CAIRO, 12th April, 2023 (WAM) -- An archaeological mission from the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden (RMO) and the Egyptian Museum in Turin (Museo Egizio) uncovered the remains of Panehsy's tomb, the steward of Amun Temple in the early Ramesside period, along with a collection of smaller chapels in the Saqqara Necropolis, according to Egypt's Ahram Online.
"The new discovery sheds new light on the development of Saqqara Necropolis during the Ramesside period and introduces new individuals that were yet unknown in the historical sources," said Mostafa Waziri, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.
The tomb of Panehsy, which has the form of a free-standing temple with a gate entrance, an inner courtyard with columned porticoes, and a shaft to the underground burial chambers, is situated north to the tomb of the famous Maya, the high-ranking official from the time of Tutankhamun. The mud brick walls of the upper structure are 1.5 metres high and embellished with decorated limestone revetment slabs. These show the colourful reliefs of the tomb owner and his wife Baia, who was the singer of Amun, along with several priests and offering bearers.
Christian Greco, Director of the Museo Egizio in Turin, said the most beautiful representation depicts Panehsy worshipping the cow goddess Hathor. Beneath it, Panehsy and Baia sit together before an offering table. A bald man with a leopard skin around his shoulders stands opposite the couple. This was the priest who took care of their mortuary cult, pouring out water.
Lara Weiss, curator of Leiden's Egyptian and Nubian collection, pointed out that during excavation work, the mission stumbled upon four smaller tomb chapels located to the east of Panehsy's tomb, one of which is of the gold foil-maker of the treasury of the Pharaoh Yuyu. The tombs are very well-preserved, and their walls bear high-quality, detailed, and stunning decorations. Although it is a relatively small tomb chapel, four generations of Yuyu's family were venerated in beautiful colourful reliefs showing Yuyu's funerary procession and the reviving of his mummy to live in the afterlife as well as the veneration of the Hathor cow and the barque of the local Saqqara god Sokar.
Another notable find was made at the eastern side of Panehsy's tomb, where a yet anonymous chapel with a very rare sculptured representation of the tomb's owner and his family was discovered. The artistic style of the representation might have been inspired by the statues neighbouring the tomb of Maya and Merit.