Sunday, July 11, 2010

Two new tombs discovered in Saqqara

Al Ahram Weekly (Nevine El Aref)

With photo.

Minister of Culture Farouk Hosni has announced the discovery of two of the most important tombs ever found at Saqqara. The tombs dating from the Old Kingdom, which are in a part of the necropolis to the west of Djoser's Step Pyramid known as Gisr Al-Mudir, were discovered during routine excavations by an Egyptian mission that has been working in the area since 1968.

Zahi Hawass, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) and the team leader, says early studies have revealed that the tombs belonged to a man named Shendwa and his son, Khonsu.

The upper part of the father's tomb consists of a painted false door depicting scenes of the deceased seated before an offering table. The door also bears the various titles of office of the tomb's owner, an important governmental official during the Fifth Dynasty (2465- 2323 BC). He was head of the royal scribes and supervisor of missions, as well as bearing other honorary titles. The tomb's burial shaft is located directly beneath the false door, 20 metres below ground level.

The Independent, UK (Ann Wuyts)

With photo.

Two ancient tombs, belonging to a father and son, have been discovered in Egypt. The tombs, which date to the 6th Dynasty (c2325-2150 BC), were unearthed last week in the ancient necropolis of Saqqara. At least one of the rock-hewn tombs has never been looted in antiquity, making it a potentially huge breakthrough.

The discovery was made during excavations at Gisr El-Muder, just west of the famous Step Pyramid of Djoser, the world's first pyramid. The tombs belong to government official Shendwa and his son Khonsu, according to Egyptian antiquities chief Dr Zahi Hawass.

Shendwa's tomb is a rare intact example, free from looting. Among his funerary relics were five duck-shaped offering vessels, with the bones of the ducks still inside. Other limestone jars were discovered, though Shendwa's wooden sarcophagus had succumbed to erosion.

Al Masry Al Youm

Going down to the tomb himself, Hawass found that it had not been robbed due to its depth. The wooden coffin in which Sen Dwa was enclosed had disintegrated due to humidity, but next to the coffin antiquities were found including a set of limestone pots that resemble ducks and contain duck bones.

The most important discovery found inside the tomb, according to Hawass, was a 30-centimeter-high limestone obelisk.

Ancient Egyptians were famous for using small obelisks in front of tombs and inside burial places annexed to queens’ pyramids. The obelisks symbolise worship of Ra, the sun god.

Nearby is the tomb of Sen Dwa’s son, Khenso, which was found to contain pictures from the Old Kingdom. Khenso held the same titles as his father.

In front of the fake door is a stone doorsill that features characteristics of the Sixth Dynasty. The archeological team also found images of the deceased in different positions above the fake door.

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