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In the Shadow of Djoser’s Pyramid

Research of Polish Archaeologists in Saqqara

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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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Chapter 11. Primum non nocere, or the medicine of artefacts

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Chapter 11. Primum non nocere, or the medicine of artefacts

Abstract: Conservation activities on the Polish excavations in Saqqara. Technology in the service of art. Restoration from original elements. When will the conservation of an art object be finished? Natural conditions vs antiquity. Ecology in archaeology and vice versa.

Keywords: artificial stone, examination and diagnosis, fungi, salts, porosity, hygroscopic, chemicals, instruments.

A few months after discovering Merefnebef’s tomb, the Polish edition of Scientific American (Świat Nauki) published an extensive, richly illustrated article about the event.1 The text was immediately translated into a few languages and published in West European versions of the journal, as well as in the Japanese edition.2 We did not have to wait long for the results. I soon received a letter from a professor I had never met from one of the largest academic centres in Europe. The scholar did not in fact reveal the academic field he specialised in; however, he did categorically appeal to me to cease ‘conservation’ practices that have long been denounced and abandoned. He had observed a ‘clear boundary’ between the original polychromy and the part painted on by our restorers in one of the published photographs. He had probably been referring to the famous paintings of the Minoan culture in Knossos on Crete, which have become a symbol of the overly extensive reconstruction of a work of art, while for a long time now the convention has been followed of securing only the preserved original parts of a work in situ.

The author of the letter claimed to have found proof of the forbidden practices our mission had supposedly adopted in a photograph showing the ‘offering list’ on the west wall in the vizier’s funerary chapel (Fig. 175).3 The rich polychromy covering the not-too-deep relief has been preserved in this part of the tomb so exceptionally well that almost no one believes that these could be the original colours. The blue is a shade so intense and vivid that it is as if the painter had just walked away from the chapel wall. The layer of rock on which this ‘offering list’ was executed has an exceptionally hard ←367 | 368→and dense structure, which made it impossible for the salts to travel through the walls and crystallise on its surface, which would have led to the disintegration of the relief and painting. In turn, the layers located lower down show a higher porosity, which – of course – facilitated the migration of salts and their crystallisation on the surface of the paintings. It could be stated that the ‘offering list’ was in this case lucky, the exact opposite of the afore-described, even larger ‘list’ on the north wall in the ‘neighbour’s’ funerary chapel (Figs. 9394), which had smashed to pieces when the dividing wall collapsed under the pressure from the material filling the chamber and shaft of the tomb neighbouring the chapel from the side opposite to that of the vizier’s chapel.4

I did not have to explain to the sender of the letter that Polish restorers had not added even a drop of paint to the over 4000-year-old original painting because I had at my disposal the English-language conservation report handed over to the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities towards the end of each excavation campaign, and then published in Poland, usually in the annual Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, providing up-to-date information about the activities of the Polish school of Mediterranean ←368 | 369→archaeology.5 I sent a copy of the report, with the faint aroma of printing ink still permeating it, to the letter’s author and invited him to visit our excavations, so that he could personally take a look at the methods used by our restorers. He never contacted me again.

However, this event makes one realise the importance of the conservation of artefacts in archaeological activities. Never in my fifty-year-long experience in excavations in Egypt did I realise this better than in the autumn of 1997, when, after removing yet another brick from the huge pile of rubble left after the front mastaba wall had collapsed, through the small opening in this clay massif I saw a relief with magnificently preserved polychromy, depicting the tomb owner and his wife.6 The accompanying inscriptions soon told us that this was Merefnebef, while pulling out the next bricks from the clay curtain made us realise that this was a relief adorning the north wall of the narrow entrance to the vizier’s funerary chapel. When scandalmongers ask me today what I felt at the time, I do not have to make up an answer, because I think I had never before experienced such an emotional rollercoaster of contrasting emotions: five minutes of joy and many hours of dread. This was because we quickly realised of what fragile matter these reliefs and paintings were made. In many spots, their link with the bedrock was so weak that the most delicate touch with the tip of a finger could have led to the decoration falling apart into tiny pieces or even turning into powder. Some of the most beautiful fragments of reliefs were only attached to the wall by a tiny surface (for example the dancers, Fig. 52): we held our breaths so that not even the smallest movement of air would cause them to fall away. It was not much of a consolation that in some parts of the chapel the state of preservation of the polychromy was surprisingly better, which should be considered as exclusively caused by the rock, which has a slightly different structure in every spot.

In conservation terms, everything required immediate intervention. We were saved then by Ewa Parandowska, already mentioned here multiple times, who should be considered the real heroine of those early days. Ewa is one of those people whom nothing motivates more to action than challenges considered ‘impossible’ to overcome. After receiving the permission of Professor Włodzimierz Godlewski, director of the archaeological mission ←369 | 370→in Naqlun, which at the time was dealing with the conservation of Christian frescoes, she immediately came to Saqqara, rapidly evaluated the dramatic situation we were in, and with the highest degree of dedication set about doing what was necessary to ensure the masterpieces of Egyptian art from 2300 BC could survive until our next excavation campaign without the slightest amount of damage. What is more, she passed the torch on to her colleague, who – thanks to his knowledge, experience and artistic sensitivity – turned out to be destined for the struggle to achieve the ‘undoable.’

This person was Zbigniew Godziejewski, an archaeologist and conservator from the National Museum in Warsaw (Figs. 179 and 182). It is difficult to overestimate his skills and his contribution to the excavation mission in Saqqara. As its director, I cannot fail to mention his exceptional personality, radiating calm, in many difficult situations salutary for the atmosphere in the mission at least to the same extent as his professional approach was for the artefacts. Zbigniew is an unrivalled ‘therapist,’ capable of quickly determining the type and scope of the ‘illness,’ as well as the reasons behind it and the possible consequences. He also has the intuition and workmanship of an artist, applied in his practical activities with artefacts. Finally, he is capable of choosing the appropriate team consisting of colleagues from his field, who understand each other perfectly and cooperate in harmony, also with the archaeologists responsible for taking many of the content-related decisions. Every year, a tercet, or even sometimes a quartet of conservators, depending on the quantity and quality of the unearthed material, participates in the excavations alongside the group of archaeologists and documentalists.

