Umm El Qa’ab is the necropolis at Abydos housing the tombs of the earliest dynastic rulers (1st and 2nd Dynasty). The area also has predynastic grave sites, indicating that its significance predated Narmer, the first acknowledged pharaoh. Whilst the attribution of Narmer’s tomb is not definitive, there appears to be an unbroken sequence of burials for all the rulers of the 1st Dynasty. However, the early members of the 2nd Dynasty elected instead to be buried at nearby Saqqara – for reasons unknown. The royal tombs share a similar basic design – a central chamber surrounded by smaller adjoining chambers. In the earliest tombs the main and subsidiary chambers are interconnected, in the latter instances not. As the indications are that the main and subsidiary burials occurred simultaneously it can be inferred that close retainers were interred with their ruler.
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