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Thursday, August 16, 2018

Necropolis work to begin - Al Ahram Weekly

Necropolis work to begin

The Ministry of Antiquities has announced plans to begin excavation work at the Meir Necropolis in Assiut, reports Nevine El-Aref

Plans to begin excavation work at the Meir Necropolis in Assiut
Plans to begin excavation work at the Meir Necropolis              in Assiut
During an inspection tour of several historic sites in the Upper Egyptian city of Assiut.

Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany announced the allocation of LE300,000 as a preliminary budget to start excavation work at the Meir Necropolis. 

He also gave the go-ahead to begin a comprehensive plan to restore the Meir Tombs located 12km west of the town of Qussiya and to develop the site to be more tourist friendly and provide more services to visitors.

The Necropolis consists of a collection of 15 rock-hewn tombs unearthed in the last century by British Egyptologist Aylward Blackman. 

It did not get much archaeological attention after its discovery, however. Egyptian archaeologist Sayed Pasha Kabasha excavated part of it in 1919, while American Egyptologist George Reisner later described model boats found at Meir and French Egyptologist Jules Daressy made a study of coffins found at the site. 

Since then the area has been largely inaccessible to tourists, but during the 1990s restoration work has been ongoing on nine tombs, with their walls consolidated, reliefs restored, colours strengthened, and new stairways constructed, making access easier to the site.

Nine of the tombs are now open to visitors. Some of the funerary collections uncovered in the tombs are now on display in the Mallawi Museum, including a limestone seated statue of the official Pepyankh and his wife.

Mustafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), said that the tombs dated back to the Old and Middle Kingdoms from the sixth to the 12th dynasties and included the tombs of priests of Egypt at that time.

The tombs contain unusual painted scenes, characterised by their naturalistic qualities. Many of them shows highly detailed scenes of daily life, including industry, cultivation and sports, in a distinct local style. Among the most distinguished is one belonging to Ni-Ankh-Hpepy, chancellor of the Sixth-Dynasty king Pepi I. The tomb is painted with scenes depicting offerings of cattle, birds, and food, as well as fishing scenes. 

The tomb of Senbi, a nomarch (provincial governor) and overseer of priests during the reign of the 12th-Dynasty king Amenemhat I, has many paintings on its walls showing offerings and agricultural and manufacturing scenes.

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