Most interesting finds from Paser's tomb

Votive stelaVotive stela

Apart from the stelae which formed an integral element of the wall-decoration, the Saqqara tombs often contained smaller stelae placed against the walls as mementoes of visitors, relatives, or priests. Three such stelas were found on the pavement of Paser's antechapel. This specimen shows Paser in adoration of Osiris and Isis. Between the deceased and the gods is a lotiform stand with the figures of the four Sons of Horus. The lower register depicts two men and a woman approaching an altar. The first man has the shaven head and leopard skin of a mortuary priest. The inscription in front of him informs us that the stela was ‘dedicated by the offering bearer of Ptah Tjelpare'. Clearly Paser's relatives had hired a professional priest of the Memphite town-god Ptah to look after the tomb of their ancestor. The other two persons depicted have to remain anonymous for lack of further inscriptions.


Shabti fragments from the tomb of PaserShabti fragments

These shabti fragments are the only surviving objects from the tomb of Paser which are inscribed with his name. Both statuettes are carved from a bluish-grey limestone. They represent the tomb-owner in the shape of a mummy. The front is inscribed in one column of incised hieroglyphs mentioning ‘the overseer of builders Paser'. The framed lines around the body contain part of spell 6 from the Book of the Dead, the so-called shabti spell. This summons the shabtis to answer on behalf of the deceased when the latter is called for menial labour in the hereafter. Such work comprised the preparation of agricultural fields, the irrigation of high-lying grounds, and the construction of canals and dikes. Usually the shabtis carry hoes and a sandbag for this purpose.


Wooden mallet

Wooden mallet

This wooden mallet was found against the exterior of the north wall of Paser's courtyard. It is made of a single block of wood. With its tapering handle and bulbous head it exactly represents the wooden mallets used nowadays in sculpture. This similarity just shows how the ancient Egyptians already managed to find the most practical solution for many implements. Builders' tools such as these are often found in our excavations. They comprise hammerstones and grinders, plump bobs, pots used to contain paint or plaster, stirrers and spatulas, and of course the artists' sketches on pieces of limestone and pottery (ostraca). Some of these were discarded when no longer needed, others (such as this mallet) were probably lost or forgotten on the building site.