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More on Saqqara’s New Kingdom Burials

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Egypt Book of the DeadCAIRO, EGYPT—According to a Live Science report, a copy of chapter 17 of the Book of the Dead was recovered from one of the New Kingdom burial shafts recently discovered in the Saqqara necropolis, near the pyramid of Teti, a king of the Sixth Dynasty. People buried in the shafts are thought to have been members of a cult that worshipped the pharaoh for about 1,000 years after his death around 2291 B.C. The name “Pwkhaef” was written on the papyrus, one of the wooden coffins recovered from the burial shaft, and four shabti figurines. The Book of the Dead contained instructions to help guide the deceased through the afterlife. Researchers will compare the text of this copy of chapter 17 with the series of questions and answers found in other copies. The excavation team also recovered a limestone stela bearing the name Khaptah, overseer of the military chariot of an unnamed pharaoh, and his wife, Mwtemwia. Carvings at the top of the stela show the couple paying homage to Osiris, the god of the underworld. Images at the bottom of the stela depict the seated couple with six of their children, whose names suggest Khaptah may have served Ramesses II (r. ca. 1279–1213 B.C.). For more on recent discoveries at Saqqara, go to "Mummy Cache," one of ARCHAEOLOGY's Top 10 Discoveries of 2020.

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