Early Dynastic monuments (Dynasties 1-3)

Francesco Raffaele
I.U.O. Napoli
August 2002

1 - ARCHAIC SAQQARA: some images

My digital colouring/painting of Lauer P.D. II pl. 5 B/W


Go to a  Clickable  map of MIDDLE SAQQARA
Clickable Map

Abusir pyramids
Saqqara from the Archaic necropolis
Step Pyramid complex from east
Entrance to the Step Pyramid Complex (Photo courtesy Jon Bodsworth)
Djoser pyramid from NW


Step Pyramid Complex of Netjerykhet (Djoser)
Lauer's Reconstruction

(PD II, pl. 4)

(PD III, pl. 22)


Central North Saqqara
Central Field of North Saqqara (Quibell's excavations 1911-1914)

(G.T. Martin, JEA 60, 1974, 15ff.)
North-Middle Saqqara

North Saqqara and Northern Middle Saqqara

(A.J. Spencer, Orientalia 43, 1974)
North Saqqara
North Saqqara

(Helck, L.Ä. V, col. 387-388, fig. 1)




2 - ARCHAIC SAQQARA: an introduction
(Please wait few seconds for the text)

Early Dynastic monuments (Dynasties 1-3)

The site of Saqqara is the central portion of the Memphite necropolis which stretches from the northernmost sites of Abu Rawash, Giza to Zawiyet el Aryan, Abusir, Saqqara, South Saqqara and finally Dahshur and Mazghuna in the south, for more than 30 kilometers.
Memphis was founded at the end of "Dynasty 0" or beginning of the First Dynasty and was the capital of Egypt at least since the early Second Dynasty to the Eighth Dynasty (with the exception of some reigns, particularly in the IVth Dynasty) and again it became a major center in the XIIth Dynasty; after the second Theban reconquest, its importance began to increase once again with Ahmose and still more from the reign of Thutmosis III to Akhenaton; Thutmosis III resided in Memphis for the most of his reign, especially in the period of the Asiatic campaigns; in this period the riverine harbour Prw-Nfr and the garrison Pa Khepesh were particularly active; most of the early 18th Dynasty ereditary princes resided in the city during their youth, this fact certainly depending on the presence of very important structures of instruction like the House of Life, the temples and the garrison.
After the short-lived Akhetaton (Amarna), Memphis returned to be officially the capital of Egypt in the reign of Horemheb until the construction of Piramesse. Under the great Ramses II, despite the new-born capital in the Delta, Memphis knew another period of splendour for commercial and political reasons; Ramses II lived here before Piramesse was completed; his son (High Priest of Ptah) Khaemwaset restored many monuments of the necropolis, as attested by the inscriptions he left on some pyramids at Abusir and Saqqara (cf. the fragmentary one up on the south side of the Unas pyramid); he was buried in the Serapeum in the 55th year of his father's reign.
In the late period the city passed through alternating phases as the new building projects of the Tanite and Saite pharaohs and the strangers' dominations of Ethiopics, Assirians and Persians.

Known as 'Balance of the Two Lands' (Mekhat Tawy) and 'White Wall' (Inbw Hedj), it received only in the Middle Kingdom the denomination of Men-Nefer, after the name of the Pyramid and funerary complex of Meryra Pepi (I) of the VIth Dynasty; and from 'Men-nefer' the present Graecized name 'Memphis' originated (indeed Mennefer became largely used only since the 18th dynasty, because in the Middle Kingdom the name of the Teti pyramid Djed-Iswt, was preferentially adopted to designate the urban center). For further names of the city as 'Ankh Tawy', 'Njwt Heh' and others cf. Zivie, in: LA III, 24-26.
The site of Memphis was identified in late 1500 by the traveller Francois de Pavie and, few later, by Jean de Thévenot (Zivie, op. cit., 33, n. 219); since the first half of the '700, R. Pococke, who visited Egypt in 1737, basing on the classic writers Strabo and Plinius, correctly assumed that the site of the ancient capital had to be located around the modern village of Mit Rahina. This is situated circa 2,5 km east south-east of the Pyramid of Djoser, and 2 km east of that of Pepi I; (the ancient site was obviously much wider than the actual ruins field at Mit Rahinah - Bedrashiya).
The earliest site of Memphis (Dyn. 1-3) laid instead just at the feet of the North Saqqara archaic necropolis plateau, below the 1st Dynasty mastabas, therefore under the south-west part of the modern village of Abusir.
Also the necropolis of Middle Saqqara (the area extending around the two Step Pyramid complexes) is actually nearer to the village of Abusir than to the modern hamlet of Sakkara (which is in front of the site of South Saqqara).
The increasing height of the Nile flood and the eastward shift of the Nile-bed, alongside other factors, resulted in the abandonment of the site of the early capital located under Abusir in favour of the new and more eastern settlement located near Mit Rahina, which seems to have occurred sometime in the late Third Dynasty.

For various reasons (first of all constructional overcrowding, long lasting reuse of building materials, the massive accumulation of Nile deposits and modern frequentation and exploitation), the field of ruins in the site of the ancient capital has revealed to be rather poor of archaeological remains, especially of Old Kingdom age buildings (but a good number of Old Kingdom pots has been found). However the necropolis of Helwan and Saqqara, east and west of the city, were undoubtly founded in the Dynasty 0 and in the early First Dynasty respectively.
Herodotus (II,99) attributed to the legendary Menes the foundation of this new Capital which substituted the Upper Egyptian center of Thinis. Manetho labelled as 'Thinite' the first two dynasties, but there would be much to speculate on this problem. The southern Thinis and its necropolis, Abydos, surely retained their importance for the whole age of the so called 'Thinite kings', but it can be assumed that Memphis started to be de facto the main center of the administration of the country at least with Hotepsekhemwy, but very probably (and to a high level) already at the beginning of the First Dynasty; there is no evidence of a royal tomb in Abydos for any ruler of the first half of the Second Dynasty; on the other hand, the substructures of the tombs of kings Hotepsekhemwy (A) and Ninetjer (B) (1st and 3rd rulers of the 2nd Dynasty respectively) were discovered south of the Step Pyramid complex (cfr. below) and now, probably a third gallery complex (C) has been found few to the south, in the eastern New Kingdom tombs-field delimitated by the complex of Sekhemkhet and the remains of the monastery of Apa Jeremias (this new found tomb could hardly be a private one; the early 2002 dutch excavations seem to have clarified its features and its royal character).
A royal cult estabilishment (of Den's reign) possibly consisting of a (perishable material ?) enclosure surrounded by middle class officials' tombs (as n. 59 of Ipka), was reconstructed by Kaiser (M.D.A.I.K. 41, 1985 p. 47-60) on the basis of excavations and plan of R. Macramallah (1940); the rows of tombs are N and NW of the Serapeum.
Whether Kaiser's hypothesis of a rude Talbezirk was valid, this would show that the royal authority, activities and presence in Saqqara, and thus in Memphis, were already concentrated there at least since the middle First Dynasty.
The imposing size of the First Dynasty mastabas built on the eastern edge of the desert escarpment overlooking the capital, is a clear sign of the importance of this urban center which was much more in the core of the commercial circuit of interchange with the Near Eastern peoples than the remote Thinis could ever be; this soon began to lose its political importance and only maintained a religious and cultual authority as the center of the archaic sovereigns' burials and, since the late Old Kingdom, as the site of the tomb of the god Osiris (identified in the Umm el Qa'ab tomb O, of Horus Djer; Dodson, KMT 8:4 37-47), and consequently a frequented destination of piligrimage until the dawn of the modern age.
The importance of the Memphite location resided in the easy control of the riverine and desert trade; indeed this had already been a major factor for the rise of the predynastic center of Maadi, just near to the Wadi Hof and Wadi Digla, which open towards the Delta and Near Eastern routes.
On the other hand the early cemetery of North Saqqara must have been regarded as a holy place during all the Dynastic period, because as Emery wrote in 1958 "... it is a curious fact that the archaic necropolis is the only part of Sakkara which has not been re-used as a burial ground for later periods" (Emery, GT III, 1958, 2); there are indeed some exceptions in the central area cleared by Quibell in 1912-14 and near S3507 (see below).

The necropolis of Helwan, although with less impressive tombs (private burials of middle-high/ middle-low classes) than at Saqqara, was founded some generations earlier, as attested by certain Dynasty 0 royal names on jars (Nj-Neith, Ka, Narmer); the officials buried here witness their kings' evident interest in controlling the trade of various commodities to-fro the Southern Palestine and beyond.
The effect of the rise of Memphis must have been an outstanding one when we look at the impact it had on the sites of the region: most of them declined at the beginning, during or at the end of the First Dynasty as the Dynasty 0-1 cemeteries from Tarkhan to Tura, Zawiyet el Aryan and Abu Rawash demonstrate (but in the latter site to a very slight degree, if not at all, as the 1st/2nd and 4th/5th Dyn. Tombs Klasens excavated and the Lepsius I Mudbrick Pyramid, Ed-Deir and Djedefra's pyramid complex do attest).

Saqqara owes its name to the necropolis' archaic falcon-god Sokar (not to the medieval tribe of the Beni Sokar).
Despite the name of the necropolis, the modern village of Sakkara is situated in the shadow of the palms in front of the archaeological site known as South Saqqara, where Shepseskaf and then Djedkara Isesi first built their tombs.
The sole Archaic Cemetery of the élite at North Saqqara covers an area of more than 350.000 m².
The earliest known mastaba is situated in the North Saqqara plateau and dates to the reign of Horus Aha (S3357); more mastabas were built north and south of it in the following reigns of the First Dynasty, exhausting, by the reign of Qa'a, all the available space on the eastern edge of the escarpment.
Already since Horus Djer more than one huge mastaba was built in a single reign (S2185, S3471); the apex was during the reign of Den, in the middle of the First Dynasty, and under Qa'a, at the end of the same dynasty.
S3507 and S3503 respectively produced prevailing inscriptional evidence with the names of Queen Herneith and Merneith, while no tomb has yet been found of any individual relatable to the reign of Horus Semerkhet (who is instead attested at Helwan).
The southernmost tombs of this kind were built in the area east of the pyramid of Teti (one was found just beneath the house of the Office of the Antiquities) and Lepsius XXIX (Merikara ?), while the northernmost ones (S3041, 3043, 3038, S3111) are just at the northern end of the North Saqqara ridge (for all the mastabas see below).
After the huge mastabas of the reign of Den (3035, 3036) the size and wealth of the tombs began to decrease; but one of the tombs dated to Adjib, S3038, though of medium size, reserved an unexpected surprise to the excavator W.B. Emery: it revealed three constructional phases, the first one of which consisting of a 8 steps brick-structure (less than 3m high) which was considered the conceptual forerunner of the Step Pyramid (sand mounds are known to have been included in the inner parts of other tombs as S 3471, S3507, Bet Khallaf K1, Abydos Umm el Qaab Z, just above the burial chamber; these mounds are thought to be related to the mythical primeval hill of creation, thus being religious symbols of post-mortem rebirth).

There is no doubt, after almost 70 years of debates, that the mastabas in object belonged to the highest officials of the 'Thinite' state administration. A thorough analysis of the debate about the site of the royal tombs and of the so called 'cenotaphs' (Saqqara vs Abydos) is out of the aims of the present article (but cfr. the brief summary below).
It has been synthesized and discussed several times (cfr. bibliography; A. Tavares in K. Bard ed. 1999, 700-704; Emery, Hor Aha, 1939, 1-7; id., GT II, 1954, 1-4; id., GT III, 1-4; Lauer, Hist. Monum., 1962, passim); until the IV-Vth Dynasty the royal tomb remained neatly separated from the private ones; at Saqqara only with the reign of Unas the king's complex began to be surrounded by private tombs (but in this we are not considering the so called tombs of the retainers around the Abydos royal tombs and enclosures).
However the recent excavations by K. Mysliwiec west of Djoser's complex (reports in PAM 8-13, 1997-2002) seem to point out that early Third Dynasty tombs were already built there before the Step Pyramid Complex underwent its latest constructional phases; if confirmed, this would mean that it was already with Netjerykhet/ Djoser that the trend of private cemeteries bordering the royal funerary complex was first introduced (J. van Wetering, n.p.; id. 2002).
It is pure speculation to advance that the tradition might have begun in honor of a worthy personage like Imhotep, like Lauer would also think; Emery thought instead that Imhotep's burial was to be searched for in the western part of the North Saqqara élite cemetery (around S3518) where he found the late period animals catacombs and many attestations of worship of the deified Imhotep (bronze statuettes) in the second part of the 1960s (see below).

In the Second and Third Dynasty, the officials were forced to move their site of burial westwards, in a recessed position from the 1st Dynasty tombs line. There was no more space left on the 'panoramic' eastern border which had been completely filled up with earlier tombs; therefore the adiacent central area of the North Saqqara plateau was chosen for the mastabas of the Second and Third Dynasty élite members.
Few eastern archaic tombs were reused and rebuilt in the IInd and IIIrd Dynasty (as S2171, 1st/2nd dyn).
The new Second Dynasty tomb (C), probably a royal one (Sened? see also below), found east of Horemheb's sepulchre in the NK necropolis, must demonstrate that, contrarily to the Ist-IInd dynasty outcrop of the Archaic necropolis known down towards the Abusir lake (cf. JEA 79, 1993, 25), there was no continuation of the Early Dynastic tombs line towards Middle Saqqara; the southern part of the cemetery was destined (since the Second Dynasty) to the royal tombs only, and the contemporary private burials could not have been built in this area (not before the Third Dynasty, cf. below).

