Egypt in Miniature Series

The 'Egypt in Miniature' series is the result of the Expedition's long-term fieldwork and research experience in the necropolis of Saqqara in Egypt. This series involves the systematic photography and analysis of scene details in the accessible chapels of Old Kingdom tombs, and it commenced with the publication of the Saqqara chapel of Kagemni (Volume I, 2006), followed by Ptahhotep II (Volume II, 2008), Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep (Volume III, Plates, 2010;), Nefer and Kahay (Volume V, 2015) and most recently by Irukaptah (Volume VI, 2017), and Neferherenptah (Volume VII, 2017). Collectively, these volumes include over 2,400 photographs of analysed scene details.

By providing numerous photographs of scene details in tombs, and supplementing these images with descriptions, archaeological data, context line-drawings or photographs, our aim is to produce many more informative and stimulating volumes in the series, each book being a visual and written conservation record of a specific ancient tomb as it exists at the present time.

*** Most Recent Publications in the Egypt in Miniature Series ***


(Volume V)


By Yvonne Harpur & Paolo Scremin


This is the first full-colour book produced by the Expedition for the Egypt in Miniature series. The purpose of the volume is to provide readers with a comprehensive selection of close-range photographs of reliefs and paintings from the Saqqara chapel of Nefer and Kahay (mid-Dyn. V). These details are analysed individually with accompanying endnotes, and following each description is a paragraph of archaeological information, including the location of the detail, its measurements, the scene-type to which it belongs, references to earlier tomb-publications in which it is mentioned (including its Topographical Bibliography reference), its photograph number and date, and a reference to the colour photograph of the wall-composition to which it belongs. The wall compositions in the chapel are published as colour double-page spreads near the back of the volume. Also included in the book are two Appendices, the first being a comparison between the photographed details published in Volume Five and the epigraphic drawings provided in M. Lashien, The Chapel of Kahai and his Family. The Australian Centre of Egyptology, Report 33 (Oxford, 2013), with the relevant references. The second Appendix is an extensive index of details in the chapel, ranging from minute features such as the varied representation of eyes and parts of eyes, to larger features such as objects, items of food, birds and animals, figure-types and postures, orientation of scenes, techniques of overlapping, inscriptions, and so on.

Series: Egypt in Miniature

Title: The Chapel of Nefer & Kahay: Scene Details, Volume V (Oxford 2015)

ISBN: 978-0-9540835-4-0

Contents: 552 pp incl. prelims: 340 scene details, full colour (half-page, full-page and double page sizes); 6 tomb photographs, full colour; 10 context photographs, full colour, mostly double-page size; 10 tomb plans giving the positions of the details; commentary and archaeological information (111 pp); 440 endnotes (36 pp); Appendix I (26 pp); Appendix II (22 pp).

Book size/type: 29.7 x 22.5 cm. Hardback

Price: £90.00 incl. World-wide delivery

(Except Canada and Switzerland where additional charges may apply. Please contact paolo@oxfordexpeditiontoegypt.com for more details before ordering)





By Yvonne Harpur & Paolo Scremin


(Egypt in Miniature Volumes VI & VII bound into a single book)

Egypt in Miniature Volumes VI–VII:

The Chapel of Irukaptah and the Chapel of Neferherenptah

The rock-cut tomb of Irukaptah and the stone-built mastaba of Neferherenptah are situated immediately to the south of the covered section of the Fifth Dynasty Causeway of King Unis. During the construction of the causeway the route to both tombs was permanently blocked, therefore the artists were forced to cease their work and leave it in varying stages of completion. Happily, enough survives of the decoration in both chapels to merit two separate volumes in the Egypt in Miniature series: Volume VI for the chapel of Irukaptah (sometimes nicknamed the ‘Tomb of the Butchers’ on account of a prominent scene of butchers dismembering and skinning oxen), and Volume VII for the chapel of Neferherenptah (sometimes nicknamed the ‘Tomb of the Birds’ on account of two exquisite scenes depicting the capture of Golden Orioles and speckled pink Doves).

As well as many interesting details, mostly carved and brightly painted, the chapel of Irukaptah is renowned for its appealing rock-cut statues of the tomb-owner, each figure standing stiffly to attention and gazing blankly ahead as if contemplating eternity. Much of the original paint-work still survives on these images, including black on the wigs, red-brown on the sunburnt skin, traces of green, white and turquoise on the beaded collars, and white and red, or yellow and white, on the contrasting types of  kilts, the more ceremonial of which are each overlaid with a colourfully beaded ‘apron’. A row of four other statues, much larger and more bulky than the named statues of Irukaptah, might represent his parents and older relatives – or they might represent the family of an official who owned the tomb long before it was taken over by Irukaptah towards the end of the Fifth Dynasty. The blocking of the chapel was surely a terrible blow for the family of Irukaptah but a fortunate event for Egyptology. Eventually the doorway was hidden by windblown sand which protected the interior of the chapel until its discovery by an Egyptian expedition in 1939/40.

