The Serapeum of Saqqara is an ancient Egyptian tomb complex located in Saqqara, Egypt. It was built during the Ptolemaic period, around 250 BCE. The complex consists of a series of underground tunnels and chambers, which were used to store mummies of sacred bulls, considered to be manifestations of the god Apis.
The Serapeum was abandoned at the beginning of the Roman Period, shortly after 30 BC. Strabo (64 BC–30 AD) noted that some of the Sphinxes of the dromos had been covered in sand by the wind. Apis continued to be buried elsewhere in the Saqqara-Abusir region until the 3rd century AD. Arnobius, around 300 AD, stated that the Egyptians penalized anyone who revealed the places in which Apis lay hidden.
The looting of the Serapeum of Saqqara started at a time when hieroglyphs could still be read, as the names of the bulls were scratched out on many of the stelae. All tombs, except two, were plundered and desecrated. The bull mummies were torn to pieces, and stones were piled on the sarcophagi as a sign of contempt.
The Serapeum of Saqqara is notable for its architectural design and the large number of mummies it contains. The tunnels and chambers have hieroglyphics and reliefs, which provide information about the complex and its use. The Serapeum of Saqqara is considered one of the most important archaeological sites in Egypt and is a popular tourist destination.
Visitors can explore the tunnels and chambers. Admire the hieroglyphics and reliefs, and learn about the history and culture of ancient Egypt. The Serapeum of Saqqara is also significant for its role in the study of ancient Egyptian religion and burial practices. The mummies stored in the complex provide valuable information about the beliefs and practices of ancient Egyptians, as well as insights into the history and culture of the period.