New discoveries in Saqqarra

There has been a new discovery by Dr. Zahi Hawass and his team that dates back to both the old and New Kingdoms in Saqqara. They have discovered the funerary temple of Queen Nearit, the wife of King Teti, at an archaeological site next to the pyramid of King Teti who was the first king of the Sixth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom.

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Among the most important discoveries at the site were 52 burial shafts, that reach up to 10-12 meters deep. Inside these shafts they found hundreds of wooden coffins dating back to the New Kingdom. This is the first time that coffins dating back 3,000 years have been found in the Saqqara region. The coffins have many scenes of the gods that were worshiped during this period represented on them. They also have various excerpts from the Book of the Dead that help the deceased to pass through the journey of the other world inscribed on them.

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Inside the shafts, large numbers of archaeological artifacts and statues representing deities such as Osiris and Ptah-Soker-Osiris were discovered. There was also a unique discovery of a papyrus that was four meters in length and one meter wide, representing Chapter 17 from the Book of the Dead, and the name of its owner is recorded on it (Pw-Kha-Ef).

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A wonderful well preserved limestone stelae was found in one of the excavated shafts that belongs to a man named Kha-Ptah and his wife Mwt-em-wia. This shows him and his wife along with their six sons and daughters. One of their daughters bear the name Nefertary, named after the beloved wife of king Ramesses II, who built her a marvelous tomb at Valley of the Queens as well as a temple at Abu Simbel. In addition to that, one of his sons was named Kha-em-waset, after one of the sons of King Ramesses II. He is considered a wise man, and is known as the first Egyptologist, who used to restore the antiquities of his ancestors.

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Pottery dating back to the New Kingdom was found, including pottery that gives us evidence about the commercial relations between Egypt and Crete, Syria, Palestine.

Also uncovered was a luxurious mud-brick shrine dating back to the New Kingdom, which reaches to a depth of 24m below ground level. The base of the shaft was paved with well-polished, shiny limestone slabs. This is the first time that a shaft with this depth has been found, work is currently still in progress as Dr. Zahi Hawass believes that this shaft was not looted by thieves.

Dr. Zahi Hawass has confirmed that this discovery will put Saqqara on the map as an important tourist and cultural destination.

Do you remember sitting is your history lesson in school learning about the fascinating world of pharaohs, deities, temples and pyramids. If you are thirsty for travel and some excitement, join us at Inside Egypt on one of our tours to bring the history to life!