The general development of the private tombs architecture in the Early Dynastic period follows that of the royal Upper Egyptian monuments; indeed it has been repeatedly remarked that the constructional techniques of the Memphite tombs of the elite appeared to be more evolute than those applied at Umm el Qa'ab, Abydos; J.P. Lauer and W.B. Emery compared the sheer size of the mastabas of Saqqara with those of Abydos, showing that these latter, evidently smaller and less complex in architectural design, had to be nothing more than cenotaphs, the true burials being those at North Saqqara.
But since 1966 Barry J. Kemp (and few later W. Kaiser) pointed out that the Abydos tombs could not be directly compared in size and monumental aspect with the Saqqara mastabas: in fact almost all the Umm el Qa'ab burials were only a part of the royal funerary complex also consisting of the associated "forts", large mudbrick enclosures (open courts) of possible funerary function built less than a couple of miles to the north and surrounded, like the tombs, by the small "tombs of the courtiers" (small rectangular tombs sometimes provided with a raw stela).
The number of sacrificed retainers buried around the Abydene tombs always surpasses (even without considering those around the enclosures) those around the Saqqara mastabas. And at Abydos the custom lasted for more reigns than at Saqqara, where it already declined in the middle of the (Ist) Dynasty.
Finally the stelae with Horus names of 1st Dynasty kings were only found at Abydos.
Today a good push towards the final, almost unanimously accepted conclusion that the Abydos tombs are those of the kings (while the ones at Saqqara belonged to their highest functionaries and eventually relatives), has arrived after the reprise of the excavations at Abydos by the German archaeologists directed by Kaiser and Dreyer (late '70s on); the general opinion has returned to embrace the idea which had emerged after the campaigns of Petrie, a century ago: the Ist Dynasty kings (alike some of Dynasty 0 and perhaps two of late IInd Dynasty) were buried at Abydos. Here the funerary enclosures in the North, at Deir Sitt Damiana and Kom es Sultan, served to the cultual and monumental aspect, while the Umm el Qaab tombs were the place in which the kings were buried; Petrie's escavation of tomb Z (Djet), the one where the less elusive traces of the possible tomb-superstructure remained, suggested that a low and almost flat mound did emerge at the surface level, supported by the wooden roof of the central burial chamber; around and above this tumulus there was the sand and rubble which formed the filling of the true superstructure of the tomb; this consisted in a slightly inclined perimetral mudbrick wall of modest height which contained the loose filling with a probable round-topped aspect (as in some subsidiary burials which have fully preserved their superstructure like those around the Abydos 'forts', or around the largest mastabas at Saqqara and Tarkhan); therefore the above-ground visible part of the tomb was nothing like the massive and impressive building Reisner had hypothesized; the German re-excavations have confirmed and refined this theory, finding comparable hidden tumuli also in Qa'a's (Q) and Den's (T) tombs (Dreyer, in: MDAIK 47, 1991, 93-104; id., in: MDAIK 49, 1993, 57; Kaiser, Zu Entwicklung und Vorformen der Fruhzeitlichen Graber..., in: BdE 97/2 =Mel. G. E. Mokhtar, 1985, 25-38; Petrie, Royal Tombs I, 1900, 9; also see Badawy, in: JNES 15, 1956, 180-3; also cf. above for the sand mounds found within Saqqara S3471, S3507, Bet Khallaf K1).

The private tombs of North Saqqara underwent some structural development which, as I ve anticipated, followed the similar transformations in the Royal tombs. But the palace façade outer wall, the inner tumulus and the eventual cult chapel or true temple were all incorporated in one complex, always surrounded by a plain enclosure wall.
Contrarily to the archaeological evidence from Tarkhan and Helwan, which has provided us with inscribed material dated to Dynasty 0 rulers and Narmer, at Saqqara only one stone vessel with Narmer's serekh has been found (cf. PD IV.1, pl. 1.1; PD IV.2, 1-2).
S3357 is the earliest (known) mastaba of the necropolis, the only one dated to Hor Aha: this demonstrates that the administrative apparatus dislocated in the newly founded city (already the capital ?) was rapidly increasing in size and complexity during the subsequent reigns. The monumental aspect of this tomb, despite its private ownership, indirectly emphasized the king's power.
The structure of the tomb resembles the roughly contemporary giant mastaba at Naqada, also dated to Aha (but surely earlier in his reign) and entirely built on the ground level (whereas S3357 already had the burial chamber dug in a central pit). S3357 (c. 41,5x15,5m) was discovered in 1936 and published in 1939, when more tombs had already been brought to light (but the war delayed their publication of 10 years); it was nearly soon understood its early date (to the reign of Aha who was "Menes" in Emery's opinion). The mastaba was surrounded by two plain enclosure walls (thickness: 0,75m the outer and 0,55m the inner one, 1,2m distant from eachother); no subsidiary burial was found around it (but scattered bones from the subterranean rooms suggested to Emery that some (slain?) retainers must have been buried in rooms 1,2, and 4,5 to the S and N of the burial chamber).
The enclosure walls, preserved to a height of few more than half a meter, were both covered with mud plaster and faced with lime wash; the niched façade was c. 2,5m thick, preserved at a maximum height of 1,75m, coated with mud plaster and white lime stuccoed.
The superstructure consisted of a niched mastaba with 27 magazines, the central five built above the 5 underground chambers (19m from N to S), the central one of which, at 1,35m below the ground level, was the burial chamber.
The roofing of the substructure was formed by long poles running E-W under the floor of the central magazines of the mastaba; these beams (10cm in diameter, spaced at 15cm from eachother) supported the planks (25cm wide for 12cm thick) set perpendicularly to them.
Among the finds of the tomb there were hundreds of cylinder pottery jars with ink inscriptions reporting the king's serekh, the contents and its provenance (taxation sketches, 70-74, pl. 16: 460 groups of which 208 in pl. 20-24); on the remaining pottery, mostly in fragments for the collapse of the roof, only 6 (incised) potmarks were reported; interesting are the cylinder seal impressions (Hor Aha, 1939, 19-33), some of which already in use at the time of the burial of Neithhotep at Naqada, many other ones of a new type; their variety was also greater than that of the types recorded by Petrie at Abydos B19-10-15 and nearby burials; n. 19 (ibid., 31, fig. 31) possibly named Djer, while many others introduced the motif of the crouching lioness before the UE shrine; others had only two rows with Aha's Horus name or with this latter accompained by the private names (?) Ht and Sa-St; the sealing n. 32-34 were perhaps older (Dynasty 0 = Naqada IIIB or even earlier) being similar to those found in 1990s by G. Dreyer in Abydos Cemetery U (Hartung, MDAIK 54, 1998, 187-217; id., SAK 26, 1998, 35-50; Kaiser, MDAIK 46, 1990, 287-299, fig.2) and to that from Abusir el Meleq t. 1035 (Kaplony, IAF III, 71) dated to Naqada IIIA1-2.
Four pottery rhino horns were found in magazines X, U, V, F (ibid., 71ff., pl. 17); furthermore also pieces of furniture, flint tools, palettes, stone vessels (ibid., 34ff., pl. 12-15A) and, in the undergreound chambers, human remains from different individuals' skeletons were discovered.
Contrarily to the Naqada Mastaba and to Abydos B19/16 complex, no inscribed label was found in S3357.
Few years later, the removal of a Third Dynasty superstructure north of the tomb led Emery to discover what he called a "Model Estate" in three parallel alleys: at the northern end of the outer ones there were two model granary buildings; to the north, it had been already discovered in 1937 a funerary boat (Hor Aha, 18, pl. 3, 8) which was 35m north of the tomb (under the south part of the 2nd Dynasty Mastaba S3025) encased in mudbrick like those found at Abu Rawash, Abydos and Helwan.

In the next reigns (Djer, Djet, Merneith) the chamber is dug deeper in the gravel (as at Abydos) and the magazines number increases (QS 2185, S 3471, S 3504, S 3503), while in the reign of Den, after the S3507 (Queen Herneith ?), there is the introduction of the stairway as in S 3035 belonging to the chancellor Hemaka (which is paralleled by the roughly contemporary equal innovation in the Umm el Qaab tomb T of Abydos).

S2185 was cleared (in 1912-14) and published by Quibell (Archaic Mastabas, 1923, 5-6, pl. 5-10; size m x ).
Its superstructure was badly destroyed and the underground chambers contained stone vessels, copper and flint tools and clay seal impressions with serekhs of Horus Djer.
The small pit S2171H was dated to the same reign and found by Quibell (op. cit., 6-7, pl. 11-13) underneath the Second Dynasty tomb S2171. It contained many stone vessels, some furniture fragments, flint, beads, and two labels inscribed with the name of Djer: an ivory one incised and a wooden one painted.

S3471 (m 41,25x15,10) was found by Emery in far a worse state of preservation than S3357; the 29 magazines of its superstructure only contained scattered and fragmentary stone/pottery vessels, while the substructure had been burnt (in the excavator's opinion the fire had occurred not much later than the First Dynasty and was probably set by the same plunderers aiming to hide their deed).
The floor of the burial chamber (O, m6,3 x 4,0) was at a lower dept (3,5m from the ground surface) than those of the six rooms N and S of it. These latter had been dug separately and no passage between them existed other than that practiced by the ancient plunderers.
The fire spared only few objects of deteriorable material as mud-seal impressions (wherein Emery read Djer's serekh) and furniture, whereas no inscribed label was found.
Anyway one of the seven subterranean chambers (S, just south of the burial chamber, O) contained an impressive amount of copper in form of more than 70 vessels (beaten copper jars, ewers, bowls and dishes of 7 distinct types; cf. Emery, Great Tombs I, 1949, 24ff., pl. 5, 8A; for a similar treasure from the Abydos tomb of Djer cf. Serpico-White, in A.J. Spencer, Aspects, 1996, 128-139) and hundreds of copper knives, saws, adzes, hoes, chisels, piercers, bodkins, needles and rectangular plates originally contained in wooden boxes (GT I, 24-57, pl. 9A, 9B, 10; Emery, ASAE 39, 1939, 427-437); there were also several fragments of wooden furniture, roughly rectangular stone palettes, (one, ibid., 60, had been softly incised with a figure of a standing king raising a mace in his hand towards a Libyan (?) captive at his feet; on the right the forepart of a lion with two hearts nearby its mouth); then copper, leather and ivory bracelets, game pieces, some flint knives and scrapers; finally few ivory vessels and more pottery (some with potmarks in a larger variety than in S3357) and stone vessels.

Mastaba S3504In the reign of Djet (to which also belonged the Nazlet Batran, Giza Mastaba V and probably the biggest Mastabas at Tarkhan 1060, 2038, 2050) at Saqqara the large tomb S3504 (Sekhemka-Sedj) was built (49,45x19,95m; 56,45x 25,45m incl. the enclosure).
Emery found it on Febr, 1, 1953 and the works lasted until April 5; it was rapidly and efficaciously published in the next year (GT II, 1954, 5-127, pl. 1-37).
The superstructure contained 45 magazines; around the niched façade, at the base of the main wall of the mastaba, it was built a low bench surrounding the whole superstructure; on this platform were laid several clay modelled bull's heads provided with real horns (about 300); the façade was completely white lime washed except for the innermost panel of the large niches which were painted in red. The wall of the mastaba is 2,9m thick and preserved up to the heigth of 3,35m; the large niches are 2m wide and 1,1m deep, while the small niches are 0,45 x 0,25m.
Around the mastaba runs a continuous enclosure wall (0,95m thick, max. height 0,73m) beyond which there is a single row of 62 subsidiary burials dug in 2 continuous trenches compartmented by mudbrick walls: one trench runs on the western and southern sides and the other on the northernmost three quarters of the eastern side (on the north side there's instead another wall); each subsidiary tomb has its own separate superstructure, a round topped, rubble filled midbrick mini-mastaba of 1,70 x 1,45m and less than half a meter in height. The retainers were slain at the time of the burial of the tomb's owner; they were servants, attendants, a dwarf (subsid. tomb 58) and some dogs.
Interestingly enough S3504 was plundered and burnt not long after the burial period and the terminus ante quem is provided by the certain signs of reconstruction and repairs which were accomplished under Qa'a: the burnt burial chamber was cleared and reinforced by a thick (1,2m) mudbrick wall which reduced its area.
The original substructure was a 22,6 x 10,2m trench, the central part of which was dug at 3,1m below the ground level forming the burial chamber (originally 7,1 x 5,7m); two large rooms on the N and two on the S of the burial chamber occupied the same pit of the latter but at more than 1m higher in level; on this same floor eight smaller magazines on the E and eight on the W sides were separately dug.
One curious feature Emery noticed on the south wall of the burial chamber was a recessed niche at some cm from the floor which probably had housed a wooden panel as those of the 11 niches of Hesyra's tomb S2405; at the foot of the wooden panel recess, an bricked offering cache contained the skeletons of two gazelles (GT II, 11f., pl. 14).
The superstructure magazines contained a large amount of stone and pottery vessels (for the first time with pot- marks in a noticeable quantity and variety, ibid., fig. 100-102), many clay seal impression of jars, flint, furniture, game pieces (marbles, a lotus-like pawn, an ivory dice-stick), arrow heads, a gold ring, and an wooden label (ink).
Nine more labels were found in the burial chamber (OO) and few others in the surrounding underground rooms; also an ivory (wand?) inscribed with Djet's serekh followed by the name of Sekhemkha-Sedj came from OO as well as human bones of an approx. 26 y.o. adult, scattered in the burial chamber with a vast mass of broken wood furniture, pottery and stone vessels fragments, sandals, toilet sticks, copper tools, leather, gold inlay and objects of unknown use (see ibid., pl. 26-35).
The inscriptional material (ibid., 102-127) thus consisted of seal impressions; incised and painted short texts on stone vessels; ink inscriptions (oil income) of Sekhemkasedj on pottery jars (similar to those of Aha on S3357 cylinder vessels); important ivory and wooden labels [ibid., fig. 105 (the oldest known example with the rnpt-year sign on the right), 108, 109, 110-112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117-119, 120, 121 (115-121 name the Per-Hedj treasury), 122 (rnpt-year sign on the right), 123 (this one is of Qa'a's reign), 124 (inventory of commodities for the Per-Desher ?), 125 (perhaps arranged in five columns)]. A further label of Djet and Sekhemka, perhaps also from this tomb and similar to the one in fig. 105, was published five years later by Vikentiev (ASAE 56, 1ff.).

