This website is dedicated to the archives of the excavations of part of the oldest section of the extensive cemetery of Egypt’s capital Memphis, known as Saqqara, nearby Cairo. These excavations were directed by Prof. Dr. Peter Munro (Kestner Museum in Hannover, Germany) and more than 20 years of work, generously financed by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, has produced an extensive, well organised Archive. Unfortunately, due to Munro’s premature death in 2008 (Obituary), much of his work in Egypt remains unpublished. In 2012, the Archive was transferred to the Netherlands with the intention to make it available and publish the hitherto unpublished parts (Munro Archive Project [MAP]).
With the transfer of the Archive an agreement was reached by the temporary board of the Archive (Munro’s heirs, Dr. Christian Loeben – contact person: http://Christian.Loeben.at.Hannover-Stadt.de and Orell Withuhn) and MAP. Part of this agreement was the assignment by the board to develop a website to make the Archive available for scientific research (see below). Thus, the website and its contents is exclusively meant for scientific use. The board, as principal, bears full responsibility.
In 1973 Peter Munro began excavation work in Saqqara. Munro took over the concession from Zaki Youssef Saad, an Egyptian Egyptologist who worked in the area in 1939 and 1940. Saad made important discoveries, among which the double mastaba of two queens of king Unas, the last ruler of the 5th Dynasty, Nebet and Khenut. This was the topic of the first monograph by Munro published in 1993. Saad also discovered the tomb of king Ni-netjer, the 4000 m2 large subterranean gallery tomb from the 2nd Dynasty comprising over 100 chambers. Since this tomb bordered the concession to the east (together with the mastaba of Neb-Khau-Heru/Idu), two architects of Munro’s team, Hannover-based Hanne and Erwin Arend, carried out the architectural survey in 1980 but its further investigation was later assumed by the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) in Cairo. The area that was covered by the concession is located to the south of the enclosure wall of Djoser’s pyramid complex (3rd Dynasty) and is bordered at the opposite side by the desert plateau (where the New Kingdom necropolis is situated). To the west, the area runs to the Unas pyramid.
The main goal of the online publication of the Archive is to make it available to the scientific community in order to advance scientific research. Egypt’s heritage is not ours to keep or protect against interest from outside. It is the property of humanity and should therefore be shared. Mutual sharing of (scientific) information and using it in a cooperative manner is the only way to come to the best possible results. Munro himself was very generous in offering parts of the Archive of the excavations to whoever needed it, among which Frank Seliger and Pavel Onderka. Onderka used it for his PhD work on the mastaba of Unisankh (this part of the archive was kindly given back by Onderka in 2017). Thus, in line with Munro’s view on this matter, one of the main tasks of the MAP is to publish, in due course, the entire Archive online so that it can be consulted and used for scientific purposes.
Besides the website, the Archive will serve as basis for further scientific research on Munro’s documentation and to publish all hitherto unpublished material. Monographs will be published in a special series by Sidestone Press in Leiden (https://www.sidestone.com), which will be available in printed and digital format but also for free online reading in the publisher’s e-library. This series also publishes work that is not based on Munro’s Archive, but are of major importance to the Unas necropolis.
The Munro Archive Anno 2020
Several projects to publish the archive and related research are forthcoming. Munro started to work on the publication of the tomb of Khenu, which will be finalised by Martin Sählhof, Maud Slingenberg, André J. Veldmeijer and Rainer Hannig. Ania Weźranowska and Anna Wodzińska are working on the pottery and the famous Ipy statues will be further studied and published by Maud Slingenberg. The textile finds are recently published by Rosalind Janssen, whereas Jan Koek works on the offering tables. André J. Veldmeijer studies the headrests and Wolfram Grajetzki has published the coffin of Nywty and is currently working on the remains of other coffins.
The MAP is open for work that relates to Munro’s concession. The study of Ashley Cooke on the architecture of mastaba tombs in the Unas cemetery was published recently in the series ‘The Munro Archive Project. Studies on the Unas Cemetery in Saqqara’ (series editors: André J. Veldmeijer & Martin Sählhof). Moreover, the archive was consulted by Ariel Sabar, who needed examples of Munro’s handwriting to compare it with other written sources (see also Veritas).
You can find information about the use of this website here.
Cooke, A., The Munro Archive Project. Studies on the Unas cemetery in Saqqara 01
Series editors: André J. Veldmeijer & Martin Sählhof
Sidestone Press, 2020.
Janssen, R., The pleated dress of Nywty
PalArch Foundation, 2020
Grajetzki, W., The coffin of Nywty (Nuti), Saqqara
PalArch Foundation, 2020
Sählhof, M., Veldmeijer, A., The architectural record of the Munro Archive (+Errata)
Saqqara Newsletter, volume 16, 2018
Veldmeijer, A., Sählhof, M. & Loeben, C.E., De Oenas-begraafplaats in Sakkara
Ta-Mery, jaargang 7, 2014-2015
Dr. André J. Veldmeijer
Chairman PalArch Foundation, The Netherlands
Visiting Research Scholar American University in Cairo
Martin Sählhof, MA & MSc
Deutsches Archäologisches Institut Kairo
Maud Slingenberg, MA & MSc
PalArch Foundation, The Netherlands
PalArch Foundation, The Netherlands
The work on the archive, thus far, has been made possible due to several funds as well as enthusiast volunteers, for which we are truly grateful. The Mehen Study Centre of Ancient Egypt (http://www.mehen.nl) funded the development of the present website in 2017 (design, development, testing and production of first contents). Funding for the digitalisation of the extensive archive was kindly provided by the Dutch Embassy in Cairo and Huis van Horus (https://huisvanhorus.nl) in 2012. The generous funds by the Kunst- und Kulturstiftung Hannover greatly helped to proceed with the work on various levels, including publication, digitalisation and traveling to work on the archive. Friends of Saqqara (https://www.saqqara.nl/) kindly made funds available for digitalisation, redrawing and updating site plans. Several volunteers helped to digitalize the archive, to whom we are grateful: Erwin Meerman, Adri ‘t Hooft, Maud Slingenberg, and Erno Endenburg. Adri ‘t Hooft has been responsible for digitalising the photographic material. The PalArch Foundation kindly donated the webspace to house the digital version of the Munro Archive. Bas Doppen and Erno Endenburg are acknowledged for the design and development of the website. We are grateful to Duco Wildeboer for feedback on legal issues.
7 January 2021
The MAP is a work in progress. If you come across any inconsistencies or discrepancies on the website, please let us know. Of course you can contact us for all queries related to research and scientific contents, such as publishing illustrative material (drawings, maps and photographs), or work on or with the archive.