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Room 4 is an offering chapel with a false door belonging to Ankhmeryra (opposite, top and bottom), perhaps a son of Mehu. He held the titles of vizier and ‘inspector of priests of the Pyramid of Pepy I’, so seems to be slightly later than Mehu. Some suggest that Mehu usurped the tomb from its original owner, Ankhmeryra, but left the latter’s offering chapel intact. This is unlikely if Ankhmeryra lived later than Mehu. It is more likely that Room 4 was originally a storeroom in the tomb and was subsequently repurposed as an offering chapel.

Room 5 is the most spectacular room in the tomb, being the offering chapel of Mehu himself. Offerings would be placed before the false door so that the spirit of the deceased could pass through the door, a threshold between the worlds of the living and the dead, to take whatever sustenance he wanted from each offering. Mehu’s false door (seen above) is made of limestone but painted red-brown to imitate quartzite. On it are listed Mehu’s full set of titles, including vizier, ‘overseer of royal scribes’, ‘overseer of the two granaries’ and ‘overseer of the two treasuries’. With the blue-grey background of the walls, the colour scheme in this room is striking. Mehu is shown seated before a multitude of offerings made to him.

To visit Mehu’s tomb today, one must buy a ticket for the ‘New Tombs’ at the main ticket office. I urge all visitors to Saqqara to visit this beautifully decorated tomb which is now open to the public for the first time, eighty years after its discovery.

Geoffrey Lenox-Smith Geoffrey is a chartered accountant from

London who holds the Certificate in Egyptology from Birkbeck, University of London. He is a regular visitor to Egypt.

Unless otherwise stated, all images by the author

Further Reading Lauer, J. (1976) Saqqara. London:

Thames and Hudson Altenmüller, H. (1998) Die Wanddarstellungen im Grab des Mehu in Saqqara. Mainz: Philipp von Zabern.

OPPOSITE PAGE TOP Ankhmeryra (who may be a son of Mehu) drinks from a cup in his offering chapel. BOTTOM Ankhmeryra’s false door.

THIS PAGE The spectacular false door of Mehu, made of limestone but painted red-brown to imitate quartzite.

ANCIENT EGYPT April/May 2019


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