Site of Kom el-Khamaseen

The Spanish-Egyptian Archaeological Mission in Saqqara was launched with the main objective of excavating the site of Kom el-Khamaseen, located on the southwestern edge of the archaeological area of Saqqara, 3 km from the farmlands and the main monuments of the Memphite necropolis. Bexause of its isolation, the site had been subject to violent looting in the 1990s, In their aftermath, a important series of inscriptions and reliefs could be recovered from there, abandoned by the looters, while other were smuggled out of the country, entered the antiquities market, and were detected by us on the websites of art and antiquities galleries all over the world.

All this material made it possible to know, among others, the main individual buried in Kom el-Khamaseen: Imephor Impy Nikauptah, high priest of the gods Ptah and Sokar of Memphis during the First Intermediate Period (2200-2050 BC). But the documentation raised many interesting questions about his names, his career as a high official and priest, his titulary, and the role he may have played in the turbulent period in which he lived. All this made an archaeological intervention at the site essential.

This prompted the application for permits and the constitution of the mission. The objectives were:

  1. To fully excavate the site of Kom el-Khamaseen in order to determine its structure, topography, and possibly the number of tombs it housed, and to recover any archaeological, epigraphic, and iconographic materials that may still be scattered under the sands. It was clear that no architectural structure was preserved, but these materials could be very important for the reconstruction of the history of the site and the profile of Imephor, as indeed they have been.
  2. To survey the entire desert area around Kom el-Khamaseen for other possible archaeological sites or remains. This has led to the discovery of the site that is the subject of the Mission’s second project: the New Kingdom royal cultic complex.
  3. Create a comprehensive database of all materials from Kom el-Khamaseen, both those recovered in situ and those documented in art gallery catalogues and websites.
  4. To analyse all these materials and sources in order to reach historical and cultural conclusions.
  5. To disseminate the results of the archaeological work and research through publications, both specialised or outreach, participation in congresses, exhibitions, lectures, courses, audio-visual productions, the media, and social networks. In particular, to publish the final monograph in a collection of international prestige and readership.

The first two of these objectives have already been fulfilled, since the excavation and prospecting were completed in 2022; we are still working on the others.

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