The reign of Den marked an important step forward, not only in funerary architecture development, but also in the progress of the State and of its subsystems (administration, economy, crafts, religion, kingship) as witnessed by the proliferation of titles of nobles, officials and lesser aristocracy (stelae of Abydos and Abu Rawash), the increment in the use of seals and labels, the arts masterpieces (stone vessels fashioned in daring shapes and materials), new attributes of the king(ship) (the new 'Nswt-bity' royal title, canonization of king's role, attire and attitude; cf. H. Sourouzian, in: Kunst des Alten Reich = SDAIK 28, 1995, 133-154; id., in: Grimal ed., Les Critères de datation..., = BdE 120, 1998, 305-352).
By far most of the known First Dynasty private tombs date to Den's reign (esp. at Saqqara and at Abu Rawash).

(42,6x16m) (GT II, 1954, 128-170; Helck, in: LÄ V, 290-1, fig. 4) Situated immediately North of S3504 and in line with the latter tomb axis, S3503 was surrounded by 20/22 subsidiary burials, the enclosure wall and, on the north side, a brickwork casing for a funerary boat was found beyond the subsidiary burials A-C, south of S3500 (it was c. 13m north of S3503, and its maximum length was 17,75m: 'unlike the boat graves of tomb 3357 and 3036 it was not sunk below ground level and the brick casing rests entirely on the surface', op. cit., 138, fig. 203).
The tomb had 9 niches (10 bastions) on the longer side and three on the short ones; some of them retained traces of painting; at the base of the niches Emery encountered post-holes, as in S3357 and S2185: these cut the pavement mud plastering (GT II, 131f., fig. 201) and Emery interpreted them as traces of the workers'/painters' supporting scaffolds.
Some boat models and other pottery broken objects were found in subs. pit F (op. cit., 147-8), while the occupant of pit T had a copper blade still at his ankle, and that of pit A kept a strange copper (surgical?) tool in a wooden box found close to his skeleton.
Most of the superstructure (21) magazines were well preserved but plundered, some were collapsed or had been set on fire (soon?) after the plundering.
The substructure pit measured 14,25 x 4,5m and was divided in 5 chambers, the central one (L) was the burial chamber (op. cit., p. 141, fig. 204): this was 4,80 x 3,50 in size and contained fragments of a wooden sarcophagus (c. 2,7 x 1,8m) on which base few small parts of human bones and gold foil remains were found scattered.
The chamber also contained remains of a funerary meal (animal bones from 6 stone bowls/jars and a pottery vessel found beside the sarcophagus), pottery vessels near the walls, traces of wooden and basketwork chests, three fragmentary wood canopy poles.
Few potmarks were found on large wine jars (fig. 223); most of the stone vessels dated to the reign of Djer, as also the seal impressions (Kaplony, IAF I, 79-80). At least 2 seal impressions were found alternating the serekh of Djer with a serekh-like device containing the name of Mer-Neith (with a topping Neith standard instead of the Horus falcon; cf. fig. 226 and pl. 55; this recalls the similar name of Neith-Hotep in the serekh); Merneith's name was also traced on two of the stone vessels forming the funerary repast in room L (cf. p. 142, fig. 205-6, with khenty).

(total size: 44,35x22,25m; only the mastaba: 37,9x15,8m) is a pre-stairway mastaba dated to the reign of Den; perhaps its owner was Queen Herneith, a wife of Djer died in the first part of Den's reign (GT III, 73-97).
The tomb was found in an area where also minor 3rd Dynasty tombs had been located; some of these had to be removed during the excavation being built above parts of S3507. This was the last mastaba of the 1st Dynasty Emery cleared near the eastern escarpment of the cemetery (December 31, 1955 - March 3, 1956).
The superstructure is the best preserved of all, in some points up to c. 2,5m (F.R. photo 1; F.R. photo 2 + plan);
it is divided into 29 magazines by crossing walls (0,65m thick). Inside one of the magazines it was found a limestone slab (width: 0,395m, thickness: 0,41m) which had been used to retain the west wall of the shaft of one of the small Third Dynasty tombs built over S3507; this slab is decorated in relief with a scene consisting of two standing kings with long beard, red crown and Heb Sed robe on the right and a baboon surrounded by four birds (hieroglyphs) on the left; Emery suggested it was perhaps a trial piece and certainly a reuse in the 3rd Dynasty tomb, dating it to the period of S3507 and however not after the end of the Second Dynasty (ibid., 78, 79, 84; cf. also A.J. Spencer, British Museum, 1980, n. 16. BM 67153); indeed the framing band of the stela and the shape of falcon and owl recall that of Qa-Hedjet in Louvre (which is however far better refined and certainly somewhat later).
The tomb is surrounded by an enclosure wall which has a gateway (1,65m wide) nearby the southern end of the east wall; 0,65m beneath this entrance Emery excavated the tomb of a saluki dog, the guardian of Herneith's sepulchre (ibid., pl. 91); no other subsidiary tomb was found around the mastaba.
At the feet of the mastaba niches there is a low bench as in S3504, which also has some clay bull's head with real horns; the corridor (2,9m wide) between the bench and the external enclosure has a green painted mud paving.
The substructure consists of a pit (size on ground level: 5,25x3,15m; depth: 4,75m) with a ramp on its N side and two roofs: the first one few cm above the ground level and the second one at 2,50m from the bottom of the pit.
The southern part of the lower roof is occupied by two rock-cut pilasters on which a limestone lintel had been laid; this latter is decorated with a row of hammered out crouching lions (ibid., pl. 96; Archaic Egypt, pl. 32); the lintel supports a stone roof covering the southern part of the burial chamber where pottery and stone vessels were found.
In the northern part of the burial chamber there were remains of the wooden coffin and human bones; around the sarcophagus small dishes and food (ox bones) had been set into little brick-niches; there were also many remains of jewelry (in faience, lapislazuli, carnelian, gold and broken bracelets of ivory and stones) gaming pieces and flint.0.
Above the higher roof of the burial pit Emery cleared "a rectangular tumulus of sand and rubble, cased with a single layer of bricks laid in tile fashion" (ibid., 77, 79; size: m10,50x9,20; max height 1,10m).
Inscriptions (ibid., 93ff.): seal impressions of Den and Sekhka; names and titles scratched on pottery (one with Her-Neith, another with Sma Nebwy), serekhs of Den with indication of northern or southern oil incomes (painted on jars), once again 'Sma Nbwy' incised on a ivory cylinder vessel and 'Hwt-Mr-Khentyamentyw' on an ivory tile.
P. Kaplony (IAF I, 1963, 90-95) dated the tomb to the same period as Umm el-Qaab Y (Merneith).

S3506 (47,6x19,6m)

S3035 was discovered by Firth in 1930 (Firth, ASAE 31, 1941, 47), but it was Emery to complete its clearance.
The finds from the very large tomb of Hemaka (m57,3 x 26; cf. the size of the huge mastaba at Naqada, m 52 x 26), which was the first one at Saqqara that Emery excavated (in 1936, see below) and published (The Tomb of Hemaka, 1938), were impressive and unexpected at that time for a First Dynasty private burial (only few years later Emery advanced that S3035 was a royal tomb); despite the contents of the then already known Covington tomb at Giza (V), those of Tarkhan 1060, 2038, 2050, and Naqada, Egyptologists were nearly unprepared to the mass of goods which the tomb of Hemaka yielded (now on exibit in Cairo Museum): vast amounts of pottery (329 with potmarks, op. cit., 53f., pl. 38-42) and stone vessels (ibid., 55ff., pl. 28-37; the beautiful but fragmentary schist bowl in form of a feather: ibid., pl. 19C), scores of seal impressions of eight different types with the serekh of Den and the name and titles of Hemaka (ibid., 62-64; Kaplony, IAF I-III); flint implements (ibid., pl. 11), hard stone top-game disks (ibid., 28ff., pl. 12-14) one of which with an inlay hunting scene decoration (JdE 70104); wooden tools, an ebony label of Djer (ibid., 35ff.), two small ivory labels of Hemaka (ibid., 39, cat. 412 and 413) and few more uninscribed wooden labels; an uninscribed roll of papyrus; a limestone slab with a bull and a monkey painted in black ink (ibid., pl. 19D); fragments of wooden boxes (see ibid., pl. 23A for an inlaid cylindrical one), bags and textiles; ivory fragments of bull leg supports of a gaming board; some wooden sickles and adzes handles (ibid., 33f., pl. 15-16) and nearly 500 arrows of five different types (ibid., 45-48, pl. 20ff.).
The superstructure of this tomb is divided into 45 magazines; the substructure consists of a central pit (the burial chamber m 9,5 x 4,9 its floor at more than 9m of depth and at 11,75m from the top of the mastaba) surrounded by three rooms separately dug in the rock and accessible through short doorways at the N and S ends of the western side of the central chamber, the third one at the N end of the eastern side; at the S of the eastern side there is the lower part of the stairway: after c. 7m from there it passes in a mudbrick gateway and 13m beyond this one, after three portcullis, the ramp reaches the ground level, 9m east and off of the tomb niched wall.

S3036 (41x22m) was found by Firth in 1930 (ASAE 31, 1931, 47) and re-excavated by Emery in 1936 (GT I, 1949, 71-81).........

SX (26x12m)

As mentioned above, the reign of Den was the apex of the constructional 'ratio' (in tombs number and in their size); but during the reign of his successors the tombs, despite of a minor size, did not spare interesting surprises.
In the reign of Adjib S3338 and especially the cited S 3038 were built; the stepped core of the latter resembled a micro step-pyramid (cf. above and below).
S3338 (30,5x14m) ..........

S3038 after some of Emery's plates (Great Tombs I, 1949, plates 22, 23, 25, 34, 35)S3038 belonged to the official Nebitka (Nebtka). (Emery, ASAE 38, 1938, 455-9; id. GT I, 82-94).
This tomb was, with S3471 (see above), the most awaited one of Emery's 1949 publication.
It had been cleared in 1936 but the war delayed its publication (GT I, 1949, containing 8 tombs); Firth had already worked on the superstructure and burial chamber in 1931 but he didn't arrive to recognize the peculiar character of this tomb (he died in the same year) which was attributed to Den's reign by seal impressions of Den and Ankhka.
S3038 was of great importance because it displayed three constructional phases, in the first two of which the tomb featured a stepped superstructure which was considered a prototype of the Step Pyramid.
Emery also compared this stepped building with the representation of Za-Ha-Hor on stone vessels of Adjib's Heb Sed from Step Pyramid and Abydos X.
The few sealings of Den suggest that it was at the end of his reign that the construction began, although it must have been concluded only during the short reign (c. 10 years) of Adjib. Owing to the uniform size, color and texture of the bricks used all through the three phases, Emery suggested that the interval between them had to be rather short.
The tomb measured (in Period A) 22,7 x 10,55; N and S of the central pit, but at an higher level, there were two magazines (on the northern one there were nine bricked tubular grain bins with a pottery cap on their top and an outlet at their base; these were blocked by a stone and covered with Nebitka's mud seal-impressions); from E the stairway led, after a portcullis, to the burial chamber; another shorter stairway, just south of the first one, led to a magazine above the burial chamber; this latter measured 7,8 x4,75 and its floor was 6,10m from the top of the superstructure.
The eastern façade of the mastaba was vertical, while on the other three sides there were eight steps looking like a truncated pyramid: Emery hypothesized (ibid., 84) that perhaps an higher structure of perishable materials was built on the top of it. The stepped structure was 2,30m high (preserved up to the top) and faced with fine mud plaster.
An ox, probably sacrificed in this period, was found below the fourth niche (from N) of the W wall of period C.
In the second phase (Period B) the southern half of the topping terrace was raised and a wide brick terrace was added around the superstructure, which thus reached the size of m12,55 x 35 (or more).
In the last phase (Period C) the tomb was provided with the usual palace façade, and the superstructure partially filled and subdivided into magazines; in the middle of the N and S façade a stair gave access to the superstructure.
The two magazines and the burial chamber between them were further subdivided with mudbrick crossing walls which thus reduced their space.
Finds: the cited seal impressions, 31 stone vessels, flint implements, some pottery vessels with few pot-marks.

