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21.04.2015

Old Kingdom mastaba found in the Delta

A team of archaeologists under the auspices of the Egypt Exploration Society, led by Dr Joanne Rowland (Free University of Berlin), has located an Old Kingdom mastaba at Quesna.

Dr Mamdouh El Damaty, Minister of Antiquities, said, "It is the first time to discover an Old Kingdom tomb in Quesna which is known for Roman period antiquities.”

Dr Rowland explains “In 2010 a mud-brick monument was located in the north of the site that had beer jars dating to the early Old Kingdom. The shape of this monument suggested that it was a mastaba, but further investigations were needed to fully understand the architecture and its exact date.  In the last few days of the 2014 excavation, an extraordinary artefact was found in one of the two burial niches – a seal impression bearing the name of King Khaba within a serekh.”

Above: On the left, Khaba's name for you to compare with the actual serekh on the right

The find was made thanks to Rais Omer and his team. One of the team members, Yassen Hasan Abdallah Omer (pictured) found the serekh fragment by painstakingly going through every piece of mud in the sieve.  Yassen has an impressive history of work with the Society, having also worked with Professors Bryan Emery and Harry Smith at Saqqara!

Quesna mastaba and Yassen at work

Above left: Dr Rowland and team at work on the mastaba; above right: Yassen Hasan Abdallah Omer, the finder of the serekh

This little known king of the 3rd Dynasty, who probably reigned for as little as six years, is best known from the stone vessels with his serekh inscribed on them from mastaba Z500 at Zawiyet el-Aryan (ZeA). The unfinished Layer Pyramid at ZeA was probably built for this king, although no remains of his burial were found.  This newly-discovered mastaba is the first tomb excavated in over 100 years that can be assigned to the reign of King Khaba with any certainty – an exciting find indeed.  We look forward to hearing more from Dr Rowland at the upcoming “Delta discoveries” day on 6th June at Doughty Mews.

You can read the full press release here.

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