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In the Shadow of Djoser’s Pyramid

Research of Polish Archaeologists in Saqqara


Karol Jan Myśliwiec

The book presents the discoveries made by the Polish archaeological mission in Saqqara, the central part of the largest ancient Egyptian royal necropolis. The area adjacent to the Pyramid of King Djoser on the monument’s west side, so far neglected by archaeologists, turned out to be an important burial place of the Egyptian nobility from two periods of Pharaonic history: the Old Kingdom (the late third millennium BC) and the Ptolemaic Period (the late first millennium BC). The earlier, lower cemetery yielded rock-hewn tombs with splendid wall decoration in relief and painting. The book also describes methods of conservation applied to the discovered artefacts and episodes from the mission’s life.

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Full bibliography on the topic from the moment when Polish research was initiated in Saqqara until 2012 can be found in the first five volumes of the series “Saqqara. Polish-Egyptian Archaeological Mission,” which is a source publication for the discoveries made there by the Polish archaeological mission:

Saqqara I: K. Myśliwiec et al., The Tomb of Merefnebef, Parts 1–2, Warsaw 2004.

Saqqara II: T. Rzeuska, Pottery of the Late Old Kingdom. Funerary Pottery and Burial Customs, Warsaw 2006.

Saqqara III: K. Myśliwiec (ed.), The Upper Necropolis.

Part 1: M. Radomska et al., The Catalogue with Drawings, Warsaw 2008.

Part 2: M. Kaczmarek et al., Studies and Photographic Documentation, Warsaw 2008.

Saqqara IV: K. Myśliwiec, K.O. Kuraszkiewicz, The Funerary Complex of Nyankhnefertem, Warsaw 2010.

Saqqara V: K. Myśliwiec (ed.), Old Kingdom Structures between the Step Pyramid Complex and the Dry Moat.

Part 1: K. O. Kuraszkiewicz, Architecture and Development of the Necropolis, Warsaw 2013.

Part 2: F. Welc et al., Geology, Anthropology, Finds, Conservation, Warsaw 2013.

Later publications (for the period 2013–2020) include the following positions:

Godziejewski Z., Dąbrowska U., “Appendix: Conservation work in Saqqara (2012 and 2014),” Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 24/1 (2015), pp. 224–229.

Kowalska A., K.O. Kuraszkiewicz, “The End of a World Caused by Water. The Case of Old Kingdom Egypt,” in: J. Popielska-Grzybowska, J. Iwaszczuk (eds.), Studies on Disasters, Catastrophes and the Ends of the World in Sources (“Acta Archaeologica Pultuskiensia” 4), Pułtusk 2013, pp. 173–176.

Kozieradzka-Ogunmakin I., “Accessory Staff or Walking Aid? An Attempt to Unravel the Artefact’s Function by Investigating the Owner’s Skeletal Remains,” Études et Travaux, 26 (2013), pp. 381–393.

Kozieradzka-Ogunmakin I., “Patterns and Management of Fractures of Long Bones: a Study of the Ancient Population of Saqqara, Egypt,” ←11 | 12→in: A.R. David (ed.), Ancient Medical and Healing Systems: Their Legacy to Western Medicine, John Rylands University of Manchester Bulletin, 89 (2013), pp. 133–156.

Kozieradzka-Ogunmakin I., “Face-to-face with the dead: uncovering the past through the studies of human remains,” Ancient Egypt, 13 (2013), pp. 26–31.

Kozieradzka-Ogunmakin I., “A Case of Metastatic Carcinoma in an Old Kingdom-Period Skeleton from Saqqara,” in: S. Ikram, J. Kaiser, R. Walker (eds.), Egyptian Bioarchaeology: Humans, Animals and the Environment, Leiden 2014, pp. 65–73.

Kuraszkiewicz K. O., “Orientation of Old Kingdom Tombs in Saqqara,” Études et Travaux, 26 (2013), pp. 395–402.

Kuraszkiewicz K. O., “The Tomb of Ikhi/Mery in Saqqara and Royal Expeditions during the Sixth Dynasty,” Études et Travaux, 27 (2014), pp. 201–216.

