Maya & Merit
Maya was a high ranking official, with titles such as, “Overseer of the Treasury“, who lived towards the end of the 18th Dynasty.
With the collapse of the Amarna Period (Akhenaten and Nefertiti’s Aten experiment purposely dissolved), Maya was an important figure who held special status during the reigns of Tutankhamun (it is said Maya directed the construction of the Boy King‘s tomb) and the two following kings after his death, Ay & Horemheb. Some propose Maya was around as far back as Tutankhamun’s grandfather Amenhotep III’s reign (a Royal Scribe named Maya was written about in Year 34 of Amenhotep’s reign at Malkata).
It is thought that Maya helped maintain the burials of past royalty by restoring the grave sites. Within the tomb of Thutmose IV, writing says that the king’s tomb had been restored, and a man called Maya was responsible for the restoration. The fact that Ancient Egyptians themselves did the same preservation and restoration work that many Egyptologists today still do, 3000+ years later, is a rather touching sentiment to think about. The idea that humanity still wants to hold onto the decaying remnants of those who once were is very symbolic of the study of history, and also the act of preservation holds true to the core of Egyptian spiritual tradition.
Maya was buried in Saqqara, and his tomb was discovered by an archaeologist named Karl Richard Lepsius in 1843. However, the tomb was lost due to the endless sandstorms and the lack of technology to remove such. Over a century later, Maya’s tomb was rediscovered again in 1986 by the Egyptian Exploration Society, which took over a decade of searching for the tomb since lost.
We were in total darkness for about 15 minutes…Suddenly we glimpsed wonderful reliefs and were extremely startled to find ourselves in the antechamber leading to a burial chamber. My colleague looked across at an inscribed wall and said, ‘My God, it’s Maya.
Professor Geoffrey T. Martin
The double-seated statue of Maya and Merit dates from approximately 1320 B.C, and was found within Maya’s tomb in Saqqara and depicts the pair seated serenely together in death. The Rijksmuseum van Oudheden (National archaeological museum of the Netherlands), where the statue is currently housed, therefore refers to this piece as a Ka statue of the couple.
A Ka was a form of the Egyptian spirit that represented a double of the deceased.