Fascinating insights can be gained through a close study of the drawings and relief carving in the far superior chapel of Neferherenptah, an Overseer of hairdressers of the Palace and evidently a more important official than Irukaptah, Master-butcher of the Palace. In a deep niche in the west wall of this chapel there is a beautifully sculptured ‘palace-facade’ false door cut from a single massive slab of fine-grained limestone, and to the right of this, on smoothed limestone slabs, is an impressive series of registers illustrating typical activities associated with an orchard and nearby garden: catching and caging song-birds, plucking fruit from trees, harvesting vegetables, gathering grapes, manufacturing wine, and transporting jars of wine by hand to the false door of the tomb-owner. No figure of Neferherenptah was ever sketched or carved in the unfinished chapel, but on the north wall (nearest the retaining wall of the Unis Causeway) there are two inscribed references to ‘Neferherenptah’ and ‘his son, Ptahshepses’, above scenes of pasture activities and officials carrying jars of wine. The inscriptions reveal that Ptahshepses was in charge of the construction or completion of the tomb, perhaps because his father was too old to manage this task by himself.

Before the chapel of Neferherenptah was finally abandoned the artists responsible for the delicate preliminary drawings tried to create the impression of finished (painted) scenes by applying black and red paint to parts of their outline drawings, especially in the uppermost registers. Lower down on the wall the preliminary drawings are much-faded, with less of this extra paintwork, whereas to the right on the wall the sculptors managed to start—and sometimes practically finish—certain parts of the scenes. As well as a great deal more, Volume VII provides students and scholars with excellent photographic examples of the various stages in the creation of raised reliefs: from the drawing in red, then black, of the preliminary sketches, to the chiselling of these outlines, then the removal of the background stone, and finally, to the shaping and expert modelling of the subject matter.

Series: Egypt in Miniature

Title: The Chapel of Irukaptah: Scene Details, Volume VI (Oxford 2017)

            The Chapel of Neferherenprah: Scene Details, Volume VII (Oxford 2017)

ISBN: 978-0-9540835-5-7

Contents: 482 pp incl. prelims: 450 scene details, full colour (half-page, full-page and double page sizes); 19 tomb location and architectural photographs, 2 black and white; 16 context photographs, full colour, mostly double-page size; 12 tomb plans giving the positions of the details; commentary and archaeological information (86 pp)

Book size/type: 29.7 x 22.5 cm. Hardback




Please read the following statement before ordering this book


Volumes VI and VII have been printed and bound into a single book; The Chapel of Irukaptah: Scene Details (Vol. VI) and The Chapel of Neferherenptah: Scene Details (Vol.VII) - ISBN: 978-0-9540835-5-7


A minor production fault in the printing of Volumes VI and VII has resulted in the possibility of a slight rippling to the top and bottom edges of the pages (click on picture below). The fault is not significant and does not affect the print quality or binding. The books have been supplied shrink-wrapped therefore it is not possible to check if every book has been affected.


Consequently, we have decided to reduce the price of this two-volume book from our intended selling price of £120.00 (incl. delivery), to just £90.00 (incl. delivery) to compensate for this minor fault. The price of £90.00 brings the cost of Volumes VI and VII in line with the selling price of Volume V - The Chapel of Nefer & Kahay: Scene Details.


It is important that you are aware of the existence of this potential fault before you order the book as we have no alternative replacements.


By placing your order for this book you are acknowledging that you have been made aware of this fault.



                         Click on the picture to see an example



Price: £90.00 incl. World-wide delivery

(Except Canada and Switzerland where additional charges may apply. Please contact paolo@oxfordexpeditiontoegypt.com for more details before ordering)


*** Previous Publications in the Egypt in Miniature Series ***


(Volume I)


By Yvonne Harpur & Paolo Scremin

In the early years of the reign of Teti, first king of Dynasty VI, an official named Kagemni Memi was appointed to the rank of Chief Justice and Vizier, the highest post in the bureaucracy of Old Kingdom Egypt. Teti had good reason to trust his new vizier because Kagemni was a son-in-law of the king through marriage to the ‘King’s daughter of his body’, Nebtynebkhet. As a result of his royal connections Kagemni was able to organize the construction of an impressive tomb for himself in the Saqqara Necropolis, close to the pyramid of Teti (c. 2310 BC). Most of the reliefs in this monument were carved by gifted craftsmen from the workshop associated with Teti’s pyramid, hence the outstanding quality of the sculptures in the multi-roomed chapel.

