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Zau-Sais

Capital Cities

What: Became Capital City under Pharaoh Psamtik I from the 26th Dynasty. Also known as Zau

When: People lived in Sais from the Neolithic period 4200-3900BC through to the early pharaonic period, approx. 3,000BC. This area of the Nile Delta was settled throughout this time period probably due to its natural placing allowing lavish fishing and vibrant vegetation, giving its residents an abundance of produce. During the Pharaonic periods, Zau was the home of the Goddess Neith but used as a Capital City in 26th Dynasty, 664-525 BC

Where: Nile Delta Region on the Canopic Branch of the Nile, originally the Capital of Nome 5 in Lower Egypt, Nome Sap-Meh, and was approx. 3km by 1km in size

Who: Pharaoh Amasis II was born in Sais during the 26th Dynasty

Religion: Home of Goddess Neith, the Goddess of War and the Cobra Headed Goddess Wadjet, patroness of Lower Egypt and in particular the Nile Delta region

Top Left Photo: Remains of a Hieroglyphic carved monument

Above Photo: Excavations on Site           Left Photo: Statue of Goddess Neith

Ruins

Due to Farmers removing Mud Bricks from the Ancient Period to use as fertiliser, battles fought in the location and 18th Century “treasure hunters”, there are very little original; buildings left in view today. However, it is known that there was a Temple of Sais and this had a Medical School that worked with it. This was not uncommon for many Temples, but the Medical School at Sais was well known for its Faculty for Women which concentrated particularly on Gynaecology and Obstetrics

 

Remains

A Greek-Roman Bath House

Middle Kingdom Pottery and Seals for Jars and Amphora

18th Dynasty Burial

Red Brick Buildings which would not have been the normal during this period

Cemetery from the New Kingdom Period

Bronze figures from the Greek-Roman Period

Image of Pesehet, Lady Overseer of Female Physicians (2500 BC)

My plan of the excavated site – 2020

What Egyptologists believe was in Zau in ancient times

Northern Enclosure: Royal Palace of 26th Dynasty Pharaohs: 20m high Mud Brick Walls (now they exist as mud tracks) which surrounded an enclose approx. 700m by 700m

Area currently known as the Great Pit, thought to be the place where one of the largest Temples in the Capital would have been located: Approx. 400m by 400m. Huge stone-built buildings once stood in the “Pit”. Limestone blocks that probably would have been the flooring of buildings still remain on the ground, and there is the final parts of a Pylon estimated to have been 40m high in its heyday. Egyptologists also suspect that the Royal Tombs would have been found in this area.

The Industrial and Ports Areas: these areas of the ancient Capital have been located and pottery from this area includes Syro-Palestinian Wine Jars and potentially Resin Jars, Greek Amphorae Pottery and Cups which prove the strong connections between Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean

Description

Herodotus, the Greek historian, described Sais as a, “great city” which housed the grave of Osiris, was filled with grand temples, colossal statues, and splendid royal tombs. It hosted the Lighted Lamps Festival which was performed on the Sacred Lake inside the Temple of Sais. Herodotus confirmed that during the festival, “the light lamps were saucers filled with salt and oil with the wick floating thereon and burning all night”.

Illustration of a Temple in Sais