Egypt Exploration Society Expeditions

Supported by: The Egypt Exploration Society (EES), London

Directors: David Jeffreys, Paul Nicholson, Janine Bourriau

Area: mainly Sacred Animal Necropolis and Anubieion

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The Egypt Exploration Society has been present in Saqqara since 1952, when Bryan Emery resumed his pre-war excavations in the Archaic necropolis of Saqqara-North. Ten years later, this led to the discovery of the Sacred Animal Necropolis, a vast complex of animal cults situated at the north-western tip of the plateau. Excavation of the main temple terrace and underground galleries with animal mummies remained unfinished at Emery's sudden death in 1971, and was continued for a couple of years by Harry Smith and Geoffrey Martin. The latter joined forces with the Leiden Museum and moved to the New Kingdom necropolis, finsing the tomb of Horemheb in 1975. Harry Smith and David Jeffreys shifted work to the Anubieion complex along the eastern escarpment of the Saqqara plateau, to the south-east of the Teti pyramid. From 1976-1981 they excavated the temple-town of this complex for the sacred dogs, plus the adjacent private cemetery. Later, David Jeffreys and Paul Nicholson started work in the ruins of ancient Memphis. The most recent work of the EES at Saqqara is mainly connected with the study and publication of material from the earlier projects: thus Janine Bourriau and Peter French are still working on the pottery from the Anubieion, Paul Nicholson has done some additional surveying of the catacombs of the hawks, ibises and mothers of Apis (1994-1998) and has conducted restoration of a new cache of 600 bronzes found there in 1995, and David Jeffreys has established an UTM grid of the whole plateau and executed some sondages at the bottom of the eastern escarpment in order to determine the depth of the various archaeological strata, including that of the remains of earliest Memphis. The latter project has now been frustrated by the construction in the area of extensive buildings for the local inspectorate of the Supreme Council for Antiquities.