Kagemni’s tomb is known through the fieldwork of the German Egyptologist and archaeologist, Frederick von Bissing, who published the results of his labours in two volumes, in the early twentieth century. It is largely due to the rarity of these books that the decoration in Kagemni’s chapel became a major project for the Oxford Expedition in the 1990s, and the OEE book series, entitled ‘Egypt in Miniature’, came into being.

Series: Egypt in Miniature

Title: The Chapel of Kagemni: Scene Details. Egypt in Miniature, Volume I (Oxford, 2006)

ISBN: 978-0-9540835-1-9

Contents: 544pp. incl. prelims, analyses, 540 b/w plates, 7 tomb plans, 32 context line-drawings

Book size/type: 29.7 x 22.5 cm. Hardback

Price: £75.00 incl. World-wide delivery

(Except Canada and Switzerland where additional charges may apply. Please contact paolo@oxfordexpeditiontoegypt.com for more details before ordering)



(Volume II)


By Yvonne Harpur & Paolo Scremin

The justly celebrated chapel of Ptahhotep II (c. 2350 BC) adjoins the multi-roomed chapel of his father, the vizier Akhethotep, and their jointly owned tomb is only a few metres away from the tomb of Ptahhotep I, the grandfather of Ptahhotep II and vizier of King Isesi of later Dynasty V. Purely by chance the chapel of Ptahhotep II is the best preserved monument of its kind to have survived from Old Kingdom Egypt. Its reliefs are mostly intact, with extensive colour on their surfaces, and most of the carved ‘log’ ceiling of the chapel is still in place. Ptahhotep II is not described as a vizier in his chapel inscriptions. Evidently he received this title quite late in his career because it is mentioned only once, on the sarcophagus in his subterranean burial chamber to the west of his chapel.

Every day, hundreds of visitors enter the chapel of Ptahhotep II, to admire its exquisitely carved walls and to learn more about the daily life and religious beliefs of the ancient Egyptians, so vividly portrayed in the chapel’s scenes and accompanying hieroglyphs. Although the room is relatively small its decorated surfaces feature over 35 different scene types, as well as hundreds of small figures engaged in all manner of activities, numerous species of birds and animals, and thousands of tiny hieroglyphs recording conversations, scene captions, titles, names and, of course, the all-important funerary inscriptions for Ptahhotep himself.

Prior to 2008, the chapel of Ptahhotep had never been photographed and analysed systematically and in detail, despite the fact that its lower scenes are frequently photographed and published in general books about Ancient Egypt. This oversight explains why the chapel of Ptahhotep II became a worthwhile subject for Volume II of the Expedition's 'Egypt in Miniature' series.

Series: Egypt in Miniature

Title: The Chapel of Ptahhotep: Scene Details. Egypt in Miniature, Volume II (Oxford, 2008)

ISBN: 978-0-9540835-2-6

Contents: 392pp. incl. prelims, analyses, 381 b/w plates, 7 tomb plans, 16 context line-drawings

Book size/type: 29.7 x 22.5 cm. Hardback

Price: (Sold Out)



(Volume III, Plates)


By Yvonne Harpur & Paolo Scremin

The two Memphite officials, Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep (each of whom is referred to as ‘Priest of Ra in the Sun-temple of Neuserre’ and ‘Overseer of the Manicurists of the Palace’) spent the greater part of their adult lives in the service of King Neuserre (mid-Fifth Dynasty), and it is generally believed that they died during the reign of Neuserre’s successor, King Menkauhor. Towards the end of their careers, Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep were permitted to oversee the construction and decoration of their jointly owned tomb in an area south-east of the Step Pyramid of Zoser, in the Saqqara Necropolis.Very likely the tomb was visible for several decades after the death of its two owners, but ultimately it was buried beneath the massive foundations of the pyramid causeway of King Unis, the last ruler of the Fifth Dynasty, and inevitably the memory of the tomb and its occupants soon faded away. This might have been the end for Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep. Miraculously, however, their tomb was rescued from oblivion in the 1960s by a German-Egyptian expedition led by Prof. Dr H. Altenmüller and Dr Ahmed M. Moussa, who published the results of their discovery in a justly acclaimed volume entitled Das Grab des Nianchchnum und Chnumhotep. Not surprisingly, this book is now out of print.

Compared with other tombs of the Old Kingdom period, the stone-built/rock-cut tomb of Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep is in many ways ‘atypical’ in terms of its architecture, decoration, inscriptions and ownership. Unfortunately its painted reliefs have deteriorated very rapidly in recent years, and this, more than any other consideration, is why the monument was selected by the Expedition for early publication in two volumes in the ‘Egypt in Miniature’ series. The plates are available now (Volume III), and the commentary (Volume IV) will be available in due course.