The effects of their work are brilliant (Fig. 181). The reliefs and paintings in all the decorated Old Kingdom tombs we have discovered so far have had their state of preservation stabilised. When, after ten months of break, the mission returns to Saqqara and opens the funerary chapel sealed during the last minutes of the previous campaign, it does not find even the tiniest speck of decoration that would have fallen away from the wall in the meantime. This inspires the admiration of our Egyptian colleagues, as well as of other conservators of various nationalities cooperating in this area with archaeological missions. In many cases, one can communicate with them in Polish, because foreign missions preferably employ restorers from Poland. It has happened in the past that one of the Japanese missions working in Saqqara was made up exclusively of Poles. It only had an Egyptian inspector. Frequently, their Egyptian colleagues also come in the character of observers, students or apprentices. Some of them show extraordinary patience, sensitivity and spatial imagination, others would prefer to receive a simple ‘skeleton key,’ which would quickly open all the doors. Amid the repertoires of schemes that have been invented by conservation schools from various countries around the world, this field primarily remains a form of art since it ←370 | 371→is difficult to find two identical cases – similarly as in medicine, even though many doctors do not seem to realise this. An artefact has to be observed from various perspectives and taking into account all the details. Every fragment of the surface undergoing conservation has a slightly different structure, so it is varied in how it is ‘sick’ and requires different medicine, or at least at diverse dosages. The question of “when the conservation of object X will be completed,” a conservator can only answer by stating that “it never will be.” The state of the artefacts must be constantly monitored, even if it seems stable after prolonged conservation, since relapses sometimes occur or ←371 | 372→new threats appear, as the conditions in which we all function – we ourselves and our work – continue to change.

A special problem that revealed itself during the discovery of Vizier Merefnebef’s funerary chapel involved its façade (Il. 5; Figs. 41 and 176177).7 The dismal quality of the rock in this spot had already in antiquity led to the chipping away of whole patches of the surface, even before work was initiated on carving the reliefs. Without wanting to, the creators of the tomb became its first conservators, and – at that – even before work on it had been completed. It was possible to supplement the larger part of the uneven surface with a light pink mortar, best visible in those spots where the relief has been preserved the worst, e.g. in the inscription adjacent to the entrance from the south.8 Research done using a stereoscopic microscope has shown that the basic component of this filler was plaster, which simultaneously performed the function of an adhesive. The samples also contained small amounts of loamy materials, illites and montmorillonite.9 This last substance is characterised by a significant increase in volume when subjected to the influence of water. The presence of chaulk or proteins was not determined in the mortar; however, very scattered grains of vegetable black appeared in each of the samples taken. Next to this robust mortar, used to fill the decrement in the rock, there is a layer of caustic lime on the entire surface of the decorated walls, the main component of which is calcite, i.e. calcium carbonite.10 It constitutes the direct foundation for the painting.

←372 | 373→ ←373 | 374→ ←374 | 375→ ←375 | 376→

But not all the losses in the levelled surface of the rock were suitable for being filled with mortar. An extensive (41 × 34 × 14 cm) hole, which formed in the broad frontal surface of the northern doorjamb, where the sculptor was supposed to have made an especially deep relief, in some spots reaching even as deep as three centimetres into the rock, was only suitable for the insertion of a filling consisting of another material (Fig. 176, 177).11 The hole was cut to form the shape of an almost regular rectangle and a slab was inserted made from a better, harder type of limestone. The appropriate part of the hieroglyphic inscription was sculpted into its surface, and then extended further around the filling, this time carved into the original rock surface. This did not help much. The part of the text sculpted into the rock had chipped away completely, while a deep crevice had formed around the filling. It is only thanks to this small preserved fragment that we can with high probability reconstruct a larger part of the text containing the tomb owner’s titulature.

The high craftsmanship of the sculptor is attested by the bottom part of the inscription, carved in the layer of rock with an exceptionally dense structure. The hieroglyph depicting a vulture can be counted among the palaeographic masterpieces of this period (Fig. 177). It has the phonetic value mut and is the notation of the word ‘mother’ in a sequence of epithets: “the one who was loved by his father, praised by his mother.”12 Every detail of the bird’s plumage was modelled with exceptional precision, even though manipulating a chisel on the small surface located a few centimetres deeper than the plane of the relief can be categorised as equilibristic of the same type as an operation on the human eye. It cannot be excluded that part of the inscription sculpted into the inserted slab was done by a different artist since the depth of these hieroglyphs does not exceed 0.7 centimetres.

Another restoration method was chosen in the case of a huge cavity in the rock substance formed during work on the external architrave crowning the façade (Il. 5; Fig. 41).13 This was precisely in the spot where a few hieroglyphs of a large-format inscription with a special propagandist significance were supposed to have been located. This text could be seen from afar by any passer-by. This time, the filling was not made from better-quality limestone, but from ‘artificial stone,’ with its shape adapted precisely to the irregularity and size of the crevice. Perhaps the decision to choose this solution was made for aesthetic reasons, as the colour of the mortar used for the production of the ‘stone’ could be more easily adapted to the natural colouring of ←376 | 377→the rock it was to supplement than if it had been white limestone contrasting with the rock’s greyness. It seems that already ancient aesthetes avoided the ‘golden tooth’ effect of one area shining more or less than the other yellowed incisors. Thus, the huge filling was modelled extremely meticulously, with hieroglyphs impressed into its flexible, still wet surface forming part of the monumental inscription, which in its first words provide information that we are dealing with a vizier. This proves that the inscription on the architrave, also sculpted in deep relief, was one of the last elements added to the original decoration of the tomb.

These actions also did little to aid the situation. The filling soon fell victim to a deep transverse crack in the wall.14 During the 1997 excavations, fragments of the filling were found in the pile of rubble adjacent to the architrave. After various laboratory tests were conducted, they were taken care of by modern-day conservators under the direction of Zbigniew Godziejewski. They were first consolidated for a long time by being saturated with a 2 % or 3 % solution of Paraloid B72 in toluene. They were then glued together with UHU Epoxy Quick and prepared to be reattached in their original spot. This is when the most difficult part of the operation began. How does one attach such a block to the empty space formed after the crumbling away of a derelict cavity? This was actually a dental intervention on a macro scale. First, the surface of the cavity was dusted of rock crumble. Next, a specially prepared supporting structure was installed in the niche, made from a net of stainless steel covered with a mass of epoxy resin. Fragments of the ‘artificial stone’ were attached to it, glued together earlier using Viscasid Epoxx. Such a constructed niche was then closed off using fragments of ‘artificial stone.’ Despite the significant weight of the inserted steel elements, the scaffold ensures their stability. What remained were only a few cosmetic interventions in the bottom part of the architrave, so that the empty spaces left behind next to the inserted material would not be visible. Looking today at this propagandist lintel, with its surface very homogeneous in every respect, nobody would guess how much creative technical thinking of Polish origin is hidden inside its interior.

