Saqqara is the burial ground of Memphis, one of Ancient Egypt’s most important cities. It is situated 25 kilometres south-west of modern Cairo, and lies on the edge of the Sahara desert looking down over the floodplain of the Nile. The area is dominated by Egypt’s first pyramid, the Step Pyramid of King Djoser of the Third Dynasty (c. 2667 to 2648 BC)
The Saqqara Geophysical Survey Project (SGSP) has been producing a map of the underground structures at Saqqara for over 20 years. The project is Scotland’s only archaeological mission in Egypt and was founded by Scots Egyptologist and archaeologist Ian Mathieson. In 1990, Ian was awarded a concession from the Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities to investigate the site. Using a range of innovative geophysical techniques, the project has located many long-lost tombs and temples beneath the desert sand.
Ian Mathieson made remarkable discoveries in two decades of work as Project Director. Revolutionary use of the latest techniques of scientific survey is still revealing the world of Ancient Egypt long lost beneath the desert sands.
Sadly, Ian Mathieson passed away in 2010, but the project team continues his innovative work. Dr. Campbell Price, a native of Glasgow, now directs the mission. Dr. Angela McDonald, of Glasgow University’s Department of Adult and Continuing Education, is Co-Director.
Funding the Survey
In 2002, Glasgow Museums became the Scottish sponsor of the project. The project had first been supported by the National Museums of Scotland. The Friends of Glasgow Museums have generously contributed towards the costs of the project.
The Saqqara Geophysical Survey Project is also supported by the Wainwright Fund (Oxford), the Russell Trust, and private and corporate donors.
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