Dutch archaeologists find tomb from Egyptian king Akhenaten’s time

Saqqara in Egypt

Translated from Dutch news agency ANP:

CAIRO – Near Saqqara, Dutch archaeologists have found a tomb from the days of Pharaoh Akhenaten, 3300 years ago.

Egyptian authorities said this on Wednesday.

The discovery shows that Saqqara, close to the present capital Cairo, was used then as a cemetery for prominent people as well.

Zahi Hawass, chair of the archaeological council, calls this ,,one of the most important discoveries in that region”.

Akhenaten, who ruled about 1351 to 1334 BCE, is considered to be the pharaoh who introduced monotheism (belief in one god).

That one god was Aten, the solar disk, who before that time had not been so prominent.

For thousands of years, the Egyptians had worshipped many gods.


In the tomb, there are realistic style paintings from an epoch when some classical rules in art were broken.

The paintings depict life after death, but also daily life scenes, including monkeys eating dates.

A research team, led by Leiden archaeologists, has been working for years now at excavation and re-excavation of tombs in the desert near Saqqara.

This is an area south of the paved road of Unas and west of the Apa Jeremias monastery.

The tombs are from the New Kingdom (1350-1250 BCE).

In 2001, Leiden researchers found the grave of high priest Meryneith, a contemporary of pharaohs Akhenaten and Tutankhamun, there.

The depiction of life after death named in the news item would be a contrast to the view that in Akhenaten’s theology there is said to be no life after death.

See also here on this discovery.

More on Saqqara discoveries: here.

Ancient Egyptian rope: here.

King Tutankhamun might have worn some sort of orthopedic shoes specially designed to cope with his club foot condition, an investigation into the pharaoh’s footwear has suggested: here.

4,000-years old Egyptian doctor’s mummy discovered

This is a video about Saqqara in Egypt.

Reuters reports:

Egypt finds 4,000-year-old doctor’s mummy

December 05, 2006

CAIRO – Egyptian archaeologists have discovered the funerary remains of a doctor who lived more than 4,000 years ago, including his mummy, sarcophagus and bronze surgical instruments.

The upper part of the tomb was discovered in 2000 at Saqqara, 20 km (12 miles) south of Cairo, and the sarcophagus came to light in the burial pit during cleaning work, state news agency MENA said on Tuesday, quoting Egyptian government antiquities chief Zahi Hawass.

The doctor, whose name was Qar, lived under the 6th dynasty and built his tomb near Egypt’s first pyramid. The 6th dynasty ruled from about 2350 to 2180 BC.

Hawass said the lid of the wooden sarcophagus had excellent and well-preserved decoration and the mummy itself was in ideal condition.

“The linen wrappings and the funerary drawings on the mummy are still as they were,” he said.

“The mask which covers the face of the mummy is in an amazing state of preservation in spite of slight damage in the area of the mouth.”

The tomb also had earthenware containers bearing the doctor’s name, a round limestone offering table and 22 bronze statues of gods.

Egyptian jewellery in Pantellaria: here.

USA: ancient Egyptian sarcophagus as corporate boss’ plaything

King Tut Ankh Amun canopeFrom Egyptology News:

Thanks very much to the U.S. graduate student who sent me links to the following minor controversy which blew up at a Chicago media preview:”A major U.S. sponsor of a traveling exhibit of Egyptian King Tutankhamen artifacts has been criticized for keeping a sarcophagus in its headquarters.

The incident happened Wednesday at Chicago`s Field Museum during a media preview of ‘Tutankhamen and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs,’ which opens to the public Friday.

During remarks from one of the show`s national sponsors, Randy Mehrberg, executive vice president of Chicago-based Exelon Corp., said he was standing in for CEO John Rowe, and that Rowe was such a fan of antiquities, he had a 2,600-year-old sarcophagus in his office.

That infuriated Zahi Hawass, secretary general of Egypt`s Supreme Council of Antiquities, the Chicago Tribune reported.

‘I don`t think this is right,’ Hawass said.

‘An artifact like this is not supposed to be in an office or a home, but in a museum.

How can he sponsor an exhibit like King Tut and keep an artifact like this in his office?’

An Exelon spokeswoman told the Tribune the sarcophagus ‘is something John owns personally and it was acquired in a legal manner.’ ”

This is the entire piece on the Monsters and Critics website, but more details can be found at the Chicago Tribune site (free subscription required): …”

UPDATE 2014: that Tribune link does not work any more.

This controversy may in itself be minor (and won by Hawass and the museum).

However, it does raise the big controversy of the relationship of the Kenneth Lay‘s (and their friends, like George W Bush) in this world, to art and science.

White wine in King Tutankhamen’s grave: here.

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