There is a completely different story behind the cavity that formed, probably already after the tomb owner’s death, inside the vizier’s cult chapel (Fig. 44).15 As already mentioned when presenting this tomb, in the southern part of the east wall, it was possible to observe an exceptional modification of the decoration, introduced by one of Fefi’s younger sons. This person is ←377 | 378→sometimes difficult to differentiate from his father since he bears two of the latter’s names, Merefnebef and Fefi.

If his wife was not also present in this modified scene, whose name, Hemi, differs from the names of the four harpists depicted in the chapel many times and labelled everywhere as ‘his beloved wives,’ we would be inclined to think that also in this case we were dealing with the tomb owner and his new, fifth wife.

However, the entire context, beginning with the iconography and style of the modified relief, indicate conclusively that the clever youngster benefitted from the crumbling of the rock in this part of the wall, which originally contained a vertical sequence of generic scenes portraying various craft workshops in the course of preparing the great feast represented on the neighbouring south chapel wall. When the upper part of this kaleidoscope was destroyed due to the poor quality of the rock, the adolescent Fefi, who at the time was busy destroying the representations of his older brothers on the walls of his father’s funerary chapel, decided to play the role of ‘conservator.’ He supplemented the destroyed part of the wall with a few irregular blocks of limestone, unfitted to each other, filling the crevices and covering the surface with plaster, in which he ordered the sculpting of a new scene with entirely different content than the original composition. In terms of its iconography and style, the retouch contrasted completely with the spirit of the original decoration. It portrays the idyll of a Nile landscape, with a fishing scene as its main motif.16 The addressee of the offering in the form of the fish just taken out of a net is, of course, Merefnebef Junior and his life companion, depicted in a way defying all artistic conventions adopted not only in the decorations of the vizier’s tomb but also more generally in the sepulchral art of that period. This is an example of how to make clever use of the natural disintegration of rock in a decorated part of a wall. The thoughtful descendant ‘restored’ his father’s tomb, and the fact that he used it mainly to promote himself would not surprise many even in today’s times. One additional benefit from the described modification is the fact that the piece created by the son-usurper did not cause much trouble to our conservators.

Let us however get back to the façade of the vizier’s funerary chapel, which we had abandoned for a year, even before it was unearthed. At the moment of the discovery of the tomb, the entire frontal wall was covered by a pile of rubble consisting of mud brick and clay formed as a result of the collapse of the mastaba’s west wall, which had primarily risen above the chapel, running along the edge of its external architrave, the same one into which the ‘artificial stone’ was inserted. In this way, the brick wall extended ←378 | 379→the mastaba by at least two and half metres upwards (Il. 5).17 It was a blessing in disguise that this wall did not survive very long. For unknown reasons, it collapsed onto the tomb’s courtyard, covering the chapel façade for over 4000 years. Until our excavations, nobody had ever entered the chapel interior, as a result of which its reliefs and paintings were better preserved than in the majority of Egyptian tombs. However, their unearthing could have turned out to be a Pyrrhic victory if the discoverers had not immediately undertaken conservation activities. The newly discovered works of art would have then shared the fate of those masterpieces of architecture, sculpture and painting which over the course of the last two centuries have been hurriedly uncovered but not conserved, because the ‘archaeologists’ were more interested in breaking scholarly news, its publication and possibly taking the treasures away to some museum than in the fate of the artefacts. Subjected to destructive changes in atmospheric conditions, especially fluctuations in the humidity and temperature, they quickly lost their layer of polychromy, frequently along with the relief underneath. Is this a modern version of the same egoism that guided the vizier’s son when he was ‘correcting’ the decoration on the walls of his father’s tomb? His parent had been of the least interest to him in the whole situation.

Already the first steps undertaken in order to uncover the chapel’s frontal wall made us realise that we had to forget this intention immediately. Subjected centuries ago to the effects of sun and rain, exposed for at least a few years to gusts of wind bearing sand, the decoration of the façade turned out to be so weak that after removing every lump from the adjacent pile of rubble, the relief immediately would fall apart into little pieces. We realised that uncovering further parts of the façade’s long east wall with preserved polychromy was impossible until an archaeologist and a conservator could sit next to each other, remove the rubble centimetre by centimetre and immediately secure the decoration, consolidating the layer of paint and gluing the fragments of the relief that had fallen away. This was only possible during the subsequent campaign, when we came with a larger group of conservators. Up until that moment, we had not explored the protective layer, which is what the ca. one-metre-wide wall of rubble adjacent to the façade had become. On the external side of this ‘curtain,’ we built a solid but makeshift wall from large blocks of stone, so that in the meantime unwanted guests would not decide to come finish the job for us. Of course, from that moment onwards, our excavations were also monitored day and night by an Egyptian guard, for whom we erected a booth not far from Merefnebef’s tomb. Additional security for the artefacts we were unearthing was provided ←379 | 380→by the close neighbourhood of Djoser’s pyramid, with the holy complex (temenos) monitored constantly by the tourism police. It seems that it is to these circumstances that we owe the fact that during the revolutionary turmoil in January 2011, the area of our research remained almost unscathed, while the artefacts discovered by a few other archaeological missions in the Memphite necropolis were partially devastated and some of their artefact storage facilities plundered.

The chapel unearthed in 1998 had to be immediately covered by a permanent building erected from blocks of artificial stone. The construction took place simultaneously to the slow exploration of the protective layer in front of the chapel’s frontal wall. Under the roof of the new pavilion, not only the entire cult chapel found shelter but also the lower courtyard in front of its façade, which is so extensive that it can today serve as a conservation and photographic laboratory (Fig. 174). In the ceiling of the ‘shelter,’ a few rectangular skylights were left behind, permanently covered with plexiglass. During the excavations, they make it possible to continue conservation and documentation work in the ‘laboratory’ in front of the chapel without using artificial light, harmful for the reliefs. When the mission is absent, the skylights are covered from the outside with stone blocks and a layer of sand.

