Friday, February 03, 2006

Mere Ruka Dig

Yesterday we went to Saqqara and in particular the Mere Ruka dig. The photos I am sharing is the paraphernalia of a dig as the tomb and burial chamber is still largely unpublished.Professor Naguib Kanawati had invited Jenny and Bob Bowker and their daughter Tabbitha and Celeste and I to come and see the dig they are involved with. Professor Naguib Kanawati is one of Australia's foremost Egyptologists and what a delighful host he was. We felt incredibly privileged to see Mere Ruka's tomb ( he was the vezir to King Teti the first king of the 6th Dynasty- Mere Ruka married Teti's eldest daughter and as Teti had nine daughters the son of his eldest daughter- the wife of Mere Ruka- was to succeed to the throne ,that is ,until Teti had a 10th child late in life who turned out to be a son. It is also believed amongst some that Teti was assasinated ) through the eyes of a passionate expert- and with his words and descriptions he made the place come alive. We were fortunate to be able to visit the burial chamber which is not open to the public. It is a special burial chamber in that it shows the various stages of the creation of the artwork found in the chambers- so from grids, to red line cartoons, to blackline drawings and filling in to colouring on the back wall. We were also treated to some coffee and Egyptian pastries down in the chamber- never thought I would do that! The Mere Ruka tomb is only partly published and Professor Kanawati is writing a full catalogue of its contents ( 6 volumes)

They are also excavating behind the tomb and have found a cemetry of sarcophaguses- yesterday they found a partially intact one whilst we were there.There was still some linen from the mummy there as well as turquoise beads amongst the dirt- it was estimated that it was from the late period 500-700 BC. We then went onto some other tombs not open to the public- one a small three roomed one with carvings and painting still fully coloured. They were fabulous including an intact sarcophagus.The paintings are delightful showing many episodes of daily life. We came home feeling as if we had been given a very special treat indeed.


Omega said...

Wondrous stuff! I especially enjoyed seeing the colours and textures of the top group, and the fabulous ?mummy case which is especially beautiful with its patterns and subdued colours (although I guess it might have been a lot brighter originally?). Thank you so much for sharing.

MargaretR said...

You are so fortunate Dijanne. But it's your hard work that has brought you this good fortune.
What a wonderful experience for your daughter too who has been introduced to these wonderful things through the eyes of a passionate expert as you say. I wanted to be an archaeologist
when I was young after listening to a series of lectures by such an enthusiast called Sir Mortimer Mheeler.

Elle said...

What a wonderful trip and how lucky to be shown an excavation by an expert like that!