Other excavations

Besides the Dutch excavations, various other missions have been active in Saqqara. After World War II, archaeological research at Saqqara became an international affair. British involvement with the Saqqara antiquities was resumed in 1952-1956 with the return of Emery (now working for the Egypt Exploration Society of London) to the archaic necropolis. From 1964 until his death in 1971 he shifted his work further west to a Third Dynasty cemetery where he hoped to find the tomb of Imhotep, the legendary architect of the Djoser pyramid who was venerated as a god by later generations. Instead, Emery relocated the long-lost animal galleries last seen by the early travellers. The study of this complex of the sacred animals, the central temple of Nectanebo II (360-343 B.C.), and the eastern approaches of the Bubastieion and the Anubieion was continued by Geoffrey Martin , Harry Smith and David Jeffreys until 1980; more work was done in the galleries recently. In 1975, Geoffrey Martin started a collaboration with the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden, with the aim of exploring the New Kingdom necropolis of Saqqara.

In the meantime, the French mission continued work at the Saqqara pyramids. A special place in this project is taken by Jean-Philippe Lauer , who has worked for almost seventy years at Saqqara, especially as restoration architect of the Step Pyramid. From 1965 onwards, he joined forces with Jean Leclant. Their project was initiated as a research project on the Pyramid Texts but includes the architectural recording and full excavation of all the Saqqara pyramid complexes. In 1980, Alain Zivie began clearing a series of New Kingdom rock tombs cut out in the eastern cliffs of the plateau. Most of these had been re-used as burial-places for the cat mummies of the Bubastieion. The most important find so far was the undisturbed burial chamber of the vizier Aperia, a contemporary of King Akhenaten (1350-1334 B.C.). Recently, the Louvre Museum started a survey of the area where its mastaba of Akhethetep came from in 1903.

Among the numerous other expeditions only a few can be singled out here. Much fieldwork has been done by Egyptian archaeologists working for the Antiquities Service; most famous was the discovery of the unfinished step pyramid of Sekhemkhet by Zakaria Goneim from 1951-1955. A joint Egyptian-Australian mission directed by Naguib Kanawati is currently excavating several Old Kingdom monuments in the Teti pyramid cemetery. A Cairo University team, led first by Soad Maher and then by Sayed Tewfik, excavated about 35 New Kingdom tombs in the area near the Monastery of Apa Jeremias (1977, 1984-1988). A German expedition, first directed by Hartwig Altenmüller and then by Peter Munro, has been conducting epigraphic work and excavations around the Unas causeway since 1978. The Italians, under Edda Bresciani, have been clearing and restoring a group of Late Period rock tombs in the eastern escarpment since 1972. Newcomers to the Saqqara necropolis are the Japanese (under Sakuji Yoshimura, monument of Prince Khaemwas, 1991-present) and the Polish (under Karol Mysliwiec, mastaba of Merefnebef, 1996-present).