It is not only the polychromed reliefs on the long east wall that are subjected to permanent conservation care in the façade of the vizier’s cult chapel but also the very poorly preserved lateral wings of the fronton, on which the tomb owner was portrayed in deep relief and his titulature was sculpted, bringing to the foreground his highest, most lately acquired title of vizier (Figs. 176177).18 As already mentioned, part of this decoration was made in an especially brittle layer of rock, which led to a substantial part of the relief completely crumbling away. No traces of polychromy have been preserved in the lateral wings of the façade. The efforts of the conservators focus in this case on the consolidation of the stone in the fragmentarily preserved parts of the architecture and relief. In the initial phase of the work, a preparation called Funcosil Antihygro was used, which blocks the hydration-induced swelling of clay materials.19 In the subsequent stages, Funcosil Steinfestiger 300 was applied, meant to be used for fortifying natural stone with weakened internal structure, and finally – Funcosil Steinfestiger KSE 300 E and KSE 500 STE, which enter into a reaction with the moisture accumulated in the pores of the rock, and also with atmospheric humidity.

Due to the special sensitivity of these preparations to water during the impregnation process, the weather conditions are exceptionally important. ←380 | 381→This entails, among other things, the precipitation of a silicon dioxide gel, which works as an adhesive. The air temperature must then remain at the level of twenty degrees Celsius, while the humidity cannot fall below 50 % RH.20 All the impregnation actions are done with the use of a low-pressure sprayer. The small cult chapel described previously became the most spectacular field for these activities. It was added onto the east wall of the vizier’s mastaba, doubtless already after the tomb owner’s death, probably shortly after the brick mastaba fronton had collapsed onto the façade of the earlier, beautifully decorated western chapel (Il. 22; Figs. 60 and 88).21

However, the new and much more modest chapel had a monumental architrave in the form of a long-inscribed block installed above the ‘false door’ (Fig. 60). While this last element was made from good-quality limestone, the architrave was a long (3.2 m) and thick (0.25 m) rectangular monolith hewn out of very brittle local rock.22 When this chapel fell apart, or perhaps was destroyed on purpose, the architrave collapsed to the ground with the decorated surface facing downwards, cracking into three separate pieces. Its southern part hit rocky ground, while the northern – a sandy surface, which during the excavations had a tendency to slide away. As a result, we were able to find out that the surface we had not been able to see earlier was decorated with a relief. Before any attempt was made at turning the block over, it had to be subjected to a time-consuming reinforcement process by impregnating it repeatedly. In order to maintain the appropriate temperature and humidity, we had to cover the block for a few weeks with something like a tent and constantly monitor the atmospheric conditions, repeatedly adding or taking out containers with water. When the architrave was finally ready to show its decorated face, with bated breath we looked on, wondering into how many smaller pieces it would break. But not even a single crack appeared. Our emotions were then transferred to a relief carved into the surface of a long block. It turned out to be a copy of a motif known from the façade of the western chapel, i.e. a symmetrically composed procession of eight figures labelled with Merefnebef’s name and epithets.23

Let us nonetheless go back to the western chapel, the main cult place in the vizier’s tomb. Its conservation is a separate chapter in the history of our research. Upon entering it, we saw magnificent reliefs covered with ←381 | 382→polychromy of exceptionally intense shades of colour, but – unfortunately – hanging over an abyss. Some of the most beautiful ones were so loosened from the rock surface that we were afraid to breathe and talk so that we would not turn them into powder at the slightest vibration of the air. Paradoxically, like all great discoveries during my fifty-year experience in the field in the Near East,24 this discovery surprised us in the last days of our excavation campaign, so that only preventative conservation was on the table, enabling the reliefs and paintings to survive without damage until the next campaign.

Before undertaking more radical steps, it was necessary to conduct a series of tests encompassing each of the technological elements of this decoration, beginning with the rock, through the mortars, whitewash, adhesives, pigments, and – finally – the pests that had settled on the surface of the polychromy.25 From the tiny elements that had dropped away from the wall earlier and lay in the brick rubble, we took samples that were immediately handed over to specialised laboratories. Petrographic, mineralogical and microstructural tests were done at the Institute of Geology of the University of Warsaw, while others were conducted at the Faculty of Conservation at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts, in the laboratories of the National Museum in Warsaw and also at the Faculty of Chemistry at the Warsaw University of Technology.

The results of the tests conducted on the pigments and adhesives separated out from the layer of polychromy were especially interesting. While both the decorated tombs, Merefnebef’s and Nyankhnefertum’s, are adjacent to each other, and the chronological difference between them amounts to no more than ca. twenty years, the painting techniques show surprising technological differentiation, primarily a significant lowering of the level of execution. The pigments are similar in both tombs. A layer of polychromy lies on a layer of whitewash, which contains mainly calcium carbonate (exceptionally also huntite, a white mineral occurring in Africa). The raw material for the production of red was red ochre, while yellow ochre was used for yellow. The difference between the tombs is visible, for example, in the black paint. While in the vizier’s tomb, the earlier one, only vegetable black was used, ←382 | 383→the polychromy of the later tomb also shows the presence of carbon black (soot).

Green is a colour of special significance in both tombs. The tests made it possible to establish the difference between the green present on the lintel in the façade of the vizier’s tomb and the one that was used inside his cult chapel. The first of these is so-called glass green, containing wollastonite, as well as probably copper compounds formed as a result of the ageing of Egyptian blue (e.g. malachite, atacamite, paratacamite). It cannot be excluded that the hieroglyph paint in this long inscription was originally blue, similarly as in the Pyramid Texts from this period. The change of blue into light green as a result of the effect of various external factors has been attested in Egyptian artefacts from various periods, usually in the case of wooden items.

In the sample of the green colour originating from the chapel interior, malachite was no longer the product of later transformations, but the original pigment. Testing two shades of blue, light and dark, showed that this was a high-quality Egyptian blue.

Clear differences between the two tombs are observable primarily in the adhesives. In the vizier’s tomb, this function was performed by bird egg yolk, which enables referring to this technique as egg tempera. Only the black and light blue showed additives: gluten glue in the case of the first one, and wax for the second. In Temi’s chapel, the adhesives are very diverse. There is linen oil, starch and egg white, which makes it possible to conclude that a strict technological regime was no longer followed.26

It turned out that Merefnebef and Nyankhnefertum’s greatest enemies after their deaths was and still is salt, or rather salts, as this pest undergoes mutations worthy of malignant cancer or HIV. The presence of salts dissolvable in water and insoluble salts has been established.27 In the case of the sample from the chapel ceiling, 50 % of its content consisted of insoluble salts, while there were lower amounts, 10–20 %, in the remaining cases. These are usually sulphides and chlorides, with small amounts of nitrates. The closest ‘ally’ of the salts was the type of mud limestone in which the tomb was hewn and the wall decorations carved. It was defined as a biomicrite fine-grained rock from the marl group of pelitic limestones, in which the adhesive are illites, and to which the iron components give it its creamy ←383 | 384→colour.28 In this extremely soft type of stone, the illite fraction constitutes from 19.7 % to 22.1 % of the whole. Such is the geological structure in the upper part of the vizier’s tomb. Calcium smectites, the main component of these illite materials, are exceptionally hygroscopic, and can expand their capacity even by a few times. The content of kaolinites in this rock is significantly lower. The types of mutual connections and microconnections of the various ingredients have also been studied, as has their distribution, and also the level and character of the dispersal of the clay material. The pores are an exceptionally important feature of this rock’s microstructure. Their shape and sizes have been determined, establishing the predominance of micropores with a small number of medium pores with a split shape. The salt content was established using the x-ray method. It varied in the individual samples, from 0.7 % to 3 %. Rock salt was predominant, which mainly forms halite, with a small amount of gypsum and trace amounts of bassanite, i.e. chlorides and sulphides.

