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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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Chronological table

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Chronological table

(Based on J. von Beckerath, Chronologie des pharaonischen Ägypten. Die Zeitbestimmung der ägyptischen Geschichte von der Vorzeit bis 332 v. Chr., Mainz am Rhein 1997).

Predynastic period

dynasty 0, about 150 years

Early dynastic period

dynasty I, ca. 2982–2803 BC

including pharaohs named Hor Aha (= Menes), Hor Dewen, Hor Semerkhet

dynasty II, ca. 2803–2657 BC

including pharaohs named Hor Hotepsekhemwy, Hor Nynetjer, Hor Sekhemib

Old Kingdom

dynasty III, ca. 2657–2589 BC

including pharaohs named Nebka, Djoser (= Hor Netjerikhet), Djoser-tety (= Hor Sekhemkhet)

dynasty IV, ca. 2589–2454 BC

including pharaohs named Snofru, Cheops (= Khufu), Chephren (= Khafre), Mykerinos (= Menkaure), Shepseskaf

dynasty V, ca. 2454–2297 BC

including pharaohs named Userkaf, Sahure, Neferirkare Kakai, Shepseskare, Niuserre Ini, Djedkare Izezi

dynasty VI, ca. 2297–2166 BC

pharaohs named Teti, Userkare, Pepi I, Nemti-em-saf I (= Merenre), Pepi II, Nemti-em-saf II, Queen Nitokris

ephemeral dynasties VII-VIII: dynasty VIII, ca. 2166–2120 BC

First Intermediate Period

dynasties IX-X (in Herakleopolis), ca. 2120–2020 BC

Middle Kingdom

dynasty XI (first in Thebes, later in the whole of Egypt), ca. 2119––1976 BC

including pharaohs named Mentuhotep I–IV, Antef I–III

dynasty XII, ca. 1976–1793 BC

including pharaohs named Sesostris I–III, Ammenemes I–IV, Queen Nefrusobek

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Second Intermediate Period, ca. 1793–1550 BC

ephemeral dynasties XIII–XVII, including the Hyksos dynasty (1645––1536 BC)

including pharaohs named Khyan, Apophis, Khamudi

New Kingdom

dynasty XVIII, 1550–1292 BC

including pharaohs named Amenhotep I–IV, Thothmes I–IV, Queen Hatshepsut, Akhenaton (= Amenhotep IV), Tutankhamun, Ay, Horemheb

dynasty XIX, 1292–1185 BC

including pharaohs named Ramesses I–II, Seti I–II, Merenptah, Siptah, Queen Tawosret

dynasty XX, 1185–1069 BC

Setnakht and nine pharaohs named Ramesses: Ramesses III–XI

Third Intermediate Period

dynasty XXI, 1069–945 BC

including pharaohs named Smendes, Psusennes I–II, Amenemopet, Osorkon, Siamun

dynasty XXII, 945–735 BC

rulers of Libyan origins named Shoshenq I–V, Osorkon I–III, Takelot I–III

dynasty XXIII (in the Delta area), ca.756–712 BC

including the rulers Iuput (in Leontopolis), Pedubastis (in Bubastis/Tanis), Osorkon IV

dynasty XXIV (in Sais), ca. 740–712 BC

two rulers: Prince Tefnakht and Bokchoris

dynasty XXV (originating from Kush (modern-day northern Sudan), and thus referred to as the “Kushite” dynasty), ca. 746–664 BC

including rulers named Shabaka, Shebitku, Taharqa

Late Period

dynasty XXVI, 664–525 BC

including rulers named Psamtik I–III, Apries, Amasis

dynasty XXVII, 525–401 BC

Persian rulers named Cambyses, Darius I–II, Xerxes I–II, Artaxerxes

dynasty XXVIII, 401–399 BC

only one ruler – Amyrtaeus

dynasty XXIX, 399–380 BC

Nepherites I–II, Achoris

dynasty XXX, 380–342 BC

three rulers: Nectanebo I, Teos, Nectanebo II

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dynasty XXXI, 342–332 BC

Persian rulers named Artaxerxes III Ochus, Arses, Darius III

Macedonian kings, 332–305 BC

Alexander the Great, 332–305 BC, Philip III Arrhidaeus (Ptolemy, son of Lagos, rules as a satrap), 323–317 BC, Alexander IV, son of Roxanna, 317–305 BC

Ptolemaic period, 305–30 BC

twelve subsequent rulers bearing the name Ptolemy and Queen Cleopatra VII, 51–30 BC

Roman rule, 30 BC–323 AD

Byzantine period, 323–641 AD

Muslim Egypt, 641 AD–

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