Friday, September 21, 2007

New Discoveries in the Abusir Pyramid Field

Archaeogate Egittologia (by Miroslav Verner)

A ten page bilingual overview of the newest archaeological discoveries at Abusir, by site director Miroslav Verner. The above link takes you to the introduction. Click on the page numbers at the bottom left, or the links in the main contents listing, to navigate between the pages. All pages are written first in Italian and then English.

The Introduction by the Archaeogate staff introduces the report and its context. The Foreward gives details of previous work at Abusir. The rest of the report gives an in depth view of each pyramid in turn (Raneferef, Khentkaus II, Shepsekare, Lespius's Pyramids XXIV and XXV, and Sahure's causeway). Finally, there is a short bibliography.

This is an excellent overview of Abusir - my sincere thanks to both Miroslav Verner and Archaeogate for making it available. Here's a short extract from the Sahure Causeway page (page 9).
In the mid 1990s, Zahi Hawass began, as a part of a reconstruction project, to clean the remains of the causeway in Sahure's pyramid complex. Very soon, the loader removing masses of sand hit a big limestone block covered with scenes and inscriptions in fine low relief. The work by means of the loader was immediately stopped and a team of archaeologists, directed at first by Zahi Hawass and subsequently by his assistant Tarek el-Awadi, began to examine carefully the area around the causeway.

The discovery of the block was a great surprise because by that time an opinion prevailed that the causeway had already been excavated by L. Borchardt. The work around the causeway goes on and so far 13 blocks from the upper part of the causeway decorated with historically and artistically invaluable inscriptions and scenes. Some of the scenes and inscriptions have already been published, for instance the emaciated beduins, the sport scenes, the dragging of a pyramidion, the offering scenes, etc.

All the hitherto discovered inscriptions and scenes will be published in two monographs in the near future, one by Tarek el-Awadi and the second by Mohammad Ismail – both of them now my post-graduate students.With the permission of the two cited Egyptian colleagues, let me inform you that among the so far unpublished scenes are long lists of Sahure's funerary domains in Upper and Lower Egypt, the return of an expedition from Punt, Sahure treating palm trees imported from Punt, Sahure fishing in the Nile, etc.

Of a special historical importance is a scene of Sahure's family surrounding the king in the garden of his palace Wtjs-nfrw-Sahw-ra "Extolled-is-Sahure's-beauty". The scene definitely confirms that Sahure's consort was queen Neferetnebty and his mother Userkaf's consort Neferhetepes.

See the above link for the full selection. There's a super satellite photograph of Abusir (particularly when you use the zoom tool to zoom out) at:

Archaeogate also has a copy of the summary of survey work carried out at Saqqara Step Pyramid by the Latvian Scientific Mission, which was posted on this blog earlier this month. It is in a rather more digestible format than the blog format permits, with all the images on one page, available as thumbnails. Click here to go to that page on the Archaeogate website.

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