OXFORD EXPEDITION TO EGYPT
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THE CHAPEL OF KAGEMNI
 
In the early years of the reign of Teti, first king of Dynasty VI, an official named Kagemni Memi was appointed to the rank of Chief Justice and Vizier, the highest post in the bureaucracy of Old Kingdom Egypt. Teti had good reason to trust his new vizier because Kagemni was a son-in-law of the king through marriage to the ‘King’s daughter of his body’, Nebtynebkhet. As a result of his royal connections Kagemni was able to organize the construction of an impressive tomb for himself in the Saqqara Necropolis, close to the pyramid of Teti (c. 2310 BC). Most of the reliefs in this monument were carved by gifted craftsmen from the workshop associated with Teti’s pyramid, hence the outstanding quality of the sculptures in the multi-roomed chapel.
 
Kagemni’s tomb is known through the fieldwork of the German Egyptologist and archaeologist, Frederick von Bissing, who published the results of his labours in two volumes, in the early twentieth century. It is largely due to the rarity of von Bissing’s books that the decoration in Kagemni’s chapel became a major project for the Oxford Expedition in the 1990s, and the OEE book series, entitled ‘Egypt in Miniature’, came into being.
 
Title: The Chapel of Kagemni: Scene Details. Egypt in Miniature, Volume I (Oxford, 2006)
ISBN: 978-0-9540835-1-9
Contents: 544pp. incl. prelims, analyses, 540 b/w plates, 7 tomb plans, 32 context line-drawings
Book size/type: 29.7 x 22.5 cm. Hardback
Price: Directly from OEE via this website: £65.00 incl. UK delivery,
£75.00 incl. Europe/World-wide surface delivery (excluding Canada)
 
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THE CHAPEL OF PTAHHOTEP
 
The justly celebrated chapel of Ptahhotep II (c. 2350 BC) adjoins the multi-roomed chapel of his father, the vizier Akhethotep, and their jointly owned tomb is only a few metres away from the tomb of Ptahhotep I, the grandfather of Ptahhotep II and vizier of King Isesi of later Dynasty V. Purely by chance the chapel of Ptahhotep II is the best preserved monument of its kind to have survived from Old Kingdom Egypt. Its reliefs are mostly intact, with extensive colour on their surfaces, and most of the carved ‘log’ ceiling of the chapel is still in place. Ptahhotep II is not described as a vizier in his chapel inscriptions. Evidently he received this title quite late in his career because it is mentioned only once, on the sarcophagus in his subterranean burial chamber to the west of his chapel.

Every day, hundreds of visitors enter the chapel of Ptahhotep II, to admire its exquisitely carved walls and to learn more about the daily life and religious beliefs of the ancient Egyptians, so vividly portrayed in the chapel’s scenes and accompanying hieroglyphs. Although the room is relatively small its decorated surfaces feature over 35 different scene types, as well as hundreds of small figures engaged in all manner of activities, numerous species of birds and animals, and thousands of tiny hieroglyphs recording conversations, scene captions, titles, names and, of course, the all-important funerary inscriptions for Ptahhotep himself.

Prior to 2008, the chapel of Ptahhotep had never been photographed and analysed systematically and in detail, despite the fact that its lower scenes are frequently photographed and published in general books about Ancient Egypt. This oversight explains why the chapel of Ptahhotep II became a worthwhile subject for Volume II of the Expedition's 'Egypt in Miniature' series.

Title: The Chapel of Ptahhotep: Scene Details. Egypt in Miniature, Volume II (Oxford, 2008)
ISBN: 978-0-9540835-2-6
Contents: 392pp. incl. prelims, analyses, 381 b/w plates, 7 tomb plans, 16 context line-drawings
Book size/type: 29.7 x 22.5 cm. Hardback
Price: Directly from OEE via this website: £90.00 incl. UK delivery,
£100.00 incl. Europe/World-wide surface delivery (excluding Canada)
 
 
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THE CHAPEL OF NIANKHKHNUM & KHNUMHOTEP
 
The two Memphite officials, Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep (each of whom is referred to as ‘Priest of Ra in the Sun-temple of Neuserre’ and ‘Overseer of the Manicurists of the Palace’) spent the greater part of their adult lives in the service of King Neuserre (mid-Fifth Dynasty), and it is generally believed that they died during the reign of Neuserre’s successor, King Menkauhor. Towards the end of their careers, Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep were permitted to oversee the construction and decoration of their jointly owned tomb in an area south-east of the Step Pyramid of Zoser, in the Saqqara Necropolis. Very likely the tomb was visible for several decades after the death of its two owners, but ultimately it was buried beneath the massive foundations of the pyramid causeway of King Unis, the last ruler of the Fifth Dynasty, and inevitably the memory of the tomb and its occupants soon faded away. This might have been the end for Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep. Miraculously, however, their tomb was rescued from oblivion in the 1960s by a German-Egyptian expedition led by Prof. Dr H. Altenmüller and Dr Ahmed M. Moussa, who published the results of their discovery in a justly acclaimed volume entitled Das Grab des Nianchchnum und Chnumhotep. Not surprisingly, this book is now out of print.

Compared with other tombs of the Old Kingdom period, the stone-built/rock-cut tomb of Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep is in many ways ‘atypical’ in terms of its architecture, decoration, inscriptions and ownership. Unfortunately its painted reliefs have deteriorated very rapidly in recent years, and this, more than any other consideration, is why the monument was selected by the Expedition for early publication in two successive volumes in the ‘Egypt in Miniature’ series.

Title: The Chapel of Niankhkhnum & Khnumhotep: Scene Details. Egypt in Miniature, Volume III, Plates (Oxford, 2010)
ISBN: 978-0-9540835-3-3
Contents: 656pp. incl. prelims, 689 b/w plates, 25 tomb plans, 24 context line-drawings
Book size/type: 29.7 x 22.5 cm. Hardback
Price: Directly from OEE via this website: £115.00 incl. UK delivery, £125.00 incl. Europe/World-wide surface delivery (excluding Canada)
 
Click Here [Adobe Acrobat PDF - 4.71 MB] to view a PDF file of sample pages from this book 
 
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