News is beginning to pop up about a new tomb discovered in the Saqqara area of the Memphis Necropolis, and it’s a big one! Actually, two tombs have been discovered, and while they seem to have already been looted, archaeologists have found artifacts, including human remains.
According to the AFP newswire, one of the tombs is the largest yet discovered at Saqqara. As Zahi Hawass put it, “It took me two hours to look around it” (Source: AFP: “Huge tomb found at Egypt’s Saqqara pyramid” [article no longer online]). Although there is no mention of a pyramid in the story, the story’s title probably refers to the pyramid complex of Djoser, which is often considered synonymous with Saqqara, although there are a number of other pyramids at the site. It is unclear at this point if the tombs are in any way related to Djoser’s step pyramid.
The larger tomb has a primary chamber described as “vast” with alcoves branching off. One of the alcoves contained pottery and human skeletons, but no human mummies were discovered in the tomb. There were mummified falcons, however, in another alcove. Yet another alcove contained a 23-foot-deep well.
All that we know about the second tomb is that it contained pottery. The looting of both tombs, according to one source (Earth Times: “2,500-year-old tomb unearthed in Egypt”), occurred sometime in the Fifth Century AD.
Details are few at this point, there being no posting as of this date at Zahi Hawass’ Official Website, and the discovery was apparently made by Egyptian archaeologists, so the full story will be released on the Supreme Council of Antiquities’ schedule.
Saqqara has been the location of a number of wonderful discoveries in recent years, including a pyramid believed to belong to Queen Sesheshet, mother of Pharaoh Teti, the first king if the Sixth Dynasty, and the Old Kingdom tombs of the courtiers lya-Maat and Thinh.
For some pictures check out Discovery News: “Largest Saqqara Tomb Discovered“. Also, it would seem that the word “well” above, as in 23-foot-deep well, was a mistranslation. It is at this point simply a hole, which of course isn’t simple at all, since it doesn’t seem to be a tomb shaft, so what is it?
Copyright by Keith Payne, 2009. All rights reserved.
The photos “Camels at Saqqara” and “Guards are forbidden” by Keith Payne, copyright 2009, all rights reserved.