The Mastaba of Mereruka at Sakkara

Mastaba of Mereruka (good name Mera), situated just beside the Pyramid of Teti. The largest mastaba in Sakkara, containing 32 rooms, this is a family tomb; Mereruka's wife and son Meri-Teti are buried in chambers beneath.


The Mastaba of Mereruka at Sakkara


Mastaba of Mereruka (good name Mera), situated just beside the Pyramid of Teti. The largest mastaba in Sakkara, containing 32 rooms, this is a family tomb;Mereruka's wife and son Meri-Teti are buried in chambers beneath. Mererukawas the vizier of Teti, whose daughter Har-water-that, good name Seshses-het, he married. He held a vast number of titles, including the priest of the
pyramid of Teti, and his burial place was close to that of the king. When excavated the bodies of Mereruka and his wife were in their
tombs; both were middle-aged. In the entry passage of the mastaba, Mereruka is shown with titles (1-2) painting a picture of the seasons
(4), while on the E wall he is depicted playing zenet, a sort of draughts(3). The best way to visit this mastaba is to turn right, see the first three rooms (Section A) with scenes of hunting, goldsmiths and furniture making (5-9). Tum into the large hall with four pillars, go on through room XI, passing Mereruka's false door and burial shaft (special permission must be obtained to visit the burial chamber), to the
chapel with six pillars, Room XIll, where there is a fine statue of Mereruka. On the left of this are scenes of the Egyptians domesti-
cating animals such as gazelles, goats, hyenas, etc (10) and boat- building (11-15). The rooms off this chapel to the N (Section C) are
devoted to Meri-Teti and have not been finished. Har-watet-khet'sgroup of rooms situated to the left of the door (Section B), containing a
serdab and a false door over the burial shaft, should be visited last

Tomb of Mereruka

The next room shows remains of the desert hunt with industrial scenes below. Many interesting crafts and industries are shown on the right-hand wall – there are carpenters, sculptors and vase-makers, metal-workers and jewellers. Some of the jewellers are dwarfs, who were traditionally goldsmiths and are shown using blowpipes at a furnace to raise the temperature of the molten metal. There are also full size adults weighing, assessing and recording the precious metals.

In the next room, Mereruka and his relatives preside over fishing and food preparation. Scribes are keeping accounts and recording reports from village headmen and one defaulter is being beaten at a whipping post, but unfortunately the reliefs in this room are quite damaged.

Tomb of Mereruka

A doorway at the end of this room leads into a series of chambers which are decorated with similar themes. To the left is Mereruka’s false door, with offering-bringers on the walls on either side. The other chambers in this section are undecorated store-rooms or relate primarily to offerings, but the scenes are often badly damaged.

Retracing steps back into the eastern side of Mereruka’s portion of the tomb there is a chamber on the left which opens into the burial shaft, where remains of his limestone sarcophagus was found. The mummy had been anciently destroyed by tomb-robbers, presumably looking for any valuable jewellery present on the body.

We next enter the main hall which contains six square columns. To the left are reliefs of Mereruka’s funerary rites – his coffin is carried then transported by boat with its accompanying mourners, priests, clappers and dancers, to the tomb. The northern wall depicts Mereruka carried in a sedan chair, followed by his attendants, his family, dwarfs and pet dogs and a monkey. Further to the right he is shown with his wife and mother before scenes of boat-building and cattle-rearing, including force-feeding hyenas. In this interesting picture two men appear to be forcing a hyena to swallow pieces of meat – a practice which prevented these hunting animals from eating the wild game they caught. A deep niche contains an imposing life-size statue of the deceased before an offering table. A doorway at the far right of this wall leads into Meriteti’s section of the tomb. Above and to either side of the doorway, Mereruka and his wife and mother watch children playing games. Boys catch birds, take part in the fig-harvest and play various athletic games, while the girls swing each other about in the ‘mirror-dance’.

Mereruka and his wife can also be seen on the east wall engaged in various activities, although the upper registers are lost. They are first shown seated with attendants behind, playing a game of senet, a board-game similar to draughts or chess. Further along they are shown again sitting under sunshades and observing agricultural scenes of ploughing, threshing, transporting produce on donkeys, pulling flax and stacking sheaves. Five of the pillars in this hall depict Mereruka with his titles, while his son Meriteti is shown on the south face of a central pillar.

Meriteti’s part of the tomb is less interesting and is primarily decorated with standard offering scenes. In the largest chamber is the red-painted false door stela of Meriteti, with its triple jamb and reliefs showing the deceased before an offering table.

On the southern side of the complex is the entrance into Seshseshet’s part of the tomb. This is also decorated with standard offering scenes, as well as many depictions of the princess with her small children. Seshseshet also has a false door, this time painted to represent hangings of cloth or matting and the end wall of this chamber depicts an interesting scene of the princess and her son on a lion palanquin. She is carried by female attendants and accompanied by other men and women, pet dogs and a monkey.
 

Mastaba of Mereruka

Mereruka and his wife can also be seen on the east wall engaged in various activities, although the upper registers are lost. They are first shown seated with attendants behind, playing a game of senet, a board-game similar to draughts or chess. Further along they are shown again sitting under sunshades and observing agricultural scenes of ploughing, threshing, transporting produce on donkeys, pulling flax and stacking sheaves. Five of the pillars in this hall depict Mereruka with his titles, while his son Meriteti is shown on the south face of a central pillar.

Meriteti’s part of the tomb is less interesting and is primarily decorated with standard offering scenes. In the largest chamber is the red-painted false door stela of Meriteti, with its triple jamb and reliefs showing the deceased before an offering table.

On the southern side of the complex is the entrance into Seshseshet’s part of the tomb. This is also decorated with standard offering scenes, as well as many depictions of the princess with her small children. Seshseshet also has a false door, this time painted to represent hangings of cloth or matting and the end wall of this chamber depicts an interesting scene of the princess and her son on a lion palanquin. She is carried by female attendants and accompanied by other men and women, pet dogs and a monkey.
Entrance

Visitors should allow plenty of time to see Mereruka’s large tomb properly. It is normally open to visitors. Photography is no longer allowed inside any of the tombs.

Tomb of Mereruka

https://sketchfab.com/3d-models/tomb-of-mereruka-saqqara-egypt-110e0790cd9c4519b2316e5198e85fc4

 


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