Kuraszkiewicz K. O., “Marks on the Faience Tiles in the ‘Blue Chambers’ of the Netjerykhet’s Funerary Complex,” in: J. Budka. F. Kammerzell, S. Rzepka (eds.), Non-Textual Marking Systems in Ancient Egypt (and Elsewhere), Lingua Aegyptia. Studia monographica, 16, Hamburg 2015, pp. 41–48.

Kuraszkiewicz K.O., “Generał Ichi – egipski podróżnik z epoki budowniczych piramid,” Afryka, 43 (2016), pp. 155–171.

Kuraszkiewicz K. O., “Architectural Innovations Influenced by Climatic Phenomena (4.2. KA Event) in the Late Old Kingdom (Saqqara, Egypt),” Studia Quaternaria, 31/1 (2016), pp. 27–34.

Kuraszkiewicz K. O., “Saqqara 2012 and 2015: Inscriptions,” Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 25 (2017), pp. 255–263.

Myśliwiec K., “Archaeology Meeting Geophysics on Polish Excavations in Egypt,” Studia Quaternaria, 30/2 (2013), pp. 45–59.

Myśliwiec K., “Sakkara – kopalnia źródeł do historii Egiptu,” Scripta Biblica et Orientalia, 5 (2013), pp. 5–24.

Myśliwiec K., with appendix by Z. Godziejewski, “Saqqara 2010–2011,” Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 23/1 (2014): Research 2011, pp. 153–162.

Myśliwiec K., “The Dead in the Marshes – Reed Coffins Revisited,” in: M. Jucha, J. Dębowska-Ludwin, P. Kołodziejczyk (eds.), “Aegyptus est imago caeli.” Studies Presented to Krzysztof M. Ciałowicz on his 60th Birthday, Cracow 2014, pp. 105–113.

Myśliwiec K., “Epigraphic Features of the ḥr-face,” in: D. Polz, S. J. Seidlmayer (eds.), Gedenkschrift für Werner Kaiser, Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts Abteilung Kairo, 70/71 (2014/2015), pp. 323–338.

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Myśliwiec K., “Das Grab des Ichi westlich der Djoser-Pyramide,” Sokar. Geschichte & Archäologie Altägyptens, 30 (2015), pp. 46–55.

Myśliwiec K., “Neueste Entdeckungen der polnisch-ägyptischen Mission in Sakkara,” THOTs. Infoheft 15. Oktober 2015 des Collegium Aegyptium e.V. Förderkreis des Instituts für Ӓgyptologie und Koptologie, Universität München (2015), pp. 25–34.

Myśliwiec K., “Saqqara: Seasons 2012 and 2013/2014,” Polish Archaeology in Mediterranean, 24/1 (2015), pp. 215–224.

Myśliwiec K., W cieniu Dżesera, badania polskich archeologów w Sakkarze, Warszawa-Toruń, 2016 [the basis for this translation].

Myśliwiec K., “Hole or Whole? A Cemetery from the Ptolemaic Period in Saqqara (Egypt),” in: T. Derda, J. Hilder, J. Kwapisz (eds.), Fragments, Holes and Wholes. Reconstructing the Ancient World in Theory and Practice, Journal of Juristic Papyrology Supplement, 30, Warsaw, 2017, pp. 363–389.

Myśliwiec K., “A ‘School’ of Kagemni’s master?,” in: P. Jánosi, H. Vymazalovà (eds.), The Art of Describing. The World of Tomb Decoration as Visual Culture of the Old Kingdom. Studies in Honour of Yvonne Harpur, Prague 2018, pp. 261–271.

Myśliwiec, K., “The ‘Dry Moat:’ a new Project,” in: K. O. Kuraszkiewicz, E. Kopp, D. Takács (eds.), “The Perfection that Endures….” Studies on Old Kingdom Art and Archaeology, Warsaw 2018, pp. 327–332.

