This website is dedicated to the archive 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 Peter Munro (Kestner Museum in Hannover, Germany) and more than 20 years of work, generously financed by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG link), has produced an extensive, well organised archive. Unfortunately, due to Munro’s premature death, much of his work in Egypt remained unpublished. In 2012, Munro’s heirs and the unofficial board in Germany, which managed the archive after Munro’s death, approached the chairman of the PalArch Foundation to adopt the archive on the condition to manage and publish it and make the archive available for research.
One of the tasks we have set ourselves is to publish, in due course, the entire archive on the internet as we strongly believe that Egypt’s heritage is not ours to keep for ourselves and protect it against interest from outside, but rather it is the property of humanity and should therefore be shared. Mutual sharing of (scientific) information and use 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 Pavel Onderka, who used it for his work on the mastaba of Unisankh (link to lit. page; this part of the archive was kindly given back by Onderka in 2017), Frank Seliger and Wolfram Grajetski.
The information on this website, therefore, can be used free of charge but one is kindly requested to contact us through email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you want to visit the office of the PalArch Foundation, where the archive is stored, or if you want to work on or with the archive. Also, you can contact us if you want to publish illustrative material, such as drawings, maps and photographs.
Besides the website, the archive will be the basis of scientific publications. Monographs will be published in a special series by Sidestone Academic Press in Leiden (https://www.sidestone.com), which will be available in printed and digital format but also for free online reading in the publishers e-library. Papers will be published in a special series by the PalArch Foundation (www.PalArch.nl).
Several projects have already been started. Munro started to work on the publication of the tomb of Khenu, which will be finalised by Martin Sählhof, André J. Veldmeijer and Rainer Hannig (link). The pottery is being worked at by Leslie Anne Warden (link), and the famous Ipy statues will be further studied and published by Christian Loeben and ### (link). Two other works will be published in the series, which are not based on Munro’s Archive, but are of major importance to the Unas necropolis – the tomb of Kairer by Chris Eyre and Khaled Dawood and the study of the construction and architecture of the mastaba tombs in the necropolis by Ashley Cooke. Moreover, the archive proved valuable to the work of Ariel Sabar, who needed examples of Munro’s handwriting to compare it with other written sources (https://www.theatlantic.com/please-support-us/?next=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.theatlantic.com%2Fmagazine%2Farchive%2F2016%2F07%2Fthe-unbelievable-tale-of-jesus-wife%2F485573%2F#seen).
In 1973 Peter Munro, director of the Kestner Museum in Hannover (Germany), 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 and made important discoveries, among which the double mastaba of two queens of king Unas, the last ruler of the 5th Dynasty, Nebet and Khenut, which was the topic of the first monograph by Munro published in 1993 (REF). Saad also discovered the tomb of king Ninetjer, 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-Heroe/Idoe), 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 (http://www.dainst.org/projekt/-/project-display/63552; REF). The area that was covered by the concession is located to the south of the enclosing 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.
Peter Munro (1930-2008)
Read the obituary by Christian E. Loeben [here].
The work on the archive, thus far, has been made available 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 first phase of the establishment of the present website in 2017 (design, development, testing and production of first content). The #### kindly funded work on the pottery drawings (see link) and provided a travel grant for Maud Slingenberg, the volunteer who works on the archive in PalArch’s Office. Previous 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. 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 digitalizing the photographic material. The PalArch Foundation kindly donated the webspace to house the digital version of the Munro Unas Archive; their office houses the archive as well. Bas Doppen and Erno Endenburg are acknowledged for the design and development of the website.
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Dr. André J. Veldmeijer
Chairman PalArch Foundation
Visiting Research Scholar American University in Cairo
German University in Cairo
Dr. C.E. Loeben
Museum August Kestner Hannover