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Egypt Exploration Society

working in Egypt for 125 years

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Saqqara and Memphis

Although some recording, of the tombs of Ptahhotep and Akhethotep, had been done at Saqqara in 1898 by Davies for the Archaeological Survey, the Society’s long involvement with the site did not really start until 1952 when Bryan Emery was asked to continue for the EES work he had started for the Egyptian Antiquities Service in the 1930s at the archaic necropolis.

The niched facade of one of the great mudbrick tombs discovered at Saqqara by Bryan Emery

Emery’s work revealed a series of brick tombs which he identifed as those of the kings of Egypt’s first two dynasties, though most Egyptologists would now regard them as being tombs of officials.In 1964 the focus of the Society’s work moved to an area of the site where there are Late Period temples and underground galleries dedicated to animals sacred to the ancient gods.

Excavations in the Saqqara Sacred Animal Necropolis in 1968

After Emery’s death on site in 1971, the work at the Sacred Animal Necropolis was directed by Harry Smith and Geoffrey Martin. In 1975 Geoffrey Martin became Director of a joint EES/Rijksmseum van Oudheden, Leiden expedition which has uncovered several New Kingdom nobles’ tombs including those of the future king, Horemheb and the Treasurer, Maya. Meanwhile Harry Smith and David Jeffreys directed excavation of the Anubieion, a Late Period temple-town at the site. In 1982, to mark the Society’s Centenary, a new survey of the ancient city of Memphis was launched. Directed by David Jeffreys and Lisa Giddy the expedition excavated an area of the ancient city and, for the first time, mapped and planned the capital of ancient Egypt. More recently attention has shifted to an attempt to locate the site of the archaic settlement at Memphis and to plot the location of the Nile during the cities earliest phases.

The Delta and Deir el-Bahari Tell el-Amarna
The Archaeological Survey Nubia
The Graeco-Roman Branch Saqqara and Memphis
Abydos and Armant Further information

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