Digging diary, week 6: 23 February - 1 March 2013

The Last Week

By Maarten Raven

And thus we come to the end of another fascinating season at Saqqara. The last week has been very hectic, but all went well and we leave the site with a feeling that we have accomplished most of our aims:

 - The anonymous tomb found in 2010 is no longer anonymous because we have evidence that a scribe of the temple of Ptah called Sethnakht was buried here (albeit secondarily).

- A new tomb has indeed been cleared in the area between the tombs of Tatia, Meryneith and Pay. And although it is once again an anonymous and unfinished tomb, it contains enough features of architectural interest to keep us busy with the analysis and interpretation for a while.

- The sondage to the north of the tomb of Meryneith has not given us access to the archaic galleries, but we know exactly how deep the natural rock layer is situated in this area, which will make it easier to continue our search there coming season.

- Two new replicas of reliefs in the Bologna Museum have successfully been installed on the walls of the tombs of Horemheb and Meryneith.

- Two new information panels have been put up, of which one is already guiding the first tourists to our site.

On the last day of the dig (last Sunday) we managed to find evidence that the new tomb had in fact a pyramid surmounting its central chapel. The same day brought the able team of our restoration architect Nicholas to the site, where he managed to renew two protective roofs over tombs found previously, and also filled some gaps in the perimeter walls of our new tomb. And so we leave the site with the nice feeling that everything is once again in good condition, and should sustain the harsh climate of the desert.

A brief report on this season's work will soon appear on the 'Friends' section of this website, and tonight we shall give a lecture on our results in the Netherlands-Flemish Institute in Cairo. And with that we say goodbye till next year … or till next Saqqara Day in Leiden of course (1 June)!