Back in Saqqara after a two-year absence!

Inspector Mohammed Hendawy opens the tombs.

This week the Leiden-Turin Archaeological Expedition to Saqqara arrived in Egypt after a two-year absence.

The team will continue to excavate a new tomb, the entrance of which was found during the last excavation season in 2019.

Also this year, Friends of Saqqara is supporting the work thanks to the donations of our Friends! You can support the project by becoming a Friend (see the information at the bottom of the page).

A weekly Digging Diary will be posted on the website of the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden to keep us updated on the progress of the excavations.

This week, in the first post of this year, the opening of the archaeological site is explained.

You can read the Digging Diary here: (Dutch) (English)

We wish the team a very fruitful season and we look forward to reading about their new finds!

2022-09-16T15:27:03+01:00September 16th, 2022|Categories: News|

Programma 18e Saqqara-dag, 21 mei 2022 (in Dutch)

Zaterdag 21 mei 2022
Lipsius-gebouw (Universiteit Leiden)
Cleveringaplaats 1

09:00-09.45u Inschrijving en ontvangst met koffie/thee
09.45-10.00u Opening 18e Saqqara-dag door de voorzitter van Friends of Saqqara Vincent Oeters
10.00-10.45u In the shadow of Saqqara. Results of the recent archaeological study of First Dynasty elite mastabas at Abu Rawash (Engelstalig) Yann Tristant (KU Leuven)
10.45-11.15u Pauze met koffie/thee
De papyri van Boeqentuef: grafbouw in Sakkara tijdens de regering van Ramses III
Daniel Soliman
12.00-14.00u Lunchpauze (op eigen gelegenheid)
14.00-14.20u Saqqara Newsflash: bijzondere ontdekkingen in het nieuws Carolien van Zoest
The Geoffrey Thorndike Martin Memphite New Kingdom Archive (en oud nieuws uit het graf van Horemheb)
Nico Staring
14.40-15.15u Pauze
De eerste Nederlandse opgraving in Egypte (1957-1959): Adolf Klasens in Abu Rawash
Rinus Ormeling
16.15-16.30u Loterijtrekking
16.30-18.00u Afsluitende borrel
vanaf 18.00u Diner in restaurant Verboden Toegang (optioneel)

Donateurs gratis, studenten € 5, anderen € 10 entree (incl. koffie en thee, excl. lunch en diner).

Deelname aan het aansluitende diner in restaurant Karalis kost ca. € 25 à € 30 (à la carte).

Verdiep uw kennis van het oude Egypte, leer meer over de begraafplaats Saqqara, ontmoet de wetenschappers die er werkzaam zijn èn uw mede-geïnteresseerden, sla uw slag op de tweedehands boekenmarkt, doe mee met een spannende loterij en geniet samen met ons van een afsluitend diner. Mis het niet!

2022-05-20T06:41:44+01:00May 10th, 2022|Categories: News|

Saqqara-dag 2022: save the date!

Eindelijk kan het weer! De 18e Saqqara-dag vindt plaats op zaterdag 21 mei 2022. Noteer de datum alvast in uw agenda! Het programma wordt later bekend gemaakt. Vaste onderdelen zullen ook dit jaar zijn: een bijzondere buitenlandse spreker, een loterij, onze tweedehands boekenmarkt en veel gelegenheid om elkaar te ontmoeten!

Donateurs van de stichting Friends of Saqqara betalen geen entreegeld voor de Saqqara-dag. Nog geen donateur? Meld u aan via en maak uw donatie over naar ons bankrekeningnummer. Meer informatie staat onderaan deze webpagina (in de voettekst van elke pagina op onze website).

U kunt zich hier registreren.

It is finally possible again! The 18th Saqqara Day will take place in Leiden on Saturday 21 May 2022; save the date! The full program will be revealed later. As in previous years, you may certainly expect an international speaker, a lottery, our second-hand book market and many opportunities to meet each other!

Friends of Saqqara members receive free entrance to the Saqqara Day. If you wish to become a Friend, please email us at and transfer your donation into our bank account. More information is found at the bottom of this webpage (and in the footer of all pages on our website).

You can register here.

2022-05-13T09:45:00+01:00March 31st, 2022|Categories: News|

Professor Geoffrey Thorndike Martin (1934-2022)

Yesterday evening the Friends of Saqqara Foundation received the sad news of the passing of Professor Geoffrey Martin on the morning of Monday 7 March 2022.

Professor Geoffrey Almeric Thorndike Martin (born 28 May 1934) will be remembered by us as an incredibly kind and generous man whose contributions to rediscovering the Memphite New Kingdom necropolis at Saqqara were fundamental. Geoffrey obtained his BA in Ancient History from University College London in 1963. He then studied for an MA at the University of Cambridge (1966) and joined the Fellowship at Christ’s College as the Lady Wallis Budge Junior Research Fellow. During his Junior Research Fellowship in 1969, he received his PhD. In 1970, Geoffrey returned to University College London as an Egyptology lecturer, eventually becoming Edwards Professor of Egyptian Archaeology and Philology.

