated, because it served as a convenient quarry in antiquity and a large number of relief blocks are lost forever. Explore >

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