02 May 2023

New book launched!

Order your copy of The Tomb of Maya and Meryt III: The New Kingdom Pottery online today.


We’re delighted to announce the publications of The Tomb of Maya and Meryt III: The New Kingdom Pottery by Barbara G. Aston and David A. Aston with a chapter on the hieratic dockets by Jacobus van Dijk.

Dedicated to the memory of Prof Geoffrey Martin.

This volume presents the pottery from the tomb of Maya and Meryt (located in the New Kingdom necropolis at Saqqara) in its archaeological context. Volume I was devoted to the reliefs, and volume II to the objects and skeletal remains from the tomb. The closely dated burial assemblage of Maya (Year 9 of Horemheb) and associated offering pottery form the basis for tracing the development of pottery forms in the late Eighteenth Dynasty and continuing into the Ramesside Period. The wealth of blue-painted pottery (amounting to 187 vessels) is carefully described, the motifs represented in the designs are discussed, and aspects of the chronological development of blue-painted pottery are illustrated. 96 colour photographs are included showing many of these beautiful blue-painted vessels. Numerous inscriptions on the pottery provide interesting information on the actual contents of the vessels provided for Maya’s burial.


This volume completes the publication of the tomb of Maya and Meryt uncovered by the joint EES-Leiden Expedition back in 1986. Long known to have existed in the area south of the Unas causeway, the tomb of Maya, Overseer of the Treasury during the reigns of Tutankhamun and Horemheb, was last known to have been visited by Lepsius in 1843. Its rediscovery was hindered since the Expedition began in 1975 by the rather fortunate finding of a vast New Kingdom necropolis including the tombs of Horemheb, Tia, Khay, Pabes, Paser, Ra’ia and other significant individuals of the period. During clearance of a secondary shaft in the northeast corner of the courtyard of Ramose, the Expedition followed a robber’s breakthrough leading into the subterranean chambers of the long-awaited tomb of Maya and his wife Meryt. It took almost another decade before the full extent of the tomb and its chapel were uncovered and publication has been ongoing since 2001.

It is therefore with great pride that the EES and Friends of Saqqara present this final volume, by Barbara Aston, ceramicist on the project from 1987-99. The ceramic studies presented here reflect a significant corpus to help understand the funerary customs in the Memphite necropolis during the tumultuous late Eighteenth Dynasty. Though the EES has since ceased its collaborative work in the Memphite necropolis, our colleagues in the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden together with Leiden University and the Museo Egizio, Turin continue to excavate in the area, and we hope that the catalogue presented provides stimulus for further investigation.

It is with enormous thanks to the Friends of Saqqara that the printing of this volume has been made possible, a partnership that has remained since their support on The Tomb of Maya and Meryt I.

Carl Graves (Director of the Egypt Exploration Society) and Vincent Oeters (Chairman of the Friends of Saqqara)


Barbara G. Aston is a free-lance Egyptologist based in Alexandria, Ohio who specializes in Egyptian pottery and stone vessels. She has worked primarily in the Valley of the Kings and in the New Kingdom necropolis at Saqqara, where she has been a ceramicist on the EES-Leiden excavations for over 30 years. Her previous publications on the New Kingdom pottery from these tombs appear in The Tomb of Pay and Raia at Saqqara (2005), The Memphite Tomb of Horemheb V (2011), The Tomb of Iniuia (2012), and The Tombs of Ptahemwia and Sethnakht at Saqqara (2020).

David Aston is an Egyptologist who has participated in excavations for over 40 years, with his most recent fieldwork comprising several seasons in the Valley of the Kings. He has written articles for learned journals and contributed chapters to scholarly publications, including several EES Excavation Memoirs. Amongst his own monographs one can count Potter Recovered Near the Tombs of Seti I (KV 17) and Siptah (KV 47) in the Valley of the Kings (2014), Burial Assemblages of Dynasties 21-25: Chronology – Typology – Development (2009), and Elephantine XIX: Pottery from the Late New Kingdom to the Early Ptolemaic Period (1999).

Jacobus van Dijk was associate professor of Egyptology at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands. From 1981 to 2003 he worked as philologist / epigrapher with the EES-Leiden excavations at Saqqâra. Together with Geoffrey T. Martin he re-investigated the Royal Tomb of Horemheb in the Valley of the Kings (2006–9). Since 1986 he has also been working with the Brooklyn Museum Expedition to the Precinct of Mut at South Karnak.

Related topics