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was the wet-nurse of the Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...
ian king Tutankhamun
Tutankhamun , Egyptian , ; approx. 1341 BC – 1323 BC) was an Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th dynasty , during the period of Egyptian history known as the New Kingdom...
. She is known from her rock-cut tomb found at Saqqara
Saqqara is a vast, ancient burial ground in Egypt, serving as the necropolis for the Ancient Egyptian capital, Memphis. Saqqara features numerous pyramids, including the world famous Step pyramid of Djoser, sometimes referred to as the Step Tomb due to its rectangular base, as well as a number of...
. Her tomb was discovered in 1996 by the French Egyptologist Alain Zivie. Maia bears the titles wet nurse of the king
, educator of the god's body
and great one of the harim
. Nothing is known about Maia's parents and nothing else is known about Maia other than the information in the tomb. In the tomb Tutankhamun is shown sitting on Maia's lap and the king is mentioned several times in the tomb's inscriptions.
The tomb consists of the cult chambers with three decorated rooms and the underground, mostly undecorated, burial chambers. The first room of the cult chapel of her tomb is dedicated to the life of Maia. This includes a scene showing Tutankamun sitting on the lap of Maia and there is a badly damaged scene showing Maia in front of the king. The second room is dedicated to the burial rites associated with Maia. Maia is shown in front of offering bearers. She is depicted as a mummy in relation to the opening of the mouth ritual and she is standing before the underworld god Osiris
Osiris is an Egyptian god, usually identified as the god of the afterlife, the underworld and the dead. He is classically depicted as a green-skinned man with a pharaoh's beard, partially mummy-wrapped at the legs, wearing a distinctive crown with two large ostrich feathers at either side, and...
. The third room is the biggest and has four pillars. The pillars are decorated with the image of Maia. The back of the room shows a stela carved into the rock with Maia in front of Osiris. In this room there is also a staircase leading down to the burial chambers. Most other walls of this room are undecorated.
The tomb was in later times heavily reused.