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Sakkara redirects here. For other uses, see Sakkara (disambiguation).
Saqqara pyramid ver 2.jpg
The stepped Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara
Saqqara is located in Egypt Saqqara
Shown within Egypt
Location Giza Governorate, Egypt
Region Lower Egypt
Coordinates 2952'16?N 3112'59?ECoordinates 2952'16?N 3112'59?E
Type Necropolis
Periods Early Dynastic Period to Middle Ages
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Official name Memphis and its Necropolis the Pyramid Fields from Giza to
Type Cultural
Criteria i, iii, vi
Designated 1979 (3rd session)
Reference no. 86
Region Arab States
Saqqara (Arabic ???????, Egyptian Arabic pronunciation [s??'?????]), also spelled
Sakkara or Saccara in English s?'k??r?, is a vast, ancient burial ground in Egypt,
serving as the necropolis for the Ancient Egyptian capital, Memphis.[1] Saqqara
features numerous pyramids, including the world-famous Step pyramid of Djoser,
sometimes referred to as the Step Tomb due to its rectangular base, as well as a
number of mastabas (Arabic word meaning 'bench'). Located some 30 km (19 mi) south
of modern-day Cairo, Saqqara covers an area of around 7 by 1.5 km (4.35 by 0.93

At Saqqara, the oldest complete stone building complex known in history was built
Djoser's step pyramid, built during the Third Dynasty. Another 16 Egyptian kings
built pyramids at Saqqara, which are now in various states of preservation or
dilapidation. High officials added private funeral monuments to this necropolis
during the entire pharaonic period. It remained an important complex for non-royal
burials and cult ceremonies for more than 3,000 years, well into Ptolemaic and
Roman times.

North of the area known as Saqqara lies Abusir; south lies Dahshur. The area
running from Giza to Dahshur has been used as a necropolis by the inhabitants of
Memphis at different times, and it has been designated as a World Heritage Site by
UNESCO in 1979.[2] Some scholars believe that the name Saqqara is not derived from
the ancient Egyptian funerary god Sokar, but from a supposed local Berber Tribe
called Beni Saqqar.[3]

Contents [hide]
1 History
1.1 Early Dynastic
1.1.1 Early Dynastic monuments
1.2 Old Kingdom
1.2.1 Old Kingdom monuments
1.2.2 First Intermediate Period monuments
1.3 Middle Kingdom
1.3.1 Second Intermediate Period monuments
1.4 New Kingdom
1.4.1 New Kingdom monuments
1.5 After the New Kingdom
1.5.1 Monuments of the Late Period, the Graeco-Roman and later periods
2 Site looting during 2011 protests
3 Recent Discoveries
4 See also
5 References
6 External links
Early Dynastic[edit]

Map of the site

View of Saqqara necropolis, including Djoser's step pyramid (centre), the Pyramid
of Unas (left) and the Pyramid of Userkaf (right).
The earliest burials of nobles can be traced back to the First Dynasty, at the
north side of the Saqqara plateau. During this time, the royal burial ground was at
Abydos. The first royal burials at Saqqara, comprising underground galleries, date
to the Second Dynasty. The last Second Dynasty king Khasekhemwy was buried in his
tomb at Abydos, but also built a funerary monument at Saqqara consisting of a large
rectangular enclosure, known as Gisr el-Mudir. It probably inspired the monumental
enclosure wall around the Step Pyramid complex. Djoser's funerary complex, built by
the royal architect Imhotep, further comprises a large number of dummy buildings
and a secondary mastaba (the so-called 'Southern Tomb'). French architect and
Egyptologist Jean-Philippe Lauer spent the greater part of his life excavating and
restoring Djoser's funerary complex.

Early Dynastic monuments[edit]

tomb of king Hotepsekhemwy
tomb of king Nynetjer
Buried Pyramid, funerary complex of king Sekhemkhet
Gisr el-Mudir, funerary complex of king Khasekhemwy
Step Pyramid, funerary complex of king Djoser

Funerary complex of Djoser

Old Kingdom[edit]
Nearly all Fourth Dynasty kings chose to have a different location for their
pyramids. During the second half of the Old Kingdom, under the Fifth and Sixth
Dynasties, Saqqara was again the royal burial ground. The Fifth and Sixth Dynasty
pyramids are not built of massive stone, but with a core consisting of rubble. They
are consequently less well preserved than the world-famous pyramids built by the
Fourth Dynasty kings at Giza. Unas, the last ruler of the Fifth Dynasty, was the
first king to adorn the chambers in his pyramid with Pyramid Texts. It was custom
for courtiers during the Old Kingdom to be buried in mastaba tombs close to the
pyramid of their king. Clusters of private tombs were thus formed in Saqqara around
the pyramid complexes of Unas and Teti.