Armed in such knowledge and precise macroscopic observations of the ‘patient,’ the conservators under the direction of Zbigniew Godziejewski initiated the systematic many-year-long therapy, the effects of which are annually monitored at the beginning of every excavation campaign. Even though after six years of this painstaking process, the state of preservation of the reliefs and their polychromy was stabilised to such an extent that we could initiate the exploration of the neighbouring mastaba without fearing what would befall the vizier’s tomb, some conservation procedures are repeated there to this day, mainly prophylactically, whenever the surface of the decorated rock signals that the ‘enemy no longer slumbers.’

The therapy of the reliefs was begun with the removal of the contaminants from the decorated surface, after which the polychromy was safeguarded from falling away from the wall.29 Fragments, underneath which air bubbles had formed as a result of salt deposits, were reattached to the foundation. Larger pockets of air were filled with putty, the composition of which was selected individually, depending on the type and size of the damage, as well as on the structure of the foundation. The surface, which showed a tendency to transform into powder as a result of salt deposition, was fortified. At times, it was necessary to take out an entire fragment of the wall for conservation purposes, either due to the crumbling of the rock foundation and its stratification or in order to provide special reinforcement of the decorated surface. Precisely such was the case of the scene depicting the half-naked dancers in acrobatic positions in front of the vizier, carved onto the chapel’s ←384 | 385→southern wall, strongly threatened by the exceptional brittleness of the rock (Fig. 52). The magnificently preserved polychromy of this fragment’s surface was first secured with Japanese paper using Paraloid B72 (acrylic resin). Following long-lasting ‘treatment,’ the fragment was reinserted into its original spot. It was attached to the bedrock with a thick layer of putty specially made on the base of Primal E330, which also filled the cavity in the rock, and thus simultaneously isolating the work of art from the further influx of salt from inside the bedrock. The putty was made on a Primal AC33/E330 base. Another product applied in similar circumstances is Paraloid B72. This preparation is first dissolved in toluene, after which the solution is enriched with fillings, such as chaulk, desalinated and sieved fine-grained sand, calcium carbonate, as well as products from the Remmers brand, including Funcosil KSE Füllstofit A and B. In some cases, a small amount of pigment (natural sienna) is added to standardise the colouring, especially in the visible edges of the filling substance.

The entire geological structure of this part of Saqqara facilitates the migration of salts soluble in water and their deposition on the surface of the reliefs.30 They are aided not only by the silty, hygroscopic rock with a porous structure but also by the numerous, frequently very deep cracks and broad crevices visible on the surface of the rock. Many of them existed already at the time of the construction of the tomb, which is attested by thick layers of binding mortar of a shade similar to the colour of the rock. The fact that these procedures were not always effective is evidenced by the tragedy that befell the northern wall in Nyankhnefertum’s tomb. Under the pressure of the material filling the burial shafts and chamber of yet another structure in the series of mastabas, the middle part of this wall collapsed precisely along the vertical crevices, whose preserved edges still bear the traces of the original paste.31 In order to reinforce the ancient mortar, especially in those spots where they bear decorations, a 5 % solution of Paraloid B72 in toluene is applied.32

Some cracks were formed in later times, probably not without the participation of the earthquakes that frequently struck this region. The largest of these crevices cuts the vizier’s chapel almost in the middle of its width, passing through the walls, floor and ceiling, and even through the preserved in situ fragment of the brick mastaba erected on top of the chapel’s roof.33 These cracks intersect on the chapel’s ceiling, dividing it into a series of ←385 | 386→plates, the stability of which is by no means guaranteed. As a form of monitoring, enabling the determination of any potential dislocation of these huge masses of stone, in 1998 we installed a sequence of plaster seals across the cracks.34 None of them have fallen off as of yet. No vertical movements have been identified either, which would threaten the safety of the people present in the chapel.

The salts that have achieved their destination in their journey through the rock and have settled on the surface of the decorated walls, sometimes take the form of such fantastically shaped crystals and compositions that an archaeologist is sometimes close to feeling the urge to treat them like a work of modern art. Meanwhile, they must be gotten rid of as quickly as possible, as they lead to the cracking of the surface and the falling away of fragments of the decoration. Some have been petrified and formed a shell so resistant that scalpels must be used to remove them. They also frequently take on the form of barely visible fluff on the surface of the painting or a delicate thread similar to the head of a dandelion. It is then necessary to remove it with some soft-bristled brushes. Nonetheless, every cloud has a (relative) silver lining. The comparatively high level of salination protects the works of art from the formation of mould spores.

Every season of work of the archaeological mission in Saqqara begins with a conservation inspection in all the tombs we have discovered containing even just the remains of some decoration. Any damages identified are immediately repaired. The surface of the relief is moistened with a small amount of an aqueous solution of 96 % ethyl alcohol in a 1:1 proportion, with the purpose of decreasing the surface tension, which serves to improve the absorbency of the binding substance.35 Depending on the specific case, the conservator introduces this substance either by injecting it into the surface of the relief or with the aid of especially delicate paintbrushes. Next, the loosened fragments of the polychromy are pressed onto the bedrock using tampons. The next actions are done with the help of sprayers. They are used to introduce the Primal AC33 or Primal E330 aqueous solution with a concentration amounting, depending on the particular case, to 6–8 %, onto the surface of the relief. In places with especially high salination, where the polychromy is flaking or slowly transforming into powder, the conservator sprays the surface with a 3 % Paraloid B72 solution in toluene.

