16 July 2015

EES London study day: Shifting sands at Saqqara

Saturday 11th July, the Egypt Exploration Society organised a Study Day in London with lectures about New Kingdom Saqqara excavations at the Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre of SOAS. Team-members Lara Weiss (Board of Trustees) and Vincent Oeters (Board of FoS) gave a talk about the Friends of Saqqara and recent and not so recent fieldwork at our site. It was a great success and a wonderful collaboration between the Friends of Saqqara and our colleagues of the Egypt Exploration Society. More info on the Study Day and the EES can be found here: Website EES

FLTR = Vincent Oeters, former field director Prof Geoffrey T. Martin, Prof Alain Zivie and Dr Lara Weiss (photo by Sonia Farrow)

9 June 2015

Saqqara day 2015

The Friends of Saqqara foundation held its annual Saqqara Day on Saturday, June 13. This day is filled with Saqqara-related lectures, a lottery, a used-books market and -most importantly- the latest news from the excavation.

For many years Board Member Carolien van Zoest presented the Saqqara Day, this year Board Member Vincent Oeters took over and presented the day. We would like to thank Carolien for all her efforts and her continuing work for the Foundation.

Our day started with an interesting lecture by Ilona Regulski on a often somewhat forgotten piece of Saqqara: the subsoil tombs from the Early Dynastic period. After that, we looked back at the important discovery of the tomb of Meryneith in 2001 through some Dutch TV news recordings. A lecture on workmen's songs in Old Kingdom elite tombs by Janny Roos followed.
During an extensive lunch break we took the opportunity to catch up with friends, try our luck at the lottery, buy some much 'needed' books and have a look at the offers of some publishers who were present during the day.

And then came the moment we had all been waiting for: reports from the 2015 digging season in Saqqara. During the afternoon program we were even honoured with a visit from the Egyptian ambassador.
Our first two speakers were both teammembers who joined the Leiden-Turin mission this year for the first time. Lara Weiss presented an extension on her PhD project on personal religion in Deir el-Medina and found an interesting link with Saqqara. Paolo del Vesco presented one of the greatest finds from this digging season: a large Horus statue. Excavation supervisors Maarten Raven and Christian Greco told us extensively about all the work the team had conducted in this year's four-week mission. And -as it always is- more questions arose than could be answered, so were also given a glimpse of the projects they hope to execute next year.

It was a fantastic day with lots of interesting lectures as well as much Dutch 'gezelligheid'.


28 May 2015

Excavation Season 2015

All the Digging Diaries of the 2015 season are online !

For our Friends there is a special report by Lyla Pinch-Brock in the English Friends Digging Diary section!


24 April 2015

Excavation Season 2015

Due to the Morsi revolution, the excavation team has had to cancel its plans for 2014. But now the team is ready to travel out to Egypt in order to resume its fieldwork at Saqqara. A great development is that the Museo Egizio of Turin, where our team member dr Christian Greco became the new director (see our news bulletin of 24 February 2014) has become an official partner in the excavations, which will therefore become the Leiden/Turin Expedition. This gives our projectthe financial and organisational support we need for the future.

The excavation season will take place from May 1-28, 2015, with the following programme of activities:

1. To clear the substructure of the anonymous tomb excavated in the season 2013 to the south of the tomb of Meryneith.
2. To clear the area situated between the new anonymous tomb and the chapel of Tatia.
3. To clear the area situated between the new anonymous tomb and the tomb of Meryneith.
4. To consolidate the superstructure of the tomb of Sethnakht.
5. To continue the study of reliefs, pottery and bones found in previous seasons, including some blocks in the Imhotep A storerooms.

The team will consist of the following members:
Dr Maarten J. Raven (joint field director)
Dr Christian Greco (joint field director)
Dr Lara Weiss (archaeologist)
Dr Paolo del Vesco (archaeologist)
Dr Barbara Aston (pottery specialist)
Dr Sarah Inskip (anthropologist)
Ms Lyla Pinch Brock (draftsperson)
Ms Annelies Bleeker (surveyor)
Dr Nicholas Warner (architect)
Ms Alexandra Winkels (temporary guest, conservator)

We hope to send in our weekly digging diaries to report about our fieldwork, as usual. So to all our readers: make sure you consult this website regularly the coming few weeks!

Maarten Raven


13 March 2015

Dutch Anouncement: De enige echte Egypte-pubquiz was weer een succes!

Donderdag 5 maart vond in het Rijksmuseum van Oudheden een epische strijd plaats tussen 19 teams in de tweede editie van de Enige echte Egypte-pubquiz. De quiz bestond uit negen rondes met vragen over geschiedenis, archeologie, literatuur, materiële cultuur (waaronder de collectie van het museum) en natuurlijk Egyptomanie. Beroemde farao's en hun bouwwerken, mooie artefacten, bekende Egyptologen, obscure internetgames, opera's, diverse dieren en interessante teksten: het kwam allemaal voorbij deze avond.

Het geheel werd gepresenteerd door het dynamische duo Ben Haring en Vincent Oeters. De deskundige jury bestond uit Olaf Kaper, Rob Demarée, Maarten Raven en René van Walsem - allen egyptologen verbonden aan de universiteit of het museum. Het team dat uiteindelijk de meeste kennis bleek te bezitten over het oude Egypte waren de Egyptoloogjes 2006.* De winnaar van vorig jaar - Per anch - eindigde op de tweede plaats. Derde werd team Netjeroe Aboe. Ook dit jaar was het weer een geslaagde avond voor studenten, alumni en geïnteresseerden. Wie stoot volgend jaar de Egyptoloogjes 2006 van de troon?

