Pennsylvania Museum Expedition

Supported by: University of Pennsylvania Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology, University of Boston and Yale University

Director: David Silverman

Area: Teti pyramid cemetery

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In 1992, the Pennsylvania Museum started a comprehensive project aiming at clarifying the extent and nature of the Middle Kingdom installations at Saqqara. The first seasons were devoted to an epigraphic and art-historical study of the chapels of Ihy and Hetep, two officials connected with the mortuary cult of King Teti who had their tombs built against the south face of the mastaba of Kagemni. These consist of a courtyard and a number of chapels for the offering cult. The original shafts were relocated in the courtyards and the tomb-chambers were found to lie well within the enclosure of the Teti pyramid. These chambers were originally lined with slabs of limestone with finely painted decoration, now much ruined. Hetep's chamber still contained a beautiful alabaster sarcophagus. From 1996 the expedition has moved further to the east of the Teti pyramid, where the tombs of Sahathoripy and Sekweskhet were explored, again two officials working for King Teti's cult. The tombs in question were already discovered by Quibell, but only now are their subterranean corridors and chambers being emptied. Like those of the other two tombs, these comprised beautiful limestone revetment including painted scenes and inscriptions derived from the Pyramid Texts. In piecing together the hundreds of fragments the expedition has found out that part of this material must have fallen down from the superstructures of the two tombs, which have now completely disappeared from the desert surface but must have had a similar character to that of the tombs of Ihy and Hetep.