This method got our mission dragged into an unexpected adventure involving alcohol. We use quite a lot of it for conservation purposes and until 2011 there were generally no greater problems with purchasing it in ←386 | 387→Egypt. Any desired amount could be bought in special stores, or even in pharmacies. This changed after the revolution, which in consequence, if only for a year, brought the Muslim Brotherhood to power in the country. They were interested not so much in fighting alcoholism, which would be understandable in light of Koranic principles, but rather in the fact that the enemy (whoever it might be) uses amateur bombs for the production of which alcohol is used. It reached a point in 2014 when we had to purchase this rare product in some warehouse outside Cairo and we could not bring it to the excavations ourselves. Only the representative of the distributor was authorised to do this, and he turned out to be a very nice, well-educated young man. The only thing was that we could not determine the criteria based upon which he had decided that we do not cooperate with terrorists.

Thanks to our mission’s systematic conservation procedures, repeated many times over, the state of preservation of the wall decoration in Fefi and Temi’s tombs stabilised and achieved a satisfactory level. The dynamics of the salt migration decreased significantly, which does not mean that it has been eliminated completely. As they depend primarily on the climate conditions inside the chapel, which – if they change – immediately activate the salts, we installed a year-long monitoring system of these conditions using a small instrument of Swiss production. The thermo-hygrometer turns on automatically every two hours throughout the entire period we are gone, registering the current level of humidity and the temperature. It makes a chronological graph, which we read on a computer upon our return to Saqqara. The dependency of these parameters on the seasons, diurnal changes, as well as violent weather fluctuations is provided here precisely in numbers.

The torrential rainfalls that sometimes occur during the winter season are especially harmful to the microclimate inside the chapel. The observation of this correlation enabled us to make certain corrections to the protective pavilion covering this tomb, as well as to use different materials and parameters in the construction of a similar shelter above Temi’s tomb, neighbouring the vizier’s mastaba.36 This pavilion is L-shaped since it in fact covers two funerary chapels hewn out into rock, adjacent to each other at a right angle (Il. 22; Fig. 157). Even though the owner’s name is not preserved in the inscription carved onto the architrave, the only decorated element of the unfinished chapel ‘hugging’ the other structure, based on the entire context it is possible to assume that it had been foreseen for Temi’s eldest son. Even though the shelter we built covers two tombs, we installed only one pair of iron gates. They do not lead directly to Temi’s richly decorated chapel, but ←387 | 388→rather they are located near the entrance to the unfinished structure. As a result, the change in the climate conditions due to the frequent opening of the door leading to this complex has almost no influence on the beautiful reliefs and their polychromy. Another effective method of combatting the salts has been the filling of the burial shafts with sand after we have excavated them. The salts quickly change the direction of their migrations along with the humidity.

Despite the exceptional originality of the sepulchral complex encompassing the mastabas belonging to the vizier, his neighbour and the latter’s eldest son (?), and even despite the unbelievable amount of effort put into their conservation and securing, our mission is categorically against opening this complex of monuments to tourists. Even the breathing of larger groups of people, not to mention verbal commentary and expressions of admiration, would cause such radical changes in the temperature and humidity inside the chapel that after a few months the migration of the salts and their crystallisation on the decorated surface would lead to the irreversible destruction of these unique works of art. We are however aware that such an amazing discovery should be made accessible to the broader public. This is not taken care of by the comprehensive, coloured, English-language scholarly publication on Merefnebef’s tomb, issued seven years after the discovery was first made, which in the archaeology of Egypt is an unprecedented event.37 A few years later, a similar study devoted to Nyankhnefertum’s tomb was published, available on the shelves of all the most prestigious academic libraries around the world.38

But that is simply not what it is all about. We would also like every Pole and foreigner visiting our country to be able to have more personal contact with the unique reliefs and paintings from over 4000 years ago. These are in fact works of art that belong to our global cultural heritage. Was it not also the source of much inspiration for the much later European civilisation? As a result, we prepared a design of a model faithfully replicating Merefnebef’s tomb on a scale of 1:1, corresponding to the latest technological and aesthetic standards. All of the members of the mission were actively involved in this enterprise, especially the architect working with us at the time, Daria Tarara from Poznań. Our fantastic photographer, Jarosław Dąbrowski from Kraków, also joined in the project with exceptional enthusiasm and dedication, preparing special detailed documentation. Each of the decorated planes was divided into small squares, photographed separately, always in an orthogonal shot, maintaining the same distance and lighting.

←388 | 389→

Daria approached the project with such dedication that a day after my operation at the Warsaw Oncology Centre, she came to the hospital with her entire team of colleagues to discuss some of the details. The hospital personnel on the third floor first gaped in bewildered awe, and then joined us in looking for an appropriate table on which we could spread out our enormous plans and drawings. It is a shame that I could not gaze from a distance at this ‘alien,’ barely standing on his own two feet while grasping onto a walker, connected by tubes to everything that could be moved around on wheels or carried with us, debating the technology of the project.

The Chair of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Professor Andrzej Legocki was just as enthusiastic towards the idea, reaching generously into the almost empty pockets of this mighty scholarly institution. Unfortunately, he did not find any imitators. Despite our most earnest efforts, we were unable to collect the remaining 80 % of the project price. Academic institutions could not assign even a penny, because they do not have a paragraph in their budgets entitled ‘activities popularising science,’ while institutions linked to culture were only able to express their enthusiasm. Even this was lacking from museum facilities, to whom we proposed that we could supplement their collections with a modern copy of a unique monument, revealing the artistry of the sculptors and painters from the third millennium BC. At that moment, there was nothing similar to it anywhere else in Europe; thus, the structure would become one of the most important tourist attractions on the historical Warsaw route. From the various concepts of exhibiting it, the best one seemed to be the idea to construct a special pavilion in the scarp adjacent to Książęca Street between the National Museum and the Museum of the Earth. The pavilion could have become a showcase of Polish architectural concepts, which are usually formed in our country, but are executed far away from Poland, while the tomb could be an inimitable testimony to our contribution to world culture. All this would require financial input that can only be dreamed of by institutions as lean as the facilities huddled under the roof of our ‘national heritage,’ including the ministry itself, or rather – beginning with it. In this situation, it is difficult to be surprised the museums did not want to take on yet another problem, investing their time, imagination and responsibility. The Copernicus Science Centre in Warsaw was very interested and would probably have exhibited the vizier’s tomb, if it had not already had every centimetre of its area planned ages ago. The documentation awaits better times, ‘post-crisis ones,’ if any such should return. If they do, the discoverers of Merefnebef’s tomb will be happy, even if they happen to observe its execution from a different, more horizontal perspective.