Old Kingdom monuments[edit]

Mastabet el-Fara'un, tomb of king Shepseskaf (Dynasty 4)
Pyramid complex of king Userkaf (Dynasty 5)
Haram el-Shawaf, pyramid complex of king Djedkare
Pyramid of king Menkauhor
Mastaba of Ti
Mastaba of the Two Brothers (Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum)
Pyramid complex of king Unas
Mastaba of Ptahhotep
Pyramid complex of king Teti (Dynasty 6)
Mastaba of Mereruka
Mastaba of Kagemni
Mastaba of Akhethetep
Pyramid complex of king Pepi I
Pyramid complex of king Merenre
Pyramid complex of king Pepi II
Tomb of Perneb (now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York)
First Intermediate Period monuments[edit]
Pyramid of king Ibi (Dynasty 8)
Middle Kingdom[edit]
From the Middle Kingdom onwards, Memphis was no longer the capital of the country,
and kings built their funerary complexes elsewhere. Few private monuments from this
period have been found at Saqqara.

Second Intermediate Period monuments[edit]

Pyramid of king Khendjer (Dynasty 13)
Pyramid of an unknown king
New Kingdom[edit]

Lantern Slide Collection Views, Objects Egypt. - Apis Tombs, passage showing
Sarcophagi Recess, Sakkara., n.d., Brooklyn Museum Archives
During the New Kingdom Memphis was an important administrative and military centre,
being the capital after the Amaran Period. From the Eighteenth Dynasty onwards many
high officials built tombs at Saqqara. When still a general, Horemheb built a large
tomb here, though he was later buried as Pharaoh in the Valley of the Kings at
Thebes. Other important tombs belong to the vizier Aperel, the vizier Neferrenpet,
the artist Thutmose and to Maia, the wet-nurse of Tutankhamun.

Many monuments from earlier periods were still standing, but dilapidated by this
period. Prince Khaemweset, son of Pharaoh Ramesses II, made repairs to buildings at
Saqqara. Among other things, he restored the Pyramid of Unas and added an
inscription to its south face to commemorate the restoration. He enlarged the
Serapeum, the burial site of the mummified Apis bulls, and was later buried in the
catacombs. The Serapeum, containing one undisturbed interment of an Apis bull and
the tomb of Khaemweset, were rediscovered by the French Egyptologist Auguste
Mariette in 1851.

New Kingdom monuments[edit]

Several clusters of tombs of high officials, among which the tombs of Horemheb and
of Maya and Merit. Reliefs and statues from these two tombs are on display in the
National Museum of Antiquities at Leiden, the Netherlands, and in the British
Museum, London.
After the New Kingdom[edit]
In the periods after the New Kingdom, when several cities in the Delta served as
capital of Egypt, Saqqara remained in use as a burial ground for nobles. Moreover,
the area became an important destination for pilgrims to a number of cult centres.
Activities sprang up around the Serapeum, and extensive underground galleries were
cut into the rock as burial sites for large amounts of mummified ibises, baboons,
cats, dogs, and falcons.

Monuments of the Late Period, the Graeco-Roman and later periods[edit]

Several shaft tombs of officials of the Late Period
Serapeum (the larger part dating to the Ptolemaeic Period)
The so-called 'Philosophers circle', a monument to important Greek thinkers and
poets, consisting of statues of Hesiod, Homer, Pindar, Plato, and others
Several Coptic monasteries, among which the Monastery of Apa Jeremias (Byzantine
and Early Islamic Periods)
Site looting during 2011 protests[edit]
Saqqara and the surrounding areas of Abusir and Dahshur suffered damage by looters
during the 2011 Egyptian protests. Store rooms were broken into, but the monuments
were mostly unharmed.[4][5]
Recent Discoveries[edit]
During routine excavations in 2011 at the dog catacomb in Saqqara necropolis, an
excavation team led by Salima Ikram, and an international team of researchers led
by Paul Nicholson of Cardiff University, uncovered almost eight million animal
mummies at the burial site. It is thought that the mummified animals, mostly dogs,
were intended to pass on prayers of their owners to their Gods.[6]