Few meters east of S3038 is S3111 (m29,20 x 12,05) which Emery found early in 1936 (GT I, 1949, 95-106).
It was dated to Adjib by seal impressions of the official Sabu, who, alike Nebitka, served under Den and Adjib.
This tomb had no stairway, the superstructure was completely filled with sand and pottery jars were found in the fill (a custom typical of Second Dynasty tombs) at the SW corner; north of them Emery found a nearly 1m high stone platform (m3,60x2,50) of unknown purpose.
An intact subsidiary burial was found in front of the third rampart (from N) of the western façade of the mastaba.
The substructure pit was 10,45x6m, 2,55m deep below the ground, not in perfect axis with the external niched wall (few degree W of it); it was divided in seven compartment, four N and two S of the burial chamber; this latter was m3,40 (N-S) x 5,40 (W-E).
Although plundered, the burial chamber was found rather in order, the skeleton of Sabu still in situ (ibid., 98, pl. 40 B,C) within the remains of a wooden coffin, head to the N (NW) facing W (SW); some bones had been broken surely by the plunderers in search of jewelry. There were also stone and pottery vessels (50 pot-mark types), two boxes for flint knives, arrows, few copper tools, two ox skeletons; the schist bowl in fragments (Cairo, JdE 71295) is certainly a masterpiece in the genere (ibid., fig. 58, pl. 40A,B; El-Khouli, Stone Vessels, 1978, n. 5586).

For the subsequent ruler, Semerkhet, no tomb has been excavated or known at present (but some small one might have existed as Step Pyramid Complex stone vessels and a potmark [in: Emery, Hemaka, 54] showing this king's name(s) let us suppose; nonetheless, given the short reign of Semerkhet, it could be that no outstanding official died within its course and dignitaries whom also served Semerkhet, like Henuka, died and were buried only under Qa'a).
Kaplony (IAF I, 144) cites W.S. Smith's recovery of Firth's excavation notes containing an hint to a seal impression of Semerkhet (Sesh Seshat Semerkhet) from FS 3060; Helck (LÄ V, 399) is probably right in supposing that the tomb and sealing might instead be of Sekhemkhet's reign (3rd Dynasty).
Emery (GT III, 4) supposed that the lack of tombs dated to Semerkhet was to be explained in view of the possible unacknowledged position of this king in the dynastic line: the reuse of stone vessels of Adjib by Semerkhet and the erasing of the latter's name by Qa'a was considered a proof of the status of usurper of Semerkhet (but see instead the series of names Den-Qa'a, Semerkhet-Qa'a which show no trace of erasure).

To the end of the Dynasty S 3500 and S 3505 (Emery, GT III, 1958, 5-36) are dated (reign of Qa'a): S3505 (total size: m65,20 x 40; only the mastaba: m24,15 N-S x 35,10 E-W) revealed a true proto-funerary temple in the northern side also resembling the later north-temple of the Step Pyramid complex of Djoser. A stela found near a niche of the eastern façade revealed the name and titles of the owner Merka. Other important findings from this tomb were the bases and feet of two wooden statues found in a niche of the northern temple; traces of mat-motifs color-paintings on the palace façade (like those already found in other tombs as 3506, 2405); the presence of a very simple pattern of niches on the western wall of the tomb, whereas the other three sides were built with the usual complex design; some clay bull's heads with real horns laying on the base of the bench surrounding the niched walls (like those found in Sekhemka S3504); finally, among the stone vessels fragments and the jar mud seal impression, an incised vessel with the name of the mysterious king Seneferka and a sealing which could not be attributed to anyone of the rulers known from that period (Cf. here for both these obscure sovereigns).

Click to see the imagesS3500 (37,10x23,35m) This late 1st Dynasty (reign of Qa'a) was found by Emery in May 1946 between S2185 and the escarpment edge; it already shows further signs of the transition towards the 2nd Dynasty architectural forms; the most evident one is the presence of only one niche on the façade, at the south end of the eastern side; the rest of the superstructure is plain like the enclosure wall around it; this latter is open on the SW corner. The plan/section of the tomb can give a good idea of its general layout, but some characteristics must be here evidenced, namely the presence of only four subsidiary tombs on the southern side of the superstructure (partly underneath the S enclosure wall): their aspect differs from that of the early and mid 1st Dynasty retainers' burials, because they have a "leaning barrel vault", which is the earliest evidence presently known in Egypt of brick vault roof (cf. figure; other later examples are the archway passages of 3rd dyn. mastaba K2 at Bet Khallaf).
These are the latest remains of the "barbaric custom" of servants sacrifice at Saqqara; the later tombs didn't show similar subsidiary burials, whereas it seems that few retainers were still slain at Abydos in the late Second Dynasty royal tombs. Three of the four subsidiary tombs were found intact and the westernmost ones (n. 1 and 2) still had the dead bodies (a middleaged man and an old woman; head to the S facing W) wrapped in linen within the coffin; each one had a foreign flask and a wood cylinder seal (one uninscribed and another one with faint painted inscr.).
Another interesting feature is the magazine in the northern part of the superstructure: it was divided in two parts, the W one filled with wine jars and the E one containing model clay granaries/bins and jars (see fig., upper-center).
More jars were found in the filling or on the floor of the burial chamber along with stone vessels.
The burial chamber is accessed by a stepped passage from east (provided by two small side-magazines and two portcullis) and it consists of a E-W rectangular (8,10x5,40m) pit without any internal subdivisions.
Few objects were found apart from vessels: some flint blades and seal impressions; these latter bore the serekhs of Horus Qa'a and the titles of a xrp Xrj-ib and nbj; one had a possible personal name Sn-Neith (GT III, pl. 124, 3).

SX (see above)



In 1995 M. Youssef Inspector of Antiquities at Saqqara made some sondages on a late(?) First Dynasty mastaba only 50m NW of the Inspectorate office (Youssef, GM 152, 1996, 105-111).
This large tomb (unnumbered) SCA 1995 (c. 51x27,5m) was found c. 40m W of S3507 which was considered to be the southernmost of the North Saqqara necropolis; SCA 1995 is thus not on the edge of the escarpment but it occupies the second row of tombs (directly at few more than 100m S of S3505) and actually it is it the southern-most archaic tomb known at N Saqqara (its southern wall c. 20m south of that of 3507; cf. ibid., fig. 1).
The niched wall is 4,79m thick (c. 1m deep niches) and it was surrounded by one (?) plain enclosure wall; on the north side it seems to exist a possible parallel with the S3505 funerary temple (ibid., 106f.) and also the sheer size of the tomb and that of its bricks (0,23 x 0,11 x 0,07m) point to a date to the reign of Qa'a.
Contrarily to most of the North Saqqara tombs (and certainly to all those in the 1st Dynasty easternmost rows) this tomb showed signs of having been built over by Graeco-Roman period burials of children in small wooden coffins and some dogs in baskets. Pottery of late period was also found along with older stone vessels and other objects.
In 2003 a more thorough excavation was carried out, revealing interesting stone vessels fragments with the incised serekh of Sneferka/Neferkaes, which haven't been published yet.

I am inclined at least to suspect that the southernmost limit of the archaic necropolis might also have not been that of tombs SX, S3507 and SCA 1995, and that, perhaps, the cemetery continued up to N of the wadi c. 200m SE of Teti's pyramid (on the latitude of the pyramid of Userkaf) where the ground looks still good for building: there are Late period brick walls, the destroyed pyramid Lepsius XXX and a Stone Mastaba; but indeed the same presence of these structures could also be a sign that the Archaic cemetery didn't prosecute beyond the Inspectorate offices: as we have seen, with very few exceptions (i.e. SCA 1995), the First Dynasty tombs were not overbuilt in later periods; furthermore, at the time of the construction of the Inspectorate Office and magazines any older structure encountered would have been signalled, as it happened in 1937-8 with tomb SX (see above).

Auguste Mariette (1821-1881) was the first one to carry out 'scientific' excavations at North Saqqara after the explorations of the period of Vyse and Perring and the more recent Prussian expedition of Lepsius (1845).
In 1950 Mariette discovered the Serapeum where the Apis bulls were buried and ten years later he made further astonishing discoveries as the Old Kingdom mastabas of Ka-Aper (with the wooden statue of the "Sheikh el-Balad"), Ranofer, Hesira (see below) and Ti (among the most beautiful ones as far as decorations); Mariette also carried out excavations to the north of the Djoser complex (where Sheri's mastaba B3 must be located) and even in the North Saqqara plateau; most of his posthmous 1889 publication was devoted to Old Kingdom tombs (espec. Dyn. IV-V), but some earlier tombs were also included like the mentioned tomb of Hesi (MM A3) and MM A2 (= S3073, twin mastaba of Khabawsokar and Hathorneferhotep, cf. id., Les Mastabas, 1889, 71-79; N. Cherpion, Or. Lov. Period. 11, 1980, 79-90; M. Murray, Saqqara Mastabas 1905; panels Cairo Museum, CG 1385-87).
Almost certainly Mariette worked in the North Saqqara eastern slope as well; Emery noticed that traces of modern excavations, possibly accomplished by Mariette or on his behalf, were found during the clearing of S3505 early in 1954 (Emery, GT III, 11); this was the only N. Saqqara tomb of the 15 extensively published by Emery to produce any remains from previous archaeological activities.
In this period the interest was equally devoted onto the Step Pyramid which had been re-explored by Lepsius and which surrounding complex was still unknown; Mariette made an interesting discovery in one of the galleries beneath what was later known to be Djoser's complex North Court (western part): in the tomb MMA4 (= n. 86) (Les Mastabas, 83-86; PM III², 415) he found two alabaster tables with lions heads, probably used to embalm single organs as viscera (Cairo Mus. CG 1321; for the galleries see also Firth, ASAE 28, 1928, 82-83, pl. 3; Lauer, PD I, 1926, 185-186; id. PD III, 1939, pl. 22, shaft c). A4 dates to the latter part of the Second Dynasty.
A similar gallery, but with E-W orientation, was found in the same court some meters north of A4 entrance (Firth, ASAE 27, 1927, 107f.; Lauer, PD I, 183ff., fig. 208; Lauer, PD III, pl. 22, shafts P8-P9; PM III², 415): seal impressions of Khasekhemwy and Netjerykhet and large amounts of bread and fruits were found in it.

Almost fifty years after the work by Mariette, James Edward Quibell [photo](1867-1935), who had made experience working in 1895-1900 at Naqada and Ballas and at Hierakonpolis and El Kab, became the Chief Inspector of Saqqara (1911).
In the first part of the Second Dynasty we find some of the largest tombs of the Northern necropolis (reign of Njnetjer) as S 2302 and S 2407: many of these mastabas were excavated by Quibell in 1911-1914 but published (all except Hesyra's 2405, see below) only ten years later, after the war (Excavations at Saqqara 1912-14. Archaic Mastabas, 1923; Quibell cleared the tombs in sectors D1 to F2 and G2-G3 of this general plan).
The archaeological standards (both in excavation as in publication) were indeed somewhat far from those of the next generation of Egyptologists like Lauer and Emery (and also from those of his old master Petrie and from those of F.W. Green); furthermore, despite the notes Quibell took at the time of the works, the long forced delay in the publication certainly didn't play in favour of his memory.

The 1st World War stopped the excavation at Saqqara for 15 years, until Cecil Mallaby Firth [photo] (1878-1931) was entrusted to reopen them; in 1927 he was appointed Chief Inspector of Saqqara. Firth had already acquired many years of experience during the First Archaeological Survey in Nubia 1907-1911 (he published with G. Reisner several very important A-group cemeteries) and he later began the clearing and exploration of the Step Pyramid complex (published with Quibell after his death: Step Pyramid, 1935; also cf. his reports in ASAE 1926-1927 in bibl. below); early in 1930 Firth had begun to clear some Archaic tombs of the North Saqqara plateau (ASAE 31), in view of the masterpiece on the OK tombs development which G. A. Reisner was preparing (Reisner, Tomb Development, 1936); but Firth died in 1931 and only a small part of his notes were recovered by Reisner, W.S. Smith (who planned for Reisner in 1933 the most imposing tombs known) and W.B. Emery (FS 3035, FS3036, FS 3038, FS3041 had been discovered by Firth); but most of Firth's work results unfortunately remained unpublished.
The same fate attended Quibell who had moved to the Step Pyramid Complex after the war: he died in 1935.
In 1935 Lacau's, Firth's and Quibell's inheritance of the excavation of the Step Pyramid Complex was definitively handed down to J.P. Lauer (whom had started working there, still a young boy, since the 2nd excavation campaign in 1926; see below), while Quibell's and Firth's task at North Saqqara passed into the hands of Walter B. Emery.