One could assume that in Saqqara our conservators only occupy themselves with taking care of the tombs. However, every day excavations generate a large number of problems linked to moveable artefacts. In the case of ←389 | 390→the Upper Necropolis, this primarily refers to cartonnages and items made from wood.39 Covered in rich polychromy, they are frequently preserved in a terrible state. The reasons for such a situation are multiple, not only the destructive activities of looters during different periods of history. The greatest threats include moisture, mould, insect larvae, as well as various microorganisms, which to an equal extent damage the wood of sarcophagi, figurines and ritual chests as they do the linen canvases, adhesives and pigments used for the production of cartonnages. The stratum of the Upper Necropolis, sometimes lying just underneath the surface of the sand, is especially vulnerable to the influence of atmospheric conditions. Some coffins unearthed at a depth of about one metre continue to retain the moisture that destroys the structure of the artefact even eight months after the rainy period.

In turn, in the much older and deeper located Old Kingdom tombs, especially those that were hewn into the lower terraces of the former quarry, the annual inflow of water from the direction of Djoser’s pyramid has activated the salts to such an extent that over the course of the centuries they have transformed the equipment from many a burial chamber into a compact mass with the structure of stone. How does one go about taking out a wooden chest from this mass, containing the skeleton of a child, which in itself is so delicate that it would immediately disperse into powder (Fig. 197). Softening this mass with the aid of various chemicals, and sometimes even shattering it with a hammer, can take weeks before items can be pulled out, preserved in such shape that they have to be subjected to long consolidation procedures (Fig. 198). The extraction of miniature models made from stone, wooden figurines or exceptionally delicate copper vessels is equally difficult. As luck would have it, the flooded tombs are precisely those in which the most have been preserved, as even the ancient looters disliked such dirty and time-consuming work.40

Archaeologists are also not spared the inherent ‘thermal shock’ artefacts experience at the moment they are discovered, i.e. as a result of the sudden contact with the atmosphere of our times. This especially weakens their polychromy, which requires the immediate, sometimes very time-consuming intervention of the restorers before any attempt is made at extracting the artefact from its original context. Weeks passed before we could take out a bundle of cartonnages with a very flaky and loosened polychromy from an open grave (Figs. 178180).41 The fragment was small, so we did not expect it to have high ←390 | 391→academic value, all the more so as the state of preservation of the canvas and stucco allowed for only the most pessimistic prognostics. In turn, archaeologists were interested in the rapid extraction of this damaged artefact since its presence made it impossible to explore the mummy lying deeper underneath, also not-too-well preserved. We could not believe our own eyes when – towards the end of the campaign – the conservators demonstrated the effects of the laboratory-based operations to which they had subjected this ‘obstruct.’ The polychromy of this cartonnage surface, reinforced and straightened, revealed a whole world depicting the inhabitants of the Netherworld (Fig. 180).

Similar motifs also appear on the so-called canopic chests, which have been preserved in only a very few burials from the Ptolemaic period (Figs. 165167).42 Similarly as the figurines presenting the mummiform god Ptah-Sokar-Osiris (Fig. 168)43 and the Old Kingdom statuettes depicting the tomb owner, sometimes completely naked (Figs. 7678),44 they were usually made from wood, which had been deformed, weakened and lost part of its polychromy for the above-listed reasons. We felt special regret for the wall of one of the most beautiful chests: the one on which it had laid for centuries in the grave.45 The concentration of moisture in the ground led not only to the splintering of the wooden material but also the loss of most of the decoration.

For similar reasons, some of the wooden figurines, depicting people with ideal proportions and facial features, have the consistency of an old mushroom. For their reinforcement we use a whole arsenal of chemicals, among which a high position is held by Mowilith 50 (PVA) mixed with alcohol and acetone.46 In order to stop the decay of the painting layer on the surface of the wood, the already frequently mentioned Paraloid B72 is often used with a ca. 8 % mixture with toluene. In some cases, the lack of small fragments of the artefact makes it impossible to connect its larger parts into a whole. The conservators fill in the gaps with small strips of balsa wood, which is perfect for such purposes thanks to its elasticity. It is precisely this cosmetic procedure that ended the many-year-long process of the conservation of the most ←391 | 392→exceptional wooden item we have discovered so far. This is the famous ritual harpoon and its cylindrical sheath (Figs. 7275).47 Both items are in their entirety made from juniper (Juniperus). Upon completion of the conservation in our excavation area, they made their first journey to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo for the exhibition on the occasion of the seventieth anniversary of Polish archaeological research in Egypt,48 while they currently constitute part of the permanent exposition in the monographic Imhotep Museum, greeting tourists near the entrance to Saqqara.

It goes without saying – similarly as the decorated Old Kingdom tombs – the matter of all categories of moveable artefacts was subjected to comprehensive analyses before initiating conservation procedures.49 Among other things, these tests showed the enormous diversity of raw materials used in the production of dyes and adhesives, as well as the causes of the ‘illnesses’ from which the artefacts suffer. The most valuable items from out excavations made their way to the well-secured and protected storehouses of the Imhotep Museum in Saqqara, where they are monitored annually by our conservators and, if need be, ‘pampered.’ Urszula Dąbrowska, to whom Zbigniew passed on the torch, now heads the team of conservators. After gaining experience not only at the excavations in Saqqara but also in a few European and Asian countries, Urszula enables the archaeologists to sleep peacefully, knowing that no challenge will catch her unawares.

From time to time, Ewa Parandowska comes back to us in Saqqara, as if she were visiting her own child. It was she who gave the vizier his first injections. During one such visit, she brought her husband with her, an archaeologist with the soul of an artist, writer and filmmaker. The motif of our excavations in the foothills of Djoser’s pyramid appears repeatedly in some of the sixty films he managed to make before he left us forever. Multi-talented, like his famous father, throughout his life Piotr had to constantly choose between science and art. Using the first, he talked about the second, though he just as willingly turned these roles around. While Ewa can be considered to be a doctor of the arts, without any hesitation Piotr could be referred to as a conservator of culture, especially in times when its significance is undergoing constant degradation. If ever a specialisation is formed called ‘conservation of culture’ at the universities (and it is greatly needed!), Piotr Parandowski (1944–2012) would surely be named its precursor.


