Monday, April 25, 2011

Statement of Dr Maarten Raven (Field Director, Leiden mission to Saqqara)

We are pleased to hear that the situation in Egypt is becoming more or less normal again. Several excavations have already resumed their activities in the field, others (mainly in the south of the country) have never stopped working. In Saqqara, however, an assessment of the damage inflicted on the monuments during the troubles is still taking place. Objects from isolated magazines (such as those in Abusir) are being moved to the central storage facilities for better protection. So far, our colleagues of the Czech mission in Abusir are the first to be back in the field, but the conditions for work are still complicated.

Therefore, and because our team members are not easily available due to other obligations, we have decided to postpone further fieldwork until the winter of 2012, when we hope to have an ordinary season in the field. Soon we shall try to carry out a final inspection of our site to assess the minor damage incurred (mainly some modern wooden doors which have been kicked in). During the months January and February, we hope to carry out the projects originally planned for 2011, such as the exploration of the shaft of the anonymous tomb found in 2010 and a survey of the area situated to the south of the tomb of Meryneith. If the team of the Dutch-Flemish Institute will be free to join us again, further work will be undertaken to locate the proper entrance to the Archaic galleries located under the tomb of Meryneith.

In the meantime, great progress has been made with the preparations of our field reports. We expect to see the final publication of the tomb of Horemheb any day now (The Memphite Tomb of Horemheb V). Almost the whole text of The Tomb of Meryneith at Saqqara has now been edited and the illustrations have been ordered. The preliminary report on the season 2010 is in print.

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