WALTER BRYAN EMERY (1903-1971)         [Click here for the page of W.B. Emery]
Egyptologist Walter Bryan Emery was born in Liverpool on July 2, 1903. Before his career in Egyptology started he had been addressed by his parents to the Marine Engineering, where he learnt the principles of draughtsmanship which will be brilliantly exploited into the line drawings illustrations of his books plates. In 1923 he participated to the EES excavation campaign at Amarna as student assistant thanks to a recommendation by T.E. Peet.
In 1924 he was already Field Director of sir Robert Mond's Excavations at Thebes for the Liverpool University.
He made several clearings, restorations and protective operations into a score of tombs at Sheikh Abd el-Gurnah and in the following years, a 22 years old boy, he was directing four hundred men for the clearance and restoration of the wonderful tomb of the Town Governor and Visir Ramose (TT 55); few years later he also drew the fac-simile of Ramose's tomb reliefs which easied the task for Davies' publication.
In 1927-28 he worked, still for R. Mond, at Armant where he discovered the Buchis bulls catacombs: it was Emery's first animal necropolis before the long series he'll excavate at Saqqara in the last ten years of his life.
The following season he joined H. Frankfort in the excavations at Armant where Emery was accompained by his wife Molly, married in 1928. In the six following years they were together in Nubia for five campaigns of rescue of sites and monuments after the construction of the new Aswan dam. The most amazing and difficult task proved to be the research (1931) on the Tumuli of Ballana and Qustul, which it was still doubt whether they were natural formations or artificial mounds. The IV-VIth century A.D. X-Group kings who ruled Lower Nubia after the fall of Meroe had been buried beneath those mounds with their wooden chests, weapons, glass vessels, furniture, silver harnessed horses and camels, sacrificed servants and wives (The Royal Tombs of Ballana and Qustul, 1938).
The Nubian survey ended up in 1934 and in the following year his presence was requested at Saqqara where he was asked to continue the excavation of the archaic cemetery interrupted four years before on C.M. Firth's demise.
At Saqqara Emery started in 1935 from tomb FS 3035, which Firth had only partially cleared (cf. the plan in Reisner, Tomb Development); for the first time it was shown that, unlike most of the 2nd and 3rd Dynasty mastabas dug by J. E. Quibell before the war, the First Dynasty tombs contained magazines even in their superstructure: FS3035 had 45, and many still contained part of their original provisions (cf. above).
Emery estabilished with P. Lacau that, after the recording of the loose tombs which Firth had commenced to dig, "only the systematic clearance of the whole site square by square" could do justice to such an important cemetery.
More tombs excavated or re-excavated in 1937-39 were published by Emery only after the Second World war (GT I, 1949): S3036, 3111, 3038, 3120, 3121, 3338, X (also cf. GT III, 1958, 1-2).
In 1938 he had also discovered S3357, the oldest tomb known at Saqqara, which was soon published in the next year (Hor Aha, 1939); this publication opened the famous dispute between those who thought that the Early Dynastic kings were buried just in those tombs at Saqqara (the Abydos tombs being regarded as mere cenotaphs) and those who instead still shared Petrie's view maintaining that Abydos was the royal cemetery (see above).
The last find/excavation before the war was S3471, which contained an incredible quantity of copper (cf. above).
After the war, Emery found (in 1946) the mastabas S3500 and 3503; in the following 7 years the works were stopped.
For a short period Emery dedicated to the diplomatic career; then he obtained the Chair of Egyptology at University College, London in 1951 and he was appointed Field Director of the EES in 1952; in 1953 the fieldwork at Saqqara were started once again.
In this period he excavated S3503 (discovered in 1946), and found four new tombs: S3504, S3505, S3506 and S3507 (published in GT II/III, 1954, 1958). S3507 was the last mastaba of the 1st Dynasty excavated on the eastern ridge of the North Saqqara plateau; in the last 7 years of his life Emery worked on the other side of the plateau (see below).
Unfortunately the whole complex of 'minor' tombs, e.g. the smaller ones of First Dynasty date and those of the Second and Third Dynasty, which Emery had worked at during the 1933-1939 / 1945-1947 seasons, have never been published at all (see Archaic Egypt, 158-164, figs. 94-97).
From 1956 to 1964 he was in Nubia for the salvage campaigns (7 seasons) of the sites and monuments threatened by the High Dam of Aswan. It was in these years that he published two divulgative and interpretative books: Archaic Egypt (1961) and Egypt in Nubia (1965); in 1962 he published a small report on the Second Dynasty tomb 3477 in which an intact funerary repast had been found (A Funerary repast, 1962).
He was finally back to North Saqqara in October 1964; he found some Third Dynasty mastabas on the western part of the Northern plateau, where he discovered the tomb of Hetepka (published by Martin in 1979) and the Ibis galleries; in these years he began to think that there could have been a relation between these animals necropoleis and the Third Dynasty mastabas, perhaps a possible indication that the seat of the tomb of Imhotep should have been very near; in 1967 Emery was operated but forty days later he was already beginning a new work season; in 1968/9 he cleared and planned a large (m 52x19) 3rd Dynasty twin Mastaba (S3518, Djoser's reign) and the Baboons necropolis; next year the catacombs of the falcons and those of the cows, the Mothers of Apis bulls, together with large amounts of late period objects were brought to light; in 1970-71 it was the turn of a new Ibis catacomb and more nearby tombs of the Third Dynasty: S3050, S3519 (cf. Emery's reports in JEA 51-57; Martin, Smith, Jeffreys in JEA 60, 63); but in the last five years his health conditions had often been difficult and only his character strength allowed him to pursue day by day in the work which he had loved for all his life. Few days before the end of the 1970-71 season he lost consciousness after the morning work and died four days later in the night of March 11, 1971 (H.S. Smith, in: JEA 57, 1971, 190-201); Emery was the most important figure working and walking through the North Saqqara plateau in the middle of the last century, his contribute to the knowledge of the Early Dynastic period was perhaps second only to J.P. Lauer's, whose name was still more indissolubly tied to the necropolis of Saqqara; both these men shared a profound affective attachment to this site, an indefatigable will to tear the past out of the its sands and an undoubt professionality in undertaking their work and documenting it with very high standards of publication.
The EES works at North Saqqara were prosecuted for some years by G.T. Martin and H.S. Smith; in 1976, when the excavations were definitively closed, the EES declared that (apud J. D. Ray, WA 10:2, 1978, 151) the "mummified zoo" which Emery and co. had discovered amounted to 4 million mummified ibises, 500.000 hawks, 500 baboons, 20 cows, 4000 dedicatory statues, about 1000 documents in demotic and other texts in Greek, Aramaic, Coptic, Carian, Arabic and an unknown language using the Greek alphabet; not to count the terraced temples and the tombs.
But for us the most precious inheritance he's left is certainly the series of sixteen First Dynasty tombs wonderfully published in five books, twenty years of professional excavations at North Saqqara East (1936-1956), a number of articles and reports (esp. in JEA, ASAE and The Illustrated London News), the first synthesis of the Archaic Egypt culture and a clear example of full dedition to the passion of a life by one of the greatest names of Egyptology ever.

The Second Dynasty private tombs development initiated with the end of the previous Dynasty; under Qa'a the pattern of niches gradually simplified and the superstructure began to lack magazines (cf. S3024, in GT I).
The main characteristic of the tombs of this period were thus the plain façade with only two niches on the east (the southern one being the larger which will increase in size and complexity), the lack of enclosure wall, lack of rooms in the superstructure (although some tombs had small rectangular tank-like compartments of mudbrick or large quantities of pottery loosely deposited in the gravel and rubble filling of the mastaba, cf. Archaic Egypt, pl. 12-13; Quibell, Archaic Mastabas: pl. 15, S2171; pl. 16, S2105; pl. 20, S2322); the ramp's side-storerooms were moved down becoming true rooms and the whole substructure was now carved in the rock. It generally had a stairway to the east (starting from within the floor of the filled mastaba) which after some meters curved of 90° southwards; heavy limestone portcullis lowered from above blocked the main corridor which branched off with storerooms; at the southern end of the gallery there was the latrine and lavatory on the left (the relationship between tombs and houses is still more stressed) while the burial chamber was generally on the western part of the main axis extremity.
In this period the wooden coffins (Archaic Egypt, pl. 24-25) still retain the niched aspect and the earliest traces of mummification practices appear: the bodies are not only wrapped in lined bandages (as the forearm with bracelets found by Petrie in Umm el-Qaab O) but the characteristical parts of the body are modelled over and beneath the wrappings by soaked substances (ibid., 162f.).
Most of the dated tombs of this period were built during the long reign of Ninetjer as the large S2302 (Nirwab), 2307, 2337 and several smaller mastabas like S2171, 2498, 3009, 2429 (Khnwmenii) (cf. plans and discussion of these tombs in the page of Ninetjer); these tombs were cleared in 1912-1914 by Quibell and published in form of a summary report ten years later (Quibell, Archaic Mastabas, 1923).
S3014 was dated to Wneg by three stone vessels found in it by Firth (PD IV.2, 53, fig. 5).
S3477 of a (late?) Second Dynasty princess Shepsesipet (CdE 27, 1939, 263-265; Emery, A Funerary Repast, 1962; id., Archaic Egypt, 1961, 243-246, pl. 28-29; Helck, LA V, 391, 399; PM III², 444) contained a complete funerary repast and a stela (Emery, op. cit., 1961, pl. 32a; Kaplony, KBIAF, 1966, 104, Stela 35).

The same characters of the largest tombs of this period (Ninetjer's reign) were noticed, but at a higher size and degree of complexity, in the explorations of the early Second Dynasty Royal tombs of Hotepsekhemwy and Ninetjer, located in the first part of the XXth century; tomb A was first discovered by A. Barsanti in 1900, while S. Hassan (1938) was the first to enter Ninetjer's tomb B; they are located south of the Step Pyramid complex southern wall; recently one more (tomb C) has been discovered further south near Horemheb's one, probably to be dated into the middle of the Dynasty; it was reused for Meryneith burial in the NK (excavations in 2001-2002 by R. van Walsem and M. Raven; see the link below); the possibility of the presence of more royal tombs of the Second Dynasty in this area had already been suspected; in recent years the area between tombs B and C has been the site of interesting finds, like the brick inscribed with Nefer-Senedj-Ra cartouche name and an alabaster vessel with Hwt-Ka Hrw Za (alike other found in the Step Pyramid; see Wneg).
J.P. Lauer published a plan of tomb A in 1936 (PD I, fig. 2), while only the 1990s explorations by P. Munro have produced the first (partial) plan of tomb B (Kaiser, in FS Brunner-Traut, 1992, 167-190, fig. 4d).
Seal impressions of Nebra were found by Barsanti in tomb A (Maspero, ASAE 3, 1902); the famous stela now in Metropolitan Museum was discovered in Mit Rahina where it was used as threshold of a house and published by H. G. Fischer (Artibus Asiae 24, 1961; cf. Lauer, Orientalia 35, 1966).
For details and figures of tomb A: Hotepsekhemwy; for tomb B: Ninetjer; for tomb C: New Royal Tomb; cf. the discussion in the Second Dynasty introduction. (See also bibl. W. Kaiser, 1994).

The remaining part of the Second Dynasty has left but few traces at Saqqara; this obviously reflected the difficult period the state was undergoing; there seems to have been an important reprise of building activity in the reign of Khasekhemwy, although only few minor private (unpublished) tombs can be dated to his reign (S3034, S3043).
I have already hinted above to the two main galleries found within the NW part of Djoser's complex; the material from these underground structures, both that found by Mariette in MM A4 as well as the seal impressions from the northern one, dated to the reigns of Khasekhemwy and Netjerykhet.
The vast NS tunnels and side chambers beneath the Step Pyramid Complex Western Massif were explored by Firth and (perhaps too) accurately planned by Lauer (PD I, fig. 206; PD III, pl. 22); R. Stadelmann (1985) voiced the possibility of these being the underground parts of previous rulers' tombs, noting the similarities with Hotepsekhemwy's tomb. These dug out substructures were related by Stadelman (ibid.) to the fainted stone constructions in West Saqqara, the best known of which is the Gisr el Mudir (see pictures on top of this page).