1 K. Myśliwiec, “Nowe odkrycia przy najstarszej piramidzie świata, Świat Nauki 8 (1999), pp. 28–37.

2 See the bibliography in Myśliwiec et al., The Tomb, Warsaw 2004, pp. 33–35.

3 Myśliwiec et al., The Tomb, pp. 167–170, pls. XXIII, LXXV.

4 Myśliwiec, Kuraszkiewicz, The Funerary Complex, Warsaw 2010, pp. 85–87, 169–181, figs. 57–58, pls. CIV, CVI–CVIII.

5 See conservation reports by Zbigniew Godziejewski in the following volumes of Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean: X, pp. 97–100; XI, pp. 107–108; XII, pp. 120–126; XIII, pp. 143–146; XIV, pp. 128–132; XV, pp. 126–130; XVI, pp. 161–164; XVII, pp. 190–193; XVIII, pp. 190–194; XIX, pp. 224–228; XXI, pp. 167–174; XXIII/1, pp. 159–162; XXIV/1, pp. 224–228 (with Urszula Dąbrowska).

6 Myśliwiec et al., The Tomb, pp. 87–88 (1 – North Thickness), pls. XVII a, XLII, XLIII a, XLIV d, XLVI.

7 Myśliwiec et al., The Tomb, pp. 69–86, pls. XI–XV, XXX–XLI.

8 Myśliwiec et al., The Tomb, pls. XXX–XXXI, XXXIV–XXXVIII.

9 Z. Godziejewski, “Conservation Work,” in: Myśliwiec et al., The Tomb, p. 239.

10 Godziejewski, “Conservation Work,” pp. 239–240.

11 Myśliwiec et al., The Tomb, pp. 66–69, pl. XII.

12 Myśliwiec et al., The Tomb, pp. 67–68, pl. XXXVII b.

13 Godziejewski, “Conservation Work,” p. 243, pls. XXXIII a–c, XL b–c, e–f.

14 Myśliwiec et al., The Tomb, pl. XL e–f.

15 Myśliwiec et al., The Tomb, pp. 141–149, pls. LXII, LXVI.

16 Myśliwiec et al., The Tomb, pp. 141–146.

17 Kuraszkiewicz, The Architecture, p. 55.

18 Myśliwiec et al., The Tomb, pp. 66–69, pl. XII.

19 Godziejewski, “Conservation Work,” p. 242.

20 Godziejewski, “Conservation Work,” p. 243.

21 Myśliwiec et al., The Tomb, pp. 56–60, drawing 1, pls. LXXXI–LXXXIII, LXXXV f–g.

22 Myśliwiec et al., The Tomb, p. 59, pls. LXXXII a, LXXXIII a, LXXXV a–b, d–f.

23 Myśliwiec et al., The Tomb, p. 83–86, pls. XI, XV, XVI, XXX–XXXII, XXXIV–XXXVI, XXXIX, XLI; see Myśliwiec, “The Scheme 2 × 4,” pp. 191–205.

24 I must count among those the Syrian Palmyra, where we uncovered the tomb of a dignitary named Alaine in 1970 under even more dramatic circumstances, containing, among other things, a group of magnificent statues of the family portrait type (A. Sadurska, Le tombeau de famille de Alainê, Palmyre 7, Varsovie 1977).

25 Godziejewski, “Conservation Work,” pp. 238–240; A. Zatorska, “Examination of Pigments and Binders from the Chapel of Nyankhnefertem,” in: Myśliwiec, Kuraszkiewicz, The Funerary Complex, pp. 213–215.

26 Z. Godziejewski, “Zatrzymać przeszłość,” Archeologia Żywa (special issue) 1 (2010), pp. 58–59.

27 Z. Godziejewski, “Conservation Work in the Funerary Chapel of Nyankhnefertem,” in: Myśliwiec, Kuraszkiewicz, The Funerary Complex, pp. 211–212; Godziejewski, “Conservation Work,” p. 239.

28 Godziejewski, “Conservation Work,” p. 238.

29 Godziejewski, “Conservation Work,” p. 241.

30 Godziejewski, “Conservation Work,” p. 242, pl. XXXIII; Myśliwiec, Kuraszkiewicz, The Funerary Complex, pl. LXIV d, CXLIX c.

31 Myśliwiec, Kuraszkiewicz, The Funerary Complex, pp. 169–181, pls. CIII–CXI.

32 Godziejewski, “Conservation Work,” p. 242.

33 Myśliwiec et al., The Tomb, pls. XXXI–XXXIII, XXXVI a, XL e, LIV, LXII, LXXII.

34 Myśliwiec et al., The Tomb, pls. XLIX, LIV.

35 Godziejewski, “Conservation Work,” p. 241.

36 Godziejewski, “Conservation Work in the Funerary Chapel of Nyankhnefertem,” p. 207.

37 Myśliwiec et al., The Tomb, passim.

38 Myśliwiec, Kuraszkiewicz, The Funerary Complex, passim.

39 Z. Godziejewski, “Conservation Work,” in: The Upper Necropolis, pp. 546–556.

40 See, e.g., grave XLI b, shaft 50: Kuraszkiewicz, Architecture, pp. 199–200.

41 Z. Godziejewski, “Appendix: Conservation Work in Saqqara (2008–2009),” in: K. Myśliwiec, “Saqqara 2008–2009,” Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean 21 (2012): Research 2009, pp. 170–172, fig. 8–9.

42 A. Kowalska, “The Catalogue,” in: The Upper Necropolis, pp. 335–343, pls. CCXLIV–CCXLVII; T. Kowalska, “The Catalogue of Burials and Small Finds,” in: Myśliwiec, Kuraszkiewicz, The Funerary Complex, pp. 38–47, pls. XXIII–XXVI.

43 Kowalska, “The Catalogue,” pp. 344–348, pls. CCXLI–CCXLIII; Kowalska, “The Catalogue,” in: Myśliwiec, Kuraszkiewicz, The Funerary Complex, pp. 47–51, pls. XXVII–XXIX.

44 Kowalska, “Small Finds,” pp. 453–456, pls. CCII a, CCIII a–b; cf. pls. CXCIII–CXCVI, CXCIX, CCIV–CCV, CCVIII.

45 The Upper Necropolis, pl. CCXLVI.

46 Godziejewski, “Conservation Work,” p. 548.

47 Bibliography in K. Myśliwiec, “Trois millénaires à l’ombre de Djéser: Chronologie d’une nécropole,” in: Ch. Zivie-Coche, I. Guermeur (eds.), “Parcourir l’éternité” – Hommages a Jean Yoytte, Vol. 2, Brepols 2012, pp. 855–856, fn. 15.

48 Seventy Years, pp. 82–83.

49 Z. Godziejewski with a contribution by W. Weker, “Conservation,” in: Old Kingdom Structures, pp. 533–547.