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Tomb of great Ramesses II era general discovered in Saqqara


An Archaeological Mission from Cairo University working in Saqqara has uncovered a tomb of the Great Army General in the period of Ramsses II, which named “Iwrhya”.

Tomb of great Ramesses II era general discovered in Saqqara
Credit: Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities
Dr. Ola El-Aguizy the Head of the mission and Professor of Egyptology at Cairo University announced.

She explains that the discovery was carried out in the last excavation season 2017/2018, which was yielded a very interesting and important discovery in the New Kingdom necropolis south of the Causeway of Unas in Saqqara.

Tomb of great Ramesses II era general discovered in Saqqara
Credit: Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities
She continues that this tomb is probably dated to both the reigns of Sethi I and Ramesses II. It is still not fully excavated, but has already given us a lot of material testifying to the high status of its owner and his family.

The owner of the tomb is a high army General, and High steward of the domain of Amun, High steward of the estates of Ramesses II in the domain of Amun (the Ramesseum) Urkhya . His name appears on the tomb together with that of his son “Yuppa” and his grand-son “Hatiay”; the latter occupying a very significant position in the inscriptions on the blocks found on the walls still in place. He has began his military career during the reign of Sethi I and reached the highest positions in the Egyptian court during the reign of Ramesses II.

Tomb of great Ramesses II era general discovered in Saqqara
Credit: Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities
Dr. El-Aguizy, pointed out that the tomb seem to follow the style of the contemporary tombs in the area: forecourt – statue room with adjacent plastered vaulted storehouses, perystile court and western chapels which are still not excavated.

This high officia—from foreign origin-was among the many foreigners who settled in Egypt and succeeded to reach high positions in the Egyptian court in the New Kingdom.

Tomb of great Ramesses II era general discovered in Saqqara
Credit: Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities
The remaining scenes on the walls of the statue room and on the blocks found buried in the sand showed very interesting and quite unusual scenes of every day life activities which seem to be related to a great extent to the military career of its owner and the foreign relations with neighboring countries: Mooring boats taking down their loads of Canaanite wine jars.

A block also discovered in the sand, probably detached from the northern wall shows quite an exceptional scene of an infantry unit and charioteers crossing a waterway with crocodiles. The preliminary study of this scene proved that it represents the eastern boarders of Egypt with its fortified walls.

Tomb of great Ramesses II era general discovered in Saqqara
Credit: Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities
The scene has only one parallel represented on the outer north wall of the hypostyle court of the Karnak temple in Thebes showing Sethi I coming back from his victorious campaign against the Shasu Bedouins and entering Egypt through the same waterway with crocodiles. The remains of such fortified walls were actually found lately By Mohamed Abdel Maksoud and his team working on the site known as Tell Heboua I and II; on the Pelusian branch of the Nile, in Eastern Qantara (North Sinai).

The archaeological discoveries in this area (Qantara) has also proved that there was an active daily life in this garrison: Wine cellars, livestock the scenes on the walls

Tomb of great Ramesses II era general discovered in Saqqara
Credit: Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities
All the scenes of this tomb are quite exceptional and its artistic features are very characteristic to the time of Sethi I and that of Ramesses II; a fact that proves that this tomb has been constructed over different phases.

The fact that the names of many members of the family of Iwrhya: his son Yuppa and his grandson Hatyay are very prominent in the tomb might suggest that it might be a family tomb. This could not be surely attested except after the excavations of its sanctuary and its shaft.

Source: Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities [May 08, 2018]

TANN

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