Important finds at Saqqara

Maarten Raven looking at a relief (2007)Maarten Raven looking at a relief (2007)
'Relief of Tatia', found at excavations in 2009'Relief of Tatia', found at excavations in 2009
Cleaning the relief of TatiaCleaning the relief of Tatia
Carefully uncovering a reliefCarefully uncovering a relief
Carefullty searching through the sandCarefullty searching through the sand

1975-1980 Horemheb’s tomb

Horemheb was a general under Tutankhamen. In 1319 B.C. he became pharaoh, and therefore he was buried in the Valley of the Kings near Thebes. The tomb already built for him in Saqqara was later used for his second wife, queen Mutnodjmet.  

1981 Tombs of Paser and Raia

Paser was an architect and Raia was a first singer in the temple of Ptah in the time of pharaoh Ramesses II.

1982-1984 Tomb of Tia and Tia

Tia was a sister of pharaoh Ramesses II. Her husband was also called Tia. He was Ramesses II’s treasurer.

1985 Tomb of Iurudef

Iurudef was the private secretary of Tia and Tia. In later times (11th –10th century B.C.), his burial chambers were used as a mass grave, in which about 70 mummies and mummy cases from that period were found.

1986 Tombs of Ramose, Khay and Pabes

Ramose was an army officer. Next to his tomb, the tombs of Khay and Pabes were found. Khay was a gold washer and his son Pabes was a merchant.

1987-1992 Tomb of Maya and Merit

Maya was the treasurer of pharaoh Tutankhamen. Merit was his wife. Since the nineteenth century, the museum has been in possession of three very fine statues found in this tomb. It was rediscovered by the expedition through a robber’s tunnel leading to it from Ramose’s tomb.

1993 Tomb of Iniuia

Iniuia was overseer of cattle in the time of Tutankhamen. He worked under Maya’s supervision.

1994-1998 Tomb of Pay and Raia

Pay was director of the harem in the time of pharaoh Tutankhamen. After a military career, his son Raia became his successor. Later, Raia used his father’s tomb for his own burial.

1999-2000 Research near Horemheb’s tomb

An area of 25 by 12 meter to the south of Horemheb’s tomb has also been researched. The most important find, in 1999, was of an anonymous mummy case with a mummy in it.

2001-2004 Grave of Meryneith and Anuy

Meryneith was a steward and sun priest in the time of the pharaohs Akhenaton and Tutankhamen (1353-1323 B.C.). Anuy was his wife. Colourful painted reliefs and a rare double sculpture of the couple were found in the tomb complex. In 2002, the remains of a royal tomb from circa 2700 B.C. were stumbled upon under this complex.

2004-2006 Front squares of Horemheb and Tia

When excavating the area around the tomb of Meryneith, it was discovered that both Horemheb (see 1975-1980) and Tia (see 1982-1984) had a paved front square in front of their tomb. This had been overlooked during previous excavations. Horemheb even had a second limestone pylon. An important dumping ground for grave robbers was found on his front square containing items from Tia's tomb.

2007-2008 Tomb of Ptahemwia

Ptahemwia was the cupbearer of the king during the time of pharaoh Akhenaton. Yet another tomb from the days of this ‘heretic king'! The tomb consists of columns and three chapels. Remains of reliefs show the dead during the inspection of a property and sacrifices to the deceased and his wife Maia. The tomb remained unfinished during the reign of Tutankhamen.

2009-2010 Chapels of Chay and Tatia

Both Chay and Tatia were connected with the god of the city of Memphis, Ptah. They were priests there and during processions they carried the front of the litter of the deity. Chay has a small clay chapel to the south of Horemheb's tomb; Tatia has a limestone chapel beside the tomb of Meryneith. A large gravestone pillar that has been preserved virtually complete stood against the back wall.

2011 No excavation work because of political unrest

Because of the political turmoil in Egypt, the archaeological team from the National Museum of Antiquities decided not to go to Saqqara in 2011.

2012 Inspection of storerooms and historic structures

A small team went to Saqqara to inspect the historic structures and storerooms. They tidied up the site and performed restoration work where necessary.

2013 and 2015 Grave from the reign of Tutankhamun

In 2013 a new grave was discovered, from the reign of Pharaoh Tutankhamun or shortly afterwards. The underground chambers of a tomb discovered in 2010 were also investigated. The expedition managed to discover the name of one of the people buried there. In 2015 the underground burial chambers have been further excavated and studied.

2014 and 2016 No excavation work because of political unrest

Because of the political turmoil in Egypt, the archaeological team from the National Museum of Antiquities decided not to go to Saqqara in these years.

2017 Burial chambers

Continuing the excavations of the underground burial chambers that had been discovered some years ago and conducting research on them.