Wow! Massive Ancient Tomb Opened to Public

#4・
5

issues

Les Picker
Les Picker
It’s always amazing to me how much we have yet to discover about the wonders of ancient Egypt. But this past week revealed something truly special. 

The Discovery
King Djoser
King Djoser
Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities and Tourism announced the opening to the public of the Southern Tomb of King Djoser’s funerary complex, which is immediately adjacent to the Step Pyramid and the nearby Great Pyramids. All are part of the Saqqara funerary complex.
Wall of Southern tomb with Saqqara Step Pyramid
Wall of Southern tomb with Saqqara Step Pyramid
I am personally excited about this opening for several reasons, the first being that the complex dates back to the Third Dynasty. That Dynasty, about 4,500 years ago, gets us closer to the period of my three novels that focus entirely on Egypt’s First Dynasty, some 5,000 years ago. So this newly opened tomb provides us with another important link to the progression of Egyptian society under Dynastic rule.
Southern tomb
Southern tomb
The Saqqara complex does include some First Dynasty tombs. In that period, pyramids had not yet been attempted, and royalty were buried in what is known as mastabas. These were flat structures, with elaborate rooms to hold the sarcophagus, food stores, furniture and religious objects to help the King or other top official in the Afterlife. 
The best known of these is a tomb discovered in the early twentieth century that Egyptologists thought belonged to Hor-Aha, although it is now believed it was actually the tomb of a highly placed member of his Royal Court. Hor-Aha’s actual tomb and sarcophagus was discovered in Upper Egypt.
Link to The First Dynasty
In my novel, The First Pharaoh, I refer to King Narmer’s son as Hor-Aha, but there is some debate as to whether he was Narmer’s successor or a later King (these leaders were called Kings, not Pharaohs at that early stage). Narmer was the man who united Upper and Lower Egypt into one nation. 
Getting back to the King Djoser’s tomb, my second reason for being so excited is that the Southern Tomb is strikingly gorgeous, having taken 15 years to restore. It is primarily some nearly 100 feet (31 meters) underground and the intricate corridors and stairs of white stone are breathtaking.
Tomb interior
Tomb interior
Inside the elaborate structure the walls are embedded with blocks of faience tiles, a ceramic in a shade of green that imparts a radiance to the interior as the sun shines in. Simply put, I can hardly wait to get back to Egypt to visit this site.
Faience tiles
Faience tiles
One final aside for you Egyptophiles is that King Narmer’s mastaba tomb was discovered several decades ago by Dr. Gunther Dryer of the German Archaeological Society. It is immediately adjacent to Aha’s mastaba.
Did you enjoy this issue? Yes No
Les Picker
Les Picker @lespicker

Historical fiction focused on ancient Egypt.

In order to unsubscribe, click here.
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here.
Created with Revue by Twitter.