Klik voor foto's van de avond hier .

* Het team met de meeste punten was een team bestaande uit bestuursleden van de stichting Friends of Saqqara. Hoewel zij niets meegekregen hebben van de pubquiz en dus eerlijk aan hun punten gekomen zijn, is in goed overleg besloten dat zij niet meespeelden voor de prijs. Omdat wij toch trots zijn dat ons eigen bestuur over zoveel kennis van het oude Egypte beschikt, hebben wij besloten FnD-Hb wel in de scorelijst te zetten.

Er volgt nog een uitgebreider stuk in de Newsletter later dit jaar, waarin o.a. wat leuke en interessante vragen/antwoorden voorbij zullen komen om de sfeer van deze gezellige avond weer in herinnering te roepen.


24 February 2014

Curator of Dutch National Museum of Antiquities appointed Director of Egyptian Museum in Turin

The Rijksmuseum van Oudheden (Dutch National Museum of Antiquities), is pleased to announce the appointment of Christian Greco, curator of the Egyptian department, as director of the Egyptian Museum in Turin. This museum is one of the world's leading museums for Egyptian archaeology. Greco will start as director in Turin on 1 May this year.

Museum director Wim Weijland: 'We are immensely proud that Christian has been given the opportunity to take such a wonderful new step in his career. His erudition and enthusiasm will be greatly missed. We wish him the very best for his future and we are looking forward to continue our fruitful collaboration with him in his new position.'

Christian Greco (1975) has worked for the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden in Leiden since 2009 as assistant curator, and since 2011 as curator of the Egyptian collection in conjunction with prof. dr. Maarten Raven. In addition to his work within the museum he was joint field director of the museum's archaeological excavations at Saqqara (Egypt), and he worked in Luxor as epigrapher with the Chicago Oriental Institute. Since 2012, he has taught at Leiden University's Faculty of Archaeology. Greco studied Classics and Archaeology of the Near East at the University of Pavia, and attained a PhD in Egyptology from the University of Pisa in 2008.

For further information please contact the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, director Wim Weijland, 0031 6 15 689 633.

The Friends of Saqqara Foundation congratulates our colleague and team-member Dr Christian Greco with this amazing opportunity and wish him the very best in his new position. 

The Tomb of Meryneith at Saqqara


Raven, M.R., Van Walsem, R., Papers on Archaeology of the Leiden Museum of Antiquities (PALMA), 10 (2014)

This funerary monument of a high Memphite official was discovered by a joint expedition of the Leiden Museum of Antiquities and Leiden University in 2001. Meryneith started his career as steward of the Memphite temple of the sun god Aten during the reign of the heretic pharaoh Akhenaten. During midlife, he may have joined the court set up by the Pharaoh at the new capital at Amarna. He ended his career under Tutankhamun as high-priest of the Aten in the Memphite temple again. Thereby, the importance of the tomb of Meryneith lies in the fact that for the first time it allows us to witness various stages in the rise and fall of the Amarna heresy from a Memphite point of view. Thus the tomb-owner was apparently forced to change his name from Meryneith - with its reference to the now proscribed goddess Neith - into Meryre. Several other variants of his name and some additional titles came to light, revealing various stages in his career. These stages mirror the ideological developments of the Amarna Period and its immediate aftermath, which are further illustrated by the different styles of the decoration of the tomb. This proved to be remarkably well preserved and consists of both wall-reliefs and paintings on mud plaster. Thanks to the evidence of the inscriptions, it can be observed how the tomb was built and decorated in various stages, each characterized by a marked change in style and iconography. The present report includes a full description of these wall scenes, as well as chapters on the career of the tomb-owner, on the double statue of Meryneith and his wife found in one of the west chapels, and on the objects, pottery, and skeletal material found in the course of the excavations.

Cover price: € 94.00.

To order a copy, click here.

Images of Saqqara - Thirty-Eight Years of (Anglo-)Dutch Excavations

On the occasion of the tenth annual Saqqara Day in Leiden on 2 June 2012 a booklet was published containing a visual history of the (Anglo)-Dutch excavations at Saqqara since 1975.

The publication presents dozens of carefully selected colour photographs of the excavations of sixteen of the tombs found, most of them never published before. Short texts provide information on the tombs and their owners. The booklet is written by Vincent Oeters and edited by Vincent Verschoor, both board members of the foundation.

Friends of the foundation received a copy on the Saqqara Day or by mail. If you are not a friend but you are interested in ordering a copy, you can send an email to:

Cover Price : € 12.50.

The Tomb of Iniuia in the New Kingdom necropolis of Memphis at Saqqara

Schneider, H.D., Papers on Archaeology of the Leiden Museum of Antiquities (PALMA), 8 (2012)

Iniuia was a high official under King Tutankhamun. He started his career as scribe of the treasury of the Lord of the Two Lands in Memphis. Next he became overseer of the cattle of Amun and high steward of Memphis. His tomb, situated just south of the tomb of general Horemheb, was excavated in 1993 by the joint expedition of the Egypt Exploration Society and the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden. There are two chapels, one of which is decorated with painted scenes and the other with painted reliefs in a style which is reminiscent of the art of Amarna. The book contains chapters on the architecture of the tomb, the decoration of both chapels and other monuments of Iniuia now in museum collections, as well as on the objects, the pottery, and the skeletal remains found in the tomb.

Cover price: € 71.00.

To order a copy, click here.

Mission Digging DiaryMembership infoAbstractsPhotos of Pubquiz 2015