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Welcome to Saqqara.nl2018-04-07T20:41:54+01:00

Welcome to Saqqara.nl

This website is maintained by the Friends of Saqqara Foundation, a non-profit foundation aimed at providing financial support for Dutch archaeological research at Saqqara, Egypt. For the last fifteen years the foundation has particularly supported the joint excavation team of the National Museum of Antiquities at Leiden, the Museo Egizio at Turin and Leiden University. For several decades, this team has been advancing the research, documentation, and preservation of the monuments in the area to the south of the Step Pyramid of Djoser, where a cemetery of important New Kingdom officials is located.

If you wish to support the Dutch expedition’s excavations and restorations at Saqqara, make an online donation to the Friends of Saqqara Foundation now!

You can transfer your donation to the bank account of the Friends of Saqqara foundation. Our banks details are as follows:

IBAN: NL18 INGB 0009 5621 50

Want to become a Friend?
There are two membership categories:

  • Regular, € 35
  • Student, € 17,50

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

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 friends@saqqara.nl 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 friends@saqqara.nl 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.

March 31st, 2022|Categories: News|

Professor Geoffrey Almeric 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 2016.

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


March 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.

February 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 friends@saqqara.nl 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

February 23rd, 2021|Categories: Uncategorised|

Saqqara-Day 2020 Cancelled

Dear Friends,

The past few weeks have been intense for everyone. I hope everything goes well with you and your family and friends. It is a particularly difficult time in which the corona virus affects society, our daily life and everyone’s social life. It will take a while before everything will be back to “normal” again. Unfortunately, events currently pose a risk of spreading the virus too quickly and too widely. The Dutch government has therefore decided that the current ban on events will be extended until 1 September.

As a result, Friends of Saqqara is forced to cancel the annual Saqqara 2020 Day, scheduled for Saturday, June 6. Needless to say, we deeply regret this decision, but the board of Friends of Saqqara obviously adheres to the decision-making of the government and unfortunately the current situation gives us no other choice.

For now we think it is especially important that everyone puts his or her health and that of their loved ones first. We wish everyone a lot of strength and good health. Please watch yourself and each other.

On behalf of the entire board of Friends of Saqqara,

Best wishes,
Vincent Oeters

April 29th, 2020|Categories: Uncategorised|

COVID-19 Update

Dear Friends,

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic most of us are locked up inside and working from home to curb the virus. We hope that all of you are safe and healthy in these bizarre circumstances and we wish you the best in these difficult times. Our thoughts go out to the victims and their loved ones.

As was to be expected, like all other missions, the Leiden-Turin excavation team had to cancel its campaign planned for Spring 2020. Egypt has suspended all international air traffic, hotels and tourist facilities are closing. The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities announced that all museums and archaeological sites in Egypt will be closed from March 23. Friends of Saqqara wishes all our Egyptian friends and colleagues strength in overcoming this crisis now that so many will have no income.

Our Friends of Saqqara pubquiz is postponed since all public gatherings have been suspended in the Netherlands until 1 June 2020; the Dutch government will re-evaluate corona measures on 6 April. This implies that our annual Saqqara Day planned for 6 June 2020 might be postponed also. We will evaluate in the days to come. News on the activities of the Friends of Saqqara Foundation will soon follow. In the meantime, we would like to suggest you attend the Online Events of our colleagues at the EES (in English), and visit a tour by Gabriele Pieke on the exhibition „Yesterday – Tomorrow“ in the Reiss-Engelhorn-Museum in Mannheim (in German), and a virtual tour by Lara Weiss on the exhibition “Saqqara: Living in a City of the Dead” in Leiden (in Dutch). Remember, you can also visit the tombs of Horemheb and Maya at home in our Virtual Tours!

Take care of yourself and each other,

On behalf of the entire board of Friends of Saqqara,

Vincent Oeters

March 26th, 2020|Categories: News|
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