Where is Imhotep’s Tomb?

By: Ali Abu- Dashish and Norhan Mahmoud

CAIRO, Dec. 26 (SEE)- “The one who comes in peace” is what Imhotep’s name means, the engineer who transformed the use of architecture materials from adobe to stones besides being the one who introduced designing ceilings, pillars and pyramids from limestone. Imhotep is the genius architect who built King Djoser’s step pyramid in Sakkara.

Archaeologist Dr. Zahi Hawass confirmed that Imhotep held many titles including the highest priest of the sun, that was related to “Heliopolis” whose tasks are similar to nowadays astronomers.  

“Despite being one of the public, his genuineness helped him to reach top ranks that King Djoser appointed him as his chancellor and engraved his name on one of his statues,” added Hawass. “Imhotep was also an engineer, a registrar of yearbooks and a secretary of seals.”

Hawass stressed that Imhotep’s name will forever last in the memory of Egyptians as he was capable to win the fascination of intellects in the modern kingdom, who counted him as a sponsor of intellects. “They even used to write his name at the right side of papyrus and in the late era they compared him to Asklepios – Greek god of medicine and wisdom.” 

Moreover, the renowned pharaonic Engineer Senenmut was highly inspired by Imhotep while he was building the temple of Hatshepsut in Dair Bahari in Luxor, that he established a compartment in his name at the top roof. 

“Throughout history Egyptians were proud of his finesse in medicine, literature, writing and architecture. Imhotep established the cemetery of King Djoser in the shape of a terrace of limestone, then he added to the first terrace five other ones and then transformed the design into a step pyramid for the king to be used as a ladder by the king to ascend to the heaven,” explained Hawass.

The passages, cellars and tunnels that exist at three different levels beneath the pyramid for about 7 km deep are the most beautiful features of this step pyramid. “Such pathways are the route in which the dead should follow prior to meeting Osiris and resting in the burial chamber.”

“We discovered the tomb of the king will refurbishing the step pyramid for the first time, but it is the dream of various archaeologist to unearth the tomb of Imhotep himself that if discovered fully would make Saqqara the number one touristic destination worldwide,” noted Hawass.

British Egyptologist Walter Emery was one of those who embarked on searching for the tomb of Imhotep in Saqqara site throughout his entire life, but unfortunately died before accomplishing his dream and was buried in Cairo based on his will.

Another Scottish scientist specialized in radar, carried out a scan of the area surrounding the step pyramid and announced that he was able to locate the tomb, but he passed away prior to completing his work.

Regarding the relationship between the two engineer, Hawass manifested: “I discovered that Senenmut revered Imhotep as his supreme exemplar, and at the same time Senenmut was buried under the temple of Queen Hatshepsut in AlDair AlBahari, that’s why I think that Imhotep is buried under the step pyramid.” 

There are two reasons that back Hawass’s assumptions; firstly, King Djoser’s pyramid is the only pyramid of the old kingdom where queens were buried, secondly, the king granted Imhotep high status, thus the normal place to bury him is with the king whom he served. That’s why he is expected to live with him in the afterlife.

“I discovered that the western side of the pyramid is the only side where Emery has not excavated as it was piled with sand and stones. Actually, an Egyptian Survey Mission was formed to excavate at the west part of the pyramid and they surprisingly came across a tomb that dates back to the second dynasty, yet we halted the excavations because of the incident of renowned 25th of January incidents,” concluded Hawass

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