Gisr el Mudir (Enclosure of the Boss), (650x400m) is the oldest construction presently known to have been built with such a massive use of stone masonry (Maragioglio-Rinaldi, APM II, 53; Spencer, Orientalia 43, 1974, 3; Swelim, Some Problems, 1983, 33ff.; JEA 79, 1993 cit. below; Mathieson et. al., JEA 83, 1997, 17-53; JEA 85, 1999, 36-43).
The walls size is enormous for extension and thickness (more than 15-17m thick, covered by two parallel stone masonry embankments filled with rubble and sand; such a wall, now preserved up to the 15th course of stone in the NW corner 4,5/ 5 m high, had to be originally -or in the builders' aim- at least 10m high); the enclosure total size is about 650 x 400m (cf. Djoser's Step Pyramid Complex which measures "only" 544,9 x 277,6m , thus being few more than half the area of Gisr; this latter is also 4 times the area of Sekhemkhet's complex).
The perimetral course of the Gisr el Mudir was first noticed by Perring and later recorded by Lepsius. It was then also marked on De Morgan's Carte de la Necropolis Memphite (1897) but for many years it remained a riddle;
it was thought to be a further unfinished 3rd dynasty Step Pyramid complex, a funerary enclosure like those at HK and Abydos, a cattle precinct, or a military fort (barracks) for the guarding and patrolling of the necropolis.
The first excavation was carried out by A. Salam Hussein (the Boss, because then Director of the E.A. Service) in 1947-48; these remained unpublished (but cf. Swelim, loc. cit.). W. Kaiser pointed the attention onto the Abydos Talbezirke which became object of further researches (Kemp, JEA 52, 1966; Kaiser, MDAIK 25, 1969; Kaiser-Dreyer, MDAIK 38, 1982; Stadelmann, op. cit., 1985; O' Connor, JARCE 26, 1989) while a study by Swelim (MDAIK 47, 1991, 389ff.) and the resistivity/ magnetometry based surveys by the National Museum of Scotland (directed by Ian Mathieson, D. Jeffreys, Ana Tavares, H.S. Smith: JEA 79, 1993, 17-31, esp. 28ff., n. 36; JEA 83, 1997) have shed in 1990s more light on the huge enclosure of Western Saqqara.
Swelim has pointed out, on the basis of Cairo Map H22, various reciprocal alignments between the Gisr el Mudir and significant parts (corners, central axis, top of pyramids, prolongments of walls axis) of other archaic monuments, like the two Step Pyramid complex, the Ptahhotep Enclosure and perhaps even S3504 and tomb B (loc. cit., 402).
The NMS Survey used sub-surface remote sensing techniques (resistivity, protonmagnetometer, sonic profiling, ground penetrating radar, thermal imaging) have revealed many new aspects of this construction; first of all the remote sensing techniques have reported anomalies which have been subsequently sondaged in later campaigns:
at Abydos the Shunet ez Zebib and the Middle Fort bore traces of a collapsed flat central mound which O'Connor correctly interpreted, by the place it occupied, as a forerunner of the Mastaba M1 in the Saqqara complex of Netjerykhet; but there doesn't seem to have ever existed a central pyramid or mound within the Gisr el Mudir (JEA 85, 1999, 36ff.), a flat mound in the centre of it being the result of De Morgan's clearence of a Greek period tomb.
The south wall of the enclosure seems to have been at least partly unfinished; but it is hard to estabilish how much this fact owes to the later use of this monument as a stone quarry; anyway no sign of reuse for or from other roughly contemporary monuments of the area has been recognized in relation to the Gisr el Mudir's poor quality limestone.
Moreover the apparent unfinished state of the southern wall might be, in my opinion, otherwise explained: it seems that the western half of this wall has a more northern course than the eastern part (infact the west wall is c. 30m shorter than the opposite one); this feature recalls the hieroglyph Wsekh (court) and the reconstructed feature of the Dry Moat (cf. below) around the Step Pyramid Complex of Djoser (Swelim, 1988), thus possibly being the access to the monument.
Unlike the Abydos enclosures, which were surrounded by subsidiary tombs producing seal impressions and other inscriptional evidence allowing a clear datation, only uninscribed pots and vessels have been found in their West Saqqara counterpart: part of the beer jar from some trenches opened beside the N and W walls of Gisr el Mudir are certainly of late Second Dynasty type/date (JEA 83, 1997, 38-46) but also much later pottery emerged.
Ptahhotep Enclosure: (Maragioglio e Rinaldi, APM II, 1963, 53, pl. 7; JEA 79, 1993, 27-28) alike Gisr el- Mudir, P. E. is sometimes also called Great Enclosure; it is directly west of Djoser's temenos, in the area recently cleared by Mysliwiec (cf. Stadelmann, Die Ägyptische Pyramiden, 1997, 30, fig. 9; Lauer, BdE 97:2, 66).
Ptahhotep enclosure seems to have had at least some parts of the walls (N, W) never completed, therefore we must expect that it might be an unfinished construction (cf. below for Mysliwiec excavations within it).
The datation of Gisr el Mudir has been uncertain for nearly one century. Swelim (Some Problems, 1983) was more inclined for a datation to the reigns before Netjerykhet (to Khaba, Sa and Ba whom he had placed in a disputable chronological phase between Khasekhemwy and Netjerykhet); most of the other scholars dated them to Dyn. 3.
Rainer Stadelmann (op. cit., 1985, 304ff., fig. 3) and more recently Ian Mathieson, propend for an earlier date.
Stadelmann also pointed out a possible third (stone-) wall course between Gisr el Mudir and Sekhemkhet's one, but this wasn't confirmed by the Saqqara Survey Project analysis: see JEA 79, 1993, 27.
The attributions to Second Dynasty kings that Stadelmann proposed in 1985 and the link with tomb A, B and SPC Western Massif galleries remain however purely hypothetical.
After the recent excavations by Mathieson we are inclined to credit Gisr el Mudir as the royal enclosure of king Khasekhemwy (JEA 83, 1997, 36, 38ff., 53), who is reported to have built the stone building Mn-Ntrt in line V, 2 of the (recto of) Palermo Stone Annals.
No constructional succession in distinct building phases (like in the two Step Pyramid Complex) has emerged in the Gisr el-Mudir; therefore, whether unfinished or not, it must have been built during a short reign or rather at the end of a king's reign: this is just what the quoted Annals year-case seem to suggest; if Gisr el Mudir was was really the Men-Neteret, this latter is indicated to have been built only five years before the end of Khasekhemwy's reign.


The so called "Dry Moat" around Netjerykhet's complex was evidenced in a study by Nabil Swelim after other Egyptologists' excavations in the area immediately south of Djoser's complex. The clearance carried out in the 1940s by Z. Saad (ASAE 40, 1940, 692-93; CASAE 3, 1947, 55, 66, pl. 33-35) and by S. Hassan, made that area quite more 'defined' and the aerial photographs which were taken for the publications of Goneim and Lauer showed up some characters which had escaped to the mapping of Lepsius and Capart and in the earlier RAF photos (1920s). [The aerial photo atop this page (right) already clearly shows the west, north and east wide trenches; the width of the N one, just N and NE of Userkaf's Pyramid, is nearly as large as the pyramid side itself).
In Swelim's reconstruction [id., The Dry Moat of the Netjerykhet Complex, in: J. Baines ed., Pyramid Studies and other Essays presented to I.E.S. Edwards, 1988, 12-22; also cf. A. Dodson, The Mysterious Second Dynasty, KMT 7/2, 1996, 19-31; J. Leclant et al., Orientalia 63, 1994, 381] the Dry Moat would cover an area about 750x600m (!), and the shape would be that of an Usekhet-court (hieroglyph Gardiner O4 / O13) with the aperture on the south. The eastern course (which includes Userkaf's complex, the unusual orientation of which might be due to the presence of the trench) is clearly visible in the JEA 51, 1965 aerial photo (in Emery's paper pl. I, where also the northern course is clearly detectable). The average width of the trench once cleared of sand would be between 30 and 40 m (!) and the depth varying according to the topography (26m in the southern part where also masonry paving was found by Saad). After the bend in the SE corner, the southern branch would continue straight westward up to the boat pit south of Unas Causeway. The other branch in this area of the opening of the Usekhet shape, would start 20m to the north of the outer one and c. 60 m east, in the area of the tombs of Bebi and Hotep, some meters more to the east of Djoser's complex east wall longitude. There might have been however other passages in the E and W trenches (as Swelim himself suggested basing on R. Lepsius' publication drawings). Excavations in the 1970s (Moussa et al.) and 1990s (Munro) have not much helped in defining the extent, purpose and stratigraphy of the trench. It seems very likely that Djoser aimed to exploit this feature and, except for the south side, there seems to be no reason to deny that the digging was of early IIIrd dynasty date. This is hinted to by the Polish excavations in the western course, where C. Mysliwiec did find out that the slope of the trench was terraced and some features (subterranean W-E gallery, tombs of contemporary date?) were cut into it. The excavated sector, revealed that these terraces between the W wall of Djoser's complex and the trench, were rock cut monumental stairs (1,5-2m tall and 20m large) of unknown purpose.
In the southern part of the great trench (on the south side of the southern, outer branch of the moat) rock cut niches were found by Z. Saad. On the southern side, the inner trench (N of Unas pyr.) overlaps with the area of the entrance to the galleries of Hotepsekhemwy and Ninetjer tombs (A and B). Munro supposed that these tombs could not have had a mastaba as superstructure (all over the area covered by the underground apartments), which would have been too huge a task for IInd Dynasty builders. It seems that there was covered by a stepped paving which divided the N area (with open court for celebrations of the rites) from the southern one (corresponding to the burial chamber in the southernmost west part of the gallery set) devoted to the burial rites (and maybe only this part might have been overbuilt with a massive mastaba structure). The area was exploited in Vth Dyn and later, so it is hard to understand if any feature here originated in IInd Dyn or in IIIrd. It is however possible that both Djoser and already the early 2nd Dyn kings aimed at using what might have been a natural depression or an ancient wadi and integrate in into their complex someway. A monumental feature which only necessitated some adjustment in the case of the 2nd Dyn courts (whereas in Djoser's case it would lead to dig more trenches on the other sides of the complex). The dry moat feature has never received a proper archaeological investigation by itself (except maybe in part by Munro's, but sadly compromised by the aggravation of his health conditions which prevented conclusive publications of the surveys in the 2nd Dyn tombs and the trench), so only hypotheses can be attempted. Swelim proposed that the moat would be place where the souls of the nobles came to serve their king, as B. Kemp had hypothesised for the Thinite funerary enclosures (Abydos 'Forts'). In my opinion the "megalomanic" project could have consisted in creating a sort of "island" in which the wall and step Pyramid would be the primeval hill of (re-)creation in the Nun-chaos as the later cosmogonies/myths illustrate. In the area of the southern channels, tomb owners' names as NiankhBa and NjannkhNebka may witness the existence of cult areas of Ba (?) and Nebka of the 3rd Dynasty (Swelim). Certainly the Polish excavations in the W (mostly published in P.A.M.) area and also some indication from the N, would suggest that contrarily to what was once thought, the post IIIrd Dyn. occupation of the area did not start only with dyn. IV (Lepsius/Mariette tombs like Shery's MM B3 in the cemetery N of the SPC and others: cf. M. Baud, in: Or. Monsp IX, 1997, 69-87; id., Djéser et la IIIe dynastie, 2002, 214f.): Djoser was the firts king whose complex must have been surrounded by contemporary non royal structures (perhaps Imhotep's own tomb was located there) after the radical isolation of Thinite tombs from nobles' ones (except for the retainers' ones). However it seems that many important tombs of that age were much N of the complex (Hesyra and other ones, cf. below), and the same isolation of the royal complex (by the trench and wall) still stressed the division between royal and non royal structures.
We have also to consider that the probable access of the cemetery was from the N, through the Abusir Wadi (cf. D. Jeffrey - A. Tavares, MDAIK 50, 1994, 143-73; C. Reader, JEA 90, 2004, 63-71; J. Van Wetering, n.p.): thus early in the IIIrd Dynasty people moved soutwards and had on their right the Gisr el-Mudir and, closer on the left the western wall of the Step Pyramid complex, with associated huge stairs/ trench. Then they would turn on the left (area of Unas complex and 2nd Dyn. royal tombs A and B, south of Djoser's complex) and walk through a 20m passage (between the two branches of the Usekhet-shaped great trench) and finally turning left to face the entrance gallery monumental niche (cf. M. Baud, op. cit. 2002, 116-119, p. 215, fig. 54). Baud has suggested that the monumental carvings found by Z. Hawass (JEA 80, 1994, 45ff.) in the area of Teti cemetery did originally belong to the area of the passage (left undug or filled up) over the Dry Moat (the 'opening' of the Usekhet court, some 60m south of the SP complex SE corner).
Netjerykhet might not have been the ideator of the first form of mortuary complex layout including an open court and the funerary place as thought before. The original project (for which cf. the reconstructions by Kaiser, Altenmuller, Stadelmann) might have been inspired by similar constructions inaugurated by the Early Second Dynasty kings in their Saqqara royal cemetery (cf. above) joining the tomb (mastaba and burial shaft) with the funerary court ('royal enclosure') into one complex, unlike it occurred at Abydos where Umm el Qaab and Kom es-Sultan structures are more than 1km apart. It should be thought about the reason which led to this change, possibly reflecting parallel major transformations in the society and in the sphere of religious beliefs.


HESYRA (S2405)
In 1911-14 Quibell cleared two main areas of the central part of the North Saqqara plateau, where the density of tombs was astonishing, being them built literally one beside another (cf. this plan sectors D1 to F2 and G2-G3).
The Second and Third Dynasty tombs were published only in 1923, after the war, and in a rather summary manner, but a wider publication had been reserved instead to the important Third Dynasty tomb S2405 (PM III² pt. 2, 437-439) which Quibell had excavated in 1911-1912 and readily published in 1913: this was the tomb of Hesi (Hesyra) from which Mariette (MM A3, Les Mastabas, 80-83) had already taken five wooden panels (Cairo, CG 1426-1430) occupying the first five of the eleven eastern niches of the tomb (cf. Wood, JARCE 15, 1978, 9-24); in the last northernmost niche Quibell found in situ a sixth panel (which, contrarily to the 6th-10th niches' badly decayed panels, could be brought to the Museum) and also traces of the earliest known scenes of Daily Life (outer corridor) and the lower part of a long painted row of funerary implements, offerings, instruments and tools (depicted in "X-ray" within wooden boxes) and games (inner corridor, east wall); all these gravegoods had been painted under what would look to be a long tent. The niches in front were painted with colorful mat patterns as those later find by Emery (see above); the tomb also contained several fragments of stone vessels. In the burial chamber were discovered seal impressions of Netjerykhet which thus dated the tomb to the reign of Djoser; at the end of the works a swarm of fleas prevented a man sent by Quibell to recover the human bones found therein which they had temporarily stored in this chamber; so they are still there and it can't be ascertained the date and if they belonged to two persons as Quibell advanced.



