Key Facts about Saqqara

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Archaeologists in Egypt recently unearthed tombs containing mummy masks and a 'god of silence' statue at Saqqara.

About Saqqara

  • It is part of the necropolis (burial place) of the ancient Egyptian city of Memphis.
  • It is located on the western bank of the Nile, 40 kilometers south of Cairo, the capital of Egypt.
  • Saqqara’s name derives from the name of the burial god Sokar.
  • It was an active burial ground for more than 3500 years and is Egypt’s largest archaeological site. 
  • It is where the transition from the use of the mastaba (ancient Egyptian tombs, in the form of a massive brick or stone mound with battered walls on a rectangular base) as a burial site to the pyramid design that is more popularly known today took place.
  • Sakkara is best known for the Step Pyramid, the oldest of Egypt's 97 pyramids.
    • It was built in 2700 BC for King Djoser (Zoser) of the 3rd Dynasty by the architect and genius Imhotep, who was the first to build stone tombs in honor of the king's majesty.
    • Today, it is considered one of the oldest stone structures built by man, and it was the first time the Ancient Egyptians would attempt to use limestone. 
    • Zoserís Pyramid is entirely built of limestone, small bricks of limestone, and not of the best quality, and yet it has remained for more than 4700 years.

Q1) Who was Imhotep?

Imhotep was an Egyptian polymath (a person expert in many areas of learning) best known as the architect of King Djoser's Step Pyramid at Saqqara. Although his Step Pyramid is considered his greatest achievement, he was also remembered for his medical treatises which regarded disease and injury as naturally occurring instead of punishments sent by gods or inflicted by spirits or curses.

Source: Ancient Egyptian mummy masks, tombs and 'god of silence' statue discovered at Saqqara