Myśliwiec, K., “Nobility Marrying Divinity in Pharaonic Egypt,” in: K. Myśliwiec, K. Pachniak, K. Nabożna, E. Wolny-Abouelwafa (eds.), Egypt Yesterday and Today: Between Tradition and Modernity, Warsaw 2019, pp. 9–30.

Myśliwiec K., Was there a sanctuary of Osiris in the ex-quarry west of the Djoser funerary complex?, in: A. R. Warfe, J. C. R. Gill, C. R. Hamilton, A. J. Pettman and D. A. Stewart (eds.) Dust, Demons and Pots. Studies in Honour of Colin A. Hope, Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 289, Peeters 2020, pp. 545–556.

Myśliwiec K., L’aspecitvité au service de la perspective; ā la recherche de la troisième dimension sur le plan, Fs. A. Labrousse – forthcoming.

Myśliwiec K., The message of the unfinished reliefs in some late Old Kingdom Tombs, Fs. A. Niwiński – forthcoming.

Radomska M., “Some Remarks on the Historical Topography of Saqqara in the Ptolemaic Period,” Études et Travaux, 25 (2012), pp. 339–355.

Radomska M., “Saqqara: Some Remarks on Flora from Funerary Contexts,” Studia Quaternaria, 30/2 (2013), pp. 91–98.

Radomska M., “Two Mummies with Demotic Inscriptions from Saqqara,” Études et Travaux, 26 (2013), pp. 547–566.

Radomska M., “Child Burials at Saqqara: Ptolemaic Necropolis West of the Step Pyramid,” Études et Travaux, 29 (2016), pp. 169–202.

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Rzeuska T. I., “Execration again? Remarks on an Old Kingdom Ritual,” Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 22 (2013): Studies 2010, pp. 627–634.

Rzeuska T., “Saqqara 2010: The Pottery,” Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 23/1 (2014): Research, pp. 163–172.

Rzeuska T., “Pottery from an Early Old Kingdom Terrace Quarry in West Saqqara (Egypt),” Études et Travaux, 27 (2014), pp. 323–355.

Rzeuska T. I., “Noughts and Crosses. Pot Marks on the Late Old Kingdom Beer Jars from West Saqqara, in: Non-Textual Marking Systems in Ancient Egypt (and Elsewhere),” Lingua Aegyptia. Studia monographica, 16, Hamburg 2015, pp. 255–281.

Rzeuska T. I., “Saqqara 2012: The Pottery,” Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 24/1 (2015), Research, pp. 230–238.

Welc F., “The Third Dynasty Open Quarry West of the Netjerykhet Pyramid Complex (Saqqara),” Etudes et Travaux, 26 (2013), pp. 271–304.

Welc F. et al., “Geophysical Survey (GPR) in West Saqqara (Egypt): Preliminary Remarks,” Studia Quaternaria, 30/2 (2013), pp. 99–108.

Welc F. et al., “Preliminary Remarks on Enigmatic “White Casing Limestone” from Saqqara Archaeological Site in Egypt,” Studia Quaternaria, 30/2 (2013), pp. 115–123.

Welc F. et al., “Applicability of Ground Penetrating Radar on Desert Archaeological Sites: a Case Study from the Saqqara Necropolis in Egypt,” Studia Quaternaria, 31/2 (2014), pp. 133–141.

Welc F., Marks L., “Climate Change at the End of the Old Kingdom in Egypt around 4200 BP: New Geoarchaeological Evidence,” Quaternary International, 324 (2014), pp. 124–133.

Welc F., Mieszkowski R., “Unknown Ancient Funerary Structures Discovered in West Saqqara (Egypt) Using Ground – Penetrating Radar (GPR),” Etudes et Travaux, 28 (2015), pp. 201–215.

Welc F., Mieszkowski R., Trzciński J., Kowalczyk S., “Western Section of the ‘Dry Moat’ Channel Surrounding Step Pyramid Complex in Saqqara in the Light of Ground – Penetrating Radar Prospection,” Archeological Prospection, 22/4 (2015), pp. 293–230.

Willems, H. “Philological Remarks on the Autobiography of Merefnebef,” LingAeg, 16 (2008), pp. 293–302.