v.oeters

/v.oeters

About v.oeters

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far v.oeters has created 16 blog entries.

Digging Diary 2: 24-30.03.2018

2018-04-03T15:21:46+00:00March 30th, 2018|Categories: Digging Diaries|

It’s our third week in Egypt, the second in which we are actually excavating. Miriam is carefully clearing the hill north to our two small Ramesside chapels, in an area that we call the Coptic occupation layer (Fig. 1), i.e. not actually a house, but the remains of some occupation. Particularly interesting was the find of the dump of some workshop materials among which two flint stone knifes, a whetstone and a polishing stone. Underneath the first limestone walls showed. This means we are on our way to Ramesside age. In the meantime, the Milano 3D Survey group has finalized the scan of the tomb of Maya (Fig. 3) and is now continuing with the tomb of Tia and Tia. The results are amazing. Read more about their work next week!

Two scholars from Leiden University joined the team!

Miriam and Sarah have successfully started working at Saqqara. They are specialists on human bones and Egyptian archaeology and material culture. Sarah and Miriam were very happy to accept the invitation by the Leiden-Turin mission to look for a potential cooperation between the museums and the university with the possibility to bring bachelor and master students to Egypt to study the archaeology and material culture of ancient Egypt at such an exciting place! In her role as new assistant professor at the Faculty of Archaeology at Leiden University, Sarah specializes in the analysis of ancient human bones. For the Saqqara excavations she has now started analyzing the bones that were excavated last season (Fig. 2). So far, she has studied several child burials. There are no obvious diseases present on the bones of these children, which may suggest that they died suddenly. Sarah also found evidence for mummification – a plug in the ear of a skull, which appears to be very intentionally placed. Linen was often placed in the ears of the deceased so that evil spirits would not enter the body. Sarah has a lovely workspace in the tomb of Horemheb, where the skeletal material is conveniently stored.

Miriam Müller is carefully clearing the hill north to our two small Ramesside chapels.

Sarah Schrader in her workspace in the tomb of Horemheb: analyzing human bones excavated last season.

The Milano 3D Survey group has finalized the scan of the tomb of Maya.

Miriam has joined the excavations in her capacity as recently appointed lecturer in Egyptian archaeology, art and material culture at Leiden University. She specializes in household archaeology and the contextualization of finds within their archaeological contexts in order to study behavioral patterns, use and re-appropriation of ancient landscapes the Milano 3D Survey group has finalized the scan of the tomb of Maya a new approach that has also been implemented in the new research agenda of the Saqqara excavations, generously funded by a VIDI grant under the direction of Lara Weiss. Miriam has started documenting an area north of the tomb of Maya, which had yielded dense occupation layers in the previous season. A detailed stratigraphy from the Ramesside use of the area presents itself, in the form of burials with chapels and associated shafts, to the leveling and repurposing of this landscape by probably a Coptic community. The excavations of these layers will hopefully shed more light on the nature of the occupation and use in later periods of this area that was highly significant at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th dynasty

Digging Diary 1: 16-23.03.2018

2018-04-03T15:13:58+00:00March 23rd, 2018|Categories: Digging Diaries|

This year the Leiden-Turin team obtained all necessary permissions to excavate in Saqqara at the very last moment. That is why not yet all team members had flown to Egypt: suppose you do not receive permission in the end and have already spent hundreds of euros on tickets…

First in the field were deputy field director Paolo Del Vesco from Turin, our new bone expert from Leiden University, Sarah Schrader, and Lara Weiss from Leiden. We plan to renew our cooperation with Leiden University and soon again bring graduate students with us to Saqqara. A second aim is to set up a research plan and hopefully to invite some PhD students to Saqqara soon. Leiden University Egyptologist Miriam Müller will also soon join the team for the same reason. In addition, two new surveyors of the ‘3D Survey Group’ of the Politecnico di Milanohave started to measure the previously excavated tombs; they will help us to measure and scan the results of the upcoming excavations (fig. 1).

We are looking forward to an exciting season in which the new team hopes to gain a better understanding of the area to the north of the tomb of Maya. This is an area in which the ancient Egyptians built several small chapels in the Ramesside period, and where also later many activities took place. When cleaning the area where we stopped working in 2017 (fig. 2), we already found yet another embalmers’ cache, i.e. a pit used to bury mummification materials. Our most recent cache was found empty, its contents potentially burnt except for two linen bags probably filled with natron. The numerous embalmers’ caches in the area north of Maya’s tomb suggest a post-New Kingdom use of the area as a burial site. This could mean either reuse of existing New Kingdom and earlier tombs, as well as shallow pit burials next to those tombs – such as the body covered by a mat and bead net found by Maarten Raven in his area south of the tomb of Meryneith in 2017 (fig. 3). Sarah has now studied the bones and suggests that it was a young boy or girl of about 15 years of age, who suffered from bad nutrition and illnesses, and who had probably spent his or her life doing hard work, such as carrying heavy bags. We cannot determine whether it is a boy or girl, since the typical female features of the pelvis are not yet identifiable at that young age.

On Saturday we expect to begin with the excavations of the Coptic occupation layer we discovered in 2017, this year supported by household archaeology specialist Miriam Müller. Stay tuned.

Francesco Fassi and Alessandro Mandelli taking measurements of the excavation field, using our brand new total station.

The excavations have just started!

Saqqara Excavation Campaign about to Start

2018-04-03T11:55:50+00:00March 22nd, 2018|Categories: Digging Diaries|

This year it remained uncertain until the last moment whether the Leiden-Turin excavations in Saqqara would continue. At the very last moment, the team got permission from the Egyptian authorities. The excavations can now start on 25 March 2018. This year the team will be working on the New Kingdom cemetery, north of the tomb of Maya and Merit, where two small Ramesside chapels were found in 2017. Field directors of the Dutch-Italian research project are Dr Lara Weiss (curator at the National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden) and Dr Christian Greco (director of the Museo Egizio, Turin).

Save the Dates!

2018-04-03T15:09:47+00:00March 20th, 2018|Categories: News|

Please save the following two dates in your agenda for our annual events:

16 June 2018 – Sixteenth Saqqara-day

14 November 2018 – Fifth Pubquiz

This year we will organize the fifth edition of our Pubquiz!