Before his fieldwork in Saqqara started, Geoffrey participated in excavations at Buhen in the Sudan for the Egypt Exploration Society (EES) in 1963. At Saqqara, he first participated in excavations of the animal necropolis and was site Director for the EES mission from 1964 until 1968. In 1975, the Anglo-Dutch joint mission of the EES (London) and the National Museum of Antiquities (Leiden) at Saqqara started under the directorship of Geoffrey, assisted by Dr Hans D. Schneider. The objectives of the joint mission were the relocation, investigation and publication of the New Kingdom tombs in Saqqara which were partly explored by Karl Richard Lepsius back in 1843. The mission proved to be fruitful from the start as the long lost Memphite tomb of Horemheb was rediscovered in the very first year of the excavations. Many other important tombs followed, such as the tomb of Maya, Treasurer of Tutankhamun, and his wife Meryt in 1986 and the Tomb of Tia, Ramesses II’s treasurer who married the elder sister of the Pharaoh remarkably also named Tia. These discoveries by Geoffrey and his team confirmed that the ancient capital of Memphis retained its importance as the main centre of royal administration in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Dynasties and revealed Saqqara’s importance as a New Kingdom archaeological site.

Above: Prof Geoffrey Martin in front of the tomb of Khay I and its newly constructed protective shelter.

Besides Field Director, Geoffrey worked as Epigraphist for the mission and many are familiar with his beautiful drawings of numerous New Kingdom reliefs. Geoffrey turned his attention also to the many reliefs from the site in museum collections which resulted in his publication Corpus of reliefs of the New Kingdom from the Memphite necropolis and Lower Egypt I (1987, London; New York: Routledge & Kegan Paul). The discovered tombs were published by Geoffrey and his team in many preliminary publications and final publications. In 1991, Geoffrey published The hidden tombs of Memphis (London: Thames and Hudson) in which he presented the work of the joint mission in an exciting and vivid account of the first thirteen seasons and the discoveries made during those seasons.

Prof Geoffrey Martin working as an epigraphist in the field.

After the Anglo-Dutch mission, Geoffrey became Joint Field Director of the Amarna Royal Tombs Project and later Field Director of the Cambridge Expedition to the Valley of the Kings, re-excavating the royal Theban tomb of Horemheb, together with Dr Jacobus van Dijk.

Geoffrey visited Leiden several times to present his research to the Friends of Saqqara. Two of his latest monographs on Saqqara were published with the help of donations from the Friends of Saqqara Foundation and individual EES members. On Saturday 2 June 2012, during the 10th annual Saqqara Day, the first copy of his The Tomb of Maya and Meryt I: the Reliefs, Inscriptions, and Commentary (EES Excavation Memoir 99) was presented to Geoffrey in front of the Taffeh Temple in the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden. A revised version of his 1989 publication on the Saqqara tomb of Horemheb, then commander-in-chief of Tutankhamun prior to his becoming King Horemheb, was published in 2017.

Geoffrey will be greatly missed by us as friend and colleague and we are very grateful to him for the existence of our Foundation is inextricably linked to his contributions to rediscovering the Memphite New Kingdom necropolis at Saqqara.

Vincent Oeters
Chairman Friends of Saqqara


2022-03-08T17:05:52+01:00March 8th, 2022|Categories: Uncategorised|

Online lecture by Aidan Dodson: The Serapeum at Saqqara

Online lecture exclusively for our Friends of Saqqara! Register with your “donateurnummer”.

Online lezing exclusief voor Friends of Saqqara-donateurs! Aanmelden met donateurnummer.

Uw donateurnummer wordt vermeld in de emails die u van ons ontvangt.


Dear Friends,

We would like to invite you for an online lecture exclusively for our Friends of Saqqara! Please register in the form below with your “donateurnummer” (your membership number is stated in the emails you receive from us).

The Apis bull, an avatar of Ptah, had been worshipped since the First Dynasty, but nothing is known of its posthumous fate until the reign of Amenhotep III. Henceforth, however, we have an almost unbroken sequence of bull burials running down to the end of the Ptolemaic Period. Today, we will take an overview of their history and development.

2022-03-18T17:46:39+01:00February 11th, 2022|Categories: Uncategorised|

Saqqara Newsletter 18 (2020)

The newest volume of our Saqqara Newsletter 2020 (18) has been sent to all Friends of Saqqara.


  • Vincent Oeters – From the Chairperson
  • Paolo Del Vesco, Christian Greco, Corinna Rossi, Daniel Soliman, Lara Weiss – Saqqara Away from Saqqara: Research in Troubled Times;
  • Daniel Soliman – Late Antique and Medieval Remains at Saqqara: A Retrospective;
  • Editorial board – Interview with Daniel Soliman;
  • Ola el Aguizy – The Tomb of the Army General Iwrkhy: Genealogy Problems;
  • Nozomu Kawai – Exploring the New Kingdom Tombs at North Saqqara;
  • Huw Twiston Davies – Signs of life in the City of the Dead;
  • Karel Innemee – The Monastery of Apa Jeremiah at Saqqara.

In case you want to receive the annual Saqqara Newsletter: become a Friend!


To become a Friend send an email to with your name + postal address and pay the membership fee!

There are two membership categories:

  • Regular € 35
  • Student € 17,50

(For members abroad an additional
€ 5 will be charged for postage)

Our banks details are as follows:

IBAN: NL18 INGB 0009 5621 50

2021-02-23T10:47:32+01:00February 23rd, 2021|Categories: Uncategorised|
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