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International Conference
Origin of the State. Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt

(Cracow, Poland: 28th August - 1st September 2002)
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Early Dynastic Egypt
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The Royal Cemetery of the Early Dynastic Period at Saqqara
and the Second Dynasty Royal Tombs


Egyptian Cultural Heritage Organisation


The recent discoveries of Second dynasty tombs near the Step Pyramid complex has renewed the interest in the counterpart of Abydos Umm el-Qa'ab; the Royal Cemetery of the Early Dynastic period at Saqqara. A discussion on the general development of this Royal Cemetery, both from an architectural as well as a spatial point of view, during the first 3 dynasties, is given with a focus on the Royal Tomb complexes of the Second dynasty.

Several structures dating to the First, Second and Third dynasties are known in Saqqara, some are royal, while most mastaba tombs are of a non-royal character. The focus will be on the royal monuments, although non-royal monuments are also discussed, to indicate the different architectural aspects of royal and non-royal development in funerary architecture.

To date three confirmed and one possible royal tombs of the Second dynasty are known at Saqqara, as well as several underground structures that may or may not have been constructed during the Second dynasty. The monuments attributed to Hetep.sekhem.wy and Ny.netjer, both located under the Fifth dynasty pyramid complex of king Unas, will discussed in detail. As well as the tomb recently discovered by the Dutch mission, about 200 m. to the south of the Ny.netjer complex and the new discoveries made by the Polish mission west of the Third dynasty Step Pyramid complex of king Netjery.khet Djoser are discussed in more detail. Through these monuments and the associated finds, certain suggestions are presented about the Second dynasty, a period still not yet well understood. After the discussion on Second dynasty Royal Tomb complexes, a brief outline on the architectural development of Royal Tomb complexes during the Early Dynastic period at both Saqqara and Abydos Umm el-Qa'ab will be presented.


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