15 - 21 June 2000
Issue No. 486
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875|
Egypt Region International Economy Opinion Culture Features Travel Living Sports Profile People Time Out Chronicles Cartoons Letters
The man behind the deal?By Nevine El-Aref
A French archaeological team working in Saqqara under the direction of Alain Zivie has discovered the tomb of a high-ranking official from the reign of King Ramses II. Evidence suggests that the official, Natsharo-mess, may have mediated between the Egyptians and the Hittites prior to the signing of the peace treaty between them.
According to Zahi Hawass, director-general of the Giza plateau, early studies indicate that the official may at one time have been Ramses II's ambassador.
"It is a unique tomb in the area," said Gaballa Ali Gaballa, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA). "Not only because of its architectural style, but because a large and well-preserved coloured statue of Ramses II was found inside the inner rock-hewn chamber." The statue of Ramses is one metre high and depicts the king with the nemes -- the royal headgear, with a cobra on the forehead and royal beard -- and the cow-goddess Hathor, deity of love and beauty, above him.
Part of the tomb is constructed with white limestone, imported from the royal quarry in Torah, while the other part of the tomb is rock hewn. Decorations on the tomb walls show scenes from the daily life of the deceased, but his titles attest to his importance; he was the administrative supervisor of ancient Memphis and keeper of the treasury.
Further evidence suggests that the burial chamber of the tomb may access other funerary chambers. Excavations will continue in October of next year.