S3073 (MM A2) Khabawsokar / Hathorneferhotep
Akhet-aa (Aa-Akhty)





© Francesco Raffaele, 2002


General Bibliography on SAQQARA (Dynasties 1-3)
Books (1839-2009)

- J.S. Perring, Pyramids of Gizeh. 1839
- R.W.H.Vyse, Operations carried on at the pyramids of Gizeh in 1837... London, 1840-1842
- Auguste Mariette, Les Mastabas de l' Ancien Empire. 1889 (p. 71-86) (MM)
- C.R. Lepsius, Denkmaler aus Agypten und Athiopien. 12 vols. Leipzig, 1849-59, 1897-1913
- J.E. Quibell, Excavations at Saqqara (1911-1912). The tomb of Hesy. Cairo, 1913
- J.E. Quibell, Excavations at Saqqara (1912-1914). Archaic Mastabas. Cairo, 1923
- Cecil M. Firth - J.E. Quibell - J.P. Lauer, The Step Pyramid. 2 vols. Cairo, 1935-1936 (Step Pyr. I-II)
- Andrew G. Reisner, The Development of Egyptian tombs down to the Access of Cheops, 1936
- William S. Smith, in A.G. Reisner, The Development ... op. cit. (Appendix C, p. 390 ff), 1936
- J.P. Lauer, La Pyramide à Degrés. 3 vols. Cairo, 1936-1939 (PD I-III)
- W.B. Emery, The Tomb of Hemaka. Excavations at Saqqara. Cairo, 1938 (Hemaka)
- W.B. Emery, Hor-Aha. Excavations at Saqqara 1937-1938. Cairo, 1939
- R. Macramallah, Un cimitiere archaique de la classe moyenne du peuple a Saqqara. Cairo, 1940
- W.S. Smith, A History of Egyptian Sculpture and Painting in the Old Kingdom. Bost., 1949 (HESPOK)
- J.P. Lauer, Etudes Complementaires sur les monuments du roi Zoser à Saqqarah. Cairo, 1948
- W.B. Emery, Great Tombs of the First Dynasty I. Excavations at Saqqara. Cairo, 1949 (GT I)
- Jacques Vandier, Manuel d' Archaeologie Egyptienne I.2. Paris, 1952
- W.B. Emery, Great Tombs of the First Dynasty II. Excavations at Sakkara. London, 1954 (GT II)
- Zakaria Goneim, Horus Sekhem-khet, The Unfinished Step Pyramid at Saqqara. Cairo, 1957
- W.B. Emery, Great Tombs of the First Dynasty III. Excavations at Sakkara. London, 1958 (GT III)
- P. Lacau - Lauer, La Pyramide à Degrés IV. Inscriptions Gravée ... 2 vols. C. 1959, 1961 (PD IV.1-2)
- W.B. Emery, Archaic Egypt. London, 1961
- W.B. Emery, A Funerary Repast in an Egyptian tomb of the Archaic Period. Leiden, 1962
- P. Lacau - J.P. Lauer, La Pyramide à Degrés V. Inscriptions à l'encre sur les vases. Cairo, 1965 (PD V)
- J.P. Lauer, Les Pyramides de Sakkarah. IFAO, Cairo (last editions: 5th=1977, 6th=1991)
- J.P. Lauer, Histoire Monumentale des Pyramides d' Egypte. B.d.E. 39. Cairo, 1962 (Hist. Mon.)
- V. Maragioglio - C. Rinaldi, L' Architettura delle piramidi Menfite. 8 vol. Rapallo, 1963-1977 (APM)
- Jean Philippe Lauer, Saqqara, The Royal Cemetery of Memphis. 1976
- B. Porter - R. Moss - J. Malek, Topographical Bibliography... III², Memphis. Oxford, 1978 (PM III²)
- Rainer Stadelmann, Die Agyptischen Pyramiden ... Mainz, 1985 (IIIrd ed. 1997) (pages 10-75)
- Claudio Barocas, Storia dell' Egittologia. I.U.O. Napoli (unpubl.)
- Franco Cimmino, Storia delle Piramidi. Milano, 1990 (p. 60-2, 67-8, 70, 101-120 + rel. notes)
- Stan Hendrickx, Analytical Bibliography of the Prehistory and the Early Dynastic period... Leuven, 1995
- Mark Lehner, The Complete Pyramids. London, 1997 (esp. p. 72-81)
- C. Berger - B. Mathieu, B. (eds.), Etudes sur l'Ancien Empire et la nécropole de Saqqâra dédiées à Jean-Philippe Lauer. Montpellier, 1997
- Toby A.H. Wilkinson, Early Dynastic Egypt. New York, 1999
- K.A. Bard ed., Encyclopedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt, 1999 (esp. pages 700-708).

Main Articles (1900-2010)

- Campagne de 1900-1901 (A. Barsanti) ASAE 2, 1901, 249-57
- Fouilles atour de la Pyramide d' Ounas (A. Barsanti) ASAE 3, 1902, 182-4
- Notes Sur les Objects recueillis sous la Pyramide d' Ounas (G.Maspero) ASAE 3, 1902, 185-90
- Sur quelques documents de l'époque Thinite découverts à Sakkarah (G. Maspero) BIE 3, 1902, 107-116
- Excavations at Saqqara, 1910-1911 (J.E. Quibell) EEF Archaeological Report 1910-1911, 1911, 22-24
- Inscriptions from the Step Pyramid Site ... An inscribed statue of Zoser (B. Gunn) ASAE 26, 1926, 177-96
- Excavations of the ... at Saqqara 1925-26 (C.M. Firth) ASAE 26, 1926, 101
- Preliminary Report on the Excavations at Saqqara (1925-1926) ASAE 26, 1926, 97-101
- Excavations of the Service des Antiquites at Saqqara 1926-27 (C.M. Firth) ASAE 27, 1927, 105-111
- Etudes sur quelques monuments de la IIIe dynastie (J.P. Lauer) ASAE 27, 1927, 112-33
- Excavations of the ... at Saqqara 1927-28 (C.M. Firth) ASAE 28, 1928, 82-3 + plate 3 (Step Pyr. Complex)
- Inscriptions from the Step Pyramid Site III. Fragments of inscribed vessels (B. Gunn) ASAE 28, 1928, 153-74
- Etudes sur quelques monuments de la IIIe dynastie (J.P. Lauer) ASAE 28, 1928, 89-113
- Etudes sur quelques monuments de la IIIe dynastie (J.P. Lauer) ASAE 29, 1929, 97-129
- Excavations of the Department of Antiquities at Saqqara 1930-31 (C.M. Firth) ASAE 31, 1931, 45-8
- Etudes sur quelques monuments de la IIIe dynastie (J.P. Lauer) ASAE 31, 1931, 49-64
- Fouilles du Service des Antiquites à Saqqarah (Nord) (J.P.Lauer) ASAE 33, 1933, 155-66
- Notes sur Divers travaux ... (J.P. Lauer) ASAE 33, 1933, 153-4
- Rapport sur les Restaurations ...1931-33... Djoser à Saqqara (J.P. Lauer) ASAE 33, 1933, 146-52
- Fouilles du Service des Antiquites à Saqqarah (Nord) (J.P.Lauer) ASAE 34, 1934, 54-69
- Stone Vessels from the Step Pyramid (J.E.Quibell) ASAE 34, 1934, 70-5
- Inscriptions from the Step Pyramid Site IV. The funerary Chamber (Gunn) ASAE 35, 1935, 62-65
- Fouilles ... a Saqqara (secteur nord) 1934-5 (J.P. Lauer) ASAE 35, 1935, 66-75 (11 Gallerie est)
- Stone Vessels from the Step Pyramid (J.E.Quibell) ASAE 35, 1935, 76-80
- Decouverte a Saqqarah d' une Partie de la momie du Roi Zoser (J.P. Lauer) ASAE 35, 1935, 25-7
- Report on Human remains from the granite sarcophagus chamber Pyramid of Zoser (D.E. Derry) ASAE 35, 28-30
- Fouilles ... a Saqqara 1935-36 (J.P. Lauer) ASAE 36, 1936, 20-28 (11 Gallerie est - pt.2)
- Vases en Pierre Dure trouves sous la Pyramide a Degres (R. Macramallah) ASAE 36, 1936, 29-32
- Note sur divers travaux effectués à Saqqarah en 1936 et 1937 (J.P. Lauer) ASAE 37, 1937, 103-15
- Recent Discoveries at Sakkarah (W.B. Emery) JEA 24, 1938, 243 (Ankhka, Nebitka, Sabu)
- Saqqara. Fouilles du Service des Antiquites 1937-38 CdE 26, 1938, 278-86
- Excavations at Saqqara 1937-38 (S.Bey Hassan) ASAE 38, 1938, 503-21 (Unas, Ninetjer)
- Fouilles à Saqqarah 1937-1938. IV. Le cimetière souterrain de la deuxième dynastie (N.N.) Archiv für Ägyptische Archäologie 1, 1938, 182-183
- Saqqarah. Fouilles du Service des Antiquités 1937-1938. IV. Le cimetière souterrain de la IIe dynastie (N.N.) CdE 13, 1938, 283
- Saqqarah-Nord. Fouilles du Service des Antiquités 1937-1938 (N.N.) CdE 13, 1938, 283-286
- A Preliminary Report on the Architecture of the Tomb of Nebetka (W.B. Emery) ASAE 38, 1938, 455-9
- Saqqarah-Nord. Fouilles du Service des Antiquités (N.N.) CdE 14, 1939, 79-80, 263-265
- Fouilles des Antiquites a Saqqara- Sec. de la Pyramide a Degrés (Lauer) ASAE 39, 1939, 447-56
- Le Steles de Djoser (G. Jequier) CdE 27, 1939, 29-35
- Saqqara Nord. Fouilles du Service des Antiquites (Serv. Antiq.) CdE 27, 1939, 263-65 (S3471, Djer's r.; IInd dyn. Funerary Repast tomb)
- A preliminary report on the First Dynasty copper treasure from North Saqqara (Emery) ASAE 39, 427-37
- W.B.Emery 'The Tomb of Hemaka' (review by R. Weill) RdE 4, 1940, 137-48
- Preliminary Report on the Royal Excavations at Saqqara (1941-2) (Z.Saad) ASAE 41, 381-93
- W.B. Emery 'Hor AHA' 1939 (review by R. Weill) RdE 5, 1946, 189-92
- J.P. Lauer ' La Pyramide à degrés III ' 1939 (review by R. Weill) RdE 5, 1946, 192-6
- Notes sur les monuments de la Pyramide à degrés de Saqqara (R. Weill) RdE 3, 1946, 115-27
- 'Hor Aha' - W.B. Emery 1939 (review by R.O. Faulkner) JEA 33, 1947, 103-4
- Some Early Dynastic Contributions to Egyptian Architecture (I.E.S. Edwards) JEA 35, 1949, 123-8
- Les travaux du Service des Antiquites a Saqqara (1953/54) (J.P. Lauer) BSFE 18, Jul. 1955, 27-39
- A Propos de la Nouvelle Pyramide a Degres de Saqqara (J.P. Lauer) BIE 36.2, 1955, 357-64
- Sur le Dualisme de la Monarchie Eg. et son Expression Archit. sous les I° Dyn.(Lauer) BIFAO 55,1955, 153-71
- The Discovery of a New Pyramid Enclosure of the Third Dynasty at Saqqara (Goneim) BIE 36.2, 1955, 559-81
- Royal Tombs at Saqqara (W.B. Emery) Archaeology 8, 1955, 2-9
- Evolution de la tombe royale egyptienne jusqu'à la Pyramide à degrés (J.P.Lauer) MDAIK 15,1957, 148-65
- Zur Problematik des archaischen Friedhofes bei Sakkara (H.A. Kees) OLZ 52, 1957, 12-20
- Sakkara. Het graf van koningin Herneith (A. Klasens) Phoenix 2.2, 1956, 71-78
- Neues von archaïschen Friedhof von Sakkara (H.A. Kees) OLZ 54, 1959, 565-570
- An Egyptian Royal Stela of the Second Dynasty (H.G. Fischer) Artibus Asiae 24, 1961, 45-56 (Nebra)
- Preliminary Report on the Excavations at North Saqqara 1964-5 (W.Emery) JEA 51, 1965, 3-8 (aerial photo)
- A Propos de la Stèle de l' Horus Raneb (J.P. Lauer) Orientalia 35, 1966, 21-7
- Preliminary Report on the Excavations at North Saqqara 1965-6 (W.Emery) JEA 52, 1966, 3-8
- Preliminary Report on the Excavations at North Saqqara 1966-7 (W.Emery) JEA 53, 1967, 141-5
- The Egyptian Ist Dynasty Royal Cemetery (B.J. Kemp) Antiquity 41, 1967, 22-32 (Merka)
- Tomb 3070 at Saqqara (W.B. Emery) JEA 54, 1968, 11-3
- Preliminary Report on the Excavations at North Saqqara 1968-9 (W.B. Emery) JEA 56, 1970, 5-11
- Preliminary Report on the Excavations at North Saqqara 1969-70 (W.B. Emery) JEA 57, 1971, 3-13
- Walter Brian Emery (H.S. Smith) JEA 57, 1971, 190-201 (Obituary)
- Bemerkungen zur fruhen und spaten Bauphase des Djoserbezirkes in S. (H. Altenmuller) MDAIK 28, 1972, 1-12
- Bemerkungen zur Kreiselscheibe Nr. 310 aus dem Grab des Hemaka in S. (H. Altenmuller) GM 9, 1974, 13-18
- Researches on the Topography of North Saqqara (A.J. Spencer) Orientalia 43, 1974, 1-11
- Excavations in the Sacred Animal Necropolis at North Saqqara 1972-3 (G.T. Martin) JEA 60, 1974, 15-29
- An Analysis of the Tombs in a First Dynasty Cemetery at Sakkara. (J.J. Castillos) JSSEA, 6.4, 1976, 1-12
- Das Olmagazin im Grab des Hesire in Saqqara (QS 2405) (H. Altenmuller) SÄK 4, 1976, 1-29
- De Voortijd. 1e en 2e dynastie. II. De koningsgraven uit de 1e dynastie bij Sakkara (O. Mastenbroek) De Ibis 3, 1978, 53-60
- The North Saqqara Temple Town Survey: Preliminary Report 1976/77 (H.S. Smith - D.G. Jeffreys) JEA 64, 1978, 10-21
- The World of North Saqqara (J.D. Ray) WA 10/2, 1978, 149-57
- A Reconstruction of the Reliefs of Hesy-re (W. Wood) JARCE 15, 1978, 9-24
- Le Development des Complexes Funeraires Royaux en Egypte (J.P. Lauer) BIFAO 79,1979, 355-94
- De Voortijd. 1e en 2e dynastie. IV. Abydos of Sakkarah; waar waren de koningen van de 1e dynastie begraven ? (O.Mastenbroek) De Ibis 5, 1980, 22-28
- Le Premier Temple de Culte Funeraire en Egypte (J.P. Lauer) BIFAO 80, 1980, 45-67
- Memphis (C. M. Zivie) LÄ III, col. 24-41, 1980
- La signification et le role des fausses-portes de palais dans les tombeaux-type Naqada (Lauer) MDAIK 37
- Studies on Archaic Epigraphy I. (J.R. Ogdon) GM 52, 1981, 55-6 (Merka stela from S3505)
- Saqqara, Necropolen 1.-3. Dynastie. (Wolfgang Helck) Lexicon Ag. V, col. 387-400, 1983
- Das Vermeintliche Sonnenheiligtum im norden des Djoserbezirkes (R. Stadelmann) ASAE 69, 1983, 373-8
- Einige Bemerkungen zum Unas-Friedhof in Saqqara. 3. (P. Munro) SAK 10, 1983, 277-295
- Studies in Archaic Epigraphy XII. (J.R. Ogdon) GM 85, 1985, 55-8 (A title in Merka stela)
- A Propos de l' Invention de la Pierre de Taille par Imhotep (J.P. Lauer) BdE 97.2 (Mel. G.E. Mokhtar II) 1985, 61-7
- Die Oberbauten der Konigsgraber der 2. Dynastie in Sakkara (R. Stadelmann) BdE 97,2 (Mel. Mokhtar II) 1985, 295-307
- The Dry Moat of the Netjerykhet Complex (N. Swelim) in J. Baines ed. 'Pyramid Studies and other Essays ... to I.E.S. Edwards' 1988, 12-22
- Sur Certaines Modifications et Extensions apportees au Complexe Funeraire de Djoser au Course de son Regne (J.P. Lauer) in Baines - James ......... et al. eds. 'Pyramid Studies and other Essays presented to I.E.S. Edwards' 1988, 5-11
- The Organization of the Royal Cemeteries at Saqqara in the O.K. (A.M. Roth) JARCE 25, 1988, 201-14
- A Reason for the corbelled roof in Dynasty III and IV Pyramids (N. Swelim) JSSEA 14, 198?, 6-12
- Were the Archaic Kings buried in Sakkara or Abydos ? (W.M. van Haarlem) DE 17, 1990, 73-74
- Zur Nennung von Sened und Peribsen in Saqqara B3 (W. Kaiser) GM 122, 1991, 49-55
- Some Remarks on the Great Rectangular Monuments of Middle Saqqara (Swelim) MDAIK 47, 1991, 389-402
- Rollsiegel, Pierre de Taille and an Update on a King and Monument List of the Third Dynasty (N. Swelim) in 'Intellectual Heritage of Egypt - .... Studies Presented to Laszlo Kakosy.... his 60th Birthday' Studia Aegyptiaca 14, 1992, 541-554
- Memphis 1991 : Epigraphy (J. Malek - S. Quirke) JEA 78, 1992, 13-18 (Amenemhat II Annals)
- Zur Unteririrdischen Anlage der Djoserpyramide und ihrer entwicklungsgeschichtlichen Einordung (W. Kaiser) in: Wallert-Helck eds. ......... ' Gegengabe - FS Emma Brunner Traut' 1992, 167-190
- La Dualita' di tombe dei re della Prima Dinastia: un' interpretazione storico-religiosa e sociologica (J. Cervello Autuori) Atti VI° Congresso ........... 1992, 85-97
- Towards Archaic Memphis (D. Jeffreys - L.L. Giddy) EA 2, 1992, 6-7
- Prel. Report Nat. Mus. of Scotland Saqqara Surv. Proj. 1990-91(Mathieson,Tavares) JEA 79, 1993, 17-31
- Report .... at Saqqara (P. Munro et al.) DE 26, 1993, 47-58 (Ninetjer Tomb superstructures)
- Zur Topographie des Unas-Friedhofes (P. Munro) in 'Der Unas-Friedhof nord-west. I. Topographisch-historische Einleitung. Das Doppelgrab der Königinnen' (id.) p. 1-8 (1993)
- Zu den Konigsgrabern der 2. Dynastie in Sakkara und Abydos (W. Kaiser) in Bryan-Lorton eds. Essays in Egyptology in honor of H. Goedicke ......... 1994, 113-123 (the paper dates 1991)
- Abydos und Saqqara. Die ersten Königsgräber (T. Kühn) Kemet 3.2, 1994, 15-17
- A fragmentary monument of Djoser from Saqqara (Z. Hawass) JEA 80, 1994, 45-56
- Pyramid Research. From the Archaic to the S.I.P. Lists, Catalogues and Objectives (N. Swelim) in: C. Berger-G. Clerc-N. Grimal (eds.) ......... 'Hommages a Jean Leclant' BdE 106.1, 1994, 337-349
- The Historic Landscape of Early Dynastic Memphis (D. Jeffreys - A. Tavares) MDAIK 50, 1994, 143-73
- The Underground relief of Djoser at the Step Pyramid Complex (F.D. Friedman) JARCE 32, 1995, 1-42
- Gisr el-Mudir and the Early Royal Necropolis at Saqqara. (A. Cwiek) in: C. Eyre (ed.) Seventh International Congress of Egyptologists, Cambridge 3-9, September 1995. Abstracts of Papers, 1995, 41-42
- The Mysterious Second Dynasty (A. Dodson) KMT 7:2, 1996, 19-31
- A Preliminary Report on a New Archaic Mastaba at Saqqara (M. Youssef) GM 152, 1996, 105-112
- Remarques concernant l' inscription d' Imhotep sur le socle de statue ... Neterjkhet (J.P. Lauer) in 'Studies ... W.K. Simpson' 1996, 493-8
- Notions of Cosmos in the Step Pyramid Complex (F.D. Friedman) in P. der Manuelian ed. 'Studies ... W.K. Simpson' 1996, 337-51
- Origins and Development of the Funerary Complex of Djoser (R. Stadelmann) in der Manuelian ed. 'Studies ... W.K. Simpson' 1996, 787-800
- Zur Baugeschichte des Djoserbezirks. Grabschacht und Grabkammer der Stufenmastaba (R. Stadelmann) MDAIK 52, 1996, 295-305
- The National Museums of Scotland Saqqara Survey Project 1993-1995 (Mathieson -Tavares et al.) JEA 83, 1997, 17-53
- Aux pieds de Djoser - Les Mastabas entreFosse et Enceinte ... (M. Baud) Or. Monsp IX. 1997, 69-87
- Uncharted Saqqara: an Essay (H.S. Smith) Or. Monsp IX. 1997, 379-393
- Uncharted Saqqara: A Postscript (S. Davies) JEA 84, 1998, 45-56
- Unpublished Blocks from Saqqara (M.I. Aly) MDAIK 54, 1998, 219-26
- On the Threshold of Glory: The Third Dynasty (A. Dodson) KMT 9:2, 1998, 27-40
- The Saqqara Survey Project (A. Tavares) In: Proceedings of the 7th Congress of Egyptologists, C.J. Eyre (ed.), OLA 82, 1135-42
- Menfi (S. Seidlmayer) in Kemet. Alle sorgenti del tempo, 121-124. Catalogo mostra di Ravenna, 1998
- Pyramide de Djoser : montant de porte (Z. Hawass); " " : Stele-borne (C. Ziegler) Louvre Exib. Catalog, 1999
- The need for Seismic Analysis and Planning ... Necropolis of Saqqara (E. Johnson) JARCE 36, 1999, 135-47
- Saqqara North, Early Dynastic tombs (A. Tavares) in: K. Bard (ed.) Encyclopedia..., 1999, 700-704
- Saqqara, pyramids of the 3rd Dynasty (J.P. Lauer) in: K. Bard (ed.) Encyclopedia..., 1999, 704-708
- La Chronologie de la prehistoire tardive et des debuts de l' histoire de l' Egypte (S. Hendrickx), Archéo-Nil 9, 1999, 13-81, 99-107
- A new survey of Saqqara (D. Jeffreys) EA 16, 2000, 3-5
- The Stratigraphy of West Saqqara. Preliminary Remarks (A. Cwiek) PAM 11, 2000, 109-117 (Dry Moat)
Digging Diary (L. Giddy) EA 3, 1990-present
- Saqqara - Excavations 1996-2000 (K. Mysliwiec), PAM 8, 1997- PAM 12, 2000

