Supreme Council of Antiquities Excavations

Supported by: Supreme Council of Antiquities

Director: Zahi Hawass

Area: all over the Saqqara plateau

Click here to visit the website of this excavation.

 

Pyramid of a 6th dynasty queen in SaqqaraIt stands to reason that the Supreme Council of Antiquities (formerly known as the Egyptian Antiquities Organization) has always been digging in a site as rich as Saqqara. Thereby they continue the tradition which has existed since the days of Firth, Quibell, and Emery. Often these excavations are carried out by the Inspectors of the local office of the SCA. Among these we may mention the 1994-1997 exploration by Magdi el-Ghandur of the Old Kingdom mastaba of Kaemnefret, about 150 m to the south of the Dutch concession, a site where also important New Kingdom material was found (including a block from the tomb of Meryneith). Another example is the discovery of the tomb of the royal physician Qar, north of the pyramid of Sekhemkhet, by Adil Hussein (2001). Other explorations are directly conducted from the Giza Inspectorate or by the head office of the SCA in Cairo. This concerns the work by Mohammed Hagras in the Archaic necropolis of Saqqara north (between the SCA inspectorate and the British dighouse) in the years 1995-2003. A lot of work has also been done by Zahi Hawass, first as Chief Inspector of Giza and Saqqara and later as Chairman of the SCA. His explorations are especially concentrated on the Teti pyramid cemetery, where he has uncovered the pyramid of Teti's Queen Khuit and the chapel of the crown-prince Tetiankh (1994-2003). All around are numerous small mudbrick chapels dating to the New Kingdom, and Hawass has also relocated the famous tomb of Mose. His most recent finds are a 5th-Dynasty pyramid situated due east of Teti's and perhaps belonging to King Menkauhor, and yet another Queen's pyramid to the north of the Teti cemetery (2008). Further west an Old Kingdom cemetery of dentists has been found.

 

Pyramid of Sesheshet, mother of Teti? (according to Zahi Hawass)

(Information provided by Inspector Wa'el Fathi Morsi)

This pyramid is located about 100m north of the pyramid of Teti, and 20m east of the pyramid of Queen Iput I. The body of the pyramid consists of six steps made of local limestone. The casing was built of white limestone from the Tura quarries and is preserved only partly in the southwest corner up to about 2m high. The average blocks used measure 30x40x15cm. The pyramid was repeatedly robbed of its stones in ancient times. Originally, the pyramid was 15m high and 22m wide. Currently, only 5m is preserved of its original height.

After three years of excavating, the pyramid has been fully cleared. An enclosure wall was discovered on the north, west and south of the complex. Digging hasn't yet taken place to the east of the pyramid, where the remains of the funerary temple are to be expected and, perhaps, the name of the owner of the pyramid may be found.

The entrance of the pyramid was a shaft on the north side leading to a sloping corridor filled with rough granite blocks, which in turn led to the burial chamber. The burial chamber, located in the center of the pyramid, was carved in the natural rock and had its walls covered with limestone revetments. A small room to the east of the burial chamber was probably used for storing funerary furniture.

The granite coffin in the burial chamber was uninscribed. It was found to be already opened on discovery, but in it, the skeletal remains of a female were found - unfortunately without archaeological evidence or inscriptions indicating the name of the owner of the pyramid.