Series: Egypt in Miniature

Title: The Chapel of Niankhkhnum & Khnumhotep: Scene Details. Egypt in Miniature, Volume III, Plates (Oxford, 2010)

ISBN: 978-0-9540835-3-3

Contents: 656pp. incl. prelims, analyses, 689 b/w plates, 25 tomb plans, 24 context line-drawings

Book size/type: 29.7 x 22.5 cm. Hardback

Price: £75.00 incl. World-wide delivery

(Except Canada and Switzerland where additional charges may apply. Please contact paolo@oxfordexpeditiontoegypt.com for more details before ordering)


Egyptian Tombs of the

Old Kingdom Series




By Yvonne Harpur

Between December 1871 and January 1872, archaeologists in Egypt discovered two imposing tombs in the ancient necropolis of Maidum, 100 km south of Cairo. These were the burials of the Chief Justice and Vizier, Nefermaat and his wife, Atet, and the Commander of the Army Rahotep and his wife, Nefert, who lived their privileged lives at the dawn of the Old Kingdom, almost 4,500 years before our own century.

At the time of this discovery the importance of the chapels in both monuments was gravely under-estimated. Over the next forty years their decoration was plundered relentlessly, and to such an extent that over 75% of the paintings and reliefs have never been recovered. The remaining pieces, mostly in poor condition, were dispersed in 1910 to numerous museums, worldwide. In retrospect, it is now realized that the tombs of Nefermaat, Rahotep and their wives contained the earliest-known fully decorated chapels of Ancient Egypt, and that many of the scene-types, figure-types, objects, titles, names and hieroglyphs in the decoration are the earliest-recorded examples of their kind.

This is the fundamental reason why OEE undertook intensive research of the ancient and recent history of the tombs of Nefermaat and Rahotep. In doing so, we have also attempted to highlight the significance of the tomb owners and their monuments, and to provide a far richer context for their renowned statuary, tempera paintings and reliefs.


For those who admire, for example, the lifelike statues of Rahotep and Nefert and the delicate painting of the 'Maidum Geese' in the Cairo Museum, or who are fascinated by the 'liquid-mud' mastaba and paste-filled reliefs of Nefermaat and Atet, this book is a valuable resource, enhanced throughout by new photographs, archive material, extensive bibliographies, and many fresh ideas.

Series: Egyptian Tombs of the Old Kingdom: Volume One

Title: The Tombs of Nefermaat and Rahotep at Maidum: Discovery, Destruction and Reconstruction

ISBN: 978-0-9540835-0-2

Contents: 448 pp, incl. 6 appendices, 200 text-figures, and 80 black and white plates

Book size/type: 28 x 21.5 cm. Hardback

Price: (Sold Out)


OEE Database Book Series

 *** A resource to aid academic and personal research, and archaeological investigations  ***

The purpose of this series is to replace and greatly expand the information currently available in the Oxford Expedition to Egypt Scene-details Database (Linacre College, Oxford University). This database has been freely available on-line since 2006, but it has not been updated due to ongoing technical and financial constraints. For practical and academic reasons, a series of ‘database-related’ books is a more viable alternative for OEE to undertake at the present time. NOTE: Although the word 'Database' refers to data stored on computer we have deliberately retained this word in the title of our books, due to the strong connection between the original electronic resource and our significantly developed hard-copy series.


Each book in the series will include the following expansion of the on-line resource:


   1. The relevant data currently available on-line, re-arranged to suit the medium of a hard-copy book.


   2. Updates of all relevant data, from 2007 to the present day.


   3. Refinements of scene details where refinements can be added (this being an enlargement of the lower levels of the database).


   4. ‘Royal’ scenes, scene details and refinements of details.


   5. Inclusion of information before and beyond the Old Kingdom Period: Dynasties I to III, and the First Intermediate Period.


   6. Additional information from unpublished monuments, and from loose blocks still in Egypt, or in private collections, etc.


   7. Endnotes, providing extra facts and insights concerning specific scenes and scene details.


   8. An Appendix listing multiple alternative dates for each tomb and block referred to in the book.

The Themes and Scene-types cited in the on-line database will be retained in the book-series – though naturally the organization of the data will be different. Themes 5-10 is the first book in the series – not Theme 1, which would seem most logical. This is because the information in Themes 5-10 has provided the author with better chances to experiment with the data, in order to re-arrange it in ways most likely to suit the widest possible range of academic researchers (see Forthcoming Books).


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