- Saqqara North, Early Dynastic Tombs (A. Tavares), in: K. Bard (ed.) Encyclopedia of the Archaeology..., 700ff.
- Arguments for an Upper Egyptian Origin of the Palace-Facade and the Serekh during Late Predynastic- Early Dynastic times (S. Hendricks) GM 184, 2001, 85-110
- Sporen van een revolutie in Saqqara. Het nieuw ontdekte graf van Meryneith alias Meryre ... (R. van Walsem) Phoenix 47(1-2). 2001, 68-89 (A Second Dynasty royal tomb substructure under the tomb of the High Priest of Aton...)
- Back to the Mastaba tombs of the First Dynasty at Saqqara. Officials or Kings? (J. Cervelló Autuori) in: R. Pirelli (ed.) Egyptological Essays on State and Society, 2002, 27-61
- The Early Dynastic Royal Cemetery at Saqqara. Area West of the Step Pyramid Complex (J. van Wetering)
- Preliminary Report on the Leiden Excavations at Saqqara, Season 2002: The tomb of Meryneith, (M.J. Raven, R. van Walsem, B.G. Aston, E. Strouhal), in: JEOL 37, 2002, 91-109 (espec. 98-100)
- The Unexpected find of a Royal Tomb, in: Saqqara Newsletter 1, 2003, 8-12 (FRIENDS OF SAQQARA)
-Une tombe royale de la deuxieme dynastie à Saqqara sous la tombe du nouvel empire de Meryneith, campagne de fouille 2001-2002 (René van Walsem), in: Archéo-Nil 13, 2003
- Tombs of the 1st Dynasty at Abydos and Saqqara: Different Types or Variations on a Theme? (E.-M. Engel), in: Popielska, Grzybowska (eds.), Proocedings of the Second Central European Conference of young Egyptologists, 41-49
- On Pyramid Causeways (C. Reader), in: JEA 90, 2004, 63-71
- The Royal Cemetery of the Early Dynastic Period at Saqqara and the Second Dynasty Royal Tombs (Joris van Wetering), in: Hendrickx, Friedman, Cialowicz, Chlodnicki (eds.), Egypt at its Origins, 2004, 1055-1080
- Second Dynasty Ink Inscriptions from Saqqara paralleled from the Royal Museum of Art and History in Brussels (I. Regulski), in: Hendrickx, Friedman, Cialowicz, Chlodnicki (eds.), Egypt at its Origins, 2004, 949-970

- The Ownership of Elite Tombs at Saqqara in the First Dynasty (D. O'Connor), in: Daoud, Bedier, Abd el-Fatah (eds.),
Studies in Honor of Ali Radwan. (SASAE 34 vol. 2). Cairo, 2005, 223-231
A new Look at the Tombs of the First and Second Dynasties at Abydos and Sakkara and the Evolution of the Pyramid Complex (R. Stadelman), in: Daoud, Bedier, Abd el-Fatah (eds.), Studies in Honor of Ali Radwan. (SASAE 34 vol. 2). Cairo, 2005, 361-375
- Report of the Saqqara Geophysical Survey Project (I. Mathieson et al., eds.) in print
- The Dry Moat, The South Rock Wall of the Inner South Channel (N. Swelim) in: Czerny et al. (eds.), Timelines... Studies in Honour of M. Bietak, vol. 1, 2006, 25-33

- Die Siegelabrollungen von Hetepsechemui und Raneb aus Saqqara (E.M. Engel),
in: Czerny, Hein et al. (eds.), Timelines... Studies in Honour of M. Bietak, vol. 1, 2006, 363-76
Sacrifice for the State: First Dynasty Royal Funerals and the Rites at Macramallah's Rectangle (E.F. Morris) in: N. Laneri (ed.), Performing Death..., 2007, 15-37
- On the Ownership of the Saqqara Mastabas and the Allotment of Political and Ideological Power at the Dawn of the State (E.F. Morris), in: Hawass, Richards (eds.), The Archaeology and Art of Ancient Egypt. Essays in Honor of David B. O’Connor (CASAE 36, vol. II). Cairo, 2007, 171-190
- The Early Dynastic Necropolis at North Saqqara: The unpublished Excavations of W.B. Emery and C.M. Firth (G.T. Martin), in: Hawass, Richards (eds.), The Archaeology and Art of Ancient Egypt. Essays in Honor of David B. O’Connor (CASAE 36, vol. II). Cairo, 2007, 121-126
- Ein Unterirdisches Labyrinth: Das Grab des Königs Ninetjer in Sakkara (G. Dreyer), in: Begegnung mit der Vergangenheit: 100 Jahre in Ägypten: Deutsches Archaölogisches Institut Kairo 1907-2007. Dreyer and Polz (eds.), 2007, 130-38
- Early dynastic society at Memphis (C. Köhler), in: Zeichen auf dem Sand, Engel, Müller and Hartung (eds.). MENES 5, 2008, 381-99
- Das Grab des Hetepsechemui / Raneb in Saqqara (C. Lacher), in: Zeichen auf dem Sand. Engel, Müller and Hartung (eds.). MENES 5, 2008, 427-51
- Les grands mastabas de la Ire dynastie à Saqqara (S. Hendrickx), in: Archéo-Nil 18, 2008, 60-88 (with good bibliography)
- Investigating a new Dynasty 2 necropolis at South Saqqara (I. Regulski) BMSAES 13, 2009, 221-37 (on-line paper LINK).


The background image is the northern part of the main gallery in the tomb of Hetepsekhemui, below Unas' mortuary temple and pyramid.
Thanks to Dr. Nabil Swelim for scanning me his photo.

© Francesco Raffaele
Napoli (2002-2010)

Saqqara from South Saqqara