Saqqara (Egypt), 2012

Saqqara (Egypt)

Dates of work: 1 September – 18 October 2012

Director: Prof. Karol Myśliwiec (Institute of Mediterranean and Oriental Cultures, Polish Academy of Sciences)
MSA representative: Mokhtar Hamada Allah Hassem
Archaeologists: Małgorzata Radomska (Institute of Mediterranean and Oriental Cultures, Polish Academy of Sciences), Agnieszka Kowalska (independent), Marek Woźniak (independent)
Egyptologists: Dr. Kamil O. Kuraszkiewicz (Institute of Archaeology, University of Warsaw), Dr. Teodozja Rzeuska, ceramologist (Institute of Mediterranean and Oriental Cultures, Polish Academy of Sciences), Dr. Fabian Welc (Institute of Archaeology, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw)
Architect: Beata Błaszczuk (freelance)
Geologists: Dr. Jerzy Trzciński, Sebastian Kowalczyk (both Institute of Geology, University of Warsaw), Prof. Dr. Anna Wysocka (Institute of Geology, University of Warsaw)
Anthropologists: Dr. Iwona Kozieradzka-Ogunmakin (University of Sheffield), Dr. Andrew Chamberlain (Manchester University)
Archeolozoologist: Prof. Dr. Salima Ikram (American University in Cairo)
Conservators/restorers: Zbigniew Godziejewski (National Museum in Warsaw), Urszula Dąbrowska, Magdalena Abramowska (both freelance), Amr Abdel Fatah Abdel Samea (Supreme Council of Antiquities, Saqqara)
Photographer: Jarosław Dąbrowski (freelance)
Documentalists: Aneta Cedro, Christiane Maquet, Ramon Albo Verdaguer, Angeles Gibello Bota (all freelance)

(Joint description of season 2012 and 2013/2014)

After having finished the excavation in a zone located west of the Step Pyramid and spanning the area between the pyramid enclosure wall and the eastern border of the Dry Moat, the Polish–Egyptian mission started a new project aiming at a complex investigation of the Dry Moat. A geophysical survey of the area and excavations during these two campaigns focused on the east and west rock-hewn walls of the Moat, thus completing earlier research done in this part of the excavation field. A further part of the Upper Necropolis, containing simple burials from the Ptolemaic period, was unearthed and the exploration of the tomb inscribed for Ikhi/Mery and his namesake son was continued. Clearing the facade of the latter led to the discovery of another funerary structure cut in the rock below the general’s tomb. The floor of the upper tomb turned out to be the ceiling of the lower one. Preparations for the exploration of the new structure were made in 2014.

The pottery analyzed was associated with the Lower Necropolis (areas of Chapel 14 of Ikhi/Mery and Chapel 13) from the late Old Kingdom as well as the Upper Necropolis from the Late through Roman periods, extant in this region. The assemblage from the Lower Necropolis supplemented the little known ceramic repertoire from the Saqqara phase II (Pepi I–Merenre). Of interest is a type of miniature vessel possibly connected with child burials. As for pottery from the Upper Necropolis, the form repertoire indicates that the area currently explored was the site of simple embalming caches.

The mission would like to thank Dr. Mohammed Ismail, Director of the Permanent Committee in the Supreme Council of Antiquities, for his constant help in preparing the campaigns and enabling the mission to fill our tasks. We would also like to thank Dr. Mahmoud Afifi, Head of the Central Administration for Cairo and Giza, who showed much interest in various important aspects of our activities. We also profited very much from the experience and generous assistance of the authorities of the Saqqara office of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, and particularly those of General Manager of the SCA in Saqqara Mr. Kamal Wahid (2012) and Mr. Alaa el-Shehat who took over his duties in 2014, as well as Chief Inspector of Saqqara Antiquities Mr. Sabri Farag and Chief Inspector of South Saqqara Mr. Mohamed Yusuf. The report has been prepared with the financial support of the National Science Centre, Grant No. UMO-2013/11/B/HS3/04472.

[Text: Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean 24/1]

K. Myśliwiec: