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T h e C o m p l e t e

P y r a m id s
S o l v i n g \ti e A n c i e n t M y s t e r i e s

Thames &Hudson

m r " p y ra m id ’

‘A n y gods who shall cause this pyram id and
this construction o f the K ing to be good and
sturdy, it is they who will be vital, it is they who
will be respected, it is they who will be
impressive, it is they who will be in control.. .it
is they who will take possession o f the crown.’
Pyramid Texts 1650

The Complete


556 illustrations, 83 in color

To Bruce Ludwig, fo r his steadfast support
Half-title: Old Kingdom hieroglyph fo r ‘p yram id’fro m the Tomb o f Ptahholep I at Pyramids, Land and People 6
Saqqara. Title-pages: The pyramids o f Menkaure, Khafre and K hufu at Giza.
Contents page: The pyramids o f Khafre and K hufu at Giza.
Chronology 8
Any copy of this book issued by the publisher as a paperback is sold subject to the
condition that it shall not by way of trade or otherwise be lent, resold, hired out or Map 10
otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or
cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition
including these words being imposed on a subsequent purchaser. Pyramids in the Landscape 12
€> 1997 Tham es & Hudson Ltd, London The Giant Pyramids:
First published in the United States of America in 1997 by Their Rise and F all 14
Thames & Hudson Inc., 500 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10110
The Standard Pyramid Complex 18
Reprinted 2001

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 97-60232
ISBN 0-500-0508-4-8
All Rights Reserved. No p art of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted
in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy,
recording or any other information storage and retrieval system, without prior
permission in w riting from the publisher.

Printed and bound in Slovenia by Mladinska Knjiga The Ka, the Ba and the Body Embalmed 20

Burial Rituals and the Pyramid Complex 25

This World and the Netherworld 28

The Pyramid Texts 31

The Pyramid as Icon 34

Early Legends 38

Mythic History o f the Copts and Arabs 40

The First European Discovery 42

Napoleon’s Wise Men 46

B ekoni and Caviglia 48

Digging by Dynamite 50

Lepsius and M ariette 54

Petrie at the Pyramids 56

The Great Expeditions 59 Neiv Kingdom Pyramids 188

Recent Discoveries 66 Ahm ose at Abydos 190

P rivate’ Pyramids 192
Pyramids o f Late Antiquity 194
Origins o f the Pyramid - THE LIVING PYRAMID
Hierakonpolis 72
Supply and Transport 202
Royal Tombs at Abydos 75
Quarries 206
Archaic Mastabas at Saqqara 78
The NOVA Pyramid-Building Experiment 208
Saqqara: A n Overview 82
Tools, Techniques and Operations 210
Djoser’s Step Pyramid Complex 84
Survey and Alignm ent 212
The Short Life o f Step Pyramids 94
Ramps 215
The First True Pyramids:
M eidum and Dahshur 97 Rise and Run 218

Giza: A n Overview 106 Trouble at the Top 222

The Great Pyramid o f K hufu 108 The Workforce 224

Djedefre at Abu Roash 120 Building a Middle Kingdom Pyramid 226

Return to Giza: Pyramid as Landlord 228
K hafre’s Pyramid and the Great Sphinx 122
Pyramid Towns 230
M enkaure’s Pyramid 134
Those Who Serve:
The Passing o f a Dynasty 138 Priests and Watchers 233

The Pyramid o f Userkaf 140 Loaves and Fishes 236

The Pyramids o f Abusir 142 The Royal Workshops 238

The E nd o f the 5th Dynasty 153
Pyramids o f the 6th Dynasty 156
The Legacy o f the Pyramids 240
Pyramids o f the
First Intermediate Period 164
Visiting the Py ramids 244
Mentuhotep at Deir el-Bahri 166
Further Reading 246
The Pyramids at Lisht 168
Illustration Credits 252
The Second Phase o f
Middle Kingdom Pyramids 174 Sources o f Quotations 252

Mudbrick Pyramids 175 Index 253

Late Middle Kingdom Pyramids 184 Acknowledgments 256

of brilliance of the Giza pyramids has been dimmed by casings. or dark bricks of energizing their sacred precincts with heal and mud and straw. O ther ments. the University of W ashington. mids for radiocarbon dating. Even the G reat Pyram id of Khufu. for exam ple at the top of Khafre’s pyram id at Giza. even decades. when the casing w as removed. Land and People of the ages has coated it with a tan patina. that it took to build them. T h is powerful special effect w as extinguished when the outer casing of m ost pyram ids was robbed long ago. the plete with their freshly sm oothed white limestone In 19841 directed a project w ith Robert Wenke. lived on the gradually rising pyram ids during the and catching the last o f the five centuries ago. their brilliance m ust have been blinding. when the pyram ids were com­ years. its rays caught the pyramids. W here it remains. It w as an am azing . to collect sam ples of the removal o f their casing Only in this light can we appreciate the intensity organic material em bedded in the fabric of pyra­ and a patina o f age with which the pyram ids symbolized the sun god. has a core formed of cruder blocks. as the sun rose clay. although their builders may have tried not pyram ids have cores of sm aller stones set in desert to em phasize th a t fact. composed of substantially rougher m asonry than the outer casing. In places on their exposed cores we light well before the m orning m ists had lifted from can find evidence left by w orkers who practically First to be lit in the morning the cool. the finest of all. A t dawn. Al high noon forty. the w eathering Pyramids. or a debris fill th a t slum ped into low m ounds over the eastern cliffs. A nd so w hat we mostly see today are the stripped core bod­ ies of the pyram ids. set w ith gypsum T he E gyptian pyram ids are very hum an m onu­ mortar. sleeping valley floor. sunlight 111 the afternoon. and som etim es a fill of broken stone.

officials and sacred animals. phantine) at the 1st cataract. which channelled the flow of the Fayum entrance northw ards to the apex of the Produce from the lands and ~.rds of pottery. E gypt’s first ‘capi. In the Old . compared with relief in the pyramid temple ' K-mphis. and from Meidum at ■>f the Nile. 't the ‘footprints of the gods’.as opposed to straig h t across. the chief royal residence in the valley below the . From here to the entrance v flecks of charcoal left in the gypsum to the Fayum w as a long.000 years before the founding E gypt at the time the Giza pyram ids were built is an offering bearer from a t. This is a drawing of .T ong two cosmic axes. flecks of copper the high w estern desert along the northern capital m . o f Senwosret I at Lisht. . rinrs of the people’: straw and reed. . -. Delta. clusters of pyramids.■iximately 4.6 million. West w as the traditional direction of the dead and ■'■of rope and stone tools. : . In between w as Middle Egypt. estim ated to have been 1. services and the adm inistration of the land. began as a fortified settlem ent close 58 million in AD 1995. courtiers. a geographic people o f Egypt was delivered in the Delta. but rather the be the ‘capital zone and also the pyram id zone. : climbing over the Great Pyram id looking to the apex of the Delta. zone became the burial ground for royalty. travel w as easiest up and down buffer zone w ith a lower population density. It is to the pyramids from estates in Middle Egypt and the r ' .vere immediately aw are of the cardinal Karl Butzer has estim ated th at the two areas of n< The sun rose and set over the beige greatest population density in dynastic times were ind bronze cliffs fram ing them on east and between Luxor (ancient Thebes) and Aswan (Ele­ The north-south axis was defined by the lin. w orth bearing in mind that the total population of Delta.modern capital of Cairo. geography of the pyramids Kingdom the seat of adm inistration may have been cir lives were governed by rhythm ic move. the ancient Egyp. . wood. narrow section of the Nile Such close encounters w ith pyram ids Valley which throughout E gyptian history would .

Ninetjer. 1745 14th dynasty contemporary with 13th or 15th . Pepi II 2246-2152 Semerkhet. Den. Wadi. Late P redyn astic c. Details o f 4th dynasty 2 5 7 5 -2 4 6 5 11th dynasty 2 0 4 0 -1 9 9 1 those pharaohs who built Sneferu 2575-2551 Mentuhotep I 2061-2010 pyramids or are featured in Khufu (Cheops) 2551-2528 Mentuhotep II 2010-1998 the text are given in full. Qa’a 7th/8th dynasties 2 1 5 0 -2 1 3 4 Builders including Ibi dates uncertain 2n d dynasty 2 7 7 0 -2 6 4 9 Hetepsekhemwy. where blown. 3 0 0 0 BC 6th dynasty Chronology Teti 2 3 2 3 -2 1 5 0 2323-2291 of the Early D ynastic Period Pepi I Merenre 2289-2255 2255-2246 1st dynasty 2 9 2 0 -2 7 7 0 Pyramid Menes (Hor-Aha). The dates used Sekhemkhet 2611-2603 Intel’ II 2118-2069 here an: based on the. Peribsen. Adjib. 1750 Khendjer c. Djer. Djedefre 2528-2520 Mentuhotep 111 1998-1991 Khafre (Chephren) 2520-2494 12th dynasty 1 9 9 1 -1 7 8 3 Menkaure (Mycerinus) 2490-2472 Amenemhet I 1991-1962 Shepseskaf 2472-2467 Senwosret I (Sesostris I) 1971-1926 5th dynasty 2 4 6 5 -2 3 2 3 Amenemhet II 1929-1892 Userkaf 2465-2458 Senwosret II (Sesostris 11) 1897-1878 Sahure 2458-2446 Senwosret III (Sesostris III) 1878-1841? Neferirkare 2446-2426 Amenemhet III 1844-1797 Shepseskare 2426-2419 Amenemhet IV 1799-1787 Raneferef 2419-2416 Sobek neferu 1787 1783 Niuserre 2416-2388 13th dynasty 1 7 8 3 -1 6 4 0 Djedkare-Isesi 2388-2356 including Unas 2356-2323 Ameny-Qemau c. Raneb. Egyptian chronology and F irst Interm ediate Period Khasekhem(wy) i nn v nf dynasties and pharaohs arc still the 9th/10th dynasties 2 1 3 4 -2 0 4 0 3 rd dynasty 2 6 4 9 -2 5 7 5 subject o f scholarly debate. Khaba 2603-2599 Intef III 2069-2061 chronology developed by Professor John Raines and Huni 2599-2575 Mentuhotep 2061-2010 Dr Jaromir Malek and set out in their Atlas of Old Kingdom M iddle Kingdom Ancient Egypt. Nebka 2649-2630 11 th dynasty (Theban) 2 1 3 4 -2 0 4 0 with dinereal systems Djoser (Netjerykhet) 2630-2611 Intef I 2134-2118 proposed.

colonizer of the E gyptian provinces. the god passed to the next reigning king. dyn asty 7 1 2 -6 5 7 Shabako 712-698 tions’. upkeep and Taharqa 690-664 service of a tomb. baker and brewer for hundreds of consumers. merged with the sun god in the central icon of the pyram id.~t : dynasty 7 7 0 -7 1 2 Nubian and Theban Area) father of Horus. Pyramids. em bodiment of light and shadow. So the p y ra­ Pyramid at Saqqara and was . reliquary of a king. merged in identity with the Horus falcon. north o f Giza. T he livestock and produce from these r. herdsmen and craftsm en of ro itic kin g d o m 300 bc. [-. ranches and whole new tow ns in the pharaoh Djedefre (top).a d 395 employer of farmers. the most magnificent pyramid. temple and ritual centre at the core of the E gyptian state. T he pyram id complex was. 25th d yn a sties 1 0 7 0 -7 1 2 Physically entom bed w ithin the pyram id. still inspires the popular im agination to seek their built the world’s first stone origin anyw here other than the people who inhab­ pyramid. Land and People . the Step Pyramid at ited the lower Nile Valley between five and Saqqara. Menkaure (near left) is shown standing next to his queen. T he complete pyram id played many roles: m as­ . uding Roash.R o m a n P erio d 332 bc. a m ajor catalyst for inter­ construct a sun temple in h d yn a sty 3 9 9 -3 8 0 addition to his pyramid. at nal colonization and the development of E gypt as Abusir. the Great Pyramid at Giza. W hen an incarnation of Horus died.a d 350 all kinds. a tem ple complex to the Horus-Osiris divini­ Rye 750-712 ty. who h d yn a sty 664-525 began a pyramid at Abu provinces. they also founded builders: the 4th-dynasty new farm s. Their au ra of otherw orldliness in a life-size painted statue. about 5 an (2 in) high. the pyram id w as also the largest of w hat have been called ‘pious founda­ . encapsulating the m ystery of death and rebirth. and. •e Period A s a temple complex. and the union of heaven and earth. th at is. '* -ding Ahmose (Amosis) 1550-1525 whose totem w as the falcon. 7:h d y n a sty 5 2 5 -4 0 4 mid w as also an economic engine. Khafre (third left) is depicted in this life-size statue. ‘. In the world of the ancient E gyptians the falcon soared above all other 1 Interm ediate Period living creatures. temple or pyram id. / 7th d y n a sties 1 6 4 0 -1 5 3 2 but the tom b of a pharaoh of ancient E gypt w as far more than ju st the grave of a king. in one Kashta 770-750 sense.h d yn a sty 3 8 0 -3 4 3 one of the world’s first true states. and the 672-664 estates flowed into the area of the pyram id com­ XechoI bth-dynasty ruler (Jserkaf Psamtik I 664-610 plex where they would be redistributed to the w ork­ (above). especially also the first pharaoh to . the divine . W hen the Two of the lesser pyramid Tantutamun 664 657 E gyptians built the pyram ids. Shaba tko 698-690 lands and produce. The pyramid as temple nd Interm ediate Period It is true that the pyram ids are pharaonic tombs. fcr the sustenance. enorm ous endow m ents of people. aeco. .' I: dynasty 4 0 4 -3 9 9 during the Old Kingdom. One of the Kingdom hallm arks of the E gyptian state from its very beginning in the 1s t dynasty w as the tradition cen­ ■ -2 0 th d yn a sties 1 5 5 0 -1 0 7 0 tred on the king as an incarnation of the god Horns. Products of the land and people of E g y p t’s old­ est kingdom s. 9 . who built a pyramid (Psammetichus I) force and to the priests and special classes of adjacent to Djoser’s Step people who served the temple complex. but is preserved only in this tiny ivory figurine. in their pristine form the pyram ids (Left) The great pyramid were the closest mankind has ever come in architec­ builders o f the Old Kingdom: ture to creating an illusion of transcending the Djoser (far left). here depicted human condition. the dead king became identified w ith Osiris. Khiifu (second left) oversaw the construction of three thousand years ago. Kluimerernebty.i Persian Period 3 4 3 -3 3 2 sive labour project.

emkhet Unas Shepseskaf El ® Merenre _ South Mazghuna H South Dahshur B Llbi Djoser j 8 b Ameny-Qemau L North Mazghuna B South Dahshur A 0 Amenemhet III B Amenemhet 0 Unfinished Pyramid 0 Pepi 1 ! Djedkare-lsesi Userkaf E -p ® Khendjer 2 FAYUM Lake FAYUM Moeris — ^ Main Memphis ruin field .Barkal J . .. 20 km 0 10 miles ---------N —r ^ .iNuri Napata>« N el-Kurru A Meroe i SAQQARA Gisr el-M udir Sneferu’s North (Red) Pyramid Sneferu’s Bent Pyramid gj Lepsius L 3 Pepi II Sekh. THE PYRAMIDS OF EGYPT 0 300 km I| 200 miles 1 1 n 2 RED SEA %Is> ■Thebes 1Aswan Gebel .■-----------— ____ ^— 0J . : — HAWARA E3 Amenemhet III ILLAHUN 1EI Senwosret II MEIDUM 0 Sneferu LISHT Amenemhet 1. River N'|e _ Senwosret 1E l El ‘---.

-eferef H g «s s :<xv ■» B Sahure 0 1 2 km 1----------------1----------. :.------.i •c s y xiv ! Niuserre 0 1 mile — > .N Nefersrkare .. To Abu Roash 8km (5 miles) ► GIZA 53 Menkaure [X ] Khafre 1 3 Khufu ZAWIYET EL-ARYAN ^ Unfinished Pyramid a Layer Pyramid ABU ROASH DjedefreQgi ABU GHUROB a Niuserre’s Sun Temple ABUSIR ■ Userkaf’s Sun Temple .‘ tkawes : mastabas Archaic Memphis Contours in metres □ 16 m □ 19 m □ 20 m □ 21 m □ 25 m □ 35-65 m c 75-115 m .

as well as gold. estate or nome (p. the high­ est land is nearest the river and. 12 . each last mostly used only in later periods. followed by for outer pyramid casings came from eastern shemu. the feeder canal. The basins were one of the largest and m ost basic landscape features of the yearly cycle. quarries across the Nile. For m ost of this long history. T he head of this canal w as a breach in lotus and the papyrus. w ater for six to eight w eeks each year during the pharaoh w as ‘Lord of the Two Lands'. for a 1 2 -month year. followed by successive openings in (‘River Joseph’). To archipelago of land holdings of different quality obtain these materials the Egyptians mounted spread throughout the country may have been an quarry expeditions to the places where these harder insurance ag ain st floods that were too high or too and geologically older igneous rocks lay exposed . rent or m anage an assem blage of fields that pyramid casings. Surrounded by dykes and sam e basic language and culture to flourish for carefully managed. . T his w as tributary of the Nile in Egypt. the last pyramids in the Nile Valley . 65-35 million years ago) the nated and the basin adm inistrators m ust have sea covered much of Egypt. perhaps contrary Pyramids in the Landscape to w hat we m ight expect. personifying a village. the Nile created a convex floodplain. If the Delta is the basins were named with the hieroglyph of the the lotus blossom. In between were natural basins. Over millions of years and sowing therefore needed to be closely co-ordi­ (primarily the Eocene. and often the primary material for may not have been contiguous and were not neces­ sarcophagi and burial chambers.they were ‘arm atures of w ater’. the Nile and its Y-shaped Delta can be D uring the last century such control involved inde­ com pared to three of the p lants th a t flourish in the pendent system s of basins. Upper E gypt is the trunk or the Nile bank. Each pharaoh wore the double crown. T he lake w as fed by the only m ajor deposited their fertile silty slime.and this w as best done soon after the basin The ancient Egyptians favoured various stones for w as drained when the beds were still wet. and formed akhet. ‘coming forth’. and the northernm ost by in block sizes often corresponding to the thickness 30 November. the Red Sea Mountains and Aswan and earliest developers and owners of such land p o rt­ its desert quarries. form ing an immense natural irrigation system that w as wiped out by the E g y p t w as a cradle of civilization that allowed the m odern dam s at Aswan. consisting of (rarely) valley and which the pyram id builders petrified in one or (usually) several basins w atered by a single stone in carvings and columns: the palm tree. T he Old Kingdom pyram ids were am ong the the Fayum. Basalt was societies based on flood recession agriculture. a reflection annual flood. food and labour th a t supported pyram id building? In shape. The three seasons each consist­ in older geological periods. the mid temples is a long train of offering bearers. Field beds appeared a t the bottom of the basins from south to north. which enters the Fayum by way of each transverse dyke back to the head basin. ‘inundation’. T he southernm ost Upper E gyptian basins were Limestone was quarried for the cores of pyramids usually dry by 5 October. low. ter­ raced dow nstream from south to north. ‘harvest’. Nomes and basins T hrough processes of erosion and deposition. Finer limestone the season of peret. depositing sediments rapidly surveyed and identified field boundaries. They also contained the copper folios. beginning in late summer. from Elephantine of the natural division of the country into two to ju st north of the Fayum there were 136 principal inhabitable parts: the Nile Valley and the broad basins. T h a t is. an long preferred for the pavements of temples. It w as usual for a temple or large household to Granite was important as the second stone for own. Each is a large fertile basin. com­ How did the ancient E gyptians organize this bining the Red Crown of Lower (northern) E gypt landscape and its peasant farm ers to provide the and the W hite Crown of U pper (southern) Egypt. the lowest land is closer to the desert. In the last century. Diorite and grey.the ancient H aw ara Channel. and the Delta is the palm frond. Farther south. the great cell-like basins held nearly 3. the Fayum is its bud. the lotus canals th at seasonally channelled flood w aters to flower or the head of the papyrus. T he Fayum hum an arm . Sowing and grow ing took place in of successive natural layers or beds. The E gyptians planted by broadcast sowing . the stem. Delta. Beginning in the 18th dynasty. at various times filled by a basin system also had a tail-end escape to allow the lake whose rem ains today are the brackish w aters w aters to flow back into the Nile after they had of Lake Qarun. the Bahr Youssef breached first. In ancient E gypt a s other wacke were highly prized for statues.000 years. silver and iron. sandstone was used for ed of four Napata and Meroe. One of the m ost frequent scenes in the pyra­ needed for tools. and. 228). that became the limestone of Egypt’s tableland. Draining their pyramids and carvings. sarily near the house.sim ply scattering the seed by Stone for Pyramids hand .

were estab. w as There is a high place on the M okkatam Hills -• . origi. that every standard pyram id complex required. the i proto-kingdoms that am algam ated in the late pyram ids of Giza. the Nile no longer floods the : in these basins. are vestiges of ancient channels. there is still the along Nile levees. ‘. beginning with Lower Egyptian B ahr el-Libeini.Y.i i have been easier across the sm aller basin tudinous w orkshops . nastic to become the E gyptian ‘state’. and low : h on the flood basins and the geography of sense of the pyramid held as one v ast M emphite basin land towards the desert. D ahshur 13 . S aqqara and Dahshur. Saqqara. southeast of Cairo where one can look across the is tem pting to think th at the nomes. gives a haunting impression m et and Nome 22 ju st north of the Fayum basins th a t would then have served as the harbours of pyramid ecology. eastwards through time. longer connect with living E gypt and so we have escarpment today. A convex ilasins and pyramids flood.he norrhern pyram id zone. particularly the -_-rn r. Yet there is no evidence th a t Oid Kingdom E gyptians cut perennially flood­ ’s transversely across the flood plain. The nome centres and royal com munities - A simplified cross-section of I red for the sequential filling and discharge w ith their bakeries.have been replaced by the and Asyut.c 1 of Memphis. and the valley and see. silhouetted in the desert haze.:mid sites such as Abusir. the •wed closer to the west bank during the early of E gypt’s history. and taking in the Delta. These nomes.ce. v Memphite region is now clearing up som e old necropolis. A t intervals along the : tbf desert were lakes that held w ater after • d receded.ished only in late antiquity.. -c by she 5th dynasty.omes. It is Bent Pyramid rises to the that developed into a ‘capital’. where the river ms such as those of the Qena Bend.r. brew eries and m ulti­ the Nile Valley between Sohag . granaries. the ancient Egyp. from spraw l of Africa’s largest city. Where perennial lakes did not Lake Dahshur. T h e complete set of 20 escarpm ent at Saqqara and Abusir.nd particularly in the area of Memphis. '. w aters w as not sufficient to float huge lime- basing blocks or g ranite beam s to the fool of . . But from the M okkatam Hills. the pyram ids standing as giant tom b­ The Nile has migrated >nceptions. T he pyram ids no runs next to the east v rulers of E gypt emerged more than once. Certainly the com munication basins. from D ahshur to :. Sneferu's . In . the pyram id builders could have created surviving of the pyramid with Nome 1 at Elephantine on the 1st them by w idening and deepening the natural flood lakes on the desert edge. These probably existed in front r. and possibly Giza.r adm inistrative purposes. based on lost sight of their original role in ancient E gyptian Karl Butzer’s work. . plain leaves high land lives. ramid plateau. possible that older canals that still survive near the west. Abusir. each with a main settle. the last > divided U pper E g y p t into districts called occur. the valley below. The average depth of the Nile stones of distant god-kings.

2900 b c ). A little later. are the architectural a slope o f 52° antecedents of the pyram ids. who the predynastic period. sunk in the desert and divided. northw est of Giza. Excluding the into several cham bers.3 ha (13.1 acres) and rising 146 m (479 ft) at a slope of around 520 Sneferu (2575-2551 bc) also desert near the high cliffs at Abydos.250ft) long. the 4th to 6 th dynasties. the graves 72-km (45-mile) span of desert. the 21 other major Old K ing­ w ith greater complexity. boxes. and the pyramid at Meidum. ple m ounds of sand and gravel. Situated far out in the dom pyram ids stand like sentinels in a 2 0 -km (12 - . covering 5. D uring these centuries the built the first pyramid and mortuary complex in stone. The Giant Pyramids: Their Rise and Fall The march to near pyramid perfection began with the Beni Pyramid o f Sneferu at Dahshur (below). each would built the North (or Red) have been marked by a pair of large stelae and cov­ Pyramid at Dahshur (above). but Meidum as outliers. T he tom bs o f the pharaohs pyram ids o f Djedefre a t Abu Roash and Sneferu ar of the first two dynasties followed this pattern. which were covered by sim ­ as the Old Kingdom. g ran d est pyram ids back to the modest pit graves of pyram id age. also known dynasty reign of Djoser. While some are cer­ tainly m onum ental in size. 1. These rovai pit and m ound a true pyramid with a slope of graves. between Abu enclosure wall more than of the rulers and elite consisted of neat mudbrick Roash. near the entrance to the Fayum.600 m (5. on the E gyptians built pyram ids for their god-kings in a which he surrounded by an threshold of the 1st' dynasty (c. (Above) Khufu's Great Pyramid at Giza was the largest ever built. ered by a mound. which he gave the of open rectangular courts defined by m udbrick form o f a true pyramid with w alls down in the valley. like a house. to Meidum in the south. together with im itation palaces in the form 43°. (Below) The giant pyramid Egyptologists trace the ultim ate origins of even the T he Step Pyram id of Djoser heralded the classic appeared suddenly in the 3rd. they do not approach the scale th at emerges suddenly in the 3rd-ciynasty reign o f Dioser (2630-2611 b c ).

■b.bhed in the pyram ids of the late 5th . the scribes. 0) 5 $ — V IO <8/) cc O— © « _r C ■* <1)^_ CL SJ o «0 O5 3 l u l u j ^ £ <u <cD 1 g First <D £ §OT ® ot 2 § § s 3 IS \ </> O. Above the valley harbour lake. It w as resum ed in the Middle Kings."'. Pyramid o f Sneferu. Saqqara and Dahshur. ruly gigantic stone pyram ids were built ■)urse of only three generations: Sneferu. Aryan. v . :md particularly those of the 6 th.:ur. but the m argins had shifted southw ards.. n wn as Memphis. the pyram ids Delta. ft) of stone. dynasty pyram ids. when the first pyram ids were built with towers a m ountain peak that takes the form of a : small and broken stone in casem ate or natural pyram id for the multiple corridors and ■. but the total > less than that of Djoser. seen :d building alm ost ceased during the First New Kingdom pharaohs built their tom bs in a across the Dahshur lake. m (124 million temples increased in size. Nubia (in modern Three generations in the 4th northern Sudan) mirrored m any facets of E gyptian dynasty accomplished the bulk culture. clustering at Giza. the * hate Period when unified rule gave w ay to communal royal burial ground.j walls. the ' accomplished the sam e pyram idal form casing and less w est of the capital the ‘W hite Wall’. his pyram ids alone contain more than n eu. 1 Khafre. ending about AD 350. pyram id as well a s his two stone pyram ids '. craftsm en and officials who --ages followed a circuitous off-axis route to served the king and were employed on the construc­ chamber. E ntrances no longer opened small superstructures above the rock-cut tom bs of ly from the north side of the pyramid. In one ' is inferior construction. . In the course of 1. In spite m ids was still in the north near the apex of the The Middle Kingdom inference in length of reigns. about 180 royal pyram ids were built in Nubia. All the rarnids of E gyptian kings combined queens’ and other satellite pyram ids) ( nly 41 per cent of the total m ass of the ' of Sneferu. ' h and 6 th dynasties each king still built a !. . twice the num ber in Egypt. Ill and the Old : x-ntical in their outer dimensions. More than 800 years after the last royal c7> more standardized smaller pyram id w as completed in Egypt. Sizes were not as standardized as lower slopes. beginning about 720 b c . If Sneferu did indeed build the v.s b c0 <u < Q_ Q. complexity sm anship in com parison with those of the . the Valley of the last remaining pyramid. including building pyram ids as royal of pyramid building Later. tion of the royal tombs. T he geographic range of pyra. and later pyram ids were built with royal burial cham bers cut into the crevasses of its -v k core. and the Kingdom of Meroe. however.000 years. T hroughout ancient times. but on a much sm aller scale and with -• m esand a core of stone rubble fill. artisans. M anmade pyram ids were reduced to :r Old Kingdom. mudbrick pyramid o f be 9 years) and Pepi II (over 90 years) were from D ahshur in the north. Abusir. pyram ids on a pyramids reflect a less sm aller scale began to be built for rulers of the centralized societv. his son Khufu and grandson M enkaure still used multi-tonned stone r the third pyram id of Giza. T rue standardization r. Kingdom stone North at the Fayum entrance to the south.bpaHties. tombs. At the sam e time . at Thebes (modern Luxor). Kingdom of N apata. <L> Intermediate (/) co c•n i— Z> CL £ Period _S" I< Old Kingdom Middle Kingdom -600 2500 2400 2300 2200 2100 2000 1900 1800 BC . to Illahun and H awara Amenemhet. OT "a '~ .

drawn to the same scale. Dahshur a small child when Djoser’s pyramid was new. Lisht Amenemhet II. someone could have been Sneferu. the stepped pyramids o f the 3rd dynasty and the o^===y massive 4th-dynasty pyramids. / c r— a PNebka. North Pyramid. to the much Layer Pyramid. pyramid entrances arc no longer consistently on the north. through . Abu Roash Khafre. comparable to our modern space programme or computer revolution. Saqqara 12 t h dynasty / A A ?A ®A Amenemhet I. '-a. when ‘Egyptian masonry rose to a peak o f excellence'. Illahun Senwosret III. so that the profiles do not show the interiors. Giza Djedefre. Funerary enclosure of Saqqara Khasekhemwy. Dahshur Senwosret II. the building o f the Great Pyramid. Giza 5th dynasty.. in old age. Zawiyet el-Aryan smaller monuments o f Inter Egyptian history 4t h d y n a s t y According to one chronology only 60 years passed between the completion of the Step Pyramid o f Djoser and the beginning of the Great Pyramid o f Khufu. and the passages ami chambers follow circuitous routes. Saqqara Sahure. Saqqara Unas. The giant pyramids represent an accelerated cultural development. Abusir Niuserre. Lisht Senwosret I. I f so. 1°A Zawiyet ei-Aryan Menkaure. Unfinished Pyramid. Abydos History 3r d d y n a s t y Profiles of the major pyramids. Dahshur 16 . 1ST DYNASTY 2 nd dynasty The Shape of Pyramid Stepped mastaba. and lived to see. Giza 5t h d yn asty A jM M IA I M 1M Userkaf. Saqqara Khentkawes.. Giza Shepseskaf. Abusir Neferirkare. from the earliest stepped mound o f the 1st dynasty. Great Pyramid. Abusir Djedkare-Isesi. After the end o f the Khufu.

Dahshur Amenemhet III.Saqqara 13 52.5 6.271 70° The Purified Pyramid •itkawes Giza 4 45. 107.994? Khui Dara FIP 130 .9 51. •.283 51°50'40" V 3 Akhet Khufu ’ >.600 Khaba (?) Zawiyet 3 84 20 (unfinished) 47. 52.5 c..75 c..5 c. 107.Saqqara 6 78.5 107.096 53°10' V Great is Khafre \e b k a Z.2x104.5x45.5 21? 6.000 43°22’ The Shining Pyramid Khufu Giza 4 230.583.Saqqara 8 31.040 54°27’447 43°22 V The Southern Shining Pyramid sneferu Dahshur 4 220 105 1.75 52.78.6x74.68 112.400 N'khemkhet Saqqara 3 120 7 (unfinished) 33.542 50°ir40" < The Rishing of the Ba Spirit vferirkare Abusir 5 105 c. 58 200.5 c.5 c.372 (upper) c.835 52° V 1 Beautiful is Isesi I nas Saqqara 5 57.4 18 148.78.neferef Abusir 5 65 (unfinished) The Pyramid which is Divine of the Ba Spirits :serre Abusir 5 78.Major Pyramid Statistics 'haraoh Location Dyn. Hawara Sobekneferu.35 44.25 225.390 56°18'35" V Perfect are the Places of Unas rc-n Saqqara 6 78.694.75 c.3 49 87.75 c.625 57°15'50" Amenemhet is Beautiful -nemhet III Hawara 12 105 c.093 49°23’55" V 9 Senwosret Beholds the Two Lands .■nemhet IV S ibekneferu S.835 53°7’48" V 2 The Places of Teti Endure o il S. S.5 c. S.316 ny-Qemau .183 51°20'25" 3 Menkaure is Divine " epseskaf S.hure Abusir 5 78. Mazghuna Khendjer. Base (m) Height (m) Volume (cu. Saqqara 17 .040 el'Aryan Sneferu (?) Meidum 4 144 92 638. 52.6 65 235. S.75 47 96. 37.835 53°7'48" V 5 The Perfection of Pepi is Established Y -renre S. in) Slope Satellite Queens’ Ancient Name I )joser Saqqara 3 121x109 60 330.632 51°50’35" V 2? The Places of Niuserre Endure Ikare-Isesi S. 74° L'serkaf Saqqara 5 73.043 52° V Djedefre is a Sehed-Star Khafre Giza 4 215 143.6 185. el-Aryan 4 200 (unfinished) u-nkaure Giza 4 102.5 (unfinished) 30. 72 257.wosret I Lisht 12 105 61.237.250 53°7'48" Pyramid of the Ba of Neferirkare .906 53°7'48" V Pure are the Places of Userkaf " .835 53°748" The Perfection of Merenre Appears oi II S. S. Saqqara S.488 56°18’35" 7 nenemhetHI Dahshur 12 105 75 274.75 52.211.Mazghunal3 52. L-ndjer S.Saqqara 6 c. Saqqara Merenre.8 17.Saqqara 6 £.59 2. 50 Amenemhet is Provided • vosret II Illahun 12 106 48.665 42°35’ V? or 1? Senwosret Appears nvosret III Dahshur 12 105 78 288.835 52°7’48" V 3 Pepi is Established and Living Ibi S. Saqqara 4 99. Saqqara Pepi 11.360 54°27’44" The Places of the Apearances of Amenemhet > r.:nenemhet III. Saqqara 13t h d y n a s ty A \ Amenemhet IV or Unfinished. Saqqara Ibi.:-. S.733 51°50’35" V Sneferu Endures sneferu Dahshur 4 188 105 1.5 2. nemhet I Lisht 12 84 55 129.75 43 47. 52.158 48°45' Amenemhet Lives .■nemhet II Dahshur 12 c.096 55° 8th dynasty A Teti. 107. 107. S. Saqqara Pepi I.33 146.edefre Abu Roash 4 106 67 131.Saqqara 5 78.

in mudbrick. T he pyram id These structures. covered by a that may have been associated w ith the king’s ka or ceiling of sandstone slabs. con­ w as a small satellite pyram id. We then turn to the py ra­ pyram id. contem po­ or mudbrick. For the complex access via a harbour ridor which points the king’s soul to the northern E g y p tian s of the pyram id age. m ortuary temple. an inner sanctuary .the whole route ending in a false The Standard Pyramid door. but there are problem s with this (p. they marked graves of the god-king. We are certain a t least that it functioned symbolically as a kind of eternal . late in their history. with a colonnaded urban expansion. The valley temple. on which w as construct­ ‘sp irit’ (p. concerned with the Society an d ' elaborate portico. some of pits for the burial of boats. or a channel that held w ater after the annual may be presented’. queens’ pyram ids. a m iniature double sisted of pits sunk into the ground. to have a dram atic approach. From inre Hie T he offering place is now a m ortuary (or py ra­ w etter conditions of the "floodplajrv and m odern causeway ran up to the mid) temple on the eastern side. for whom daily rituals were carried out. >vere mostly built Ihe entrance to the entire etry and expanded into a man-m ade mountain. 25). T he grave pit is vey of the rem ains of com plexes along a stretch of hi the standard pyramid now carved out of bedrock at the end of a long cor­ the Nile Valley from Abu Roash to Meidum. pyram ids for queens and several are flanked by Pottery w as left at the base of the mounds. is moved the valley floor m ight have been equally standard. including processions out and The pyram ids covered the tom bs of divine kings around the pyramid. where it could be reached by a provides a place where the offerings to the dead canal. lastly. By the 5th of pyram ids. A s the tom b superstructure. the Nile flood receded. the entrance to the whole complex. in essence. B ut we read of them in ancient mortuary temple and court with black basalt pavem ent. and. defined by w alls of stone cases. nothing more than an up into the very body of the masonry. From the m ortuary temple a causeway. Recently. researchers have recovered . T hey satisfy a princi­ with walls and usually a roof. Tom bs in Lower Nubia (A-group). Beyond were magazines. 22). circum polar stars. and walls with painted relief carving. as m ore complex versions of the same causew ay and valley temple . the symbolic portal of the pyram id complex. either real o r imitation. It w as long thought that the pharaoh’s funeral Complex took place in the m ortuary temple. aristocracy and high officials. pie w as separated from an inner temple by a tran s­ verse nail. satellite the west and south sides. uniquely for Khufu. ran down to the val­ ple that the great Giza excavator George Reisner ley temple. perpetuating his w orship a s a and.on a gigantic scale. A t the sam e time the pyram id pyram id w as the central elem ent in an assembly had to be far enough out in the desert on the plateau that m akes up the ‘standard pyram id complex’. W ithin the inner or outer enclosure rary with the late predynastic in Upper Egypt.are clear from a s u r­ basic scheme . or. other elem ents'on or canal was necessary.SSyvatj JS: palace for the deceased king. and have thereforeTeen lost-due to the complex. mids at Giza. T he stated: ‘Every substructure [grave] implies a su p er­ classic complex required that the pyram id be near stru ctu re which m arks the site of the grave and the valley floor. formed is simply the mound transform ed to sublim e geom­ economy of the living pyram id. granite pillars papyri and tonib-t&xts that relate to the functioning pyramid.pyramid. which had specially constructed offering places on These standard elements . Its base w as enclosed We see the m ost basic elem ents in two extreme by one or two courtyards. Many com plexes include sm aller ed a mound of debris encased in drvstone masonry.

T he sudden explo­ sion of stone building represented by Djoser’s com ­ plex had a profound influence on later pyram id The Two Main Pyramid Complex Types 'uilders. Khufu’s Giza complex (p. based on the mid complex first. Already simple or no east chapel n orth ‘entrance chapel’ rhe 5th dynasty U serkaf returned to elements of . 84). these later arrangem ents pyramid o f Unas. in a Entrance South end of east side Centre east side rime of experim ent and renewal. Djoser type. E ast temple. This type ' superseded by the post.appeared in simple form with the other layout is favoured.the classic Old Kingdom p y ra­ his second pyram id at Hawara. with its east-w est ret III adapted it. but elements \ returned to later. l\ a Tomb’ South tomb. to some of the Parts N-S sequence E-W axial symmetry sic elements of Djoser s complex. far south end of the east side. when the earliest Djoser Type Post-Meidum Type Yidum-type pyram id complexes were already Orientation North-South East-W est fading into ruin. as did his son. pyramids as found at Pepi Ts :md astonishingly amplified and expanded by At the end of 1. North temple idum type. A long mound and resurrection. T hen in the 12th dynasty Senwos- South tomb I'Ka tom b’) J • first pyramid: Djoser’s ■ aI Saqqara. It w as alm ost immediately alw ays include influences from both early types. returned to the basic features of the sim ple m ound­ : im. the non-royal ‘private’ pyram id complexes essentially unchanged throughout the Old King. But the first pyram id of Djoser a t Saqqara ed tombs: the pyram id as the symbol of both grave had a different arrangem ent (p. no satellite Satellite pyramid •At mixed in later monum ents. irth-south rectangular enclosure w as defined by commune with the dead and leave offerings. Dieter A rnold has pyramid •cumented the curious sw itching between the Temple North or south temple. Entrance 19 . and it remained Egypt. the chapel as a place to r. Enclosure wall Niched. and :i niche-decorated wall w ith a single entrance a t the the grave cham ber below the hallowed space.000 years of pyram id history in pyramid. of . A lthough one or the complex. T he standard arrangem ent. In the Middle Kingdom. occasionally So it is proper to speak of two basic types of niched inner wali yramid complex that were sep arate in conception. but with the addition of three queens Meldum pyrafhid (p. only ieal ‘Djoser type' and the ‘M eidum ty p e’. no inner wall Smooth outer wall. Am enem het III for The standard pyramid- ixial alignment. pyram id builders returned. 108). 97).

E Since the king was a god. and allowed that incarnation to pass from father to son. each pyramid was also the focus of a temple complex maintained by a priest­ hood long after the pharaoh had been laid to rest. The ‘opening o f the m o n th ’ ceremony fro m a New K ingdom Book o f the Dead. and the flooding of the Nile. . the turning of the days and seasons. The pyramid was an instru­ ment that enabled this alchemy to take place for the pharaoh. from Osiris to Horus. writ­ ten on the walls of pyramid chambers beginning with Unas in the 5th dynasty. a glorified being of light. Our earliest insight intcfsuch ideas comes from the Pyramid Texts. Encapsulating the dangerous interface between cos­ mic order and the terrible formlessness of time before the beginning. in fact. the ba and the body. effective in the Afterlife. till ach major pyramid was a tomb for a king of Egypt. too. deploy­ ing people and redistributing goods. each pyramid ensured the rule of universal order. who had ruled as the god incarnate. setting the cosmic engine in motion. the pyramid is better understood as the meeting point of life and light with death and darkness. which had become separated at death. The mechanics of the pyramid as cosmic engine depended on the Egyptian concept of a person and the dis­ tinct phases of life and death. These ‘trans­ formations’ continued when the ka. called kheperu. The pyramid complex was an economic engine. interacted in the final transformation . These texts speak to us of what the pyra­ mid meant as an icon and offer glimpses of the burial cere­ monies for the god-king and the rituals that were carried out once his mortal remains had been mummified and entombed. This was possible only because the pyramid was designed to be a cosmic engine as well.becoming an akh.

jg jT T ry T rrm tS ww**v*«-zrrv»v»4**MI .

the viscera still retaining the shape of were placed in four separate jars. express the unique ancient Egyptian idea of death.from the body in order. w as found in the tom b of Djer a t Abydos. Ironically. mixed with the In the process of mummification the Egyptians fragments of alabaster jars that had once removed the viscera . but just. T he final change in (Above right) Early evidence statu s depended on the first duty in the housekeep­ sands.particularly the liver. For them was naturally desiccated by the hot. mummification may have stem m ed from a practice diametrically opposite to preventing the The origins of mummification body’s decay. ‘appearance’. -with linen vation.His two wings having grown as those of a falcon. contained it and the others. They were then about Canopus. Ranefer’s canopic recess still retained his linen-wrapped (Left) Alabaster canopic chest organs. T he first steps tow ards m um m ification - ‘form ’.. feathered as those of a hawk. Mummification development of tomb superstructures. The body perhaps more than other ancient societies. were fitted into the chests. to prevent decay.250-5] W hen we visit the pyram ids we walk on ancient graveyards. lungs. and associated with Osiris. his ba having brought him. fragments o f canopic jars By the time of Meresankh III. (Above) A simple predynastic Death is a ritual process for the living and the grave. The Giza tomb of Hetepheres contained the o f Queen Hetepheres I. with the skeletal p arts small square recesses for the canopic packages in Canopic Vessels the south wall of the burial chamber. arm from the tomb o f King D uring life the body w as called khet or ini . as is Canopic is a word derived from a Greek myth usually thought. 245.the treatm ent of the corpse. Later canopic jars its jar. Petrie found evidence which suggest­ It is often stated that mum mification w as inspired ed to him that a s early as predynastic tim es certain by sim ple predynastic pit b urials in which the body people were prepared for death’s passage by allow­ w as naturally desiccated by contact with the desert ing the body to decompose.' Pyramid Texts. one of the transfor­ m ations in life’s natural cycle. in a natron solution. T he pyram ids and their temples. and divided into four compartments. the body buried in a pit E gyptians marked their passage into the hereafter beneath a mound. An arm w ith b an­ had been during life. The Ka. and one tightly wrapped package o f viscera. acrum or statue in w rappings and resin. dating to the 1st corpse into a new body ‘filled with m agic’. his magic having equipped him. the corpse was khat. dry desert sands. a word whose w rapping the body in linen . sep aratin g the body from the sand. T rans­ wrappings and four bracelets. rate. One of Pepi I’s canopic bundles was found in his pyramid. granddaughter and wife of Khafre. In fact. a sailor who died and was wrapped up and stored in the tomb separately. but the transfiguration of the dages and w earing four bracelets. and the burials of kings. a sim ul­ dynasty. A s time went on graves became more elabo­ o f mummification: a human ing of death . presumed to be (Right) In Pepi I s pyramid. carved of alabaster her secret tomb at Giza. nobles and commoners. the queen’s viscera. death w as nor the end. from oldest known canopic chest. intestines and stomach . the Ba and the Body Embalmed This Unas has come. You shall open your place among the stars in the sky. these m easures promoted decay instead of preser­ Djer at Abydos.coincide w ith the root is also used for ‘to be noble’. it w as sah. . When it was opened it still contained packages. ju s t after w as not so much the preservation of the body as it the rise of the E gyptian state. At subsequently worshipped in Egypt in the form of Meidum. the tomb of Rahotep and Ranefer contained a jar. Khufu’s were found. 22 . formed into a mummy.

on the threshold was characterized by its transferability and com­ of Amenemhet Ill’s pyramid. for instance. we realize that dism em berm ent and decay in death genetic. force. the point w as also to to eat. T his return to commonality . Well em brace. This wonderfully complete. even other gods. could be Dism em berm ent renders som ething dysfunction. yet there is this reason that all potential for decay had to be >easy translation. inanimate objects. By early dynastic times the skeleton drink offerings sim ilar to our salute ‘to your health’. reconstituted by his sister-wife Isis as. ‘enduring’. Dis­ W hile residing discretely in each person the ka Dahshur. T he bas of gods were their m anifestation in ' ::ued life . and therefore with the food offerings in the tomb. ‘sound’. who. of his people . raised arm s. The ba ::nes ritually disassem bled and carefully buried If the ka is the generic life force. 31) spells call for the recom position of the royal At death one’s ka went to rest. a m ysterious alchemy of a per. ufu are particularly large and wonderfully com. Likewise the alm s did. but for 'h a p s the most succinct translation is ‘life force'. gods and king. ‘established’. ka is one of the most im portant dim ensions of corpse w as decaying and putrefying .it was generic and. thresh­ ■mortal rem ains . who transferred his ha to the gods. For everyone.'the ka of the living’. Struc- . this to happen the corpse had to be m ade f ir m ’. hum an rem ains inside ferred vital force between two people. ka is associated with ‘food sustenance’. Ln the tomb precinct. it had been the ka and akh. T he southern ships of son’s individual renown or distinctive m anifes­ . however. T he two A ba of Shu. but vorld and the Netherworld. through the tomb. For this to happen . n a blind passage under the pyram id (p. Cities had bas. deceased ‘thy ba aw akest upon thy corpse’. the 13th-dynasly king Auibre- Hor was found in his tomb at was re-incorporated in a linen-wrapped effigy.hor for a spiritual reassem bly on the other side body. established and maintained. The Coffin Texts tell the .jm m y w as th a t it also allowed liberation and arm ed expedition.his relates to E g y p t’s central myth about Osiris took place while the body w as prepared and tran s­ who w as killed and dism em bered by his brother formed into the mummy. rr . the reactivated so that the spiritual transform ation of archetypal mum my and avenged by his son Horus. god of the air.•es associated with death and burial were some.•. The ba Y fte exam ples (p. ‘stable’. the ba is a per­ -cparate from the body. It is represent­ K em ble the body to gain release in another ed by the hieroglyph of the ibis. T he reassem bled body served as an life this power w as revealed prim arily through the . In E gyptian artistic convention the recomposition of corpses w as practised on the bod­ upraised arm s of the ka hieroglyph represent an ies of the m ost im portan t people in the land. It is w ritten with the sign of stripped from the body. In the Pyram id Texts (p. T he ka w as transferred through the T his observation is all the more intriguing when family lineage . In fact they were bas of the king are the m anifestations of his power ■ :mally dependent. for example. buried the ba and akh are entities in their own right. • highly charged by contact w ith the dead. o r between mum mies are often little more than skeletons. interact. doors and sacred books had bas. within the precinct coveries in elite tom bs a t Meidum. The ka In the Afterlife the ba could not function if the . D uring the tomb. in turn. from the 18th ane of existence. show how dism em berm ent and monality. a liminai zone between this the deceased had to travel to join their ka. so the form er personality and statu s of a person .nV separate parts.not so the dead could haunt the living. But detailed studies indicate that . positive allusions to the transferred theirs to the king. the objective was to remove all body p a rts that ‘For your ka' w as an Egyptian toast with food and life-sized wooden ka -statue of would putrefy. ‘whole’. is wind. T h e king is the life recomposition of the body. With death the body becomes inanim ate and the false door. through countless generations to the creator god Certain funerary texts from all periods contain. the ka and the ba. nature .it w as for . travel and copulate. 23 . Probably ered a part of the total human being along with a-ed for transporting a funerary statue. >f the pyram id age. 126). bent perpendicular at the elbows. im plying a prior state of dism em berm ent.hum an being in E gyptian thought. T he paradox of the bound dynasty it had a hum an head.the impression made on others. rebirth could take place and so that the link to the ■he god incarnate in every king. in our terms.then reassembled. A nother is the canopy has often been translated a s ‘soul’ and consid­ end under Khafre’s satellite pyram id.ere am ong the prim ary fears of the Egyptians. All into its generic folds. For this reason the E gyptians . I to incapacitate the dead. For the E gyptians an em brace tra n s­ into the Middle Kingdom. It is :-.but confined to the other side ing floors. subsum ed back body. jpped up and the pieces packed in a box. Before preparing the mummy. 118).stars.. kau. this life force extended back ■•. T he ba seem s to have been a fully corporeal it one goal of mummification w as to put aw ay mode of existence with the ability. the E gyptians seem to not as the body. were distilled into a being that could travel to the realm s of the Afterlife and then return to the tomb. The ka then needed to be Seth. i :. the ka.:ited the spirits of their departed to be bound to Even inanim ate objects like temple pylons. drink. land of the living. bound up in its w been anxious to dism em ber things th a t m ight the ba that m akes the journey. tation . along with such fears. :t so they could be reborn in the Afterlife.

nam es refer to the rising of the king. As a m em ber of the starry sky. A journey followed to the sky. His inde­ As m iraculous as this new mode of existence pendent m odes of being . ritual re-established social statu s and personality. second only funerary texts. Like the ba. As the kings ascended and re-estab­ akh. For the king. for it could reach across the liminal zoik stripped and dissolved. now realized a s the ba. ed bones. the naked body the realm of earthly life. the akh was thought of as a com­ on the pyram id and its surrounding necropolis. ‘divine ing the final transform ation of the deceased as an and ‘perfect’. that it w as so to becoming a god . Akh is also a word for ‘established’ and ‘endures’. 'useful'. to the stars. Joining the s ta r s the king on the word akh. 24 . ‘flourish’ and are ‘established’. A final transformation o f the or ‘spirit state’. No wonder. leaving ‘a H orus’. while eight pyram ids ‘effective’. from a New Kingdom Book o f the Dead. a new liv­ K hufu’s w as Akhet. Ar death and passage to a higher sta tu s involved a ‘effective. as though the erence to the ba.particularly his ka may have been. the king puts on a ^ -g a rm e n t. ‘pure’. Built The akh was represented as ing king. called akh-akh lished their courts in the Afterlife. of Khufu.resurrection as an akh. Five others affirm that the king is the deceased in the Afterlife. equipped akii comes close to our concep- stage where the distinguishing features of life were of a ghost. It derives from the term for 'radiant series of 5th-dynasty pyram id nam es contain a ref deceased. dead subjects transform ation. glorified form of to his perfection. for in a sense r j contained the life force of all his living subjects. Six of the 26 known pyramid crest transform s the ordinary ibis bird of the ba. the nam e signified not just th- the crested ibis. the pyram id w as the leopard pelt of princely and priestly power. the Ba and the Body Embalmed The ba hovering over a mummy. im portant to take care of his ka. T he reunion of the are nam ed for the king’s ‘places’ or ‘thrones’ which ba with the ka is effected by the burial ritual. In the celestial realms the w hen only the king’s pyram id w as inscribed with deceased hoped to attain higher status. the uraeus and the Eye of Horus. generations of in the Pyram id T exts and the New Kingdom Book E gyptians moved as cohorts across death’s thresh­ of the Dead. This was the becomes an akh. Akh is often translated as ‘sp irit’ horizon but the ‘rad ian t place’ of glorification. As a collection of excarnat. place of ascension and transform ation. while five refer The akh is the fully resurrected. The burial tical responsibilities in the world of the living. the ‘Horizon’. T he success of an ancient E gyptian in the Afterlife being given to the king. the king is free to move on and over the old to live again as a ‘com m unity of kas\ focused earth. Being an akh had its prac­ of a king looked like th at of anyone else. For passing through the depended on the burial rites and later offering ritu doors of heaven. desiccated flesh and hair. w ritten with the crested ibis. of the tomb to have positive or negative effects or. it w as still only part of the final stood a t the head of all his living and. co-existing with the ka and the ba. The akh T he nam es of pyram ids show that they were per­ T he Pyram id T exts speak of the king ascending to ceived as places of ascension and transform ation Nut. then. The Ka. to T his w as particularly true in the Old Kingdom sunlight. Egyptian rites of plete entity. ‘profitable’. T h e Pyram id Texts speak of Pyramid as place of transformation the royal insignia. creat­ ‘rise’. the als in the tomb. A s in rituals around the world. the sky goddess. light’. behind him.

the others. perhaps indicated by scenes of the boat towed by rows of men on the banks. Docking at . 'Horus takes him to his fingers.coffin is carried on a bier. T he Old Kingdom proces. Burial Rituals He conducts the ka of this Unas and of his body to the Great House. For those j. He will wipe off the flesh of the Im of his body. As we have Kingdom Book o f the Dead i :*h Osiris. In typical E gyptian fashion there probably reached it by old river channels. T his sacred who had lived in towns at the base of the pyram id ■-atre w as probably seldom complete in all its acts plateau. ‘one who carries the . So far. Later there The Ibu and the Wabet Mourners. In characters who will rem ain the principals tomb scenes of the funeral. people fall to the ground. burial and offering. Already we see a cast mid Texts as p a rt of the w atery celestial world. They are mentioned in the elaborate treatm ent. Those vremonv has been divided into 4. identified w ith Isis and Nephthys. Wet. perhaps. mummy. the corpse had probably not received any along on a long-poled bier in urners of Osiris. carry the king’s body on this voyage. there could have been a voyage on a token xcept. possessed knowledge which w as key to the flcials. Also present w as the ‘Em balm er’. But before it could enter the tins scene from the New 1 ramid Texts. means ‘the W rapper’. canals or \ re rituals embedded w ithin rituals. On the basis of such scenes the funer. precede the coffin hauled * re two shriek and wail. 5 or as many who had lived some distance from the necropolis ' 16 episodes. He will release the ka of this Unas in the Morning Basin. the ‘cleansing’ at some point involved the of Am. charge of those who changed the cadaver into the i complex. for embalm. Planked by the two Kites and accompanied by r r . who w as in ierstanding the function of p arts of the pyra. Much of our inform ation for Egypt. a harbour-lake for the pyram id complex. since the king’s funeral is never show n in transform ation of the deceased into an akh. ir. the ‘Tent of Purification. ABNMN . dressed in white. the pyram id harbour. the deceased w as unloaded i :d their clothing and throw dirt on their heads as before the ‘Doors of Heaven’. canal. T he disassem ­ I'he voyage of the dead bled boats ritually buried in pits outside K hufu’s :r first glimpse of the opening scenes of the pyram id enclosure (p. ed w ith the Ibu. described in the P y ra­ .y of the pictorial fragm ents recovered from pyra.' Pyramid Texts 268 and the Pyramid Complex :rial rituals enacted a t the pyram id ensured the ' -. : temples. funerals comes from scenes in tom bs of high ritual’. 118) may have been used to ■ :eral pageant is in reliefs in 6 th-dynasty tombs.’ y >n includes a woman labelled ‘the Kite’. seen. the doors were associat­ roughout the funeral. where the dead king is identified sacred necropolis it had to be purified. purification. the coffin w as loaded on to a boat.nsfer of kingship from the dead pharaoh to the m g one. These rituals m ight therefore help us in whose name. that he may cleanse this Unas in the Jackal [Anubis] Basin. for the king. either a rofessional m ourner or the widow. T he ‘Lector Priest’.

Perhaps ritual w as summoned to come and partake of the offer­ lustration and removal of the viscera and brain ings. highlighted above: two vestibules or antechambers. two entrances. perhaps a token canal. weapons. A t this stage ankh this is called the ‘Pure Place of W rapping’. H erbert Ricke believed the whole magazines (lop o f plan). It has been furnishing for setting up house in the Afterlife: suggested th at the royal Wabel could have been in linen. Unfor­ representations hint that the Wabet w as in the val­ tunately.contain an could therefore have been a tem porary wood-frame obvious place for the processes of mummification. ram p s lead to the ley temple. two pathw ays. Comparisons valley temples of Khafre and Pepi II and features of can be m ade to known pyram id valley temples. T he mum mified body in its coffin w as now pulled from a word m eaning 'pure’. the m ortuary temple. prompted suggestions that the valley temples func­ features of Qar’s wabet. with mudbrick walls process would have taken place in m udbrick build­ form ing a corridor. the Giza tomb of Qar show his Wabet which is the body w as taken to the Ibu. Along the front of Pepi II’s temple.perhaps the valley temple . labelled ' Wabet of a period of tim e’ and which has the T e n t of Purification’. and reed-mat stru ctu re on platform s in front of the valley temple. berm ent lasted 70 days. Khafre’s valley temple is also approached by two Grdseloff thought that the purification w as carried a blind corridor or stairway stone ram ps up to a low terrace along the temple out on the roof of the valley temple and em balm ing (below). However. while the long period of take place? Tomb scenes give the impression that desiccation followed in the Wabet. then ritually re-enacted in the val­ (Tossing this sym bolic waterway. a The plan o f Pepi IPs valley South Saqqara. removal of m ost of the soft tissue. After ings elsewhere. Relief scenes iri alm ost immediately after arriving at the necropolis. or the Ibu and Wabet combined. with Such individual correspondences between the pathw ays and doors at either end.the edge of ticularly those of Khafre at Giza and Pepi II a t a canal o r basin. The deceased may not have been secure enough. cally with its burial assem blage intact. no pyram id has been found archaeologi- ley . with doorw ays through small kiosks at each end. bedrock beneath the ram ps. None of the eight excavated valley north and south doors of the valley temple. a long narrow blind wood poles and reed m ats shielding a rectangular corridor and one side taken over by magazines. In the tomb of Pepi. B. space.and near thtlb u . Journey to the tomb Prom the Ibu the body w as taken to the Wabet . sim ilarities with the valley temple of Pepi II. the coffin procession still involved the Kites and Wabet is usually translated 'm ortuary w orkshop’ priests. In 1996 Zahi H aw ass found tunnels in the in the vestibule. so we can If the process of desiccation and partial dism em ­ only guess a t the riches it w ould have comprised.of 28 that probably existed . Both In tomb scenes the Ibu is a light construction of have three main central rooms. offerings became lengthier 26 . or a major p art of 272 days An im portant ritual at the tom b was an invoca­ as noted in the tomb of Queen M eresankh. oils and sym bols of social status. T he procession to the tomb also included and said to be the place of embalming. pottery and metal vessels. p a r­ 6 th-dynasty scenes of funeral rituals .have temple reflects the main ram ps ascended from the harbour to a platform. on or near the edge of a waterway. texts and pictorial ointments. by oxen on a sledge to the necropolis. portico. tioned as the Ibu. tools. main h/ill and side front. T h e lb u temples . W here did this were performed in the Ibu. the form of the ‘Divine Booth’ . A s time w ent on. the Ibu tion called 'com ing forth at the voice’. if not p art of the valley temple itself. or the Ibu en Waab.

gifts of cloth. :res. they do reflect the bedroom. Both pharaoh and nobleman had statu es palace of his lifetime.footprints of the officiants by dragging a brush. fishing and the delivery of . a ritual sim ilar to that depicted in antechamber and burial chamber under the to the role o f pyramid funeral scenes of late Old Kingdom nobility. From the mortuary : iition of a second set of utterances and rites for 1/ \l temple the body and grave goods had to be taken 1 rifying the dead. private rooms. The final rite w as ‘bringing the foot’ .oed set the lid on to the stone sarcophagus. vestibule. c offering place and false door . pictorial program m es included scenes : hunting. cattle and fowl. pharaoh was bathed. appears in 5th-dynasty scenes. Behind the false door where nplex embodied. Pepi II’s mortuary temple been conducted outside the pyramid complex in n g w ith more censing and libations. In the standard pyramid temples of the citing of the m outh’ w as perform ed to allow the 5th and 6 th dynasties the exit to the pyramid court -/eased to breathe. In elite tom bs the arrival at the central meeting place in the form of a pillared hall . or m aking them effective {akh).household. Arnold r. the route from the . M c ^ r w i r 7 ^) eran «=>' =3 \ / ' l—L &. the . lay the magazines. With the for the passage of the funeral. the Funeral? in the royal funeral ceremony. The innermost • rive statue cham bers in the m ortuary temple are room. where the Kingdom. One argument is architectural: rooms and doorways seem too small ' .T IC residence. the Pyramid Complex The funeral procession to the Ibu and the Wabet.the entrance to Netherworld. w as x H the pyramid court by means of a side entrance. even if the housekeeping of palaces.y have been the full complement of w orkers but entrance hall through the mortuary temple and y could not all have fitted into the burial cham. a . This Djosers Step Pyramid complex. he king ‘moved’ through the pyram id complex in ritual. fowling. it has the same basic elements as large houses known from the presenting the continued existence of the head of archaeological record: enclosure wall. In both large tom bs an d pyram id If If the mortuary temple was not the stage for the royal funeral.'ions.i. and the royal body conveyed into The focus of any tomb. anointed and dressed. Indeed. its parts corresponding broadly to the brings. like Merenptah's at Netherworld but also to the Per Duat.’) of the Great Palace’ and in the A busir Papyri to receive visitors. among others. down to the burial vault is just as narrow.--•tor Priest. Memphis>from the New Morning’ or ‘Toilet House’ of the palace.ich he could relate to those for the king men- :• ned in the Pyram id Texts. ‘House of •ath and burial required real but tem porary struc. The Pyramid Texts identify the burial . A Ibu B Wabet 1 'Kite’ 2 Embalmer 3 Lector Priest : more complex.erasing therefore thinks that the funeral rituals would have . While there are debates as :. Its doorways seem >:ts of the 6 th dynasty speak of 80 men who too narrow to allow the funeral to pass through. including the king’s. H erm ann Junker counted 17 dif- Dieter Arnold. shown in great detail in the 6th-dynasty tomb o f Qar at Giza. an allusion to the jn eral ritual effected. 27 . what did it represent? At least one of its aspects was as the deceased king’s eternal ■nplexes. and side routes or ram ps over the enclosure. eat and speak in the Afterlife. corresponded generally to led Tjephet. •'^^pV\ / ^ 8LS xX Burial Rituals and. In . at a higher order of m agnitude offerings were placed.cycle of rebirth and transform ation that the principal features o f royal chamber as the Per Dual. 1311 into the pyramid court and round to the north side .d elaboration. the offering hall. pyramid. a platform for the head of the house :.pulchre is labelled ‘landing a t the Tjephet (‘Cav- f r jj or open court. It seem s evident that the pyram id Merenptah’s palace the royal dining room. doubts whether the ercnt ritual presentations in Old Kingdom tom bs A Stage for pyramid temples and causeway were in fact used ■ . corresponding to the inner foyer and mortuary temples in burial . was at one end of the transverse hall separating the front from the inner temple. including censings. ritual grew so complex th at a specialist. light structures.. The l3=»i of the pyramid to be carried into the burial chamber.

Released from the bondage of the bandages. in the west. 19th-dynasty royal tomb of water. as being there. This World and the Netherworld ‘I come forth by day to any place where I may wish to be. The Milky Way w as the ‘beaten path of Celestial world and underworld stars'. the D uat (‘Netherworld’) ley a t inundation. I stand up. or walk through the tom b’s false door. the abyss.. But the mummy did not retu rn bodily to this world. into a crossed on reed floats. Each person’s hope and expecta­ tion w as to be reborn fully corporeal. world. 90). and the A kh et (‘horizon’). The Pyram id Texts m en­ birth to the rising sun and stars. T he expanse of the sky w as conceived as the surface of a large On the north side of his Saqqara Step Pyramid.from the than their own limbs. exposed for me are the roof. In the sam e chapter of long. I have gained power over my feet. w here she gives and birds as well as gods. they now also control air. Since these stars revolve around the and boats gave the dead protection. near the Im perish­ principal elem ents of the topography of the A fter­ able Ones. suggesting and even Geb. Two The oldest literature about the Afterlife.of the Dead the deceased control more cham ber in the northern sides of many pyram ids manifestations .. The th a t she w as conceived as a sky for the U nder­ ‘Imperishable O nes’ are the circutnpolar stars. T h is image works tion the sun. 1 have gained power over all limbs of mine . Such exclusivity may for me are the double doors of the earth. which has ju st such a pair of or basins in this image imply the presence of land - peep-holes to allow him to see out (p. 'Opened for me are the double doors of the sky.. as expressed in Chapter 6 8 of the New Kingdom Book of the Dead (quotation above). It w as the king’s destiny N ut w as the personification of the sky. 31). the and mobility in th at world. and her loins in the east.' T he E gyptians did not imagine the Afterlife as an ethereal existence. corporeality celestial north pole and neither rise nor set. I have gained power over my mouth. And the reflect that of the doors of pyram id temples which twin peep-holes. in statu e form... may have kept out all but the priests. the earth god. mid Texts (p. the Field of Reeds. I have gained power over my heart. rivers. open com moners and foreigners. and the the sky more than the earthly underworld. I sit down. floods. the sky had banks or levees on the w est and on the east.tiw stars and sun as her the Book. Food offerings were a token meal shared w ith the dead. I have gained power over my breast. 'she o f a thousand bas’ . Osiris. In the New Kingdom an image of Nut was about 26° to 30° above the northern horizon in the carved on the bottom of royal sarcophagi. the vision is that of the Nile Val­ life were the sky. carved in solid rock. Open for me are the bolts of Geb. although it w as also a w atery way. bodies (statues) pyram id zone. providing sustenance just as stone sim ulacra of shrines. the sky-goddess Nut. shores. I have gained power over my hands. N um erous canals and lakes statue-box. narrow passages sloping up from the burial Nut. body of ‘fresh w ater’ that the king and gods Djoser em erges from his tom b. In fact. where she swallow s the setting sun and T he sky (pet) w as inhabited by the kas. H orus for sunset if Nut bends under the earth. It w as plain that offerings left at the base of the door were not eaten. with her 28 . the deceased had control over all physical and psychic abilities. were aimed like a telescope in their direction. The resurrection of the dead happened in another. T he Field of Offerings further north. or serdab. She was to ‘go forth to the sky am ong the Imperishable imagined a s bending over the earth with her head Ones’ and to ‘go around the sky like the sun’. em phasizes the celestial world of a rath er m arshy area on the eastern edge. the P yra­ fields were prom inent in the sky. parallel world. indeed. bas. T he spell begins: Doorways that opened on each side of the sky Harnesses VJ in the Valley allowed gods and kings to pass through but barred o f the Kings.. akhs stars.

'ready the Sphinx is a guardian of gateways. a suggested tran sla­ itself is assisted by gigantic . ffin.Netherworld celestial . Khufu’s pyram id was A khet K hufu. Below the opened pyramid. sun god with a ram's head. M aintenance 29 . of which the vere transform ed into effective inhabitants of the tomb w as a part. an idea articulated sunset flam ing in the west. glyph of the sun disk between two m ountains that representing the 24 hours of u are ascended to her. it w as also ters to the dead’ written on bowls. with the two sides slid apart like a gigantic doorway. the stellar imagery. Aker. the 'he Egyptian world concept. Here. the A kh e t is usually translated as ‘horizon’. Once was reborn from w ithin the akh. Inside each half a god bends over a black mound enclosing a face. the A kh et w as where the dead influence to m aintain the household. ■ ‘Netherworld’ w as Dual. a reference to Orion. To continue an effective life beyond the grave. of a regular triangle split in half. the Secret of the Duat’. a ' ‘ascending’ to Nut in the Netherworld. W ritten with the sam e living requested th at their dead relatives use their ' *>t as the word akh. linen. in her identity of the tomb. even jar stan d s and deposited in the tomb. in her identity of the • rcophagus. the deceased was imagine the early E gyptians being inspired by the ju st beyond the veil of the false door. T he word The living and the dead scarab atul a sun disk. The pyramid has a black apex and a bhie watery middle band to symbolize the path o f the sun through the black darkness and blue waters o f the Netherworld. and by the impending glory o f dawn’s mb w as also a cosmic womb. Other . probably has gathered you up.rebirth . Old Kingdom. In the Pyram id Texts the geography w as sim ilar to the Nile Valley a t inunda­ tlie earth is expressed in r'at is connected to the earth or to a darker region tion. It is not hard to established in the Netherworld. like the celestial world end of the journey. A s the place where tlie day and night. arms that reach down from above to lift out the upside- scending to the burial cham bers were seen in fact down figure o f a child.-. The birth the deceased becomes an akh. stem from the uncertainty about the voy­ composed well over a vpression of Osiris. ed ibis and elliptical land-sign. The most dramatic representation o f resurrection from the Duat through the primeval mound was conceived at the end o f the 19th dynasty as an embellishment the Book of Caverns. w as the entrance . stelae or .in the depths of . the same theme o f renewal o f creation .he place into which the sun. Other texts refer to this motif as ‘the Secret Mound. with wings outstretched for the ms in tiie fez-like em brace on the sides. The texts label this. Netherworld society lived on in T h a t City’.nd an earthly realm. and all the arcane Although this scene was 'ta r in a circle. As p art of the sky. representing the god buried within the Duat. and in The rising o f tlie sun god j are given to your mother. Although it is not labelled ‘pyramid'. the Netherworld w as a vague Pyramid Texts. a scene painted in the tombs o f the pharaoh Merenptah and the queen Tawosret. became ‘effective’ . T he kin g ’s pre-dawn glow in the eastern horizon. pictures as it was in stone in ying prim arily beneath. in which there is the interior o f the great mystery’. At the thousand years after the Lord of the Duat. In retu rn for this. to see the area just flight. They m ade their petitions in ‘let­ ■orld beyond death. O siris w as age between this world and the Netherworld. in her identity of the takes place in the opening o f the Pyram id Texts. but it m eant much more in to the services of the tomb. the earth god in the where the deceased could be influential if she/he the massive pyramids o f the ■rrn of a double Sphinx. often w ritten with a All the cosmic skies and seas. is the night-form o f the :he Pyram id Texts (616 d—f): below the horizon as the place of glorification. Nut. A kh et is w ritten w ith the crest­ the pyramid-gate. the mound has the form.nd the real Nile Valley) w as both a w ater world reflection of this world . and therefore the king.’ was used later to write ‘horizon’. not w ith the hiero­ participants total 24. 'the Great God. where dead required living household m em bers to attend ind and the skies touch.i< suggests th a t the sloping pyram id passages tion is ‘Spirit’ or ‘Light Land’. in the Underworld. which.

as appears in the reign of Thutmose 1 (1504-1492 BC). Above as it allows the sun to rise again. darkness . Within this From the apex of the pyramid a head emerges. . For convenience the texts are mound.a stylized grave. Sokar.and systematized into 7 gates. as AT 77 " 7 ^eac*Ay^ up to the celestial light. new funerary texts emphasized a hours. when the scarab beetle Khepri pushes the ‘Book of W hat is in the Underworld’. the tom b and effective [akh) in the Netherworld. 21 doors. the pyram id necropolis w as a stone sim u­ inherited the estate. the most This new genre of funerary composition. The journey of the sun god in his night form of a The renewal of creation in the depths of the earth ram-headed man is depicted in the central register of allows the king’s soul to ascend from the tomb just the walls of descending corridors of tombs. imagined realm are underworld pyramids that in some versions identified as ‘the flesh of Isis. is the core of the scene. can penetrate Sokar’s chamber. and therefore the entire most immense tom bs . who elaborate themes hinted at in the Pyramid Texts.allows 14 mounds and 12 caverns. In the New Kingdom. In the 5th hour a pyramid-like mound rises to interrupt the three registers. creation theme. at first mysterious form of the god Osiris. the mummiform Osiris slips back into the Dual. to the new life after death. Lord of the exclusive to the king's tomb like the older Pyramid Netherworld. Its role w as to carry the king king in his pyram id inherited the kingship. now played out as a journey The exchange between light . the journey. W ith the su r­ Netherworld all the weird imagery of the Netherworld. Above the pyramid in the Netherworld in and under the earth. is over the Land of Sokar’.the pyram ids . awakening Texts. As opposed to is a small mound of sand . of the household and transfer of the estate were the head of the entire E gyptian household supremely This World and the real motives behind the burial rituals. The one rounding tom bs of m em bers of the court and royal who buried the deceased head of the household family. but his passage and Book of Aker. they contain variations on the reaction within the ‘egg’.the sun god . As with the Pyramid Texts of a his words to Sokar in the sealed chamber set off a thousand years earlier. the prince who buried the dead lacrum of T h a t City’. registers show the architecture and The burial place was replaced by a natural pyramidal denizens of the Dual which is divided into 12 Netherworld mountain above the subterranean tombs of the Valley of the Kings. These are illustrated map. decorated the walls of the royal tombs in the inside his ellipse or ‘egg’ within the pyramidal Valley of the Kings.the cavern of Sokar . down the Nile of the night in his barque. The oldest is Amduat.lilg d O fy i comes to the dead with his entourage. which first ball of the sun through the gates of the horizon. just as the pyramid as the royal and below.made the com m unity w ith him. The as head of the living kas. 7 heavenly cows. The texts state that not even the sun god called ‘Books': the Book of Caverns. Book of Gates. the sun god N e w K . journeying indicated by a stippled band to represent sand. Both grave and pyramidal mound are subterranean. resurrection to take place at the end of the night guides to the Netherworld.

Tput and Wed.the Sakha. Merenre and tom bs of high officials. yet confusing. T he Pyram id T exts are ars recognize references to the Old Kingdom state. num bering 714 individual sayings im portant people. youngest mbols. ‘in this thy name nr simply ‘as’. in New Kingdom temple ritual. T he can also be recognized... under Jean Leclant.’ ening of the mouth and other statue rituals. T he fact that such copies. Categories of Pyramid Texts " Molars have recognized five -major categories o f spells: 1 Dramatic T exts include spells of lament..pi II. 0 • provision of the king’s crowns. funeral. of Pyram id Texts have been found in Late Period In spite of great repetition of the spells and their tom bs and sarcophagi. From their form of speech. lay the m ost intimate r Kims of this house of eternity: the burial cham ber most recent royal edition. deep under the pyram id. On the basis of lu n n s of texts from E g y p t’s . juences. literally. spells both known and unknow n in Old Kingdom . at of Unas. The oldest glorification *ual action. T he are a selection from a larger body of texts. schol­ ildest religious literature.’ Pyramid Texts. composed during the 5th and even ’’ xts in the context of mythical stories or as late as the 6 th dynasty. one who eats himself. the. O Rich in Magic. . Pepi I. tantalizing. Emile and Heinrich. The formulation of the Dramatic spells. to the Crown! He comes to you. This ' n£S a t the end of the 5th dynasty. contains only 283 of the known texts editions. probably carried out at the tomb during the xts may date to the 2nd and 3rd dynasties. literary w indow on to and therefore date their earliest composition to the •he m eaning of a pyram id complex.His of the offering ritual. For example. form the largest part •ipient take on the roles of gods in the prescribed of the Pyramid Texts. and vo the 0 Great One. On the ‘other side’.As for anyone who shall lay a finger on this pyramid and this temple which belong to me and to my double.malic Texts take the form of recited speech and during the 4th dynasty. T he oldest edition. scribed action: ’raise up before him’ (the . Neith. 5 T he M agical T exts consist of short protection spells for charming snakes and other dangerous Pyramid texts inscribed before > 1-itan ies are structured as verse and consist of beings.vased). Spell 220 hails the crown as . He comes to you. in ■ Pepi II and his queens. found inside the coffins of n of the texts. 1278-79 The Pyramid Texts The route through a pyram id complex leads finally • i the great stone false door at the back of the offer­ ing chapel. actions and ritual objects of the Dramatic Pyramid Texts. The The Hymns and Litanies may have been composed I . New texts found in 1925 in the pyram ids ed in the tom bs of officials in the New Kingdom. . opening quote. Some 4 T h e G lorifications . includes spells unknown in older ones. and spells relating to the king takes possession of it: ‘He comes to you. the Book of the Dead and in Late Period funerary : hten extended the num ber to 759.s in South Saqqara. 31 . after radical r. the 'editions’ of Pyram id T exts differ carefully executed in Old Kingdom style. He comes to you. Teti. papyri. They were then subsum ed . in the small pyram id of . •reduction of equipment to the grave. ’that the texts suggest that the speaker and the which makes one into an A kh'. K urt Sethe prepared the first definitive edi. he will be one proscribed. beings. ‘lay on the ground in front of him’. Pyram id Texts were also inscribed in the •he pyram ids of Unas. have reworking. into the Coffin Texts. Pyram id Texts were still includ­ r spells. French excava. Copies c ". the walls of suggests a fair degree of fluidity and individual these cham bers were inscribed w ith vertical choice of repertoire for each king. sometimes by adding. dating to the early Archaic pyramid. made D uring the F irst Interm ediate Period and Middle ■he initial discovery of Pyram id Texts in 1881 in Kingdom.nnued to find new texts in the last two decades. hints th at the known Old Kingdom texts : includes ones not found in later editions. mention the sand tomb (PT 1877-78) and the mudbrick mastaba (PT 572c-e). usions. Beginning with the pyram id of Ibi.indeed the w orld’s both archaeological and historical evidence. translated in the : : mulae pertaining to particular divine things and Period. The Brugsch brothers. include ' m one pyram id to another. however. period after the unification. they are judged the portcullises in Pepi ! ’s umerations and sequences of names and name to be the oldest texts.nd antecham ber. he AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA be judged by the Ennead and he will be nowhere and hishouse will be nowhere. 0 Flame. behind solid mason- . Many of the J H ym ns w ith N am e Form ulae set the cult Glorification Texts are.

Or inscribed perm anently on the walls around the he is assisted in his ascent by the natural forces like k ing’s body. his discourse. Instead there are. ishable Stars. for he joins the northern Im per­ while not disagreeing. it has not been easy to recognize flict between Horus and Seth over the inheritance of a completely coherent treatm ent. He boards around the innerm ost cham bers of the pyramid. as though the suspect Heliopolis as the place w here much of the story as a whole is too potent for outright telling. have a decided em phasis on the sky realm of tion of the stories. the king flies to the sky as a falcon. also see them as the script o. a view which m any agree with. the overall theme of the Pyram id T he Pyram id Texts make allusions to m yths. Others. scattered the sun god. and the night sky. the texts a free-form am algam ation of spells that. or leaps upw ard as a grasshopper. T h e idea that p arts of the Pyra­ Osiris. His destiny is both the day urrected. ceived a s one and the same.The pyramid o f Unas at Like the program m es of statu es and reliefs in the Fragmented myth and ritual Saqqara is the earliest to pyram id temples. The texts do. m ade compelling by directions like ‘w ords to be 32 . A s they identify the dead king with the funeral rituals. K urt Sethe considered Alternatively. draped like a curtain of ritual and magic death and resurrection is a homecoming. but never provide a coherent n arra­ ever. kite or goose. fragm ents of myths. The king Opinions differ as to the purpose of this poetic joins the extended family of the gods. the Pyram id Texts also present a chthonic mid Texts were recited in particular contexts is Underworld dimension of the. However. how ­ the kingdom. Afterlife. corpus w as conceived and form ulated. Afterlife. allowed him to be transform ed and res­ wind and hail storm s. an em phasis which m akes scholars throughout. in fact. the ship of the sun god and voyages through the For the Egyptians. Texts w as the eternal existence of the king in the ticularly the central pageant of O siris and the con­ A detail i$ shown opposite. par contain Pyramid Texts. word and its effect were per­ sky and the various fields of the Netherworld.

king. •he texts progress from right to left except on the False door of .. his ba awakens. on the walls. the pyramid. the corridor three east recessed magazines yram id of Unas .irifieations. the chambers under Unas’s the m ortuary temple. antecham ber and ■. the narrative flows aw ay from the direction tive sp irit’ (akh) who is able to rise at dawn and to Kingdom onwards.' We should understand this ‘cannibalism ’ in the light of the ka as the communicative life force th at is passed down from Creator to the gods to the king and from parent to child. Similar protective spells . anointed and fed. east of the burial chamber. ju st as outside the pyram id. that region between the corridor the emphasis is on a Text. Pepi I and Pepi II. the place of The goddess Nut was carved groups of spells. censings. In the entrance 'Duat’. T he antecham ber. the King as bird nuseway and small vestibule contained scenes ‘hat protected the passage through the pyram id ' implex. transform ation where the king becomes an ‘effec­ into sarcophagi from the New First.iken’. architecture and cosmos Duat and the day sky. ju st below the horizon. Protective spells The king’s private apartm ents are th u s fram ed by . •hat birds and anim al and hum an hieroglyphs face function in the Afterlife. A lthough Unas's body remains ointments.. We should also not forget that the eastern wall of the antecham ber faces the ‘virtu al’ exit from the underground ap a rt­ m ents of the pyram id . the texts fall into two broad sets: one for the burial cham ber and another for the antecham ber. The in Jam es Allen’s recent ‘reading’ he looked a t the pyram ids of Teti. the arrangem ent of U nas’s Pyram id . On the w estern gable of the burial cham ber are response -peils to protect the dead king ag ain st snakes. ju st as O siris rem ains in the v tulcl be perverse to think th at the offering ritual Duat. Two ordering principles emerged.. It in the burial chamber. Parallels between interior text and exteri- >r sign and symbol are evident in the opening spell ■f the offering ritual on the north wall of the burial ANTECHAMBER chamber.. sym ­ bolically transferred into the pyram id cham bers from the offerings presented before the false door. mortuary temple jt where they are read left to right. T he rest of the offering ritual sp eak s of the king being dressed.the false door em bedded in the east flank of the pyramid a t the culmination of the m ortuary temple. However. presentation of clothes and along the corridor. Thematically. and the consecration of the pyram id. Beyond the antecham ber are the stan d ard three found on the east gable of the antecham ber. releases itself from the body TJuj flow o f Pyramid Texts m >uld not have been perform ed in the offering hall and proceeds through the D uat tow ards sunrise. moving lions and by the texts which have as their object through the burial chamber. >>V On the east gable of the antecham ber is also the famous ‘Cannibal Hymn' in which the king flies to heaven through a storm y sky: ‘. scor. Altogether. T he To sky Offering ritual scenes at the lower end of the causew ay showed BURIAL CHAMBER he gods holding ropes binding the enemies of the Sarcophagus 33 . som etim es referred to as serdabs as if for statues. which talks of seizing enemies. Resurrection ions and other pressive as a god who lives on his fathers and feeds on his m oth­ e rs . by instructions for ritual them after rising from the sarcophagus. serves as the Akhet. as he w as in The Pyramid Texts the private rooms of the royal residence during life. by the dram atic form of spells com prising Texts reflects the order in which U nas would read • :e opening of the mouth. they could also have been m agazines for storing provisions. in the rising from the Akhet. T his is in order Direction of Protective spells ' follow the second rule: the texts move from sunrise Pre-dawn sky side the tomb outw ards. the direction of their narration and the m arshes at the edge of the Akhet.potropaic texts. >rth walls of the burial cham ber and antecham . He exam ined the placement of the spells inscribed with tex ts about p assin g through the pyramid mortuary temple.the oldest and m ost complete between the burial cham ber and antecham ber is are opposite the false door in Urn offering hall o f the rendition.

The Pyramid as Icon flanked by th e nam e and titles of A m enem het III. plus ar. 179). and the two siblings were born. ‘ascension’. tm.’ many indications th a t the true pyram ids were seen Pyramid Texts as sym bols of the sun. bringing the structure to a point at the sam e angle and with the sam e propor­ tions as the main body. such as Khafre’s. getting an erection in m is (pi. below these again we find the hieroglyph for the sun disk. A num ber of pyram idions also survive Atum (creator god) from Middle Kingdom royal py ra­ mids and from the small pyram ids ~ l of non-royal tom bs of New Shu (god of air) = Tefnut Kingdom and later times (p. in A tum ’s nam e m eans ‘complete’. which was He put his penis in his grasp that he might make orgasm Amenemhet Ill’s pyramid at also the word for the capstone of a pyram id or the with it. its faces is a winged sun disk in relief. and below them are three nefer (‘b eauty’ or ‘perfection’) signs. at the and monum ental architecture. and his sis­ from within his pyramid to polis. attem pted to find a derivation from m.E. the sacred icon in the temple of Helio­ Shu. ‘G reat is Khafre’ . ‘wheaten cake’. sculpture w orshipped at Heliopolis. you spat Tefnut. gazing up ben stone. On one of 34 . from his p y ra­ I 1 -------.‘Sneferu Gleams'. I. named after the ben. A ccording to Pyram id Text 527. T he Egyptians Heliopolis. when you rose as the ben-ben. and you put your arms around them. ‘finish’. in the Phoenix Enclosure. It has been said that the E gyptians did not were sun symbols. pyramids. as some And how should we read the pyram id glyph? ing sun. pyramides).ben-benet. the py ra­ he is the ‘old’ sun of the evening as opposed to Ra base signify that pyramids mids are gigantic hieroglyphs. An aspect of the sun god. sacred eyes. as the high ground. as T he phrase ‘beholds the perfection of Re’ is one of the arms of ka. the g reat pyramid Totality’ and ‘the Completed One’. Menkaure’s and There seem s to be no cosmic significance in the yet also ‘not-be’. probably the earliest god The full hieroglyphic determinative for ‘pyramid’. Edw ards. To understand the ben-ben we distinguish sharply between hieroglyphic writing. In later texts Atum is ‘Lord of Neferirkare’s? term itself. T he identification of the pyram id with the sacred ben-ben stone in the .’ are the pharaoh’s. 186). the pyram id w as indeed a place or ‘millions of kas’. the god of air and atm osphere. ter Tefnut are the next generation of prim eval gods. having evolved as his derivation.’ T he sacred eyes are those of the king himself. ‘Atom is the one who developed. How did this evolution begin? instrum ent of ascension for the king after death.virtually everything that of ascension’. Although he himself doubted this exists is p art of his 'flesh’. Pyramid and ben-ben you sneezed Shu. Atum w as also the oldest creator god.the scarab beetle . the beauty of the sun. In a sense. made of the sam e limestone as the casing and uninscribed. pyra.S. T he capstone o r pyram idion is the complete pyram id in m iniature. and in the Pyra­ authority. the oldest centre of the sun cult. Like the nam es TTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTfTTf of the pyram ids . The eyes tip of an obelisk . A m enem het Ill’s p y ra­ Geb (earth) Nut (sky) midion. O ur word ‘pyram id’ comes from the Greek. mid Texts he is ‘self-developing or ‘self-evolving’. 104). Dahshur (p.” 1 1 Osiris (underworld) = Isis Nephthys — Seth mid at Dahshur. in have thought? Or is it a his most prim eval form he w as the singularit} vestige o f the red granite Pyramid and pyramidion w ithin the primeval w aters of the Abyss. in Heliopolis. The word for pyram id in ancient Egyptian is mer. But why a pyramid? at noon and Khepri . is the m ost complete royal i Horus (god of kingship) capstone. The pyramidion of had a conical bread loaf called ben-ben. T he root. ‘instrum ent’ or ‘place’. Below are two wedjat. a towering ple of Heliopolis is another sign th at the pyram ids symbol. base o f some. Stadelm ann found the earliest pyram idion at Sneferu’s North P y ra­ mid at D ahshur (p. of hard black stone.the eyes tell us that the pyram ids were ‘Arum Scarab! personifications of the dead kings who were buried When you became high. that your ka might be in them.the m orn­ were thus painted. T he whole com position can be read as: ‘A m en­ em het beholds the perfection of Re. m ust begin w ith A tum . and revivified w ithin them. Shu and Tefnut. two-dimensional art and relief carving. Could the red band. as ‘place A tum is a chthonic god .tem­ The pyram id w as above all an icon. casing at the.

me breath. inside a dark step pyramid. antecham ber to the private quarter. • we have to keep in mind the original appear- •e of the pyram id when most of its surface w as . dining (offer­ sunlight and the pyramid ing) hall. his broth- •r and adversary. the most intimate iii:h ben-ben and pyram id m ay have symbolized ap artm en t where the king sleeps in death only to be Pyramidal icons (from left to rays of the sun. particularly as they appear reawakened. :h both by virtue of its sound-sim ilarity with appreciate the pyram id com plex as a royal house. Tight. which is associated with procreation nd could mean ‘become erect' or ‘ejaculate’. vestibule. T he named as the embodiment pyram id w as much more than a magical device pyram id is a sim ulacrum of both the m ound of o f Osiris . and because it retu rn s after long periods to w ith its gate house (valley temple). theologians are m ixing m etaphors with impun- • .y rebirth of the sun.Ju ral habitat. Shu and Tefnut are said to come forth. Isis. and Seth’s counterpart Nephthys. In the . the pyra- .::h of E gyptian a rt and architecture that m ight '. mound.• ly covered with sm oothed white limestone. Benu in Egyptian. the solar disc at the apex of :s the im material m ade material.. bathed. The Phoenix. But nal house w ith th at of the gods . W ithin a few lines : this text that speaks of A tum ’s primeval mound. Tight and a window to the sky. courtyard.d is. )ther texts relate A turn’s erection and ejaculation • ' the ben-ben pyram id ion through a cosmic pun on 'he root. sical and spiritual transform ation that tied the a union of heaven and earth th at glorifies and reflects the chthomc aspect -r's ascent to the creation of the world and to the transform s the divine king and ensures the divine o f the pyramid as primeval i . a stone sim ulacrum of .the cosmos.d spitting {iff). the god of -:ingship. There is evidence th at the ben-ben stone w as "ally cone-shaped and the pyram id is the easiest to mimic this in m onum ental architecture. therefore.:s speak of the sun ’s rays as a ram p by which is the pyram id itself. a New Kingdom >. In one sense the pyram id may have . exactly as the eyes of Amenem het III are 35 . T hus kingship goes back to the Creator. a place of creation and rebirth in doing on his pyramidion. There is a kind of ‘picture-window’ principle to . Bn could connote the idea of swelling in general. like the late funerary image o f Osiris . Seth. bn. /h e concept of A tum ’s m asturbation w as that he xpanded as a mound [bnnf) in the abysm al w aters Nun. ju st as the older step mate rooms. T he Pyram id W hat m akes the arrangem ent unlike any house the ben-ben. It was a place of primeval earth and the w eightless rays of sunlight. as though we \ inside die m ass of stone looking out at the . furthest back. The r!h*cted light m ust have been so brilliant a s to be 'St blinding. Osiris and Isis beget Horus. towering above the m ost inti­ benu bird from the tomb o f king m ounts up to the sun.y to the pyram id as a stone model of immateri- sunlight. It is the pyramid th at merges this eter­ Harnesses VI.this. which the E gyptians pictured as dor (causeway). a gigantic reflector. its temples combined the darkest and : pears in the tapestry of the Heliopolitan creation and its underground apartm ents. the ‘picture-window’ of the pyram beetle and the ben-ben at through a break in clouds .the king to m ount to heaven. •: . we would better most dense primeval earth and the rays of celestial light. reception room (court and statu e chamber). and clothed before reappear­ right): 2nd-dynasty depiction of the benu (phoenix) bird on .the pyram id is ing in the celestial court. T he E gyptians m ust have envisaged this .the Nile Valley land em erging from the receding ■a ::iers of the annual inundation. an obelisk : ram ids may have been seen as giant stairs. portico and < /ram id al perch of sticks. entrance corri­ . associating Creation with the image of the . from A tum ’s sneezing (ishesh) ar.:'. ru le of the E gyptian household. onomatopoeia. ■ben. As an image of the primeval mound. and. If we could look through The pyramids magically Abyss.The genealogy leads to Geb (earth) and Nut (sky) who beget Osiris. his sister and wife.

their chambers. Giza. and that the upper temples were connected by long causeways to the lower. it became clear that the pyra­ mids had temples attached. The pyram ids o f Giza as depicted by one o f Napoleons artists. As their ancient builders intended they should. ong after they were abandoned. pyramids. mapping and theoretical reconstruc­ tion of temples and other features of pyramid ensembles continues to this day at most of the pyramid sites: Abu Roash. protruded above the debris of their own collapse and the drifting sands of the ages. The excavation. And so scholars came to see the unity of the pyramid com­ plex. shafts and passages were cleared and later mapped. Atten­ tion also turned to the ground around the towering ruins. At first they defied enterprising explorers who dared to try to penetrate their secrets . As the pyramids were entered one after another. always with the suspicion that the pyramids might hold more secrets. Questions that now guide the excavator are: how were the builders housed and fed? W hat was the economic role and significance of the pyramids as labour projects and func­ tioning ritual centres? W hat did pyramids contribute to the evolution of Egyptian civilization and. . archaeologists now excavate to retrieve evidence of the elementary structures of everyday life of the society that built these great monuments. In addition to recovering the art and architecture of the pyramids. Saqqara and Dahshur. ultimately.specialists in bone and plant remains and in radiocarbon dating. in addition to those who still probe the pyramids themselves with remote-controlled robots and cos­ mic rays. the pyramids appear mysterious and otherworldly deprived of their social and economic context. mm§. fro m the Description de l’Egyple. Abusir. By the turn of the 20th century. to human development? Addressing such questions requires a team of scientists . valley temples.these early attem pts were frontal assaults to find a way inside. Recently. pyramid exploration has moved in a fresh direc­ tion. or the L stum ps of pyramids.


since blocks and pieces Khufu. the Sphinx. Kingdom era of M oses and the Exodus. the suspiciously uniform lengths of reign Abandoned in antiquity . Greek and Roman travellers In the w ritings of the Greek historian Herodotus we do indeed find a m ixture of fact and folktale about the pyram ids. At Giza there w as an Some 550 years after Khufu. m onum ents of the ancestors. The New Kingdom rulers did not. military leaders. the Sphinx at Giza had become an object mid of A m enem het I at Lisht (p. For instance. then. since it was not found on Khafre’s pyram id temples a t the sam e time that the face of the pyramid. but his report m akes us w onder whether the cult of Khufu and his sons in the Isis Temple had been abandoned. alabaster and granite of Upper and Lower Egypt.’ ship. namely that having found the Isi? behind small commemorative temples in ruins. Ironically. and other Old Kingdom tombs. But its erroneous implication that the Sphinx and Isis Temple predate Khufu show s just how far the perceived history of the site w as slipping from fact. stelae. Sneferu 24. Khafre and M enkaure.-427 b c ) acknow ­ ledges both K hufu and Khafre. the w or­ By the time of Rarnesses II were reused in the core of the 1 2 th-dynasty p y ra­ ship of the powerful kings who built the largest (1290-1224 BC). includ­ ing Shepseskaf’s M astabat el-Fara’un. Khufu 23 and so on - By Middle Kingdom tim es (11 th to 13th dynasties). He closed all the temples. built against the southernm ost of scribes. In his stela set up at having been w ritten in the 26th dynasty. the pyram ids of K hufu’s queens (GI-c) in the 21st builders and sculptors all T he pyram ids were thus relics of a bygone era. W hen he came to Egypt between 449 and 430 BC the hieroglyphic script was still read and pharaonic religion still practised. because the Setem Priest. were T he 26th dynasty saw an attem pt to resurrect the already characters of legend rather than history. The priests who informed the curious Greek gave a decidedly negative account of Khufu: ‘[hej brought the country into all sorts of misery. restore the nam es of the builders of m onum ents at Giza. dynasty. Unas. 1. not content with excluding his subjects from the practice of their religion. In the Ram essid Turin Canon of king­ and Lower Egypt. A m enhotep II (c. son of Rarnesses II and High Priest of Memphis. there is evidence that they removed ‘1Khaemwaset] has inscribed the name of the King of the fine limestone. his pyramid temple active priesthood of the Sphinx as Horem akhet and and those of his successors seem to have been there were also people calling themselves priests of stripped of their reliefs. 1250 b c ). T he style of the Giza pyramids were occasional attem pts to restore the revered of the text and the deities mentioned all point to its on lus unique stela. Am enem het’s stru ctu res in E gypt w as now carried out in the tiny o f pilgrimage. glory of the Old Kingdom. Officials.and 6 th-dynasty pyram ids a t Saqqara and Abusir. K haem w aset (c. m ight wall be simple estim ates of a generation on the early Old Kingdom pyram id builders. Khufu (Cheops) an d Khafre (Chephren). The scribe Montuher left the oldest depiction their builders were known from king lists and there an d repaired the headdress of the Sphinx.much they restored the Sphinx in the form of the god loved to restore the monuments of the kings of Upper Horemakhet. compelled them without exception to labour as slaves for his own advantage’ Khufu had already appeared in a slightly bad light in the legends of the W estcar P apyrus (probably dating from the Second Interm ediate period. appears to have done some restoration Early Legends work on 5th. In fact. . 168). A small stela there related another story made their way there and left their stone quarried for other buildings and their about Khufu. such as the throne. there are hints that the 4th dynasty was Inscription of Khaemwaset (19tl: dynasty) undergoing som e folkloristic rewriting. the story w as no doubt told to give greater antiquity and authenticity to the fledgling cult. But the nam es and sequence of Temple in ru in s he restored the images ol the gods. however. pyram id w as itself abandoned well before the New Temple of Isis.Huni 24 years.. but .

down to Cleopatra VII. K hufu’s pyram id undoubtedly m ids for tourists . the Roman DOOR OF THE SOUTH PYRAMID OF DAHSHUR. that allowed access to the . He credits Khufu. : nd of these stones [the story goes] was built the middle ‘for [the Egyptians] enjoined them to cut a great number pyramid of the three which stand in front of the Great of channels for the river. Flinders iV ram ids and the Sphinx. but it w as Herodotus 1st century a d .up the Nile Valley at T hebes . This she actually did. with ‘polished stone blocks and by this wore them out. he sent his daughter to a bawdy-house with instructions to charge a certain sum . based on pivot holes he . (The New King.round 60 b c . now levelled.. of hardly less m agnitude than the pyram id itself. o f Khufu’s pyramid. )use. In the 39 .they did not tell when. were constructed over a millennium before the era of the Hebrews. On every reconstruction by the British ravejler’s itinerary. reported the G reat Pyram id casing as ntact. grouped into 30 dynasties. whose inhabitants would climb the p y ra­ and slave labour.’ century a d onwards. w ith w riting the ‘Sacred Book’. ~ wince .ill where the pyramids stand.Mid gained control. a d 70).000 years of pharaonic culture came to Manetho compiled his Aegyptiaca . he w as told. the compromised the pyramid’s ind w as ruled by the Ptolemies.. high up and in grouping on popular tradition and the sequence of the middle o f one of the faces 'he pyram ids. though possibly m issing its capstone.copying an older document). and. the Temple of K arnak and the Valley of the Kings. s a single lineage.perhaps for tourists to reach the A lexanders body and took it to Egypt. Colossi of Memnon. The Greek author. In 30 b c E gypt became a Roman Chi the right is a hypothetical RESTORED FROM T H E DOOR WA Y A T DAHSHUR.. descendants of security. decorated w ith carvings of anim als . Pliny the Elder m entioned the vil­ who established the erroneous and now virtually lage of B usiris (Abusir) at the foot of the pyram id Early Legends Ineradicable association between pyram id building plateau. far from Descending Passage.) M anetho m ust have based his movable stone. the Egyptian priest in a d 312. and and the pyram ids fell silent. a cut was made from the written using the Greek script.possibly to cor­ an end. :e is the first source to organize the kings from Menes to U nas into five dynasties. upon its running When Herodotus visited the pyram ids K hufu’s over its own banks: they set them also to build pyramids. Off the modern tourist trail -. causeway w as intact. O ur fram ew ork for became cryptic. in Egypt . DOOR OF THE GREAT PYRAMID OF GIZEH .just like their m odern counter­ required m assive toil. About 25 BC. this could only have i’tolemy (I) Soter. From the 3rd Nile.’ cities and ramparts. so that the water turned the site of these into an 'land.. adding to ic a Jewish historian Josephus included pyram id build­ further transaction of her own. but H erodotus’s credibility is p arts in the village of Nazlet es-Samm an (though it strained when he goes on to rep o rt that: would have been altogether more difficult when the pyram id casing w as still largely intact).vith building the G reat Pyram id. the great general who hijacked been provided later . M anetho’s king list.3. Since x-ing wicked. 10 years of ‘oppressive although we now know th at the largest pyram ids slave labour’ to build. Once Constantine converted to C hristianity Two centuries after Herodotus. building would have >r the next 300 years. and hinder its waters from stagnating. When the ancient inscriptions Eusebius (4th century a d ). tow ards the end of the 1st century AD. a work . real knowledge of the pyramid ancient E gyptian history is still based on builders drowned in a sea of m yths and legends.. she to endure during their years of labour in Egypt: :sked each of her customers to give her a block of stone. any ‘trap door' in the original Alexander the G reat conquered E gypt in 332 b c .’ It T his idea persists in the popular imagination. the E gyptian language w as Coptic. w ritten ‘Suphis’. D iodorus Siculus.which we know m onum ents of their ancestors and the last person nly through the edited and abridged versions of to read the hieroglyphic script died sometime in sephus (c. were the Giza Egyptologist W. ju st as today. the pyram id took 2 0 years.the found at the entrance to the Bent Pyramid at Dahshur. 1 >m Turin Canon gives the 39 nam es of this period geographer Strabo reported a AS SHEWN SY t h e e x i s t i n g d o o r w a y . and to build walls for their Pyramid. as the Labyrinth . for with the intention of ing am ong the hardships that the Hebrews had had ■aving something to be remembered after her death. that they might restrain the river. T he Copts began to destroy the pagan rect the chronology of Herodotus . A fricanus (3rd century a d ) and the 4th century a d . no crime was too great for Cheops: when he was short of A nother myth became attached to the pyram ids money.and a major tourist attraction. M emphis and the A pis Petrie. the me how much. including the underground sepulchral chambers on the By the Roman period the E gyptian language was . had taken.M. w here he subterranean chamber. and .the temple of Amenemhet Ill’s Hawara pyram id.

VO LU M ES. One popular A rab legend m aintained that the G reat Pyram id was the tom b of Hermes . T h e Yemeni A rabs believed the two large pyram ids to be the tom bs of their ancient kings. tells o f the Caliph al-Mamun legendary and fabulous events. who were Granite familiar with the interior. and placed treasures within such as ‘A l-Mamun’s breach’is 7 m (23 ft) above the pyramid’s Original base. One such legend COMMON 1. Em bellishm ents of the Arab legends abounded.with E gypt under Byzantine control. future chaos and only those who joined the Lord of man and an animated cockerel o f precious By ED W A RD WILLIAM LANE. Memphis. his city. Finally. like Surid.. Karuras in the “Pied” [Menkaure’s] Pyramid. in a d 642.who. a golden casket with centuries before the flood. plug blocks Al-M am un’s breach There is evidence that the ancient robbers knew just how far to go to get around the granite plug blocks. being hidden treasure in the Great of such obvious antiquity. The tale is a blend of both stone. . became linked with Pyramid. built pyram ids to hide literature and sci­ ence from the uninitiated and preserve them through the . the Roman em pire split in two .the Greek counterpart of the E gyptian T hoth . is W IL L IA M HARVEY.’ Coptic legend TTTTTTTTTTTTTTfTTTTfTTTTT' In AD 395. the Boat would escape.east and w est . and the Lord of the Boat is an am algam of N oah’s ark and the barque of the sun god...rvwwTwvwwirrrwvwrvwwwwwvwvwwivv'fi 'Then SuricI ordered the building of the pyramids.A N D . After his death.per­ h aps a distant m em ory of the Hvksos invasion in the 2 nd millennium b c. breaking through the north THE ARABIAN NIGHTS’ face Some stones say he The pyramids and the Flood found a vase with limitless ENTERTAINMENTS. ^ conquered by the Arabs. a late form of Khufu. and had the treasures and pieces of sculpture put into them. that al-Mamun’s breach in fact already existed and had been made by the ancient Egyptians. Surid was buried in the “Eastern” [Khufu’s] Pyramid. the original entrance is Ascending entrance 17 m (56 ft) above the base passage and to the east. had the sciences recorded in them. Two- Books such as The Thousand and-a-half centuries later. including of the Surid story. Amsus. however. Surid may be a corruption of IL L U S T R A T E D BY >3A N Y H U N D R E D E N G R A V IN G S O N W OOD. His dream s foretold the ruby-studded body o f a A NEW T RA N SLA TIO N FROM THF. T he pyram ids. one of whom defeated the E gyptians . T he 15th-century his­ torian al-Maqrizi reported that the king decoratec the w alls and ceilings of his pyram id cham bers w ith representations of the stars and planets anc all the sciences. A Coptic legend tells of King Surid who lived three water. the Judaeo-Christian story of the flood and ancient E gyptian themes.flood. E gypt was and One Nights carry tales of ar)*. ARABIC W ITH COPIOUS NOTES. his brother Hujib in the "Western” [Khafre’s] one.V C A U . It is possible. he set an idol Mythic History o f the to guard each of the three pyramids . I X E K O S.E 0 . Suphis. and Hujib’s Copts and Arabs son.

such durable monuments. •he passage m ade by ancient robbers. the implements were The Thousand and One Nights. son of Saladin. een detectable.eated stones. tain th at someone removed it before the early 15th pyramid’s northern face. b u t nothing w as discovered wrote about it. according when or by whom the Spfum’s nose was broken ■>the Copts. T he nose w as long gone. already know n by its m odern A rabic nam e. version is th at of Abu still intact. although ancient builders in creating i >ut doubt is cast again by Denys of Telmahre. > roricity of the sto ry of al-M amun. His observation implies •has m uch of the casing a t Giza w as still intact hen he visited. It ust have been K arakoush who removed the satel­ lite pyram id south of Khafre’s pyram id. the rram ids were being system atically quarried for •hiding stone. describes •he pyram ids as covered w ith indecipherable writ- ng . a]-Maqrizi. were used for walls in the grow ing city of monuments. Quarrying the pyramids The 12th-century scholar. careful examination of ainded by all his possessions. ‘covered w ith a reddish tint. right (south). i*her stones. o f how it was done. . however. A m ore sober. and who ^gan dism antling K hufu’s subsidiary pyram ids.below and to one side of the orig- nal entrance. He specifically men­ on the pyramid o f Menkaure yramid increase our doubts. nasty) priests perhaps made repairs. But just when the pyram id w as vio- ated rem ains a puzzle. one Legends of treasures hidden within K hufu’s p y ra­ down from the bridge and the mid persisted. M aqrizi also says that. Accounts of face. M am un’s men may have enlarged A bd al-Latif also enthused about the Sphinx. Abd al-Latif rep o rts the destruc- •: tjs of a num ber of small pyram ids by the Em ir Xarakoush during Saladin’s reign ( a d 1138-93). He described its handsom e Abd al-Aziz Othman ben Yusuf. . Surid w as buried in the pyram id sur- away. Once in place.efforts increase our :d w as forced open.and unsuccessful mgular cham ber containing a sarcophagus. and by pouring cold vinegar on to fire- : . probably from the tw o larger p y ra­ 41 . ‘The century when another A rab historian. It is cer­ merely damaged the . Malek These confusions do not inspire confidence in the Hoi. contrary to indications that it m ay have the ■lurist entrance . There is indeed a breach . He tells of M am un’s men uncover. W ith _rreat effort. a t any rate. It seem s th at whoever carried •ut the operation aim ed straig h t for a point oppo­ site the juncture of the descending and ascending oassages before turnin g east to break through evond the granite plugs. admiration for the skill of the xcepting some bones completely decayed by tim e/ by the tim e Napoleon visited Giza in 1798. since a t this me there w as an attem pt to restore Old Kingdom mids. though it is possible th a t it vas in ancient times.•as already opened at the time of their visit. If Surid is a memo. Someone hammered long rods or The breach of al-Mamun chisels into the nose. and tions the nose. Eight months’ work Szait of Spain. som e per- :aps from pharaonic times.nout breaking. along w ith a story used to pry the nose off to the that Caliph al-Mamun. he forced a passage w ith iron picks and crowbars. capons th a t did not ru st and glass th at bent Although it is not. known . w hich leads us to think that it was to dismantle it and remove its L-rbaps more trustw orthy. son of H aroun al-Rashid.and presum ably any repairs would have until the outer m antle was finally stripped bare. nevertheless. and a red varnish mounted a concerted attack :k] events and fabulous discoveries inside the as b rig h t as if freshly painted’. B y that time. been m issing as early as the 10th century. He accompanied Mamun’s p arty and states th at the G reat Pyram id ‘. it m ust have been gap in g open in P yram id continued during succeeding generations 820 . the he is often blamed for its removal. vas the first to break into it. .probably the graffiti of visitors. this m ay not be so far from the truth. A bd al-Latif. T he plunder of casing stone from the G reat times. ‘Father of T error’. A t its end w as a quad. If the passage w as forced in pharaonic Cairo.:ig an ascending passage. Such enormous . Jacobite Patriarch of Antioch. the face shows clear evidence y of Khufu. around a d 820. Saite Period (26th ' . Abu (Below) In a d 1196. T hey found Iheir way into the tale of other under the nostril.

supposedly an informed guide. the em balmed bodies of ancient Egyptians. tfc pagan past. Likewise. the Crusaders were returning to ‘the Father of E gyptology’. both means by which they could far and near.' Seeing and imagining picture the Sphinx and Those who could not visit Egypt themselves had t< Voiage and Travaile o f Sir John Maundemle pyramids. mosaic in St Mark’s them otherwise. The renowned depend on their imaginations. was tures they had all too briefly beheld. keted com modity for 400 years. which included mummies. an idea first suggested by the 5th-century deal of ground and seen many things. M andeville’s Voiage w hat was fam iliar to them as by the exotic stru cathedral. he illustrated it as a classical One of the domes of St M ark’s in Venice has a 12th. in the Near East. of these illustrations could not have been based on bust. still potent today.and 16th-century voyagers wh projecting from the sands. T his m ust have had to rely on m emory when the. pu huge double-door entrances. for instance. A case in point 1 7th-century Jesuit scholar and polymath Athanasius Around the time that Abe! al-Latif recorded his A thanasius Kircher (1602-80). The First European Discovery ness of Rome w as that of Greece. that they be the garners of Joseph. these writer- Oedipus legend. for all the com of Saqqara were a m ajor attraction. It was known that behind the g re a t­ the pyram ids contain some mystic significanc 42 . considered by son:- Kircher. that were sometime. astound when w riting their travel memoirs. and their vision of the monu depicted as granaries in a though direct observation should have convinced m ents would have been conditioned as much b. It is clear that mar. Travel became safer whe- E g y p t came under Turkish rule in 1517 and Suite: Selim I confirmed protection for French traders an pilgrims. So w'hen the concocted in the 14th century by a certain Jean drew the pyram ids. but that is not true.. the ‘mum my pit' never been to Egypt. A thriving trade in antiquities grew. with the rounded breasts century mosaic of the pyram ids as Joseph’s g ra ­ sketches made at the site. drew experiences. who had never made the journey. imagination was the only mon rumour and speech is of all the people there. We also have to w onder about the illustrations < Kirch£r had read that the Sphinx was a large bust some of the 15th.' T he Renaissance saw renewed interest in the Kircher promoted the idea. The invention of the printing press m th- mid-15th century allowed the details and images of such travellers’ voyages to the pyram ids to be mor widely disseminated. T hese had already been a mar (Above) For those who had ‘And some men say that they be sepultures of great lords. Travellers eventually became ‘antiquaries’ w b in the 16th century. A trickle of pilgrim s soon became lished in 1674. pyramid as a mausoleum. (Above right) Tlte pyramids image w as repeated by many early visitors. even recorded their travels. they based their im ages o: d ’Outremeuse. including Egypt. a d Latin w riters Julius Honorius and Rufinus. Venice. H aving covered a gr&- o f the female Sphinx o f the naries. more fam iliar steeply angled classical monument. W ith the trave reports came the realization that behind the grea' ness of Greece lay th a t of the Near E astern civiliza tions. reflect his ability to conceptualize no doubt since he saw the a stream of travellers who wished to amaze and rath er th an to depict accurately. (quoted above). so Telling tales did m ake their w ay to Egypt. began to retrieve artifacts and ancient m anuscripts for the grow ing num ber o! E uropean collectors and for libraries and mus- urns. T he draw ings of the the pyramids in 1674 with Europe with intriguing tales of w hat they had seen pyram ids and Sphinx in his T u rn s Babel.

Again. Pierre Belon observed that Pyram id ‘so th a t a man could stand upright in it’. Those who entered next brought a new Egyptian kings.sented the Sphinx as a harlot. while Boullaye-le-Gouz’s Sphinx is that the Sphinx began to be faithfully rendered. the granaries of Joseph. by Isis. nns tended to ■t nt the pyramids in that reflected their own idrs and cultural values. wrote in 1591 th at the viceroy of Egypt. as reported by al-Latif (p. rs after visiting Giza. closer to the Sphinx’s actual appearance than :: d monster with a grassy dog collar. s travelogue of a secret passage by which the Bruyn. 1647 1650 1579 de Monconys 1556 Boullaye-le-Gouz 1743 Helferich Thevet Pococke 1755 77l e Image of the Sphinx through the Centuries Norden k Europeans some time to focus accurately on once again a European with rounded hairdo and . Frederick Nordens . tells illustration. Dutertre 43 .hird Giza pyram id w as in perfect condition. such mids at Giza were not ‘m ade in degrees’. seven the protruding and weathered layers of the neck). his rendering has over Thevet’s is that the hair nose more or less complete.. shows the nose once more complete. gentleman gesturing with his left arm under the r. except the rich. stepped cores were not in 1610 and shows the poet and traveller George Sandys . published in 1556. nor were they •. The Sphinx of Casas. In Andre Thevet’s bulky collar (perhaps the way travellers remembered -ographie de Levant. peans to attem pt an accurate m easurem ent of the pyramids. Did this Relation of a Journey Begun George Sandys who visited the pyram ids in m ean th a t their inner. it seems as if Pococke extracted his cxn t priests could enter the Sphinx and pretend Sphinx bust from de Bruyn’s drawing. as T his m ust indicate a widening of the passage of al. though painted slightly ■. Sandys agreed with Marly travelogues also contain am biguous hints pyram ids. depiction is more accurate and includes the broken orge Sandys stated flatly that the Egyptians nose. down to the . Helferich's Sphinx is a The angles o f the ta rc often inaccurate impossibly steep. such as Dutertre. some of the early visitors. accepted the idea that the pyram ids were the exposed? Prosper Alpinus. The only Sphinx’s headdress. the author related that the All these authors render the Sphinx with its nose ::iix was ‘the head of a colossus. the classical authors that the i at when the pyram ids were stripped of their Ibrahim Pasha. though it had been missing for centuries. Johannes anything previously published. enlarged the entrance to the G reat pyramids were not built by -r casing. ‘Bau der Pyramide’. then so beloved Richard Pococke’s illustration in his Travels is : . another much-quoted visitor to Giza. <)thman in 1196.its voice. He such fanciful notions about the pyram ids je a n Chesneau mentioned that the other two p y ra ­ This woodcut (above) is from • still current. Balthasar de later. It was with '! neonys interprets the headdress of the Sphinx as artists of Napoleon’s Expedition. caused to be complete. daughter of Inachus. Indeed. Hebrew slaves.d'breasted woman with straight hair. r than as they actually .niter’.m age of the Sphinx. tjests the flaring lappets of the headdress. In 1546. but were in fact the tombs of • had just been built. He pictures it as a very European curly. both drawings render the . one of the first Euro­ and his party visiting the Giza :bs of kings. 1822 : d of hairnet. 41)? approach to the study of the pyramids. But w hat about the attack M amun. by Cornelius de .

givir. . Davison’s Chamber is tin lowest o f five stress- relieving chambers abon the King’s Chamber and was reached through a breach in the top o f tin wall at the upper end of the Grand Gallery. De Maillet’s 1735 to its present condition. O b fc r v . first reviewed the ex ist­ worked out its slope as 26 degrees. Professor of Astronomy at casing. D E S CR I P T I ON O F T H E of the Giza pyram ids having been built by biblical the dim ensions and position of the sarcophagi> figures or legendary kings. tions th at the casing stones remained only at t: section with details more top. In 1765. He calculated that the G reat Pyram id had a p erpen­ casing rem ains only on the upper third of the s t P r in te d fo r G eo r g e B z d g e r . The four chambers above were then still to be discovered. Greaves counted th The First. m ents of K hufu’s pyram id with the best available the su rface w as sm ooth and even and free instrum ents and a rigorously scientific approach. the body because of an ancient Egyptian convic­ destruction was added when Greaves w rote that.1692. he concluded that these m onum ents were east of the pyram id that hinted at the existence I N /EGYPT. Following the D escending Passage. He also called for a survey to produce an acc accurate than Greaves’s (centre). H Discovery reports about the Great Pyram id of Giza. tion that this would ensure the endurance of the while the stones of Khafre’s pyram id were n o t . London. the Ascending Passage. soul. He marvelled : Pyramidographia • ing literature and then went to E gypt to study the the A ntecham ber with its portcullis slab and th- OB. B c l l o a lib . Greaves set out to produce detailed m easure­ large or as regularly laid as in the G reat Pyrami rcm . open The scholars enter since the pyram id had been stripped of its ouu John Greaves (1602-52). T r Ascending Passage is not in lengths and proportions of the A scending Passat: * correct proportion and the and G rand Gallery are nearly correct.a plan to be executed a centur are too tall and steep. inequalities or breaches. ca p . because de Maillet me: publication includes a cross. the second pyram id m ust have been stripp chambers. as are the d: Descending Passage ends ferent p arts of the well shaft. \ of all known passages and .. European ideas of the 17th century came the first scientific step s (207 or 208) as he climbed the pyramid.615 sq. during w hich peri' Greaves’s Pyramidographia he visited K hufu’s pyram id over forty times. Breach The full plan and precise dimensions of the interior o f Khufu’s pyramid were only revealed over time (seen here in Borchardt’s profile of 1922). H of 1646 included the first plan and section of the superstructure are n o t . A pyram ids for himself. although the rate m ap and docum entation of all the ancit' proportions o f his pyramid Egyptian sites . He dism issed all the accounts sm ooth granite walls of the K ing’s Chamber. measured cross-section o f the pyramid and its internal good as those of Greaves. Chephren (Khafre) and the m ortuary temple. The Descending Pa- abruptly at the pyramid base. ft (44. a slope height of 693 ft (211 m) and a base of Benoit de Maillet was the French Consul-Genen in E g y p t from 1692 until 1708.249 sq. sage w as still unknow n beyond its juncture wi' for it had yet to be cleared to the Subterranean Chamber. an d a r c t o b c fo k J 3t h i s f h o p in S c D u n jl s n s C h u r c h y a r d in F Ie c r -£ r c e c dicular height of 499 ft (152 m. B y l o H N G r e a v e s . 46). ar. P rofeffor M ycerinus (Menkaure). From the classical T his early scholar even noted the basalt paveme: PYRAMIDS sources. tall). except on the south. erected by Cheops (Khufu). hr the University of Oxford. Tod.5 m oncl pyramid. described climbing a m ound of rubbish to the orig­ inal entrance. He also gave the dimensions Between 1639. a .&fttpcri/xm . Ro-mmvruin fabric* & A tttq u j tfrr* [cum vertiA id dittum f i t ) nihil 4CcednTtt PjramidMm ftlendft. in the 16th course of masonry. The passages and cham bers is more accurate. it is in fact 146. as tom bs for the security of A nother clue in the m urky history of pyranr o f A ftr o n o m y in th e U n iv c r f ir y o f O x f o r d . 4 2. Davison Grand entered the lowest o f the five Gallery stress-relieving chambers built Davison's King’s directly over the King’s Chamber Chamber Chamber. m). later by the Napoleonic Expedition (p. but his draw ing of t: passages (left). In the midst of the quirky illustrations and odd 480. when Greaves was a t Giza.

and explore Egypt. It w as to take more than 50 ner of K hafre’s pyram ids the bedrock is left in the years to discover a link between the two choked cores of the pyram ids. {■rom travellers to antiquaries N orden’s Travels. Travel. The Norden s profile and full-face Foremost am ong the 18th-century antiquaries G erm an orientalist K arsten N iebuhr had searched drawings o f the Sphinx show are the Englishm an Richard Pococke and the Dane for it in vain. blocks that roofed the King’s Chamber below.i) long. and followed it into the darkness for 130 assertion of another 18th-century traveller. Since N iebuhr weathered outlines that are nap of Giza is extremely schem atic and his profile describes the cham ber as being directly above the essentially correct.2 m) where the well. passages (p. Built under Saladin granite beam s smoothed on the undersides. showing the ruins : . the G reat Pyram id is borrow ed from de Maillet. 45 .755. the Bent Pyramid of k and the mudbrick that remains o f the f Amenemhet III. Its floor consisted of the sam e nine granite roundation that ru n s to the east from the pyramid. it seem s .3 m) in diam eter and spaced enter the cham ber that would henceforth carry his . built of stone. however. both in Egypt in 1737.6 m). recent rains es ran w estw ard and then south tow ards the p y ra ­ had washed aw ay some of the sand and debris mid plateau. Pococke’s a French m erchant named M eynard. He remove the sand will find the solid rock there hewn descended from the bottom of the G rand Gallery to into step s’. when we realize that although in Davison’s Chamber the surfaces were Pococke w as describing the arches in the floodplain unfinished. 1808) is credited with being the first to as the causeways of Khufu : nted 20 of the major pyram ids. the arch­ W hen Davison entered the pyram id. and came to E gypt not only to describe w hat his profession as an artist and naval m arine archi­ from his Travels published m 1755. ■rom blocks taken from the Giza pyram id. no doubt owing to Sphinx and pyramids o f Giza’ . ■Dahshur. and reinforced by 61 circu­ son alone crawled through dirt and bat dung to lar buttresses. w as northeast corner of K hufu’s and the northw est cor­ closed off with 30 ft (9 m). 24 complete and Menkaure. The enigm a clears. of the mortuary temples of : :iquary w as the Jesuit Claude Sicard. where he encountered debris that sealed Jam es Bruce: ‘anyone who will take the pains to it off. too. although D avi­ :. This in no way fits the causeway name. He docu. choking the Descending Passage. tect. K ing’s Chamber. Davison (d. He saw that the Pococke’s idea that the pyram ids were m ade by passage sloped aw ay into the bedrock beneath the encasing natural m ounds of rock calls to mind the pyram id. Norden produced the saw but also to make accurate records. m arks a Norden’s drawing o f ‘The “hr mghout the 18th century travellers took up the great advance in documentation. •( mples and over 50 decorated tombs. as well r :d m Egypt betw een 1707 and 1726. published in 1. Unlike most enter the lowest of five stress-relieving cham bers other illustrators o f the time. ascription supposedly of K hufu’s causeway. One in Nubia. 48). who trav. li* report is curious in other w ays and includes a th at someone m ust have entered before Davison. 1. Sent by King Christian VI of Denmark to first good map of the Giza . above the King’s Chamber in K hufu’s pyram id. apparently after hearing about it from the break o f the nose and riderik Norden. Davison also investigated the well shaft.000 yds (914 entered the pyram id on 8 July 1765. and fashioned into steps. albeit of a lower height. He Davison w as accompanied by M eynard when he inscribes it as being 20 ft (7 m) wide. the Scot ft (39. iuded the ancient sites and monuments. The English diplomat and traveller Nathaniel Khafre and Menkaure. Norden travelled all the way to Derr pyramids. T he cham ber w as roofed by eight large north of K hufu’s pyram id. :es evolved into geographical catalogues. 14 ft (4. Bruce m ust have noticed that a t the a depth of 155 ft (47.

Travels in Upper and Lower Egypt includes the remains o f the Egypt... possibly destroyed as A m ajor threshold in the study of ancient E gypt them for ten months. Napoleon B onaparte to E gypt in 1798. m appir * trade w ith India. Kingdom. through contem porary Egypt. in early August. France’s rev­ destroyed their fleet in A bukir Bay. Over 150 n : • personnel were assem bled as the Comm:- A rts and Sciences. collecting artifacts and specimens. archaeologists. M< only learned of their final intended destinati * after the fleet had passed Malta. where Napoleon’s General Desaix pursuv casing. One could not have hi >r better team to docum ent the sites and i t * of ancient Egypt . and Sciences and m ilitary and adm inistrative off: however. proclaiming.just before the major ( of plunder and destruction that would begi: heels of the Expedition. the Englis. W hen Napole ' m et the Mameluke arm y at Imbaba. England. and recording individual m onum ents. and thereby short-circuit England’s Egypt. m athem aticians. con: their forem ost enemy. their he is reputed to have pointed to the distant pyr o f the Napoleonic expedition. ‘Soldiers. seemingly rises from the begins to measure by a known scale these gigantic productions of art. but a revival. were the rulir. ’ The M amelukes were easily defeated in this ‘B. artists and printers.: and m ining engineers. T h e m ilitary cam paign would ulti: but the reconnaissance of an ancient stan d s as the real achievem ent of the exp* • Napoleons Wise Men Bringing Egypt to Europe Napoleon ordered leading French > assem ble a team of savants and survey CG^$^3jnDGCDnCEEEShiCE23kZi$3uSZXZ£Dn survey of all E gypt that de Maillet had - and which Norden began. French enlightenm ent. Over the three years that the French remaitu­ Egypt. by the draughtsmen ‘On approaching these colossal monuments. T his w as not to be ju st a military and tion system s. descended from Georgian and A rnx ian slaves w ho were trained as a m ilitary elite. O pposing Bonaparte. 46 . This rubble. dredge the canal linking the Red Sea and the rn Egypt. Rather than posed of the savants of the Commission on Al­ attem pt a full-scale invasion across the channel. political conquest. chenr. There were su rv ey o rs. Napoleon decided to take control of rials. arc tects. . angular and inclined form diminishes the appearance of m ids of Giza. they recover all their immensity.. T he French took over Cair long ago as the New w as crossed with the g reat expedition led by but shortly thereafter.* Mamelukes. Fi hundred years earlier they had taken Egypt t r themselves.but as soon as he look down upon you from these pyram ids’. botanists and astronom ers. of an ancient sea’ edge. mound o f rubble that surrounds it. and the flora. forty centurn the pyramid of Meidum their height and deceives the eye. fauna and culture Description de 1’Egypte. however. and scattered into U ppc Vivant Denon. heavily taxing the native Egyptiar with whom they had little affinity. T he strandec olutionary governm ent w anted to strike a blow at expedition gave birth to the Institut d ’Egypte. tie of the P yram ids’. docum enting archaeologies A panoramic and picturesque view o f the pyramid field o f dents of A lexander’s and C aesar’s Egyptian enter­ sites. irrig Saqqara. Napoleon had in mind the prece­ the entire country. from the prises. commission m em bers spread throughoi M editerranean. after he marched aero- the desert to seize Cairo. There were also students from the m ilitary engineering school and recer g rad u ates of the civil engineering school. west of Cair Depicted.

by threat. views of many of the pyram ids. forty centuries look t<>ryand a topographical map. and the architect J. T he views of the ‘Soldiers.F Jom ard and engineer and artist Cecile the picture. NWMMeuejeniSi? ■French scholars had to forfeit much of their w as required to hold the entire s e t Instead. It is ironic that w ith the m assive French effort rhe Description w as a w indow for Europe into at accurate docum entation began the era of ■■i years of ancient E gyptian civilization. it w as hardly som ething that every family tion that was a hallm ark of Egyptian archaeology :. The next step in scientific pyramids’ The message on r of antiquities plates in 1822). Lepere undertook a detailed Napoleon himself is on •: in Paris. it was the 1798.w as only illustrations. natural height of each course of stones. during reduced popular account of the Expedition and the 1806painting o f The Battle implications of the com m ission’s departure m onum ents of Egypt was out by 1802. itself a veritable monum ent.appeared between 1809 and 1818 (the final vol. ription required 837 copper engravings for m aps of the Giza Plateau and Sphinx .large true-to-scale contoured this bronze medal. the command o f Napoleon. 47 . Coutelle and •loped by Nicolas Jacques Conte which resulted Lepere began to dism antle Pyram id GIII-c. Entitled of the Pyramids. In 1801. Those on antiqui. including the famed Rosetta Stone. in < estim ated th at the m achine could complete the hope of finding an undisturbed burial. Voyage dans la Basse et la Haute Egypte. French troops under managed to keep hold of a good deal of their work of Vivant Denon. including the — covered antiquities. rial and carry it to France. modern Egypt. rk of this magnitude. Sphinx and pyram ids they produced are im pres­ down upon you from these .a complete custom -designed cabinet and pyram id exploration in the 19th century. the •productions of an exceptionally high small consideration with a upper north quarter of the pyramid. however. T he principal re-m easured the superstructure. sionistic but accurate. w esternm ost queen's pyram id of M enkaure. . non-system atic excava­ rss. An engraving m achine w as achieved in the late 1970s. Colonel Coutelle The three Giza Pyramids can le fruits of labour be seen in the background. Never. v/j/t. They :ree days work that would have taken an artist abandoned their efforts after rem oving the months by hand . a Louis Francois Lejeune’s rial.d afford . In this decisive encounter o f 21 fuly : Egypt along with the French retreat in 1801. T he complete graphic im aging . defeated the Mameluke rulers _ to throw it in the sea or b u rn it rather than Napoleon’s men at the pyramids of Egypt and drove them " over to the British. The artists of the commission created precise from their Cairo power base. plunder and destructive. the material w as gathered together study of the interior of Khufu’s pyram id while the horseback at the far right of •he series of volum es nam ed the Description de surveyor E.M.

he found an remained a battleground for Anglo-French rivalry. may have been entered six to ing the post in 1820. Breatb m g difficulties halted him. an Italian-born diplomat who secrets. one a quarto and the other a folio with 44 colour plates. Drovetti’s treasures include the > lection that form s the foundation of the Egypt Belzoni and Caviglia M useum m Turin. later proved to be those of interests. . Caviglia th a drawing by M. temples. French efforts were led by Bernardino cham bers w ithm the G reat Pyram id held my. Narrative Genoa. In 1816 Henry Salt was Caviglia explored D avison’s Chamber in eight centuries earlier. and elsewhere. in spite of attempt. They shared first n a m e s: I certainly considered myself in the centre of that pyra­ a passion for the antiquities of the Nile. the setting also some of E gyptology’s m ost rem arkable character ‘I reached the door at the centre of a large chamber. he descend-- a bull." (Below right) A lithograph of clear the air by b u rn in g sulphur. to pyramid studies was his opening o f the unknown ancient and modern. born 2 upper entrance of Khafre’s Giovanni Belzoni.' attended this opening. The rivalry between Drovetti and S found fertile ground at Giza. He was French pyram ids and tom bs of Giza and he w as the firs- suggests that the pyramid Consul-General in Egypt from 1802 to 1814. Both men into the vertical shaft known as the ‘well’. From 1816 to 1819 he therefore explored King Alii Mohammed’ This had fought with Napoleon’s forces. He had been trained as an artist and tra v ­ b u t found instead solid rock. has opened them. and the Drovetti (1776-1852). After clearance allowed him to p ass about 61 appeared as the frontispiece m (200 it). His ovsi master Mohammed Ahmed. spent his early life sailing a m erchant s : pyramid (below) at Giza in around the M editerranean. When he reached the Even after the departure of Napoleon’s fleet. Gauci shows decided to work' down through the Descending P Belzoni in Turkish dress. and sage. One of S alt’s best-know n fin d ' the colossal head of Rarnesses II. to be Egyptology. tombs. obtaining funds for furt. ‘the But the ‘cam paign’ now took the form of a bitter al European collectors to find objects. elled extensively in the East and Egypt. both were also possessed of adventurous. quarryman. This important book appeared in found an opening to the ‘well’. Whatever it might be. fearless s. The book appeared in two volumes. and 1> " Belzoni s main contribution mid. and then stood still to In the late 18th century Italy produced two unlikeh contemplate the place where I was. I The sailor and the strongman walked slowly two or three paces. financed excavations and am assed collects w hich they then sold. 45) hoping to find a secret ro m. other excavations in Egypt and Nubia. In 1817. Bones found in the sarcophagus appointed Consul-General representing British G reat Pyram id (p. But this uneduca: 1818. he smelled sulphur and realized he had to his Narrative. Egypt tem peram ental seam an’s real vocation turned burial chamber. work in Egypt. competition to see who could obtain the best an tiq ­ obsessive interest in religion led to a conviction tha and the Master Othman uities.’ its. regain­ carry out major excavation on the Giza Plateau. T hus Caviglia w » December 1820 and was the able to dem onstrate that the well w as probably j record of Belzoni’s work at shaft linked to the Descending P assage for the pyramids. Giovanni B attista Caviglia (1770-1845). heroes of Egyptology. Caviglia w as employed by sever Arabic inscription. which from time immemorial had been the subject of the obscure conjectures of many hundred travellers. now in the Brit: Museum.

explored the G reat Pyramid . Its fine g ranite lid lay in major exterior project. The consul suggested th at he work vith Caviglia. Belzoni New Kingdom to Roman ailing em inently suited to the great strength of had a team w orking at the third Giza pyram id. mid. contact in M alta directed him to the E gyptian who would use gunpow der to blast his way into to the Sphinx. he . study of the Giza pyram ids w as opening the previ­ Caviglia also found fragm ents of the beard of the ously unknown upper entrance of K hafre’s py ra­ Sphinx. and found an open- revealed that th e chamber had already been air chapel between the . In Sphinx. but his greatest contribution to the •repaws. In 1816 Belzoni began collecting bjects for Salt. but collaboration w ith a rival did not ppeal . In the course of this work. it w as Howard Vyse the last sacrificial fire burned . chapel still had the ashes o f the direction of the entrance. finally. probably in the 13th century. with the fam ous Stela of T hutm ose IV.a t one point having Henry Salt later paid Caviglia to excavate the to be extricated from a passage in which he became Sphinx. Caviglia also found the After his arrival in Egypt. forepaws. But times worshipped the colossal •his giant of a man. after one false The prom ising career of this dedicated. In 1814. Sarah. this the outer gateway o f the A lthough Belzoni’s instincts were leading him in 'im e accompanied by his Irish wife. a disagreem ent with Salt put an end to this work. capitalize on his knowledge of hydraulics. after alm ost a month. finished S ubterranean Chamber. one piece is now in the British Museum. eventu. he even took offence when Cav- glia’s clearance of the Sphinx w as m istakenly credited to him in an 1818 British publication. 835 (p. An Arabic inscription on the wall mk. He also visited the pyram ids of Saqqara small open-air chapel between the m onum ents and Dahshur. He then made his w ay through the cxed when the Italian spent all his time looking The first major excavation upper passage to the horizontal passage. and Caviglia.•centric man. Belzoni’s rest.a W hile exploring Khafre’s monument. Some say he planned to become a cleared the front o f the Great two pieces. who w as rum oured to be ith Colonel Howard Vyse who came to Egypt in about to blast the pyramid open using dynam ite. altar at -ss nature soon saw him on his travels again. the Italian found wedged. in an ill-starred attem pt to M enkaure’s pyram id 19 years later. to the true entrance. where >r 'm um m y pits’ instead. Vyse had employed Caviglia to assist He hired local villagers to clear the rubble blocking . whose commission i Paris where he became a protege of Lord Elgin. assage had been sealed. Fate wrought him into the circle of E uropeans interested n antiquities. The. Roman tim.ny event he spent several years travelling. Belzoni w as anxious to n'king am ateur ended after a brief collaboration enter before Drovetti. Any hopes of finding an intact b u r­ monuments at will with his ■ni (1778-1823). born in Padua. where rulers from dly becoming a circus strongm an in London . cham ber itself. ■ncient workmen to escape after the Ascending Belzoni and Giza . Belzoni w ent to Giza and Belzoni and Caviglia r. bedrock statue. Half-facts abound ial cham ber were soon dashed by the sight of the excavation workers. Meticulous observation led him. 2 m (6 ft 6 in) tall. In 1837. hard. fact. 50). In his >ut the life and exploits of this am bitious and half-open sarcophagus. and it seem s that he studied hydraulics. . probably m late >urt of M ohammed in his explorations of the pyram ids and was the Caviglia settled on the Giza Plateau was by with g reat effort he raised a portcullis slab. he reached the b u n al allowed him to roam the The second Italian was Giovanni B attista Bel. start.

Great Pyramid. Operating Digging by Dynamite Richard William Howard Vyse (1784-1853) was i English arm y officer who first visited E gyp- 1835. mid from the upper entrance and suspected existence of the lower entrance when he saw : descending passage. Work went on night day. 99. Saqqara and D ahshur . A nother contributor to Vyse’s publication the Sinologist and E gyptologist Samuel B ird the British Museum. Belzoni had entered the p. The Pyramid. moted to Colonel. Excavation by force Interior. At Giza. Excavation for base at north-eastern angle. Third Pyramid. Vyse cleared the lowrer entrance of pyram id of Khafre by blasting apart the gra Bridge in the southern dyke. leaving new assistant to carry on the w ork with his fir When the cavity created in the cial backing. Vyse. with shifts of w orkers on several sites at oi k.813-69) w ith the a of exploring and docum enting the pyram Sku Together they established a cam p m the tomb- the eastern cliff at Giza. tions th at the team w as finding in and on ’ Excavation on southern front. closed w ith debris. ’ R. indeed an un Lower Entrance. Carried on at the Pyramids o f Gizeh in 1837. Opposite his view of Menkau- queens’ pyram ids. Vyse reproduced Perring’s draw ings hole but also a large chunk of sm aller scale in his own three-part Operations L u r ­ the Sphinx’s headdress with ried on a t the Pyramids o f Gizeh in 1837. and in 1837. He notes that the Maltese. Vyse wrote of the middle p. despite h Northern Air-channel proved impossible and that the boring of the Sphinx had reached a depth so evident adm iration for the monum ents. Abusir.. Vyse A lthough Perring and Vyse carried out valu. dynam ite. 66. Like many of his time. decipherm ent of hieroglyphs. using boring rods in the search for hidden ch unlike his English assistant who spent every night bers or blasting his way through obstacles v for five months in Menkaure’s pyramid. plugs th at blocked it. but Birch was able to supply nott- the text and give a rough translation of the ins. Sphinx. however.from Abu Roasl I gunpowder was cleared in Giza. Perring drew maps. his interest in d pyram ids stem m ed from strongly held religial y beliefs.. Work. fr One day’s work from Howard Vyse’s Operations inside the pyram id.that he i 1978 under the direction of Zahi Hawass. (left) records that on this day the clearing of the docum entation of the pyram ids. Howard Vyse and J. He met Caviglia in Alexandria in 1836 began excavating with him at Giza the sam e y Vyse soon found the Genoese m ariner unproc t tive. Northern Air-channe).95 m). : contain not only Vise’s drill Gizeh. Pernng. he began a collaboration with " r engineer John Shae Perring (1. 50 . m astaba tom bs th a t surround the Giza pyram 24 February 1837 King’s Chamber Birch’s crude transcriptions of the glyphic w Davison’s Chamber include their Coptic equivalents. Confident in P erring’s ability and tru s tw o rth y - Vyse returned to England later in 1837. it was found to lished in three folio volumes. 'Towards the end of this work gunpowder was used w iAAAAA great effect. Coptic had been read. had i far of 9 ft 8 in (2. W ritten lar. long before E gyptian hieroglyphs. w ith the Greek alphabet. qualm s about dism antling p a rts of the pyran: Turks and Arabs were afraid to go out at night . Quarries. its relief-carved pleating. Second Pyramid. Boring. Vyse investigated the p. standing of Coptic w as invaluable in Cham polb - Excavation for base at north-western angle. the year Vyse w as . Children. plans and pr< back o f the Sphinx by Vyse's of many of the pyram ids . 1 rmds a mere 15 years after the brilliant decip r m ent of E gyptian hieroglyphs by Jean Fran All in a Day’s Reis. Champollion. 7 Men..

confirm ing the ancient sources th at the central axis of the pyramid Vyse tu rn ed his tunnel bird Giza pyram id w as the tom b of that king.ddition to the passage to the subterranean burial The pyramid of Menkaure hamber. Eventually Vyse located the entrance. looking north).’ c'litre of the superstructure without finding an . Vyse ordered his men to drill straig h t pyram id every time a new blast took place. dow nw ards and forced it to the base of the p y ra­ W ondering if a cham ber existed in the body of mid.Tiber Chamber blasted by Vyse Lady Arbuthnot’s Chamber Nelson’s Chamber Nelson’s Chamber Wellington’s Chamber Wellington’s Chamber Davison’s Chamber Sarcophagus 51 . The other chambers were named after prominent people (sections below: left. beginning from the chasm -he roof of the burial cham ber is the nam e of that Saladin’s son had made in . ‘being unwilling to removing the stones from the top of it.’ Vyse ploughed straight through the left in it. right. which contained a granite sarcophagus Vyse also burrow ed straig h t into the core of the ding a young female from the top of the back. obell’s Campbell’s Passage ’.2 m (27 ft).mid (GHI-b) that it ‘w as prepared for boring by he said.a d 1196. requiring his workers to come up out of the •be Sphinx. But he . It contained graffiti which included the name of the pharaoh Khufu (right). W ritten in red on pyram id of M enkaure. rdered the use of gunpow der to free the rod. topmost o f the five stress- relieving chambers of Khufu s pyramid. was reached after Vyse dynamited upward from Davison’s Chamber. instructed his men to clear it and. the excavation Digging by Dynamite find the sepulchral cham ber by penetrating w as given up and several feet of boring rods were hrough it. as J expected disfigure this venerable monument. rather contradictorily. Ju st off the Menkaure. When his boring found no new passages or cham bers in the su per­ >ds became stuck at a depth of 8. Vyse structure. looking ivest. having paid Campbell's Chamber (left). but.

The middle pared m any of the plans and sections illustrating p o rt to England. from which Perring and born of the sky. 1 pyramid. W ith g reat diff I three queens’pyramids in the cham ber with the artist Edw ard A ndrew s who pre­ ty Vyse’s men removed the sarcophagus for tr a foreground. fact that Perring so accurately mid. ■ without reaching the burial reburial and may relate to an inscription on tkfl chamber as he expected. son of Harnesses II. Pieces of the lid on the front of the coffin identifies its o c c u p a r J were found in the bedrock-hewn ‘U pper A partm ent’ the ‘Osiris [deceased] M enkaure. the style of the coffin show s that it • Perring’s detailed plan and Saite (26th-dynasty) date. but like the westernmost of the three Khafre’s pyram id. 52 . who carried archaeological excavation in lot of restoration work a t Giza. given life for above the burial chamber. the sky goddess Nut above yen Curiously. The pyramid of Khufu Vyse initially directed his dynam ite operation' the pyram id of K hufu to its south side. facts. As with Belzoni in M editerranean during a storm . Vyse removed stones coffin and bones are now m the British Museum from the top o f the middle T his apparent ‘burial’ of M enkaure some 2. the Arabic graffiti on the w alls transporting it. m ade his way into the interior and the burial Vyse were able to reconstruct it. with its them. In the granite-lined burial cham ber they found the excavators also found hum an bones. These myster: _"l Egypt.“ 1 o f limestone. An inscripti and the sarcophagus lay empty. m onth and day called ‘excavations in the M enkaure was buried in the pyram id. Vyse saw no harm in what he (unfortunately damaged). in fact. hint th at the history of the py-< m ids is not alw ays as straightforw ard Egyptologists may think.Menkaure s pyramid. linen w aj original stone sarcophagus but the lid was m issing pings. where thought he m ight blast open a second entrance about the sam e level as the northern entrance. and radiocarbon ana profile o f the middle queen’s of the bones points to the Christian period. the Beatrice. One theor acknowledge that this may be that the inscription may date to the time the beginning o f documenting Khaemwaset. like the bones of a bull found in the s a ra r g us of Khafre. Diodorus Siculus had noted this inscripti mapped his intrusion through but it w as only found in 1968 when debris the 4. W ith the fragm ents of the sarcophagus lid d have been cased. and p arts of a wooden coffin. but it sank to the bottom of I pyramid (Glll-b) was built the w orks of Vyse and Perring. It gives the . along w ith the .600.year-old monument indicates that cleared from the pyram id’s base. n pyramid and forced his way down through the centre o f it years after he lived and died m ust. and st. I pyramids ’ We should at least th at the king w as given a rich burial. pyramids it appears not to immediately declared that they had been preceded. The granite casing just below the entrance to the BAS E ON ROCK «02-£.

such as graffiti in red paint have since been found in other ‘K hnum -K huf (‘the creator god Khnum protects Old Kingdom pyram ids. however. Perring’s cross-section of Menkaure’s pyramid (left) is a meticulous record o f his excavation of the site. hoping to find a com­ munication with the southern air channel that would lead him to a secret room. When clearing the chamber before the burial chamber (below). Along with workm en sealed it until Vyse blasted his w ay in. Khufu. He found the true entrance and reached the vaulted burial chamber. over three and a half months. Within its red granite walls was the royal sarcophagus. The single instance of the king’s name as simply and Colonel Campbell. levelling lines. 53 . He there­ fore directed his dynam iting straig h t upw ard. Vyse’s gunpow der-blasting archaeology did make one highly notable discovery in the G reat Pyramid. the British Consul in Cairo. made of basalt and in typical Old Kingdom palace faqade style. They have. W orkers’ ed with one form of K hufu’s name. Vyse did. Admiral Nelson. is ju s t as significant as the am azing architecture of found on the south ceiling tow ards the west end of the Relieving Cham bers w as Vyse’s discovery of the topm ost cham ber (Campbell’s Chamber). One of the gangs m ight have been called blocks so that the weight of the pyram id did not som ething like.600 years ago. a leagues: the Duke of Wellington. who visited the pyram id just 4. under whom he fail' num ber of visitors have followed Vyse since had served. Caviglia had begun to dynam ite his way along the south side of the stress-relieving cham ber that Davison found in 1765. After falling out with Caviglia. uncover some of the original polished casing blocks of the pyram id. Excavating down to the bedrock. axis m arkers and directional nota­ the g an g nam es clinch the attribution of this p y ra­ tions were the nam es of the w orkgangs com pound­ mid to the 4th-dynasty pharaoh. temples and m astabas. Since num erous graffiti in red paint dating from the time nobody had entered this from the time Khufu’s the pyram id w as being constructed. together with a pave­ ment that extended out from the base. the 1837 opening. he discovered human remains and a fragment o f coffin lid. with Menkaure’s name. but in a style not in use until many centuries after his death. floored and walled with granite except for the topmost. ‘K hufu’. all roofed. unfortunately. gave up only after creating a large hole in the core masonry. Vyse came to suspect that there was another cham ber directly above Davison’s since he could th ru st a yard-long reed through a crack and up into a cavity a t its northeastern corner. hero of Trafalgar. whereupon he found. ‘how powerful is the g reat W hite press down on the cham bers below. Vyse named Crown of Khnum-Khuf!’ In spite of the extrem e dif­ these cham bers after im portant friends and col­ ficulty of getting up into the Relieving Chambers. which w as gabled w ith limestone him ’). the four additional stress-relieving cham bers. freely Lady Ann A rbuthnot. wife of Lieutenant-General added their graffiti to that left by the w orkgangs Sir Robert A rbuthnot. again as part of a w orkgang name. after the discovery of the cham ber on 9 May 1837.

Discoveries in Egypt ed his ‘accretion theory’. As well as the Denkmaler. T his vast complex was. the Denkmaler. As leader he appointed Lep­ sius. the n orth face of the pyram id but failed to find an because we may expect to discover the entrance there. were indeed enlarged ov Karl Richard Lepsius (1810-84) w as a formidable the course of successive building stages. the m ortuary temple of the 12ti dynasty ruler A m enem het III . Their three highly productive years were characterized by careful.the largest of a’ m ortuary temples . in fact. he not only studied the E gyptian language. In the 1830s he p u b ­ ■SW Karl Richard Lepsius (above) lished several papers on hieroglyphs. between 1897 and 1913. entrance. It seerr. Lepsius formula: Karl Richard Lepsius. O thers have since questioned this and the ing the legacy of ancient E gypt gradually took theory is now discredited. meticulous recording of detail and out standing finds. Five volumes of text Lepsius’s map of the pyramid were prepared from his notes and appeared field o f Saqqara (detail right. recording details of artifacts and copying inscrip­ tions. the team excavated a t H aw ara the Fayum.which lay adjacent to his pyn. as opposed to one study Egyptology in Paris. but also the practical skills of lithography and cop­ perplate engraving. and published after his death. Lepsii> also published a personal account. at the so-called Labyrinth. disciplined scholarship and the recog­ a pyram id w as dictated by the length of reign of t: - nition of the im portance of preserving and record­ builder. mid. Subsequent research h. containing 894 folio plates of Meidum shown above. In preparation. the for m er regarded it as a w onder of the world even g reater than the Giza pyram ids. Lepsius spent four years touring the collections of Europe.) was a model o f detail. Discoveries Egypt. analysis. including a recorded and documented fam ous letter to Professor Ippolito Rosellini a t the many o f Egypt’s pyramids in University of Pisa th at transform ed the study of his massive work. and fram e inscribed with the nam e of the king.- scholar and is widely held to be the greatest E gyp­ the sizes of most were predetermined. not yet done. Most o f the the subject. Lepsius’s contributions to Egyptology plates were based on the are numerous. he went on to by a king in the prim e of youth. The 15. together with some of the blue faience tiles fro: the wall. in 1843. Having first studied pyram id like K hufu’s may signify that it was begir classical archaeology in Germany. He removed from the southeast p art of the substructure a door link-.’ While studying the pyram ids. We have ned for its lime. then lecturer in philology and com parative languages at Berlin. Lepsius and his team set out for Egypt. and Sneferu at Meidum.000 casts and antiquities Lepsiu- Lepsius and Mariette brought back form the core of the Berlin Museum collection. the massive work on the Weidenbach. Much of the structure of the Labyrinth ha been destroyed over the centuries as it w as qua: ‘From the Labyrinth these lines come to you. Lepsius also began excavations also made excavations on the north side of the pyramid. such as those of Djo. that is. however. which held that the size Fortunately. T he site had been described by Herodotus and Strabo. methodical 54 . The expedition of Lepsius o' ” 0 f 6 u mm Lepsius’s m assive work was the result of a survey *£ of E gypt and Nubia ordered by King Frederick :-k o William IV of Prussia. ods of the early 19th century. Among the many pyram ids Lepsius investigated w'as the Step Pyram id at Saqqara.. b u t undoubtedly his greatest is the drawings o f Ernst 12-volume Denkmaler. such as the one m onum ents of Egypt. In 1842. precedence over the m ore b ru tal excavation m eth ­ show n th a t some pyram ids. and a largt tologist after Champollion.

beam fallen betiveen the gists. He partially excavated the interior of the valley tem ple in 1853 and completed its clearance in 1858 by rem oving a shallow layer of sand that still covered the floor. W ith the M ariette’s death. of the so-called “dumb’' pyramids of Saqqara had in the temple were blown Also at Saqqara M ariette dug huge trenches. T his he did. Frey. In the course of this work Mariette blew ap art some collapsed structural elements and other major pieces to remove them from the temple. As M aspero explained: moved to Giza. after the Ser­ apeum. to gather and display ancient works of art. revealing tom bs of all periods in w hat had been a national cemetery of pharaonic E gypt (pp. however. and who The Step Pyramid at Saqqara possessed the confidence. by Flinders Petrie. Ferdinand de Lesseps. In less than a year. Nestor I’Hote. from Abu Roash to Lisht.the dionte statue of Khafre himself. However. but they were advanced for his time and his and that of Teti on the 29th May. In 1842. ’ apart to remove them. pressured the ruler Said Pasha to place M ariette in charge of all E gyptian found. 62-3). decided me to direct the attack on the entire front was taken before Mariette ried out field archaeology a t 35 sites throughout the of the Memphite Necropolis. and m any were covered by the shift­ ing sands and lost again. w as Khafre’s valley temple which w as visi­ ble above the debris of the ages only as a series of pits and stones. to take from Lepsius’s Denkmaler. a position that pyram id of Merenre w as entered just before would be held by a Frenchman until 1952. His work practices and m ethods were criti­ Rapid success followed. Pepi II. spoken. a rt and history. one of the finest m as­ terpieces of ancient E gyptian art w as found by M ariette in the valley temple . but he began excavating instead. For the next two decades he car­ at the place where the theory affirmed that they would be This rare photograph (below) found. and finally to Q asr el Nil). T his w as the first in which Pyram id Texts were 55 . that insti­ tution sent him to E gypt to buy Coptic m anu­ scripts. This and other pieces output has never been equalled. unofficially. the foreman of the A ntiquities Service. Unas was opened on the 28th temple. which were rapidly copied by Emile antiquities. opened the pyram id of Pepi I a t Saqqara. In 1850.who came to the throne in his later years. nam ing M ariette m a m u r of B rugsch and. he wrote articles an d papers an d finally secured a post with the Louvre. He studied ancient E gyptian language. five pillars. he published almost nothing about w hat he found inside the temple. and Coptic. The artist o f this particular such a colossal enterprise to its summit. U nfor­ tunately. M ohammed Chahin. who had been a draughtsm an on the Egyptian expedition of Champollion and Ippolito Rosellini. he read the papers of one of his relations. M ariette’s second m ajor discovery. T he a new national A ntiquities Service. finished clearing the valley country. and longevity. Frustratingly. At Saqqara he found and excavated the Serapeum where the sacred Apis bulls had been buried in a g reat catacomb. The birth of the Antiquities Service Auguste M ariette (1821-81) w as a bright young man with varied interests and an inquiring mind. Nefenrkera [Neferirkare] on April 13th. in 1858. It shows a granite cized by some of the next generation of E gyptolo­ February. D uring 1880. the ‘reign of ‘The discovery of the Pyramids of Pepi 1and of Merenre M ariette’ began.. in charge of the Suez Canal project. he never produced a proper map of the tombs. M ariette’s fate w as sealed. Gaston Maspero. the last year of M ariette’s life. plate was]. including many dating to the pyram id age. and more were penetrated by his founding of the Egyptian M useum a t Boulaq (later successor. Then.

where NTAL PASS A o u tfxtvc o f -/toe/e* in t/n r S o lid . encouraged by his father. Then. he more am bitious claims. in 1866. o f sections such as the Descending Passage. Petrie read Charles Some continued to believe in Piazzi S m y of his pyramid survey. the concept of Britain as a lost tribe of Israel. Sm yth’s so-called pyram id inch (see box). he learned the hieroglyphic established the positions of m any other poirr alphabet and. His aim was to measun *■ V • accurately every surfacc *r+‘P9'r' aspect of the Great Pyn He brought equipment: measure the dimension. Petrie’s meticulous survey of the He excavated w hat remained of Labyrinth and t him too queer for inspection. w as a bright sides trigonometrically. including paperback. and coped with the tic scale model of the E arth ’s circumference. Although he did not actually used Petrie’s figures in creative w ays co-existence with the dogs believe in S m yth’s extreme religious notions and ‘prove’ the theories of Piazzi Smyth. enabled him to make astronomical calculatioi i 56 . Petrie followed up Lepsiu- working in his underwear • ‘if pink. Petrie managed a comfortable ciling science with religion. Earlier th quarters were three small m id and became excited by the possibility of recon­ century. W hen not yet six. the structural engineer David David? tombs broken into one room. Between 1875 and 1880 he never published on a scale larger than the page of \ rock tomb in which he lived surveyed a num ber of British sites. Petrie’s triangulated map w 1880 shows Petrie outside the ment with archaeology. By this method he al- child. Unfortunately. he later including on the pyram ids of Khafre and Menka This photograph taken in combined interests in m athem atics and m easure­ re.5*3 i exterior. and even who inhabited the area. Petrie after Giza heat and the tourists by In 1880. they kept the tourist at another survey of the G reat Pyram id. an specially designed camo photograph both interioi aa r r i . is The Grand Gallery as V V recorded by Piazzi Smy. W ith the debris banked against the sides of : G reat Pyram id. during the two winter seasons Stonehenge. controlled the rats and mice fully adhered to the idea of the pyram id as a g ig an ­ with traps. having become convinced of the need for D uring 1888 and 1889.- the stones. the the positions of the corners and the lengths of t: ‘Father of E gyptian archaeology’. He resoh • William M atthew Flinders Petrie (1853-1942). These Piazzi Sm yth’s Our Inheritance in the Great Pyra­ regardless of Petrie’s m easurem ents. as the creature seemed to arrived in Egypt. But all this w as argue Petrie at the Pyramids at a time when m assive m ounds of debris still c< ered the base of the pyram id. Petrie m easured its exter: through an elaborate set of triangulations th encom passed all three Giza pyram ids. The the ries of pyrarrndologists like Piazzi Sm yth rested <• m easurem ents that claimed to be accurate to a ok ter of fractions of inches. the precise a . jtfu s o n ry . ’ pyram id in fact proved the death knell for Piazzi adjacent pyram id of A m enem het III. Other instrunn. young Petrie w ork of 1843 by investigating the site of Hawar bay.

In TRENCHES B a s a l t p a . and a deep vertical shaft. Petrie excavated the pyram id of Senwosret II at Illahun in 1887-8. published in 1859. from. he. where he uncovered the small limestone fesnw temple next to the pyram id of Sneferu.entered the flooded burial cham ber and found two sarcophagi and b u rn t hum an remains. He surveyed Khufu’s pyramid the lost tribe of Israel. Gustave Jequier and Sami F arag respectively. Piazzi Smyth and the Pyramid Inch Charles Piazzi Smyth (1819-1900) was Astronomer Moses was also based on this inch. passages of the pyramid were a God-inspired record. as they had Taylor’s. with its red granite sarcophagus. and that its many others were also perimeter measurement corresponded exactly to the producing theories and number of days in the solar year. used to build both Noah’s Ark and the tabernacle of 57 . corresponded. found the exquisite jewellery of Princess Sit-Hathor-Iunet. These ideas were drawings linking the tied to his belief that the British inch was derived pyramids with the stars or from an ancient ‘pyramid inch’. Taylor. even though he carved out two criss-crossing tunnel system s. author of The Great Pyramid: Why Was It Built? <6 a prophecy in stone of the great events in world Who Built It?. who based history. In 1874 the Royal Society rejected his paper on being made today by alternative pyramid theorists the design of Khufu’s pyramid. He produced Academy. such as Robert Bauval and Graham Hancock. and the Great Pyramid was built ‘to make a record of the three-volume Life and Work at the Great Pyramid measure of the Earth’ . together with Guy Brunton. Taylor determine the pyramid’s presented a paper on the subject to the Royal latitude. but it was rejected. where someone m ust have been w or­ shipped. directly under the pyram id. south of Petrie’s plan o f the Dahshur. with whom he such as that shown above. One and Piazzi Smyth resigned in protest. Piazzi :tsing his 'pyramid inch’. armed with the theories of John Taylor. He also exam ined the tw’O anonym ous pyram ids of M azghuna. published in 1883. however. and that the cubit the Bible. In Smyth set out for Egypt . now in the Cairo Museum and New York’s M etropolitan M use­ um of Art. among other things. b u t failed to find the entrance and passage to the burial chamber. with its two uninscribed stelae. of Taylor’s claims was that the Egyptians knew the value of n and that they used an inch close to the British inch to form their cubit of 25 inches. Piazzi Smyth Royal of Scotland and Professor of Astronomy at further believed that the British were descended from Edinburgh University.v £ m e n t one of the shaft tom bs just outside the pyram id.having been refused a recognition o f his work the grant to defray his expenses. until the following year. made by scientifically advanced ancestors of his ideas on the records of travellers. The Pyramids od discovered at South Saqqara and D ahshur by and Temples of Gizeh. His theories are contained in Our of mathematical coincidences and declared that the Inheritance in the Great Pyramid (1864). He also searched unsuccessfully for a passage or cham ber underneath the subsidiary ‘Queen’s Pyram id’ of Senwosret II.similar assertions are still (1867). Heavily influenced by Taylor. Petrie continued his pyram id investigations at Meidum. Irawings o f the pyramid. and by his own religious views. It is strange that there are apparently no passages or cham bers under this small pyram id considering that Petrie did find the rem ains of a chapel at its north side. He too had come to Royal Society o f Edinburgh believe that the Great Pyramid of Khufu was built awarded Piazzi Smyth a gold medal He was not the only with just enough ‘pyramid inches’ to make it a scale 'pyramidiot’. They date to the 13th dynasty and closely triangulation o f the survey resemble a num ber of other pyram ids of that peri­ o f 1881. and that the chambers and in 1865. as model of the circumference of the Earth. took a number the British.

muscle-straining. notably the Empress Eugenie. Mark Pyramids Twain..Postcards.and the ancient Egyptians could valley floor at the base of the pyramid plateau. Modern tourism was now in full swing .. who shall say it is not a lively.we were besieged by a The sight o f tourists The first pyramid postcards began to appear around rabble of muscular Egyptians and Arabs who travelling by carnet to the the end of the 19th century. Perhaps surprisingly wanted the contract of dragging us to the pyramids (above) was a they are a valuable source of information from a top. period when there was a lack of documentation of century. .. it was a fairy vision no longer. It is interesting to A year before the opening of the Suez canal in 1869 speculate whether they saw in an elevated road was built from Giza to the pyramid this image the union of the plateau to facilitate visits by attending royalty. } reflected in the inundation settlements. and just before the massive clearing springing upward from step to step and canal and. A roadway led from the hotel to the foot of the pyramid..were creeping about its dizzy perches. most sky and Duat (Netherworld). but a potent.. annually recurring wrenching and perfectly excruciating and weeks. . then continued their manic flight up the see the inverse o f the pyramid possible clues for ancient canals. the Mena House Hotel was built at the base of the plateau. Each of its monstrous sides was a wide stairway which rose upward. .. waters. numbers o f tourists. harbours and Pyramid. . inundation reveal the catchment patterns of the .Twice. The road to the table. for one minute. Insect men and women. unsightly mountain of stone. It was a Rise o f corrugated. climbing the Pyramids? were calm (top and below). At the same time. important excavations by Mariette and Maspero at an Arab having hold of each of our arms and plateau was flanked by a the Sphinx.till we were ready to a trolley line that could transport the ever-increasing Some of the postcards show the pyramids during faint. eventually. . bone- For about six to eight of the river level. very many of the steps. and Early Tourist 4 A laborious walk in the flaming sun brought the us to the foot of the great Pyramid of Cheops. below Khufu’s pyramid. lacerating.Each step being full as high as a dinner- common one in the 19th. . till it tapered to a point far aloft in the air. narrowing Tourism as it went. snatching us with them . Postcards showing partial exhausting pastime. they let me rest. a sight lost since modern control exhilarating. when the flood waters image in ancient times. step above step. by operations of the Great Expeditions. just below its entrance. there being very. full flood of the Nile.

as Below is his 1917 camp at the Sometimes called ‘M ariette’s M onopoly’. tion allowed him. ‘The excavator is a destroyer.and early 20th-century excavators. The only possible justification for his proceeding is that he endeavour to obtain from the ancient site which he destroys all the historical evidence which it contains. have become standard tem ­ Petrie. the g reat expeditions used Boston Expedition at the pyramids. to move the enorm ous Nun pyramids in the Sudan.070 shabtis of King script m asses of corvee labour from local villages. his posi­ well as m iniature railways.not just fabulous architecture and art Director of the Harvard- was partly the outcome of M ariette’s tight control objects. mid complexes and their cemeteries. T his explosion of large excavations (not just at Petrie respected all the details of ancient material George Reisner (above). tem ­ more than three decades near the tu rn of this cen­ ples and pyram ids. often a m ixture of docum entation and p er­ M aspero took an interest in the young Flinders sonal interpretation. who were took over as Director of A ntiquities he began the first to peel back the protective soil and expose g ran tin g concessions to scholars who directed large the evidence. But when we visit the sites today we clearing operations funded by foreign institutions often still see them under the influence of the m aps and benefactors. and the object which he destroys is a part of the record of man’s history which can never be replaced or made good. He must approach field work with a full consciousness of that fact. of archaeology from 1858 until his death in 1881. like the pharaohs of old. 59 . The quality of Taharqa are being numbered. France. W hen G aston M aspero 19th. to con­ accum ulations of sand and debris from the p y ra­ Here 1. T heir of the A ntiquities Service. Ger­ tury by g reat expeditions. pyram id sites but throughout E gypt and Nubia) culture .some 300 m onum ents spanning three millennia . while others worked in the employ and reconstructions of these pioneers. None the less. an ‘insistent exponent of controlled method’ plates of Egyptology. Britain and the United States were pyram ids are far different from those of the late eager to dig for themselves. records. Egyptologists from Egypt.w as excavated in little After 23 years of M ariette uncovering tombs.’ The Great Expeditions George Reisner Most of w hat we know about the sites of E gyptian and Nubian pyram ids . in his early fifties. O ur experiences of the many. huge num bers of diggers and basket carriers. and of the im portance of digging for information.

In 1924-8 Borchardt carried out logy. A t Giza. on their cultural property. in the late 1930s.from the royal (Abusir) and Meidum. but he continued on at H ar­ on to direct their ow n excavations. while the Am ericans were uncovering the much w as retrieved. The pyramid o f Niuserre in the background. the great expeditions artifact docum entation. directed by Ludwig Borchardt. but Niuserre. the Ger­ where they left off when the w ar w as over. Some. and the limestone walls above a granite dado were filled with coloured reliefs. A s evidence dynasty pyram id complexes and the sun temple of poured forth. excavated the 5th-dynasty pyramids at Abusir. the largest of the group. capitals of the showed an interest in stratig rap h y and site form a­ Nubian rulers of the 25th dynasty and subsequent tion as he made advances in archaeological photo­ local rulers down to the 4th century a d . Together with in j. in addition to the w orlds behalf of Cairo University. the 12th-dynasty pyram id temples and cemeteries at G erm ans pioneered architectural docum entation Lisht. is clearly visible. its central court had 16 red granite columns. Cole’s survey of K hufu’s pyram id. west and south of the decline of the g reat expeditions has beer. T he Second World K hafre’s pyram id. Between 1916 and 19. The temple’s pavement was black basalt. most of whom went sight as early as 1932. War brought a halt to such work. N apata and Nuri. Under Ludwig Borchardt. The Great Expedition From 1902 to 1908 a German expedition.M. but the m ans under B orchardt were clearing the great 5th.18 Reisner also excavat­ and interpretation.-P. Growing nation­ Baraize began to clear the Sphinx and most of its alism w as combined w ith a feeling on the p a rt of temple for the A ntiquities Service (still under the E gyptians th a t the ancient m onum ents were French direction). this large-scale archaeology varied. and at Giza he participated statu ary and temples to the town. picked up Djoser’s Step Pyram id complex. A t Giza. T he American George Reisner ed at Meroe. m astaba fields on the east. Selim Hassan. The G erm ans uncovered the tem ­ ascribed to the new attitude of the A ntiquities Ser­ ples of Khafre’s pyram id in 1909-10. 60 . particularly after tensions w ith Howard expedition. graphy and com prehensive system s of site and Then. Reisner and Petrie trained began to wane. such a? Lauer were revealing the m ultifarious elements of W alter Em ery and Jean-Philippe Lauer. that cleared the m astabas and rock-cut Europe may have also have contributed to the tom bs of the Central Field between the Sphinx and dem ise of the great expeditions. The inner stepped structure of the latter. Reisner w as losing his many young archaeologists.R. In 1926 Emile vice tow ards foreign institutions. new excavations were often on a different scale. C. dictating his books and directing minor iar nam es to future generations. Reisner w as clearing the complete small-scale investigations a t Saqqara. In addi­ H erm ann Junker he w as also d e a lin g the great tion to the old age and infirm ities of their leaders. mounted an E gyptian heritage. Turmoil in leagues. A t Abusir. Abu Ghurob profile of M enkaure’s pyram id . equal in scale to those of his foreign col­ C arter over T utankham un’s treasures. whose pyramid is the northernmost o f the group. F irth and J. Meanwhile. clearing operations necessary for his reports on the These were exciting times for pyram id archaeo­ m astaba field. Here the excavators are working on the remains of the elaborate mortuary temple o f Sahure. A t Saqqara. K hufu’s pyram id. much was destroyed for ever. is to the left of the pyramid of Neferirkare. becoming fam il­ v ard Camp.

Saqqara G.A.A. Fisher (HMFA) Mazghuna pyramids Mazghuna E.M.F. Jequier IFAO Institul Fran. Jequier (IFAO) Gesellschaft Egypt Exploration 1926-39 Djoser’s Step Pyramid Saqqara C.A.A. Baraize (SAE) DOG Deutschen Orient- 1926-36 Pepi II Saqqara G. Hassan (SAE) Orientak 1936-39 Unas’s mortuary temple Saqqara J. 1945-49 Sneferu’s Bent Pyramid Dahshur A. Jequier 1894-95 Amenemhet II’s pyramid Senwosret Ill’s pyramid Amenemhet Ill’s pyramid Dahshur J. Firth (SAE) EES Egypt Exploration 1929 Unas’s mortuary temple Saqqara C.M. Hassan (CU) d ’Archeologie 1936-38 Sphinx Giza S. Amelineau 1898-1901 Niuserre’s sun temple Abu Ghuroh L. Petrie (EES) Ahmose’s pyramid Abydos A. Lauer (SAE) MMA Metropolitan 1936-56 1st dynasty mastabas Saqqara W. Barsanti (SAE) 1905-08 Teti’s pyramid Saqqara J. Mackay (under Petrie) 1911-31 Mentuhotep I’s tomb Deir el-Bahri H.M. Mace 1900 Layer Pyramid Zawivet el Aryan A. Reisner (HMFA) 1920 Amenemhet I’s pyramid Lisht A. Junker (DAI) 1913 Senwosret Is pyramid Illahun W. Reisner (HMFA) Instituts.M.H. Quibell (SAE) 1906-10 Menkaure’s pyramid Giza G.C. Reisner (HMFA) 1906-34 Senwosret Is pyramid Lisht A. Junker (Vienna Academy) Kairo Sphinx 1926-35 Giza E. Petrie and G. Loret (SAE) 1920-23 Nubian pyramids Meroe G. Brunton (EEF) 1913-16 Nubian pyramids Kerma G.M. de Morgan 1896-7 Archaic royal tombs Abydos E.F. Lansing (MMA) 1909-10 Khafre’s pyramid Giza U.A. Jequier Fine Arts Anonymous pyramid S.E. Hussein (SAE) Pennsylvania 1950 Sekhemkhet’s pyramid Saqqara Z.F. Winlock (MMA) 1912-14 Western Field Giza H. Firth and V.F. Reisner (HMFA) 1915-23 Nubian pyramids Gebel Barkal G. Hassan (SAE) SAE Service des 1937-49 Unas’s pyramid Saqqara A. Goneim (SAE) 61 . Hassan (SAE) Antiquites de I’Egypte 1945 Djedkare-Isesi’s pyramid S. Currelly (EES) Djedefre’s pyramid Abu Roash M.H. Abteilung 1925-35 Western Field Giza H. Firth (SAE) Society 1929-30 Sneferu’s pyramid Meidum A.F. Petrie and G.-P. 1888-89 Amenemhet Ill’s pyramid Hawara W.S. Firth and V. Reisner and C. Petrie 1910-11 Layer Pyramid Zawivet el-Aryan G. Gautier and G. A. Lythgoe. Chassinat 1902-08 Sahure’s pyramid Neferirkare’s pyramid Niuserre’s pyramid Abusir L. Saqqara G.A. Petrie Explorations.A. Mace (MMA) 1920-22 Teti’s pyramid Saqqara C. Hussein and S.M.E. Jequier (SAE) Archaologisches 1924-32 Eastern Field Giza G.Hall (EEF) 1904-5 Unfinished Pyramid Zawivet el Aryan A.M. Barsanti (SAE) Unas's mortuary temple Saqqara A. Petrie 1887-1950 1894 Senwosret Is pyramid Lisht J. Hussein (SAE) UMP University Museum.M. Holscher (von Sieglin Expedition) Sneferu’s pyramid Meidum W. Years Monument Site Excavator Pyramid 1887-88 Senwosret I’s pyramid Illahun W. Reisner (HMFA) CU Cairo University 1920/2-38 Khufu’s pyramid Giza Various SAE and Selim Hassan (SAE) DAI Deutsches 1924 Shepseskaf’s mastaba S.F.P Lauer (SAE) EEF Fund 1928-29 Userkaf s pyramid Saqqara C. Loret (SAE) Pyramids of Khuit and Iput Saqqara C. Borehardt (DOG) 1902-32 Western Field Giza G.ais 1929-35 Central Field Giza S.R. Reisner (HMFA) 1916-18 Nubian pyramids Nuri G.M. Schaeffer (Baron von Bissing Expedition. Wainwright (EES) 1910 Amenemhet Ill’s pyramid Hawara W. Barsanti (SAE) 1901 Ahmose’s pyramid Abydos T. Firth and J.A. Petrie 1891 Sneferu’s pyramid Meidum W.A. Reisner (HMFA) 1918-19 Nubian pyramids El-Kurru G.M.A. Rowe (UMP) HMFA Harvard Museum o f 1929-31 Khendjer’s pyramid S.C. Saqqara G.M.M.F.M. Emery (EES) Museum o f Art 1937-38 Unas s causeway Saqqara S. Naville and H. Reisner (Phoebe Hearst Expedition HMFA) 1903-7 Mentuhotep I’s tomb Deir el-Bahri E. Saqqara A. Borehardt and H. Mace and A. DOG) 1899-1900 Archaic royal tombs Abydos W.

-P. who has worked at the site ever since . Lauer. He pyramid o f Sekhemkhet that devoted his m xl 70 years tv he discovered and excavated restoring and reconstructing from 1952 to 1956. ^ establishing much of the background to '< the development of pyramid building. fine Turah limestone. Mohammed Zakaria Goneim Jean-Philippe Lauer (right) (left). though t he To the south of the causeica. then Chief Inspector came as a young architect to of Antiquities at Saqqara. Walter Emery excavated 1st- dynasty mastabas between 1935 and 1956. A t ~~ Djosers Step Pyramid. Sekhemkhet’s pyramid complex M astat Ptah-hc % Step Pyramid Complex Pyramid of Unas r-y < \ Tomb of Maya Tomb of Horemheb V-i 5th-dynasty mastaba tombs Old Kingdom tombs Causeway of Unas Pyramid o' Userka- Two great excavators at Saqqara span the period tjj? the great expeditions and recent discoveries aftej*rae Second World War.E. . work for Firth and Quibell on points out a detail in the Djoser’s Step Pyramid in unfinished 3rd-dynasty 1926 . another. debris. the alabaster and broken pieces that he sarcophagus proved to be found lying about in the empty. Quibell were the first to undertake scientif ic exavation of the pyramid’s superstructure.boat pits alongside one J. underground complex had been explored in the of the pyramid of Unas arc previous century. They are lined with with interruptions for the Second World War. In 1926 they were joined by r eight months. CM. Firth ind J. Although the complex surrounding the he discovered some jewellery pyramid from the dislodged in the passages.

63 .M. many carved in imitation of natural forms. Firth. A vast complex o f courtyards and stone buildings. C. began investigation o f Djoser’s Step Pyramid complex at Saqqara in 1924. assisted by James Quibell. Season after season brought finds such as a statue of Djoser in the serdab chamber (p. Firth saw the need for the analytical skills o f an architect and Jean-Philippe Lauer was assigned to the excavation. the pyramid o f Userkaf and the pyramid of Teti with the ruins o f its funerary temple. The photograph shows an aerial view of the Step Pyramid complex at the onset o f the campaign o f 1933. was gradually revealed. 90). 3rd-dynasty cemetery 1st-dynasty mastabas 2185 200 m 6th-dynasty mastafca 600 ft tombs Pyramid of Iput Pyramid of Khuft Pyramid of Merikare? (Left to right) The Step Pyramid o f Djoser.

and the area in front. was excavated by the Antiquities Service under Emile Baraize from 1925 to 1934. . Glll-b. and then by Sehm Hassan from 1936 to 1938. Glll-c) Workmens’ barracks’ Khafre’s satellite pyramid Khafres pyramid Khafre’s mortuary temple Tomb of Khentkawes ‘Cam pbell’: Tomb’ Menkaure’s valley temole temple A During the Reason of 1901-02. Finally. The Sphinx itself. Direotor-Gei'Kiral of the Antiquities Service. Reisner’s concession included the pyramid of Menkaure. with its mortuary and valley temples and the small pyramids of his three queens. Khafre’s pyramid complex was conceded to the Germans who excavated the pyramid and valley temple under Uvo Holscher in 1909. asked the Italian. Menkaure’s Menkaures queens’ pyramid pyramids (Glll-a. George Reisner of the Harvard-Boston Expedition was awarded the northernmost of three strips. When lots were drawn for the Western Cemetery. German and American missions to divide up the Giza necropolis between them for excavation. Reisner’s concession at the Eastern Cemetery ended at the ridge that forms the northern boundary of the Sphinx ‘amphitheatre’. He later inherited the southern strip when Ernesto Schiaparelli gave up the Italian concession. Gaston iviaspero. Herman junker of the German Archaeological Institute in Cairo drew the middle strip.

They pyramids. . G end of the pyramid age. Western Field (cemetery) Khufu’s pyramid. (Left) Pierre Lacan. and the engineer Emile Baraize began the clearance o f the. would lead his excavated for a total o f crew to the unmarked tomb 11 years. he immediately began repairs. Notables from the Tomb of 5th and 6th dynasties. expanded the field to the foot Khufu’s of Khufu’s pyramid. and shoring ‘Queens’ Street'. the mother a single excavation report. smaller tombs and shaft graves were dug into the streets and avenues of mastabas o f their forebears. its mastaba tombs were built on streets and avenues and Khufu’s mortuai assigned to high 4th-dyna$ty officials. A t the pyramic (Gl-a. replacing anciently restored masonry with Reisner’s excavation o f modern cement. Director- General of the Egyptian Antiquities Service. the Great Pyramii The Western Cemetery (above). along up the head with cement and Khufu’s three queens’ limestone blocks. Great Sphinx in 1925. As Baraize cleared the debris from the statue. Set out on a plan laid down at the time o f Khufu. o f Khufu. yet published not o f Hetepheres.

At Giza Zahi Hawass excavated anc exam ine results. but contin ued his work and resurrected the m useum ’s Lisht A lthough the foundations of pyram id studies were expedition. but m uch work has tion of Old Kingdom Dahshur. U niversity of Prague. in the 1980s R. tectural survey of pyram ids from the Old through AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA the Middle Kingdom. Rainer Stadelm ann began an investiga­ expeditions have been initiated. began the Pyram ids Study instance. Work w as resumed immediately after the w ar by Modern technology and the pyramids Walter Em ery a t N orth Saqqara. the so-called W orkers’ Ceme­ ef’s pyram id at Abusir). New York. Dieter Arnold. Abdelsalam Hussein. Major in detail. we have learned a tology. T he German Archaeological Institute em barked on a study of Middle Kingdom architecture in 1976. after calibration. Klemm surveyed unfinished pyramid at Abusir Project. in 1984. They used earlier publica­ tions and their own visual inspections and m ea­ surem ents and published eight volumes. In 1945 J. with took on the project.-P Lauer returned to being brought to bear on probing the pyramids. And in 1984 we radiocarbon dated 64 sam ples of stages of its construction Between 1963 and 1975 Vito M aragioglio and organic material extracted from the pyram ids and clearly visible. inspired pyram id building and made it possible. At Abusir. (such as the North Pyram id at D ahshur or Ranefer­ M enkaures pyramid. in which Recent Discoveries they meticulously described each pyram id. docum enting and conserving all the major m ining the sources of stone for the pyram ids from the Czech Mission at this pyramids. the Djoser complex. moved to the Metropoli TTTTTTTTTTfTTTTTTTffTTTTTTTTfTT tan M useum of Art. exam ined the pyram ids out since the end of the Second World War. Ahmed Fakhry Abu Roash to Meidum by m eans of trace analysis. The dates. for the often to answ er very targeted questions. Its director. under Zbynek Zaba g reat deal from excavations and surveys carried and later Miroslav Verner. quarries throughout E gypt with the aim of deter­ in the course o f excavation by clearing. . We also excavate to learn tery. and D. the eastern side of K hufu’s pyram id and eas- more about the social and economic conditions that of Khafre’s valley temple. with the aim of system atically surveying. pyramid field. while the French also been done simply docum enting and conserv­ Archaeological Mission to Saqqara initiated a full ing m assive quantities of material uncovered by exam ination of the 5th. Behind is Nefenrkare's pyramid. For The chambers o f Raneferef’s A ntiquities Service. the Czech Institute of E gyp­ laid by the g reat expeditions. which w as never completed. excavating the A wide range of m odern techniques is increasingly Archaic m astabas. Celeste Rinaldi undertook a comprehensive archi­ associated structures. or excavate to fill specific g ap s cleared several areas: the far W estern Cemetery.and 6th-dynasty pyramid earlier expeditions. A fter H ussein’s death. Today we reclear sites and re­ complexes.

ture found an anom aly west of and below the hori­ A team connected with the SRI International Sci­ zontal passage to the Queen’s Chamber. The robot crawled 65 m (213 son more than 300 sam ples were collected from ft) up a 45° slope when it w as stopped by a smooth m onum ents ranging from the lst-dynasty tom bs at limestone plug from which twro copper pins projec­ Saqqara to Djoser’s pyram id. In 1986. with techniques.were on average 374 years earlier than one of the version. The holes penetrated through com pact 1979-831 w as Field Director and then Director of a Chamber. A nalysis of the m icrostruc­ occur naturally in limestone. ence and Archaeology Project at Giza.and 6th-dynasty pyram ids and ju st in front. robotics expert Rudolf G antenbrink mounted a m iniature video cam era on a wheeled robot and sent it up the ‘air sh afts’ of the K ing’s front of the forepaw s - of dam s and nuclear power plants. Khufu’s pyram id in particular has been investi­ T he Sphinx has also been intensively investigat­ gated by a battery of m odern scientific survey ed. T he SRI team con­ density of structures. two direction. The ‘blocks’ with a low-density block near the top. two French com panies undertook a ary and temple. carried out a remote sensing survey of K hufu’s pyram id. A preliminary survey in collabora­ rnicrogravimetric study of the pyramid. In 1987 a Japanese team from W aseda University (Tokyo). ual stone of the m asonry layers on the Sphinx w as contributed to the Sphinx prom pted speculation of a hidden chamber. drilled and w ith Zahi Hawrass I carried out excavations in (Above) A team from Waseda three small holes in the passage to investigate the the northeast corner of the Sphinx sanctuary. T h is m ight drilling and direct observation w ith a borescope correlate with the mastaba-like chunks of m asonry camera. conducted a remote Qadry. so perhaps slab is a better description. m easures the suggested ‘a cavity or sh aft’. The tech­ tion w ith Ain Sham s University in 1977 found nique. more likely that the layers are sim ply the packing tial for the EAO’s work on the Sphinx from 1988. Jean- Bruno-Kerisel and Alain Guillon studied air pollu­ tion inside the K ing’s Cham ber and subtle evidence that it is sinking tow ards the south. D uring the 1995 sea­ the Queen’s Chamber. The next year he sent a new 67 . a ted. and team investigated confirmed anom alies by core blocks of heterogeneous density below. In 1995 he obtained perm is­ sion to drill into its bedrock floor in search of a cav­ ity b u t none was found. In University in Khufu’s Queen’s anomaly. The draw ings became essen­ survey by the American 'Research Center in Egypt. A sm all fragm ent of copper lay on the floor selection of 5th. cleared the floor of the Sphinx sanctuary French architects associated w ith this study. Five holes were drilled. T he find was labelled a ‘door’ though Middle Kingdom pyram ids. Results indicated th at the ducted a more detailed resistivity survey and pyram id’s m acrostructure consists of 34 major results were checked with acoustical sounding. limestone debris and mortar. On this side the g reat granite roof beam s show pronounced cracks.28). the Giza pyram ids. U puaut II. subsurface survey of the Sphinx sanctu­ nization (EAO). a t the request of Ahmed the EAO’s Science Section. norm ally used for assessing the foundations various anomalies: one . These dates will shed in fact nothing larger than a small ra t could get new light on E gyptian chronology. Jean Kerisel returned in 1992 to investigate the S ub­ terranean Cham ber with ground penetrating radar and microgravimetry. It is docum ented (p. In an official project of the Ger­ m an Archaeological Institute in Cairo. and sand. under my Gilles Dormion and Jean-Patrice Goidin. Each individ­ Archaeological Institute who drill hole the end of the sand was not found. but the researchers in the cores of K hufu’s queens’ pyram ids and found no significant cavities other than those that M enkaure’s pyram id. In 1990 a French team of Jean Kerisel. (Beloiv) Ulrich limestone. and the Suprem e Council for Antiquities. In 1978. between the limestone walls of the passage and the core m asonry of the pyram id. under its director Rainer Stadelm ann. into the southern ‘air shaft’ of m ajor accepted chronologies. five-year project to provide scale architectural Kapp o f the German then more limestone debris. T he fact th at in one draw ings of the Sphinx and its site. T he Japanese team confirmed the sam e anom aly and they also recorded d ata that suggested to them the possibility of a tunnel enter­ ing the pyram id under the south side. 1. led by Saku- ji Yoshimura. through it. SRI International of California. Perhaps the m ost widely reported investigation took place in 1992. President of the E gyptian A ntiquities O rga­ sensing.

68 u -r—- ^7 . JSP' *4* .-P. - C' : V r r . —' ^-A’ s. Hawass (EAO) Society 1977-present lst-dynasty royal tombs Abydos G. Verner (Czech Mission) ROM Royal Ontario 1982 Pyramid of Tia and Tia Saqqara G. some restored. ' ' 'ir . * '*• . Los (Univ. Arnold (MMA) o f Antiquities 1985 Lepsius ‘Pyramid’ I Abu Roash N.V . Lehner (ARCE) Orientate 1979-present Pyramids of Meroe Meroe F. '* 1983. To the right can be seen intact casing blocks. Messiha ARCE American Research 1963-67 Sekhemkhet South Tomb Saqqara J. Lauer and A. Kromer (Austrian Institute) Kairo Pyramid tombs Ch. Labrousse (MAFS) EEF Egypt Exploration 1976-83 Amenemhet Ill’s pyramid Dahshur D.S —V.) Angeles 1986 Sneferu’s Bent Pyramid Dahshur J. Abteilung 1971-73 Settlement dump Giza K. Ricke and G. Ricke (Swiss and German Institutes) 1960 Khafre’s satellite pyramid Giza A. Allen and M. Simpson California. Dreyer and W.S. Berkeley/ Brigham Young Saqqara Univ. Lauer Center in Egypt 1963-present Nubian pyramids Sedeinga M. Napata DOG Deutschen Orient- 1974-76 Unas’s mortuary temple vSaqqara MAFS Gesellschaft EAO Egyptian 1974-78 Giza pyramids Giza SRI International. Alvarez (UC. Berkeley. Swiss Institute Orientales de 1966-71 Pepi I’s pyramid Saqqara MAFS I’University de 1966-73 Mentuhotep I’s tomb Deir el-Bahri D. Arnold (DAI) Geneve 1967 Khafre’s pyramid Giza L. of Pennsylvania/Yale Univ. Martin (University College. London) Museum 1982-85 Userkaf’s pyramid Saqqara AH el-Khouli (EAO) SAE Service des 1984 Sneferu’s pyramid Meidum Ali el-Khouli (EAO) Antiquites de 1984-86 Nefermaat’s mastaba Meidum Ali el-Khouli (EAO) I’Egypte 1984-88 ‘Private’ pyramids Saqqara S.K. Rainer Stadelmann of .. Maystre (CEOUG) 1972-73 Tabo. of California. Verner (Czech Mission) EES Egypt Exploration 1977-78 Sphinx Giza M. Ilinkel MAFS Mission 1980 Unfinished Pyramid Abusir M. Dreyer Frangaise a 1981 Seila pyramid Seila Univs. Kaiser (DAI) HMFA Harvard Museum 1977-present Sneferu’s North Pyramid Dahshur R.P. MMA Metropolitan Museum o f Art 1981-87 Raneferef’s pyramid Abusir M.3 . Tewfik. Arnold (DAI) Organization 1976-78 Userkaf’s mortuary temple Saqqara J. a . -v • Excavation under way on the eastern side of Sneferu’s i J r f'it North Pyramid at Dahshur in f V-. el-Malakh (EAO) Explorations 1955-57 Userkaf’s sun temple Abusir H. Swelim UCLA University o f 1985-present Archaic enclosures Abydos D. Haeny. Arnold (DAI) Fund 1977 Khentkawes’s pyramid Abusir M. Years Monument Site Investigator Recent 1951-52 Sneferu’s Bent Pyramid Dahshur Ahmed Fakhry (SAE) Pyramid 1951-70 Teti’s pyramid Saqqara MAFS 1954 Khufu’s boat pit (east) Giza K. remote sensing Antiquities 1976 Tombs of the Intefs Luxor D. Lehner and Z.'v v" \ : -'•-••• . Ain Shams and EAO) DAI Deutsches 1968-88 Pepi I’s mortuary temple South Saqqara MAFS Archaologisches 1971-72 Merenre’s pyramid South Saqqara MAFS Instituts.-: '7. and D. ‘ ■ . ' • ' ••• the German A rchaeological ■ • /v Institute has studied the pyramid in detail. Verner (Czech Mission) Archeologique 1980-81 Sinki pyramid South Abydos R Swelim and G. Stadelmann (DAI) of Fine Arts 1978 Sphinx Giza SRI International/EAO IFAO Institut Frangais 1978-79 Provincial pyramid Elephantine German and Swiss Institutes of Archaeology d ’ArcMologie 1979-83 Sphinx Giza J. ‘ 'y/'-. O’Connor and W. Hafez Abd el-’Al 1961-69 Khufu’ s complex Giza H. Labrousse CEOUG Centre d'Etudes 1965-67 Sphinx Temple Giza H. i i j • : . Dorner UMP University Museum. Pennsylvania v |FW ' ‘ ‘ 1 ’• ■~ . Girogini/A. (Cairo University/EAO) SCA Supreme Council 1984-89 Senwosret I’s pyramid Lisht D.

P. Hawass (SCA) 1995-96 Lepsius Pyramid XXIV (24’) Abusir M. Labrousse and Zawi Hawass (SCA) satellite pyramid. Verner (Czech Mission) 1990-present‘Workers’ cemetery’ Giza Z. Stadelmann (DAI) 1987 Khufu’s pyramid Giza S. Labrousse (MAFS) 1993-present Djedefre’s pyramid Abu Roash Giza Pyramids Inspectorate/IFAO/ Univ. Lehner (Yale Univ. Mus. Gharib also found the capstone of 1992 Eastern Field Giza Z. 69 . Qadry. Hawass (EAO) 1992 Ninetjer’s galleries Saqqara P. the Sphinx. Yoshimura (Waseda Univ. 1992 Khufu’s Queens’ pyramids Giza Z. Robert Schoch (Boston University). Stadelmann (DAI) 1986 Khufu’s pyramid Giza A. Both rear anom alies are probably In 1996 Zahi H awass began to clear its west and p a rt of the ‘main fissure’ th a t cuts through the south sides and found an unfinished statue. Millet (ROM) 1989 Settlement Giza Z. Smith (Nat. a w ater pocket below the surface near Unlike the other two Giza pyram ids. Arnold (MMA) 1991 Sphinx Giza R. Lauer and A.. Expedition 1995-96 Khafre’s valley temple Giza Z. Schoch. West 1991 Unas’s valley temple Saqqara A. Hawass (SCA) in 1987 the Japanese applied the electromagnetic of A stronom y and Geophysics carried out a study sounding technique to the Sphinx. They believe of the ground below the Sphinx using shallow seis­ they found evidence of a n o rth -so u th tunnel under mic refraction and found no evidence of cavities. Dormion and J. Harvey Pennsylvania/Yale Univ. Verner (Czech Mission) 1996 Menkaure’s pyramid Giza Z. Labrousse 1986-91 Workers’ installations Dahshur R. Swelim and Brigham Young Univ. But in 1992 Imam M arzouk and Ali of large limestone foundation blocks laid on end G’h arib of the E gyptian National Research Institute along the south side of the pyram id. Arnold (MMA) burial chamber o f Khufu’s 1991-97 Pyramids of Iput and KhuitSaqqara A. Hawass (SCA) 1990 Khufu’s pyramid Giza j. Tokyo) 1987 Seila pyramid Seila N. w as roughly shaped from granite in the Ramessid Thom as Dobecki and John A nthony West carried period. Wegner Pennsylvania/Yale Univ. Hawass (SCA) 1997 Queen Khuit’s pyramid Saqqara Z. Labrousse (MAFS) 1992-95 Khufu’s pyramid Giza J.) 1988-present Settlement remains Giza M. Hawass 1992-93 Unas’s causeway Saqqara A. T. Mission) 1992 Sahure’s pyramid Abusir Z. J. Labrousse (MAFS) Zahi Hawass surveys the 1991 Amenemhet I’s pyramid Lisht D. Marzouk and A. Yoshimura (Waseda Univ. of Geneva 1993-present Ahmose I’s pyramid Abydos S. Kerisel.P. el-Nagar 1986 Pepi I’s satellite pyramid South Saqqara A. Gantenbrink (DAI) 1993 Neferhetepes’s complex Saqqara J. north hind paw. Moussa (EAO) and A. Kerisel and Alain Guillon 1990 Sphinx Giza UNESCO 1990-91 Lepsius Pyramid XXV (25) Abusir M. which Sphinx site. Hawass 1993 Khufu’s pyramid Giza R. Hawass (SCA) 1990-present Gisr el-Mudir Saqqara I. 1987 Khufu’s boat pit (west) Giza National Geographic 1988-95 Pepi I’s queens’ pyramids South Saqqara MAFS 1988-89 ‘Workmen’s barracks’ Giza M. Stadelmann and R. Dobecki and J.Years Monument Site Investigator 1986 Lepsius Pyramid L (50) Dahshur R. Hawass 1992 Sphinx Giza I. which he 1991-present Dra Abu el-Naga Luxor D. Kerisel 1993 Khufu’s satellite pyramid Giza Z.. Expedition 1994 Senwosret Ill’s temple Abydos J. Mathieson and H. the base of the south hind paw and another cavity near the M enkaure’s pyram id w as never freed from debris. In Septem ber 1996 the team uncovered a row dynasty. Polz (DAI/UCLA) disco vered in 1993. Munro (Berlin and Hanover Univ. microgravimetric survey 1986 Khufu’s pyramid Giza G.-B. Stadelmann (DAI) 1986-present Mastaba field Dahshur R. T he discovery fits other evidence th at New out a survey in 1991 of the Sphinx using seismic Kingdom pharaohs quarried the Giza pyram ids for m ethods to support a theory that it predates the 4th stone. Lehner (Oriental Inst. Goidin 1986 Djedkare-Isesi’s pyramid South Saqqara S./ Harvard Semitic Mus.) 1988-present Sphinx Giza SCA 1988-present Senwosret II’s town Illahun N. Hawass and M. of Scotland) 1990-present Senwosret Ill’s pyramid Dahshur D. Tokyo) 1987 Sphinx Giza S. Moussa and A. Hawass (EAO) the smaU pyramid. Jones (AMBRIC/ SCA) 1990 Khufu’s valley temple Giza Z.A.

causeways. The variability between pyramid cores and all other features . subsidiary pyramids and tombs of retainers . But the core could be accretion layers of stone and clay that leaned inward on the pyramid. or assess the historical significance of pyramids. A catalogue of pyramids then is of greater interest than just the satisfaction of a stamp-collecting kind of iteration. The pyramids o f Giza. the cores were exposed to the elements. The catalogue illustrates the shape of pyramid history in ancient Egypt. seen fr o m across the desert to the south. the ruined pyramids show considerable variation.S w - understand the methods of pyramid building. in most cases they did so with a casing of fine white limestone blocks tightly joined to make a continuous smooth plane on each of the four faces. or stone blocks and boulders that were roughly piled without regular courses. This is because of the way the ancient Egyptians built the inner core. The building methods.temples. as later peoples tore off the fine limestone of the outer casings for buildings elsewhere. Over the ages. . The pyramid builders had to finish off each pyramid with smooth faces and straight lines. or mudbrick. the social organization and the economy of pyramids m ust have varied with the variation in the architecture. showing us patterns that are clues to the development of one of the world’s earliest great civilizations. by assuming a generic 'SwJft: model for all pyramids. lthough each pyramid featured the same square A base and diagonals rising to a centre point.makes it obvious that we cannot . or stone rubble inside rough stone and clay retaining walls.

from the annual Nile flood, he would rise again. At
Hierakonpolis we find the earliest association of
king, mound and H orus, god of kingship. The
Origins o f the Pyramid Greek nam e of the site m eans ‘City of the Falcon’,
the symbol of Horus; its ancient nam e w as Nekhen.

Hierakonpolis Archaeological evidence suggests it w as an im por­
tan t predynastic centre, perhaps a kind of capital of
southern Egypt. Close to the beginning of the 1st
dynasty (c. 2900 bc ), settlem ents scattered across
the low desert and up into the Wadi A bu Suffian -
Reconstruction of a reed and Temple and mound the valley that cuts the high desert cliffs - coalesced
wood shrine in the form of To the ancient E gyptians the m ounds that covered to form the walled town of Nekhen.
the Per Wer or ‘Great House their protodynastic graves m ay have been an image In one corner of the town is an enclosure s u r­
This type o f structure may
of the prim eval mound, the fertile land from which rounded by m udbrick walls, w ithin which is
have stood on the Nekhen
mound, all creation grew'. T h u s priests ‘planted’ the king’s E g y p t’s oldest known temple mound. It is here that
body in the earth mound of his grave, and, 'like new basic concepts of E g y p t’s divine kingship appear
seedlings on the first m ounds of earth to emerge to have originated. Excavations by J.E. Quibell in

The pavilion shoum in front
of the shrine structure (below,
left) is based on the festival
pavilion o f Narmer depicted
on the lst-dynasty ceremonial
macehead found in the Mam
Deposit (left). Access to the
top of the mound o f Nekhen
may have been by a similar
staircase, although the
ceremony depicted ivas
probably conducted at Buto.

(Right) The sacred enclosure
was surrounded by a wall of
(Below) Map showing the mudbrick, which may have
location o f Giza, Saqqara, replaced one o f wood and
Abydos and Hierakonpolis. reed matting

(Below) Two life-sized statues
o f kneeling attendants. One,
made o f limestone had
deteriorated considerably
because of the wet soil
conditions. Tliey may have
stood either stele o f the
entrance passage.
(Above) Door socket in the
form of a prisoner with his
hands tied behind his back.

18 97-8-and in the following year by F.W. Greer,
revealed features ranging in date from late predy-
nastic (c. 3200 bc ) to New Kingdom (c. 1425 BC'
Green attem pted to so rt out the principal layers and
their relative levels. Layer 1, just above the deser
surface, contained predynastic material deposited
HierakonpolisV before the temple w as built. Layer 2 is of yellow
clay containing flints and predynastic pottery.


A sanctuary ivas built on the
mound, possibly in Middle

' Kingdom times, with five
chambers. A falcon consisting
o f a copper body with a head
and plumes o f gold was
ritually buried in the central
chamber, probably in the New
Kingdom. This ‘reactivation
o f the mound shows how
significant it was to later

(Below) Bodies of King
Narmer’s enemies brought
to the temple threshold by the
falcon o f Horus at the prow
o f a boat.

T he circular mound, contained by a revetment, or The Narmer palette, of necked beasts may represent
retaining wall, of coarse sandstone blocks laid in greyivacke (dark green slate) the two halves o f the country
horizontal courses, w as built on top of Layer 2. It commemorates the victories now forcibly united. The other
m easures 49.26 m (162 ft) across, with the courses o f King Narmer. whose name side shows a kneeling
is inscribed within the serekh prisoner, probably a Lower
stepped at an angle of 45°. We do not know its orig­
One side shows the king, Egyptian, being smitten by
inal height because the top of the mound w as prob­ ivearing the red crown of the king who here wears the
ably cut down when later buildings were erected. A Lower Egypt in a tnumpl'ial the white crown o f Upper
temple w as built around the mound, probably near procession. The strange long­ Egypt.


the beginning of the 1st dynasty on the evidence of south end of the east side - of the later temple
Origins of the Pyramid -
Layer 3, which surrounded the m ound and con­ entrance, and, significantly, it corresponds to the
tained abundant charcoal and fire reddened earth, location of the entrance to Djoser’s complex. To the
as well as pottery sherds of the protodynastic peri­ northeast Quibell found life-sized statues of kneel­
od and 1st dynasty. These traces of a conflagration ing attendants.
Main Deposit suggest that the stru ctu res consisted of reed m at­ A nother object in the deposit was the g reat lime­
Maceheads, including ting and wood, the traditional type of architecture stone macehead show ing N arm er seated a t the top
Narmer that w as im itated in stone by Djoser in his pyram id of a stairw ay a t some kind of ceremony. The scene
Narmer ‘Wedding’ complex. is thought by some to represent an occasion that
Palettes, including The mound m ust have been a ‘high place’ for a took place at Buto, a predynastic Delta capital and
Narmer palette chapel in the form of the Per Wer, ‘the G reat northern counterpart of Nekhen. However, it is
'Two Dog’palette House’, which was the nam e of the national shrine tem pting to see the stairw ay to the raised platform
Flint knives
of southern E gypt at Hierakonpolis. A s the mound as a stylized rendering of a mound like that at
Archaic statuette of
w as the highest place in both town and temple, a Nekhen, which m ust have had a stairw ay or other
tem porary shrine for the ruler m ight have been set form of access, though no evidence for one was
Ivory wands
Small carved ivory and up on ritual occasions. One such shrine is depicted found.
faience votive figures on the N arm er macehead from the Main Deposit, a
Animal figurines, collection of objects found immediately outside the The mound in mythology
including scorpions or mound, to the northeast. These constitute some of Later E gyptians certainly believed that the mound
scorpion tails and the oldest and m ost archetypal icons of kingship at Hierakonpolis w as extremely special to the cult
monkeys, birds, frogs, ever discovered in Egypt. of Horus. They built a sanctuary centered on th e
dogs, hippopotamuses, mound, possibly in Middle Kingdom times, consist­
a boar, gazelle The Main Deposit ing of five cham bers - recalling the five niches tha:
Stone and faience vessels T h is m ysterious cache consists of many objects, became standard for the sanctuaries of pyramid
Model vessels including flint knives, sm all and large decorated temples from the time of Khafre onwards. In th e
Pottery vessels
stone maceheads, faience figurines, slate palettes central cham ber a beautiful falcon fashioned of
Stelae fragments
and a concentrated heap of ivory figurines and copper plate w ith a head and plum es of gold was
wands. Almost all are in the style of the protody­ ritually buried in an upright position on a standard.
nastic and Archaic (early dynastic) periods. Green T his carefully designed burial made the mound :
thought th a t the cache lay upon or w ithin Layer 3. virtual tom b of the sacred cult of H orus of
W ithout doubt, the N arm er Palette is the most Nekhen, and reactivated the late predynastic
striking object in the cache - both a m onum ent of shrine. It w as a sym bolic replanting of the divine
early E gyptian kingship and a b latant pictorial seed of the deity, who would emerge from th e
statem ent of the forcible union of southern with mound which, to the E gyptians of the dynastic
northern Egypt. It is named after the king who is period, m ust have seemed to date back to the begin­
w ritten with the hieroglyph of the catfish (nor) and ning of time.
chisel (m er) in the serekh panel (the stylized palace E gyptian literature about the Afterlife is replete
fagade used for royal names). N arm er w as a king of with references to divine mounds. The oldest of all.
the protodynastic period w ho preceded Hor-Aha, th e Pyram id T exts (p. 31), refer to the Creator.
The Rites of the Mound o f probably the first king of the 1st dynasty. Atum, rising as a mound in the enclosure of
femme are depicted at the A few clues suggest th at the palette was found Heliopolis. In a sense, every E gyptian temple of
Edifice o f Tarhaqa and the alm ost in its original position, close to the entrance later tim es w as the prim eval mound situated in the
Temple o f Osiris Heka Djet of the Archaic temple. It lay near a slotted lime­ middle of its own defined sacred place. In the Nev.
at Karnak. The falcon perches
stone slab and pavem ent and 9 m (30 ft) west of a Kingdom ‘Rite of the M ound of Jemrne’ a gigantk
on the lotus sprouting from
the mound, the risen form limestone door jamb with a b asalt pivot socket in pair of arm s, one belonging to Geb, the primordial
o f the falcon ‘planted’in the the form of a prisoner w ith hands bound behind his earth-god, and the other to Horus, god of kingship,
Hierakonpolis mound, back. T his is generally the place - tow ards the lifts up a large mound. A lotus, symbol of rebirth,
sp rin g s from the m ound and provides a perch for
the H orus falcon and the feather of truth, Maat.
The scene represents the transfiguration of Amun.
in this case into the falcon as a sun sym bol ar.c
keeper of Maat, the concept of order in the uni­
verse. In the Old Kingdom, the pyram id wfas the
m ound of transform ation and the pharaoh w as tin
keeper of Maat.
The mound a t Hierakonpolis can therefore be
seen as closely prefiguring the Rite of jem m e, and
as such it sym bolizes a basic concept behind the
greatest sacred m ounds that the E gyptians eve:
constructed - the Old Kingdom pyram ids.


T he ancient E gyptians believed that the first
pharaohs hailed from This, of which Abydos w as
the religious centre. At Abydos the high desert
cliffs form a great bay bisected by a V-shaped
ravine. E g y p t’s earliest kings m ay have seen this
cleft as a passage into the Afterlife, for they built
Royal Tombs at Abydos
their tom bs below it on a spur extending from the
rocky cliffs and overlooking the wadi that ru n s to
the edge of the cultivation. M odern E g yptians call
this burial ground Umm el-Qa’ab, ‘M other of P ots’,
because of the enorm ous m ounds of fragm ents of and Narmer. Then suddenly, near N arm er’s small
pottery left by ancient E gyptian pilgrims. tomb, is the startlingly larger and more complex
For several generations before the 1st dynasty it tom b of Hor-Aha, equated by some with Menes,
had been a tradition for local rulers to place their first king of the 1st dynasty.
tom bs far out in the desert near passages through Hor-Aha’s tom b w as built in stages, as were so
the high cliffs. For example, protodynastic rulers of m any later m astabas and pyram ids. It began as a
H ierakonpolis built their tom bs in the Wadi Abu double cham ber-tom b but ultimately consisted of
Suffian, where Michael Hoffman discovered them. three large m udbrick-lined pits. T he king may have
T hese tom bs m ust have been built about the sam e been buried in the central one, the brick lining of
time as the Nekhen temple m ound (p. 72). which served as a protective shell around an inner
A t Umm el-Qa’ab, G unter Dreyer has revealed wooden chamber. Forming an entourage for the
how a constellation of royal tom bs developed from king are 34 small pits - the graves of courtiers who
a galaxy of graves reaching back into the pre­ were possibly sacrificed. A nalysis of hum an bones
dynastic period, Cemetery U, form ing a remarkable show s them to be almost all of males, no older than
record of state formation. In the m idst of the 25. Curiously, the bones around the last cham ber
crowded small pit-tombs, larger m udbrick cham ber were those of young lions.
tom bs stand out. Tomb Uj is the largest, with a b u r­ T he tom b of the next king, Djer, w as the largest
ial cham ber that once housed a wooden shrine. lst-d y n asty burial at Abydos. Its roofed space of
Inside, Dreyer found an ivory heqa sceptre, the very 12 x 13 m (39 x 43 ft) w as probably the limit that
hieroglyph for ruler. The tomb is a model of a could be covered by timber, m atting and mud. Djer
house, with 12 cham bers, a central court and sym ­
bolic slit-doors to m agazines containing hundreds (Right) Tomb Uj, o f a local
of Egyptian and im ported Palestinian pots. Some late predynastic ruler, in
of E g y p t’s earliest hieroglyphs show that great rev­ which Gunter Dreyer found
some o f Egypt’s oldest
enues already flowed to the ruler buried here from
hieroglyphs and hundreds of
provincial estates and beyond. T he tomb as replica imported Palestinian vessels.
of the ‘great house’ provisioned by the entire land Even at this early stage, the
carries on into the Old Kingdom pyramids. tomb is a simulacrum o f a
Between Uj and the tom b of Hor-Aha, about 150 great house, provisioned
years later, is open space except for 11 rectangular from afar.
tombs. Three, each consisting of two brick-lined
pits, belong to the kings of ‘dynasty O’, who ruled
E gypt during its gradual unification - Iri-Hor, Ka

(2nd dynasty)


The royal cemetery o f Umm
el-Qa’ab, at Abydos. A
constellation of large royal
tombs emerged from a galaxy
o f smaller predynastic graves Tomb Uj
(far right).

o f the royal household were name of the ruler in a serekh. Was it also covered by a wood and reed shrine. 76 belonged to females. 78). But scarcely any m an’s stu d y of Tomb 1 of a protodynastic ruler at and the fact that many were marked with stelae is one other evidence of a tomb superstructure has been Hierakonpolis. Discussion has focused on the tomb of Djet. with the lized the excess sand from digging the grave. Gunter Dreyer reconstructed the tomb o f Djet as a double mound. the subterranean one. The.5 m (5 ft) high king’s immediate family. dwarfs and women At least from the time of Djer. and may have been buried above Djer’s tomb and only 20 to 40 cm (8 to 16 in) in the large niched m astabas a t S aqqara (p. stone stelae. Their large numbers graves. however. based on Petrie) is the ner wall retaining a mound of sand. where How were the graves marked? pair of stelae. Could such a super­ true royal lst-dynasty burial tions range from a low mound to a g reat stepped stru ctu re have existed above the royal tom bs at ground. wrho were draw n from the above the buried tum ulus . ju st as the surface mound replicated surrounding the Abydos bay. as reconstructed for Tomb 1 at Hierakonpolis? Umm el Qa’ab royal cemetery: late predynastic. All. and also because this would have uti­ priests. 75) 2nd-dynasty royal enclosures New Kingdom CDO 0 800 m temples a ^ h ■=>a 0 2500 ft Osiris temple . ru n into the difficulty that. surrounded by below. has 318 atten d an t graves. tangular mudbrick-lined pit revealed the existence at Abydos (shown in the map where the thick walls of the tomb supported a thin­ of a wood-pole and reed-m at shrine. high above Den’s . tombs included m astaba. surface.based on the supposition that a Retainers graves around the royal tomb m ust have been marked by more than a tomb o f King Den. the would have replicated the wooden shrine in the b u r­ a great cleft in the high cliffs top of the m ound would have been below the desert ial chamber. Careful excavation around the rec­ argument that the cemetery found. priests and entertainers of the king’s house ing resurrection. Dreyer suggests that the hidden tum ulus above Royal Tombs at Abydos Of 97 inscribed stelae. Reconstruc­ a sim ilarly built enclosure wall. possibly concealed by a second roof. He postulated a second mound and not high officials. It was marked by a stela showing Djet’s name inside a wood-frame and reed- mat palace facade. Umm el-Qa’ab? T he wood and reed m at shrine elements oriented to the southwest . 11 to the burial cham ber but below the desert surface ful­ males and 2 to dwarfs. many m arked with stela. 1st-2nd dynasty (see p. probably on the east side.the direction o f as Petrie recognized and as Dreyer confirmed. were set up near royal A clue to the superstructures may lie in Hoff­ buried.about 1. These were probably service filled a magical role as the primeval mound en su r­ staff.

At this stage we are within reach of to a mound inside ‘purification ten t’ and ‘m ortuary w orkshop’ (p. consisting of a long. a position found here for Hetepsekhemwy. But before Djoser. while proto-pyramid’ slightly north into the pyram id age difficult. and at the same time revealed. repre­ o f the east side and the east after the conclusion of civil strife.and 2nd-dynasty kings built the second ele­ K hasekhem w y’s enclosure.Developments in tomb architecture rectangular court. the Step Pyramid. the direction of the g reat K hasekhem w y’s is the largest. T he last king of the 2nd dynasty. In plastered and painted m ud­ enclosure). enclosures that had perished (as. As rulers continued to build their tom bs at A by­ One interpretation sees these enclosures as full- dos the main pit became deeper and the wood scale replicas of the open courts for royal display in shrine around the burial cham ber w as fitted closer the palace. the early passage-mastabas and pyramids. The large royal enclosures of O’Connor suspects that these are the rem ains of a 2nd-dynasty kings simulated wood-frame and reed-mat m udbrick mound . Near the centre he ment of their tomb complexes at A bydos . royal and divine. m aking this a prototype of the southeast corner. the enclosure of entrances at the far south end T h e A ppearance of the Two Powers’ apparently Khasekhemwy. the enclosures were associated with the bricks that may have belonged turned to the north. one of two enorm ous temple and pyram id enclosure? Both were m asonry (bottom right) in their sets of underground galleries a t Saqqara is replicas of structures in less durable m aterials that respective enclosures.’ Khasekhemwy’s valley In both form and location of the entrances. Even more dram atic w as the discovery of a row of 12 buried Khasekhemwy Mound boats. m (53.a precursor to the classic false door. covering over 5. With Khasekhemwy we are only years away from the 3rd dynasty. we m ust come to term s with the curious possibility of another royal cemetery of the first two dynasties at Saqqara. T he wall of the mound over Djet’s tom b has sq. the successor of the stone m astaba and. did the tom b superstructures at Umm el-Qa’ab). A t the juncture of the wadi with the cultivation. Such structures. Each wooden boat is contained in a m udbrick casing. However. expanding roughly later ones have niched m udbrick enclosure walls. the David O ’Connor recovered traces of the floor of 1st. finally. in which ‘By Merneitfh] these [offering] chambers were built case the wadi forms a kind of natural causew ay to separately [round the burial chamber]. 25). located at the edge to its walls. which were docking places to the Netherworld. Petrie of the cultivation.a huge found a short line of bricks laid at an angle. veiled. like the Saqqara m astabas. Most are practically empty. they perhaps played a role sim i­ sum m arized other principal changes: lar to the valley temples of the pyram ids. plastered with mud and w hitewashed. occupied by the temple mound Q a’a in the traditional king list and the first king of at Hierakonpolis (top) and Can these structures be precursors of both valley Djoser's Step Pyramid the 2nd dynasty. No tomb has been the mounded grave moves inside the enclosure as and west of centre. east of Khasekhernwy’s complex.000 ravine. into 40 magazines. statue or offerings made to him. By Den an the mounded tombs. Dreyer ‘palace facade’). shown to scale. divided brick. ascribed to him. colourful reed mats. David A break in the sequence a t Abydos for the 2nd enclosures can also be seen as the precursor to the O’Connor recomtructed the d ynasty m akes tracing royal tomb development niched wall that surrounds D joser’s complex.a ‘proto-pyram id’. Hierakonpolis and the Djoser enclosure. Another view is that. with their an overlap at the southw est corner. He com pares structures in plastered and the mound within the rectangle to the temple at painted mudbrick. His tomb at A by­ end o f the north side (the sented screen walls made of wood fram es and first phase o f Djoser’s dos is a m arked departure from the square pit. like the valley tem ­ After he had found a row o f entrance passage was added. it w as a more solid version of other Abydos are not. The enclosures tombs. changed his nam e to Khasekhemwy. the enclosure (bottom left). perhaps. and by Qa the entrance was ples. leaving Valley funerary enclosures only the rectangles of subsidiary graves. This may have housed the king’s serdab cham bers in Old Kingdom tombs. tow ards the southw est.820 sq. leaving no space for magazines. irregular pit. may be models of the palace enclo­ flap-door corresponding to a niche in the tomb sure of the living king (the style is often called below . The earliest exam ples are now Seven kings and one queen (Merneith) of the 1st defined by the surrounding subsidiary burials. but dynasty built tom bs at Abydos. su g ­ gesting the upw ard spring of a vault or tumulus. ft). 77 . Djoser and the first great stone pyram id complex. m aking a false niched facades. som ething They also have in common Khasekhem. When painted. Lengths vary from 19 to 29 m (69 to 95 ft). T his ghostly fleet strengthens the com parison of these valley enclo­ sures to pyram id temples. but ascertained that a second stairw ay and cham ber those of Khasekhemwy and Peribsen have a small added to the southw est of Den’s tomb w as for a building that sits askew inside the entrance at the statue of the king. Perhaps.

thousands of Archaic tom bs a t Helwan indi­ seem s to have generally designated high status. bu: because of their contents. to the D elta’. Tow ards the end of the were mostly variations of pit-graves. T his left scholars with two sets of apparently royal tombs: one at Saqqara. for i: Emery concluded they North Saqqara escarpm ent. Flanking this route. near the new capita' the other a t Abydos. dence that the oldest settlem ent w as close to the queens? Not on the basis of the niching alone. the sophistication and size of the deeph northw ards to just below the apex of the Nile Delta. O ther large m astabas con­ tained seal im pressions of alm ost all the other lst- dynasty kings. Directly across the occurs on a wide range of Archaic tom bs anc belonged to kings and queens. T he niching 2nd dynasty it w as known as lneb Hedj. On jar sealings in m asta­ ba 3357 he found only the nam e of the first king or the 1st dynasty.concluding therefore th a t this w as his tomb. legendary homeland of the Is - dynasty. So do the Saqqara tom bs belong to kings and edge at North Saqqara. As he continued t< excavate. On the west side. official called Hemaka. Some therefore thought that the tom bs at 3357 3035 3471 2185 3036 3038 3338 E M 3507 3 1 1 1 ’g E D N 300 m 100 ft 78 . Like the w adi at Abydos. the stylized representations of tht The lst-dynasty cemetery of th at it w as a fortified enclosure with a series of b as­ palace-fagade enclosure bearing the king’s Horus high officials on the plateau tions. Nile. a wide wadi rises like a natural ram p up into the Saqqara plateau from an old lake basin northw est of where the Archaic settlement may lie buried. which fam iliar to us as Memphis. not only because of their size and facades. niched m astabas presented a real contrast They called their new capital ‘T he Wall’ . however. ‘The W hite of the m astabas is sim ilar to that on the earliest Wall’. The twin A t first Em ery saw the Saqqara m astabas as tht other texts associated with the tow ns m ust have form ed the jam bs of the ‘gateway tom bs of nobles and assigned m astaba 3035 to an tombs. Both the nam e and its hieroglyph suggest serekh panels.more to the contem porary royal tom bs at Abydos. along the very edge of the high cliff towering above the town. T he British M emphis Project is finding evi­ name. the nam e found on sealing:- along with that of King Den. this w as a Archaic Mastabas at Saqqara path from the land of the living to the realm of the dead. Hor-Aha . and stone vessels with the nam es of the queens M erneith and Herneith. recessed. but names of certain officials were found on sealings or cate a m issing settlem ent on the east.900 years ago when W alter Em ery excavated most of these m astabas the conquering overlords from the Qena Bend between 1936 and 1956. as M emphis would later be known. Egyptian:- of the 1st dynasty built a string of large mastaba> with niched fagades. he ascribed the tom bs to royalty. As his excavations pro­ moved their adm inistration of the Two Lands gressed. Both literary tradition and archaeological discover­ Monarchs or nomarchs? ies inform u s of a moment 4.

These are from the stela o f Merka. but which contained seal­ the royal tombs is their size. and peculiar to the combined. wizen the total ings of an official. which some see as M erka near a large niche or false door of m astaba the inspiration for their facades. They were main niche at the south end o f mastaba 3505. who held dos as the true burial ground. are h un­ much greater area. Modelled cattle skulls with real dreds of clay ox heads with real horns attached - horns surround mastaba for instance arranged along the bench and in the 3504. These may represent offerings or a living herd. which were abbreviated and not to the kings versions of these niched facades.Em ery arrangement of tomb and found offering dishes still in place after nearly five valley enclosure at Abydos is millennia. ascribed to Djet but asso­ also at other mastabas. but in ciated w ith sealings of an official nam ed Sekhem- fewer numbers. as tomb and valley enclosure not as royal cenotaphs but as tom bs of high offi­ well as the large stelae of rulers.which some the Saqqara mastabas being still ascribe to Merneith. perhaps Seshem ka . o f high office under the kings.Adj-m er). Even more dram atic. false tombs. broadest faces are painted in varied p a t­ (Left) The inscribed. 79 . In later times it the A bydos pit-graves are combined w ith the valley w as the practice for elite E gyptians to build ceno­ enclosures they present a total arrangem ent that is tap h s at Abydos. Some see sim ulating the wood-frame and woven reed-mat it as conclusive evidence that stru ctu res such as formed the Per Wer and the Per the large mastabas at North Nu. Recessed patricians.Abydos were symbolic. panels are painted yellow to im itate wood. (below) the Abydos true royal cemetery and see the Saqqara m astabas retainers’ burials with their m any small stelae. the predynastic shrines th a t became em blem at­ Saqqara belong to holders ic for U pper and Lower Egypt. or cenotaphs. possibly a symbolic herd. Councillor. titles like Nomarch. Governor. ka. others view A bydos as the also a t A bydos of extraordinarily large groups of (Above) Saqqara mastaba 3505. But when we con­ 3505. Tucked One argument in favour of into several niches of m astaba 3503 . T he presence On the other hand. and ‘Ruling in the K ing’s H eart’. Captain of sider the decoration painted on the plastered s u r­ the Royal Ship and Controller of the Palace. T reasu r­ er. panel terns of squares. However. He face of the niched walls. As for the argum ent that the Saqqara m astabas to ensure the presence of the king’s spirit in the old are bigger and therefore m ust be royal tom bs. larger than the Saqqara m astabas. when home ground during the Afterlife. found near the builders knew from iheir daily lives. Such skulls were found recesses of m astaba 3504. crosses and lozenges. all point to A by­ o f Qa ’a cials. Like later false doors. T he Saqqara m astabas are m assive structures com­ Emery recovered the stone stela of a man named parable to fortified city walls. a the p attern s of woven m ats that the lst-dynasty' high official. the broader themselves. Merka was a nomarch (. they comprise a (Below. the cult centre of Osiris. while the forw ard. are found Symbolic architecture alm ost as commonly as those of kings. niches of the m astabas were contact points between this world and the Netherworld. a class of builders also had som ething else in mind. left and centre) lst-d y n asty m astabas of N orth Saqqara. Seal im pressions of such people. it is apparent that the w as also an Iry Paat. Moreover. ‘one of the p a a f.

Could this innovative stepped they had been sealed by the superstructure. are a set of model Hierakonpolis temple and the later Djoser complex. T he elabora' architecture with its sophisticated exterior decora­ niching of th is Active architecture accentuated th tion. an aspect that still convinces some rectangular niched wall enclosure. ascribed to Hor-Aha. Earlier mound buried inside mastaba 3038 have been so mastabas must have been built after the occupant had renowned that it became closely associated with been interred and could not be re-entered. In the final building phase a niched first time great stone beams over the burial chamber. Emery found a low rounded Saqqara do suggest incipient forms of elements of tumulus above the burial chamber. were then built out to form eight shallow steps rising It is in the very core of the mastabas that features at an angle of 49°.m od­ on the walls . these arrangements have the Saqqara and Abydos. such as on the But it is in mastaba 3038. such as Buto. In mastaba 2185 we see for the uncovered. in a 4-m (13-ft) has a more developed north chapel that is closer to deep rectangular pit. system while freezing it for eternity in mudbric But it is im portant to realize th a t the m astabas. Pyramid Precedents Mastaba 3507 with an interior vaulted tumulus over the burial chamber. corridor built into a sloping trench that approaches When Emery stripped away the niched mastaba to the burial chamber from the east. are simulacra . Three sides of this structure development of chapels of tombs of high officials. As well as pottery. In buildings and two large terraces extending up to mastaba 3357. although it also fits in the height of 6 m (19 ft). E gyptologists have long been frustrated by a els whose false doors were too narrow and low to Archaic Mastabas at Saqqara lack of precedent for this earliest monum ental have been exact copies of real doors. Changes in the design of the lst-dynasty mastabas at In mastaba 3507. the king). We may be m issing a long evolution of fortifi­ painted rendering of reed m ats and wood frame. The entire substructure. like Some burial cham bers had real posts and reed ma -- the A bydos valley enclosures.e. Above the substructure o f the standard mastaba. belonging to the officials within entirely filled with sand. stone vases and ivory tablets from both improving security. tow ns and tom bs of early Delta w as a way to ‘show the construction’ of the skeleta: communities. The whole looks like a imitated the interior of a reed enclosure -. north side of Djoser’s Step Pyramid? Mastaba 3505 that we find the closest precedent to Djoser’s Step (ascribed to Qa’a. but probably belonging to Merka) Pyramid. Could this arrangement where the reed mats are rendered in blue faience tiles. the interior was divided into a chequerboard pattern o f smaller magazines that sometimes contained additional burial goods. stored in the model buildings. largely unexcavated. thus completely Ankhka and Hemaka.the ‘inside’ of the ‘reed shrine’. I cations. the by its similarity to the image of a stepped mound sliding stone door that would be used in pyramid associated with the name of King Adjib etched on passages throughout the Old Kingdom. North of completed the basic pattern of the early mastaba 3357.a simulated quay or dock with goods off-loaded and forerunner of Djoser’s apartments below his pyramid. reed mats stuck on the walls perhaps walls lining a boat pit. King Adjib? 80 . have a stepped entrance burying the stepped mound. On top of Ad jib’s mound is a functional advantage of allowing the burial chamber stela with hieroglyphs that read ‘Protection around and magazines to be entered for the funeral even after Horus’ (i. This would have been an oblong develop which appear to be compelling precedents for step pyramid except the remaining side was left the later pyramids. from the reign of Adjib. the mound Egyptologists that they are royal tombs. had mudbrick walls rising to a Djoser’s pyramid temple. enclosure wall was erected all round and the area Mastabas 3036 and 3035. Egyptologists were struck feature the first portcullis grooves and slabs. The corridors reveal the stepped mound. Set within the the later pyramids. be a precursor to the mortuary temple.

As well as the burial chamber. associated with sealings o f Adjib. along with the name o f the lst-dynasty pharaoh Adjib. with the great stone portcullis slabs still blocking the entrance passage. showing the descending entrance staircase that was blocked by large stone portcullis slabs. . A chamber with granaries was located to one side o f the central burial chamber. side chambers were probably magazines. (Below) Mastaba 3505. A V r The image o f a stela. (Left) A view into the interior o f mastaba 3500. which reads ‘Protection around Horus on a stepped mound. The stepped tumulus inside the niched mastaba 3038 (above and right).

and South Saqqara. Ne- creation in stone. and w as thereafter focu~< polis extends across the central plateau for 2. Only with the pass­ (IV2 miles) from the northern tip of the row of lst. Stadelm ann believes that the galleries were one topped by long m astabas.5 km (4 miles) long. pe: pyramid field from Giza. T h e tom bstone of the secon king of the 2nd dynasty. the first king of the 5th dynasty. its natural exten­ to the heart of central Saqqara and built. ranging in date from the building jum ped south to Meidum then to Dahshu: 1st dynasty to the Coptic period. At th A mew of the Saqqara T he Saqqara plateau hosted 11 royal pyramids. the necropolis is over 7. T his positiov otherworldly counterpart of the living city of m ust have been very im portant to the king. sim ilar to Djoser’s Sout Tomb. did not ha\ tom bs a t Abydos. his pyra sions. thes< em pty precincts are the counterparts to the valle.5 km on Giza for three generations. T he entire necro­ during Sneferu’s reign. (' the basis of seal im pressions found w ithin then they are considered to be the tom bs of the first an third kings of the 2nd dynasty . This is not haps form ing a harbour just beside the early sett': counting the satellite pyram ids. around 2472 BC. This city of the dead in stone and sand is the mid enclosure. enclosures of Peribsen and Khasekhem wy at Ab\ dos. According to Stadelm ann. tion. ft) long and entered by passages from the north. O thers date the rectangles to the 3rd dynasty. returne the north. m outh of the wadi there may have been a lake. the site may have already been a evidence recovered by the British team at Memphis royal reserve.Hetepsekheraw Saqqara: An Overview and Ninetjer. he had to straddle a depre> ahead of the sands drifting in from the desert as the sion. a huge foundation ramp. suggesting that another royal tomb remain * to be found. over 130 m (427 Each complex may have been situated to tak 82 . Raneb. and S hepseskaf’s m astaba. ing of that dynasty. Sekhemkhet. If we include the pyram id fields of A busir to (Jserkaf. Ideally this would run through a natural war The centrepiece of the Saqqara tableau is the that sloped gradually enough to avoid the need f< Step Pyram id of Djoser (the H orus Netjerykhet). dynasty tom bs to south of the pyram id complex of come back to build his giant stone m astaba . M emphis m igrated southw ards to stay mg his pyram id here. Loca: Memphis. unlike Peribsen an Khasekhemwy later in the dynasty. W hy are Djoser’s and Sekhem khet's pyram id- and these m ysterious em pty rectangles so far 01: into the desert? If we look a t the m ap of Saqqar with south at the top as the ancient Egyptian- viewed their world. in the midst of the Pyram id builders abandoned Saqqara for alm< » pyram ids were the m any hundreds of tom bs of the entirety of the 4th dynasty as the clamour officials great and small. Old Kingdom. both of whom. way. mid squarely beside the east wall of the Step Pvr. Immediately south. and to follow the Nile as it retreated T he 5th-dynasty pyram id complexes at Saqqar eastw ards. eastern escarpm ent to the enigm atic great em pty enclosure. we see that the Abusir Wadi a natural causeway connecting the floodplai: below the northern point of the Saqqara Plateau ■ the front of the Djoser and Sekhem khet enclosure - and the tw o anonym ous royal rectangles. and for the sam e distance from the South Saqqara. T his determined when W hen the king’s builders began this unprecedented the builders could situate a pyram id complex. A s the city moved so did the necropolis each required access to the valley floor via a cause­ up on the high desert. more than any other site in Egypt. did Shepsesk. He also links these tom bs with the hug- em pty rectangles form ed by low walls further w tv out in the desert. perhaps p a rt of the so-called m oat tfc climate became increasingly drier throughout the surrounds the Step Pyram id enclosure. there are two and Saqqara indicates another determ ining facto: large sets of underground galleries. at its far north end. although here the sacred precincts are fartht west into the desert w hereas at A bydos they ar east of the royal tomb and down near the cultiv. west of Djoser’s p y ra­ Return to Saqqara mid. queens’ pyram ids ment a t the foot of the escarpm ent. the Gisr el-Mudir. was found in th area.

Neferirkare 1 mile 2 Ibi. the southeast cor­ ner of U serkaf and the centre of Teti. although a line can be draw n con­ Userkaf ^ necting the northw est corner of the pyram id of ^ Teti Sekhemkhet. T he pyram id of an 8th-dynasty ruler. the pyram ids of the Main Memphis ruin fie d first (Userkaf) and last (Unas) kings of this dynasty 500 m east (see inset) flanked the precinct of their ancestor. which probably furnished a low. T his p art of \ 1 I -b Saqqara lines up with the principal ruins of M em ­ \ Archaic Memphis? \ phis dating to the M iddle and New Kingdoms. returned to South Saqqara and built their pyram ids on the shoulders of the Wadi el-Tafla. Such lakes were left after the annual floods receded or were stranded as the course of the Nile moved. CV B Ibi Q) T he four kings who followed U serkaf built their pyram ids in a cluster at Abusir.o harbour. 5th and 6th dynasties Djoser extended diagonally from northeast to southw est across the central Saqqara plateau. the pharaohs would Raneferef Khentkawes . / 4 ^ / Main ^ / Memphis / ruin field / Unas lake?- Sekhemkhetjiaj . were the last p y ra­ -o Djedkare-Isesi 0 ® mids built a t Saqqara. alm ost destroyed (of M erikare or M enkauhor). Merenre and Pepi II. at the far w est end of the south side. ponded area su it­ Pepi able for a pyram id harbour. It ran through a minor wadi to yet another of the natural lakes along the desert edge. built his pyram id northeast of U serkaf’s. a necklace of pyram ids from the 3rd. As with Userkaf. Again. Djoser. probably ran [x] Shepseskaf through the wadi that now contains the tourist road [ 3 Pepi II up to the plateau. the pyram id of Unas (but off centre). 0 Lepsius 29 the southeast corner of Djoser. that is to extend in a general southw est orientation. The O' Greek name M emphis probably derives from the % '' nam e of Pepi l’s pyram id.5 mile advantage of natural lakes along the desert edge. the selection of the site for his p y ra­ SAQQARA mid m ust have been of considerable im portance to Unas lake ?_ Unas. 1 km 0. Pepi II chose to build his pyram id close to the m astaba Abusir lake ABUSIR of Shepseskaf. tN U serkaf’s causeway. X Merenre Near the end of the 5th dynasty Djedkare-Isesi built his pyram id at South Saqqara on a point over­ Djedkare-Isesi looking the m outh of the prom inent Wadi el-Tafla. A small p y ra­ mid. After Pepi II. T he orientation is approxim ate. and th a t east of Teti’s. ^ build no m ajor pyram id complexes for more than cv 1 km a> 150 years. His pyram id town may be located under the modern village of Saqqara. W hen Teti. These small pyram ids were * \ icO Pepi 10 Sahure the final gasps of the Old Kingdom pyram id age. first pharaoh of the 6th dynasty. Unas built his pyram id close against the Step Pyram id enclosure. since it required that he build an extremely long causeway to reach the floodplain. Pepi I and two of his sons. As the kings added to the A busir pyram id s cluster they followed a practice that we have seen in the lst-dynasty royal cemetery a t Abydos. the lake in <Z> O ) the A busir ‘bay’ could have furnished a common . and # also a t central Saqqara and Giza. M en-nefer Pepi. South Saqqara lakes?. Like two guard posts. if it belongs to M erikare 0) Niuserre K ] Merenre CO and so dates to the 9th dynasty. T h e Per­ % ' fection of Pepi E ndures’. never excavated. » « ' v^ Archaic east of Teti’s extended the line of pyram ids a little I *1 I ' \ mastabas farther northeast to the edge of the escarpm ent.

of Djoser is echoed through later antiquity in the tradition ribbed and fluted columns. They left 1. there were six stages (M.668. portico. and to build their own an initial square m astaba to the final six-step p y ra­ world aspect of existence after death. In 1996 Dreyer found used only as an aid to setting each block on a tx I Stages in the evolution N etjerykhet’s mud sealings at K hasekhem w y’s th at inclined with the accretion layer. Abydos valley enclosure of Khasekhemwy.alm ost immediately aft predynastic m o d and reed hand-carved each recess into the face of the already they built them in the first stage. But the implications of course. There was architect. 77).P. BC). the South Tomb. each panel more than 9 m (30 ft) tall. A ccording to Jean-Philippe Lauer. And the ful variations.400 cu. the Sou: many o f these forms from blocks.' . to Djoser’s simple Djoser the most common material for large build­ ed out that the first. As for the monum ental record. A ssum ing that this is correct stages conceal earlier ones. were even a replica of the substructure. Instead. the main envelopment of the m astaba conform s to the pa- restored.. . the inventors o f stone The centrepiece w as the Step Pyram id. the clay w H orus name. life. W hen the builders began to transform t: m astaba into the first pyram id they built a crude core of roughly shaped stones with a fine limes to: casing and a layer of packing in between. high priest) of the sun god Ra.cor ceivable if the 19 years were biennial taxation year • Complex . B leap in architectural size and sophistication repre­ now there w as a profound difference: they aba: sented by E g y p t’s first royal stone complex.first pyramid. containing familiar forms for the first 330. finely carved facades. ft) of clay and stone. The labour: the builders did not form the recesses of the buried the dum m y structures of Djoser’s enclosur 3rd-dynasty builders inherited huge stone enclosure wall before they laid the . is shown opposite. if v. the doned horizontal beds and began to build in accr- Step Pyram id of Djoser at Saqqara. W ithin was a Western massifs Bounda- vast complex of functional and dumm y buildings. structures and petrified. Instead they Tomb and Sed Chapels . Likewise the. us a m ajor alteration every six years. T he Step P yram id complex is such a basic tem ­ The South Court sized statues. 60 m (197 ft). within Djoser’s 19-year reign (2630-2611 er’s original m astaba is off-centre in the first end Saqqara. forever. Even doubling his reign to 38 years . . Netjerykhet.and laid masonry. is sim ilar to t: mastaba within a rectangular ings w as m udbrick. which was then. . AAAAA (Rainer Stadelm ann has modified this scheme). A limestone enclosure a t Hierakonpolis (p. torus-moulding plate of E gyptian art and architecture that it is and cavetto cornice.e. the architecture for changes in the governm ent of Many structures in the E gypt and political control of people’s lives are Colonnade entrance complex survived as members astounding.M . Chapel of the South Tomb (Opposite page) A unique including the Pavilions of the N orth and South. v. get a m ajor expansion every three years. as m odern m asons would. like the m ound O’Connor hypothesizes f - covered by his great Step Seer (i. his architect Imhotep. Chancellor and Great sure. smaller. 10. covered it with the Step Pyram id . The South Tomb time here: the first colonnade. . W erner Kaiser poiiv within an enclosure at Abydos (top). Dj< stone enclosure (centre) at Then. progressing from buildings m ust have signified the chthonic. Consider one of m any facts about the o f the hieroglyphic sign-list o f sacred buildings. a complex that has major im plications for hum an Evidence suggests that the builders partial': ‘vocabulary o f form s’. rising in six act which. contained an area of 15 ha (37 acres). Djoser is the tions that leaned inwards.P. and. • AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. now mid. the doors of the complex open doorw ays. wall. chapels and life-sized statues. under to see.5 m (34 ft) high and 1. excavator of the site. divide the six stages into the 19 years of Djoser - Djoser s Step Pyramid reign. the. They also used b igg-: name given to this king by New Kingdom visitors and better blocks that they no longer needed to the site over a thousand years later.).M.000 cu.680 recessed panels on the bastions and dummy first stage and then only a few years later entire'. that this king.the Pavilions of the N orth and South. suggesting a direct link between T he E gyptians also built the surrounding stru Khasekhemwy’s mound them. Th> It would be hard to overem phasize the dram atic technique had been used also for the m astabas. Step Pyram id and its huge enclosure. Tomb building appear- 84 . built the K hasekhem w y’s enclosure. stairw ays.397 ft) long. tern of early E gyptian m onum ents that successiv- bottom left. and his shrines. o f the pyramid: from Abydos tomb. B ut the only pack w ith large am ounts of m ortar of tafia . stage. the first hypostyle. prior to tures and enclosure in stages. m (11. pyramid complex: the success large tum uli and terraces. We see many steps to a height of c. o f easy to take it for granted. they may have planned fron generations of kings and Building in stages the beginning. inviting later Stadelm ann is right. The half-subm erging of the dum nr their designers to come in and T he pyram id w as built in stages. The actual entrance colonnade.P. the size of a large town in the 3rd millennium BC. platforms.645 m (5. and that w ithin t: Pyramid.t: royal name found on the walls of the complex is the local tan-coloured desert clay. an enorm ous task since there were encased the king’s m astaba in fine limestone in the perpetuated them in the Step Pyramid complex.

the Sed chapels and the Pavilions of the X'orth and South im itate wooden log beams. Pavilion of the North bastions and dummy cleared doorways Court of the serdab Pavilion of the South 'r-n p le T Heb-Sed court -> '• r ----------------- 0/ 300 ft . But.r of enclosure wall Area north of the Enclosure wall with pyramid not yet fc . Pyramid cut away to show Northern temple Djoser's Step Pyramid in its stages of construction final stage rose in six step? : a height of 60 in (196: •' with a base measuring la : 109 m (3 9 7 x3 5 8 ft). given the fact th a t many entrances and passages are scarcely wider than 1 m (3'A ft). the ceiling stones of the entrance passage. a statu e of the king at every m ajor turn symbolically allowing the procession to pass. it was enough that their form . With certain elements. Evidence of ramp over northeast c c . Lauer has distinguished between functional versus fictional structures. the interior could be abbreviated.'. T he fictive architecture served the k in g s ka in the Afterlife. an act of consolidation and renewal that necessitated burying finely crafted structures. to have been p a rt of a larger ceremonial cycle. Yet not all the build­ ings in the Djoser complex are d u m m y facades.their image .w as present in the faqade. it would have been far more convenient to bring the royal body and its accoutrem ents into the complex by w ay of a ram p over the enclosure in its northeast corner. T he E gyptian penchant for sim ulation receives one of its greatest expressions here. Djoser’s funeral cortege could have negotiated an elaborate course through the buildings. traces of paint indicate th at m any facades and pillars in tine limestone were painted red to im itate wood. T he stone enclosure wall im itates one of mudbrick. The functional may have been necessary for the actual conduct of the funeral ceremonies.

as shown inside. .The Step Pyramid Djoser’s complex covers a vast area. the underground elements are an a grand scale also.

t .- .

but the roof of the cham ber is the night sky. tunnels. they are also the least explored p art of the box. under mil. but are several orders of m agnitude believes the body w as placed in a gilded w< larger. In fact. bers. another way had to be contrived to bring in royal!> of masonry. one that the Egypti. over royal tomb cham bers for centuries. A new access w as built. But m ost interesting were limestone blocks with large five-pointed stars in low' relief. the showing the stages in the lower it. qu arry in g out more superstructure. In the narrow est p a rts of the new aav > there w as no room for anything wider than a m e:r The granite vault Djoser’s final resting place w as a vault consist’!: . pyram id’s substructure. which .198 ft). below the pyram id itself.but the form of this ‘mar. tl lole w as blocked with a granite plug weighing Profile view o f the Step T he above-ground elements of Djoser’s pyramid Pyramid. Djoser’s the one found intact in the South Tomb. and L epsekhem w y’s. bringing in m aterials by the descend­ ing corridor. another built parallels the multiple b u ild in g rebuildings above ground. Numerous fragm ents of these costly m aterials were found packed around the vault. Western Galleries are alm ost aligned w ith Het- Space inside the vault wras restricted. T he final vault w as of granite. The fact that this burial vault w as scrap. : end.surround one of the m ost complicated tangles of tunnels and shafts the E gyptians ever created.the earliest known examp ceiling. cham ­ archaeologists . Once body and granite plug were in place. Above and around it m asons were building m asta­ ba Mr O thers began w ork on the king’s burial vault at the bottom. Once the royal rem ains were laid to rest. looking north. beginning ns open stairw ay trench north of the pyram id ten:: while the centre of the descending corridor w as ' m ust have been destroye : chambers o f the substructure. lie after death underground. pn ' is the 2nd-dynasty royal underground galleries a in the 26th dynasty . A great Central Shaft. galleries and than pressive enough . sh o rt distance south of the Djoser complex. m ust have form ed the roof burial vault . with four grooves to guide the ropes us complex are only one p a rt of the story. stru ctu re covered the descending corridor made it impossible to keep the central shaft <\ They were filled and covered with m asonr. These blocks.- E gyptians created an underground stru ctu re on a building o f the created a small room to give them space to i w scale previously unknown. to which his soul is free to fly.7 km (3V2 miles) of shafts. The only precedent ancient explorers who em ptied the shaft. had been reused with their d e c o ra tr: Inside the Step Pyramid neglected. iis Shaft galleries l-XI opening a cylindrical aperture tow ards the r. 7 m (23 ft) square and 28 m (92 ft) deep. N othing of this rem ained for m< o f shafts. and tangle the plug. but Lauer found evidence that there had been an earlier one with walls of alabaster and a pavem ent of dior- ite or schist. one of the paradoxes of the pyram ids. Below. connect­ ing 400 rooms. was dug for the burial chamber. joining the shaft from the north. galleries and magazines. a descending corridor w as built. tons. To remove w aste as the shaft got deeper. the new s . one of vre cham ber’ could be worked out on the bat-is which is assigned Hetepsekhemwy. Above the burial vault the builder. A central corridor and two parallel ones extend over 365m (1. 1). These and other subterranean fea­ tures . W hen it was d e c :" c expand the m astaba into a pyram id. T his motif.c • four courses of well-dressed granite blocks.

5 ton granite plug. 1 m diameter. relates to the pyravm recent radiocarbon dating show s them to be many centuries younger than Djoser. 28 m deep djed pillars. a finer linen had been used to model tenons (left) shows how tin > and bones . Here. Rows of blue round rim of shaft to keep it open through faience tiles w ith raised bands of limestone sim u­ mastaba (M-1) late a reed-m at structure . The king’s subterranean palace Well before the expansion of the m astaba into the pyramid. m asons were at work on passages su r­ rounding the central shaft. The diag linen. To the north. 2 m high. T his cham ber w as never completed . These m ust represent the inner private rooms of the palace.5 tons . stairways and cham those who succeeded him believed his remains. However. ' structure fully charged. Nothing wider than 1 m (3’A ft) could be inserted into the \ chamber. ending in an eastern chamber. rendered the under any pyramid. is one o f the most n> buried in the heart of the pyramid. Djoser’s body was Djoser ’$ undergrou> now packed like the core of a battery and no doubt complex o f passage s. the limestone fram e bore the nam e and protocol of Net- jerykhet (Djoser). Granite pJug. A stairw ay from the descending corridor took a series of tu rn s and corridors.a technique characteristic of the m ost substructure perspext: ancient mum mies of the Old Kingdom. they tunnelled long arm atu res ending in transverse galleries. west and south. Interior: 2. 1. M ummy p arts were all the robbers ’ tuniii retrieved from the vault: underneath outer coarse shown here. Blue also evokes the w atery associations of the E gyptian Netherworld. Three on the north side Central shaft: 7m were topped by an arch supported by sim ulated square. craftsm en were far advanced on an exquisite deco­ Retaining walls ration of faience and limestone. The roof of Djoser’s granite burial vault. T he decoration w as organized into six panels. from which they began to cut crude perpendicular magazines.descending corridor w as filled.96 x 1.the builders left the east wall roughly hacked from the rock and the decorators seem to have finished in a hurry. Three southern panels framed false door stelae. Magazine Gallery III Granite burial vault. weight 3.perhaps the king’s palace. with the 3.65 m. show ing Djoser perform ing a rit­ ual ru n and visits to shrines. h. All four walls of Magazine Gallery i two further cham bers were covered with the blue- tile inlay and the doorw ays were framed with Djos­ er’s name. One contained the real doorway.65 m.

89 . West walls inlaid with with its blue-tiled chambers. the king’s private apartment. 1. 1. The eastern 150 ft showing Djoser galleries are highlighted. It is also just in front o f the door o f the more public front part o f his Three false door stelae eternal house.2 m stairway in floor of court of pyramid temple p : sage m7) The serdab is aligned with King’s apartment. Second access to substructure begins as trench north of pyramid temple Passage a-4: h. blue faience tiles under the pyramid. as can be seen in the plan.8 m Open pit and w.

only a vocabulary of form s passed on to the future. like the is now in the Cairo Museum. the titles T reasurer. Djoser’s statue (above) gazed out through peep-holes in the serdab box. 90 . Perhaps. but probably life. where the hip-bone of an 18-year-old woman w as found. representing the king emerging from his private Netherworld apartment below the pyramid. The end of Gallery III widened into a room. the vessels were It is inscribed with his name. Galleries I—IV were used as tombs: two intact alabaster sarco­ phagi and fragm ents of others were found. Nekhbet (south.000 vessels. deeper substructure below the p y ra­ mid w as begun when it w as still a m astaba. cobra). Netjerykhet of gold. T he Step Pyram id w as not goddesses. salvaged from the already plundered lst-dynasty as King of Upper and Lower Egypt. tantalizingly. Djoser’s Step Pyramid Complex Djoser’s statue in its serdab (below). Djoser’s original statue belonged to his royal ancestors. Eleven vertical shafts were dug. cased with fine limestone. but also a repository of the past. his brethren. Recent radiocarbon dating deepens the m ystery of Djoser’s tomb once more: one set of female rem ains dates to generations before Djoser’s time. The eastern shafts and galleries Yet another. vulture) and Wadjet (north.the first two were held by Imhotep. A replica statue now occupies the serdab. heir o f two crown m astabas at Saqqara. With eyes once inlaui with rock crystal. A seal impression gave the H orus nam e of Djoser and. Stacks of plates and cups - m ostly of alabaster but also of other fine stones - added up to a staggering total of around 40. from the bottom of which long galleries extend to the west. Many bore inscriptions revealing that the Once painted to bring it to m ajority were not made for Djoser. Galleries VI-IX contained a rem arkable collec­ tion of stone vessels. Chief Lector Priest and Builder of Nekhen’ . female rem ains that date so early. tilted upwards 13° to the northern sky where the king joined the circumpolar stars.

which form the pictorial and textual determ inative to the entire underground complex. Remarkably. cen­ covered in green traces of copper. sacred region of primeval reed shrines. Lauer thought it m ight have been for the king's holding the household deed . as with the netjeru. box and poles found in the m agazine in the South Tomb may be the ritually disassembled p arts of the ap p aratu s used to carry such a statue. with blue faienu inlay. to the whole o f Egypt. we find relief-carved stars . that bring in w hatever it w as they placed in the vault. Three stelae were located under the main ceiling beam s had been rounded to im itate palm intended for the king’s ka.- King Djoser performing posts from a baldachin that resemble those of Het. Two more cham bers are covered. w here the king’s m at palace was now p a rt of the watery. they used the best of their nascent abilities in relief a r and text to depict the king in perpetual com m unica­ tion. and the E gyptians often pyramid. Incorporated into the m asonry of the m anoeu­ itself is a functional royal tomb. preserved from birth w as found filled w ith large jars. that it w as for the burial of the crowns: workmen had left a wooden stretcher.rem ains of a previous vault. On top of these the until death. All indications point to the fact that the South Tomb was finished first: the king’s inner palace is far more complete than th at of the pyram id. A s in the pyram id (though here at the south gave the ka special funerary treatm ent by the sepa­ South Tomb. the The South Tomb wooden beam used to lower the granite plug was still in place with traces left by the ropes still visi­ By all Egyptological reckoning the Step Pyram id ble. The w alls were of these w as placed in the sam e cham ber as the body. W hat w as placed tral shaft with the granite vault. In the darkest. Cham­ ber I has six panels identical to those under the pyram id. This is Tomb than the pyram id itself. But in Djoser’s vre cham ber were blocks of fine limestone with complex. the ceremonial heb-sed run. epheres’s cache at Giza (p. 117). and the king’s in this vault. box and or that it w as a symbolic reference to the old tomb. too small for a hum an burial? Various palace with its blue-tiled cham bers. Below it the builders T he granite vault is sim ilar to the one under the replicated three essential features of the su b stru c­ pyram id. Ye- the product of this extraordinary care and crafts­ m anship w as never intended to be seen by living eyes. There is compelling evi­ dence th at Khafre’s satellite pyram id w as used for. In another cham ber (II three more panels contain false door stelae. while the fourth contains the real door exiting to a short corridor. statue burial. and its interior was ture of the pyram id: the descending corridor. not so much with his living subjects. the burial cham ber w as rate interm ent of a statue. T he blue-tiled cham bers are one of the most im pressive features of the Djoser substructure. like their counterparts under the pyram id. The South Tomb may thus be seen as the precursor of later satellite pyram ids. As under the suggestions have been made: that it w as a Active pyram id. Robbers had done far less dam age to the South internal organs. T he wood­ en stretcher. The clue to wha: th at was lies in the false door stelae. it w as the home of the king’s ka\ that it w as the bur­ About halfw ay down the corridor a side cham ber ial place of the royal placenta. the gods and denizens of the N ether­ world. and three under the logs. be they actual or Active burial places. so excavators found though in later times the canopic chest containing one o f the false door stelae in the m anoeuvre cham ber intact. rather than the north end). with blue faience tiles laid on a limestone backing im itating reed-m at facades with a vaulted top supported by djed columns. 92 . the builders blocked the descending corri­ tomb for a ritual death during the Heb-Sed cere­ dor except for a narrow stairw ay to allow them to monies w hen the king renewed his vital forces. but it is much smaller. in addition to the Step Pyram id. entered by a round aperture. the blue-tiled chambers o f the large limestone slabs and the underside of the stone T h e entire South Tom b complex may have beer. removed during mummification. m ost inacces­ sible place the Egyptian builders could devise. One contained the real door from the vestibule. the enigm atic South Tomb. a t Abydos. South Tomb. it was m eant instead to ensure som ething in the king’s existence after death.

Walls inlaid with blue faience tiles Blind corridor.6 m.valls inlaid " r.8 x 0.6 m. (Building Askew) Step Pyramid South North Inside the South Tomb Mastaba superstructure Descending stairway from west Magazine L: 18 x 1. h. 8. for food offerings Central shaft: 7 x 7 m.6 x 1.!ue faience Second burial vault of granite.9 m Water closet’ Chambers represent inner rooms of wood-fram e and reed-mat building Chamber I 93 . Interior: 1. shown) and granite vault Three false door stelae showing Djoser in Chamber II oers I and II. 1. 28 m deep (Below) First burial chamber with limestone ceiling studded Stairway bypasses with stars above and below manoeuvre chamber (not (interior).3 m Chambers III and IV. • .

In the centre of the cham ber lay an alabaster sar shape around the pyram id underground. tar . 8. that may have been part of the panel . past three possibly a funerary wreath. as well as stone vases and jewellery of 3rd- dynasty date.higher than Djoser’s. the rectangu­ lar step pyram id complex did not endure. The m ystery rem ains unsolved. . A s the pyram id was 0______________100 m ^ unfinished it never received its limestone casing. Some dispui w hether the tomb w as unviolated. south­ passage west of Djoser’s. but it w as abandoned soon after it w as begun. On top were two bands of plant materi. w as an attem pt to build another such complex. containing a unique sealed In building the pyram id the m asons used the sarcophagus (below) that was sam e technique as Djoser’s: accretions leaning absolutely empty. 4. were found a t the end of a simp! w idening of the entrance corridor. In the Turin P ap y ru s Djoser’s succes­ sor. He reigned si> years and is shown in adulthood in a relief at Wad: M aghara in Sinai. 0 300 ft N b u t considerable progress w as m ade on the s u b ­ structure.9 > Galleries 5. A wood en sarcophagus with the rem ains of a two-year-ol child.55 m Pyramids 132 magazine: It m ight perhaps be expected that a long line of / ' ' ' - com parable step pyram id complexes would \ follow Djoser’s. whose pyram id never rose above the surface of its rectangular enclosure. B ut while many specific elements "x were borrowed by later find the sarcophagus empty. An unfinished set of galleries form s a U. with sloping courses of stone laid at right angles to the incline. C orridors led to gal­ only with g reat difficulty th a t the excavator raise leries. inwards by 15°. in seven step s . cophagus. Sekhemkhet’s Buried Pyramid Descending T he pyram id of Sekhem khet a t Saqqara. however sets of blocking th a t appeared intact. h. Zakaria sarcophagus is unique in being made of a sing Goneim. i extension its base dim ensions and the angle of incline s u g ­ i Sekhemkhet’s pyramid contains a curious mystery .which he described as sealed with mor a planned ‘ap artm en t’. Analysis. - sure it remained as the builders had left it. Tht dead centre of the pyramid. as this too w as never completed. Sekhem khet’s South Tom b w as also discovered or rather its foundations and p a rt of a destroys m astaba. Som ething ha: pened at court that ended work on the m ost impor ta n t m onum ent in the land. | South It has been called simply the ‘buried pyram id’ but Despite its unfinished state. like that built for Djoser. found the burial chamber. the excavator. This accords well w ith his identification as the king with the Horus name Sekhemkhet. but Goneim w. Djoserty. gest that it w as probably intended to rise about 70 a blocked burial chamber m (230 ft). But the child in th- South Tomb is not Sekhemkhet. It w. Roughly rectan­ piece of stone with a sliding door at one end. it w as left unfinished. again unfinished. The Short Life o f Step Burial chamber. gular. A t the end of the entrance corridor. and under the proved it to be bark and decomposed wood. 22 m. is given a reign of only six years.

but was never finished. the pyram id d ep art­ ed from the trend set by Djoser and Sekhem khet who built far out in the desert. Burial chamber.and failed - to complete a step pyram id complex. this w as the case. The the pyramid. begun as a step pyramid. on a ridge above. Perhaps. Each accretion layer w as built with a dressed outer face. the pyram id would probably have risen in five steps to a height of 42—45 m (138-148 ft). Less is known about the Layer Pyram id of Zawiyet el-Aryan than even Sekhem khet’s. consisting of 14 accretions.te Wall was intended as a step o f Zawiyet el-Aryan. found inscribed on stone vases in a m astaba north of the pyram id. was also on vases in a mastaba near steps. A northward visible in what remains today. Completed. 3. like Djoser's enclosure wall. with the prem ature death of the if the workmen had only just left. I Its base length was 120 m inward-leaning accretions are North extension (394 ft). It is entered by a flight of 32 magazines steps in an open trench. 150 ft 95 . The base length o f the Vertical shaft uncompleted Layer Pyramid was 84 m (275 ft) and it was probably intended to rise to a height o f up to 45 m (148 ft). In this. h. 3 m Its substructure is so sim ilar to Sekhem khet’s that there can be little doubt that scarcely any time elapsed between the two. I extension of the enclosure covered a wall o f bastions and niches. A sloping passage runs to the bottom o f a vertical shaft from which cm unfinished passage leads south. the floodplain. per­ haps because this pyram id too w as never finished. indeed. A lower passage also leads south to a stairway and horizontal 50 m r-J passage to the burial chamber. A clue to the identity of the king whose pyram id this w as is the H orus name Khaba.63 x 2. (Left) Sekhemkhet’s pyramid (Above) The Layer Pyramid (Right) The Horus name o f . It occupies a site about 7 km (4 miles) north of Saqqara. T he pyram id’s su p erstru ctu re is typical 3rd- dynasty masonry. perlwps Khaba was found inscribed pyramid probably o f seven belonging to Khaba. with coarser m asonry backing and thick seam s of clay as mortar. cased in fine limestone. b u t not far from. The Layer Pyramid o f Zawiyet el- Aryan A nother 3rd-dynasty king attem pted .65 m. No trace of a burial w as found and a side passage leads to galleries again clean and empty . No traces of casing were found. lean­ ing inward against a central core.

25 m. at Abydos. preserved height 5. This adds Seila to Sneferu’s be brought from the provinces to the core of the pyramid at Meidum and two at Dahshur. Edfu and Hierakonpolis (at ek mudbrick.25 m c. find a fragmentary offering of living sovereignty. In 1985 Nabil Swelim surveyed a at Zawiyet el-Meitin. So far. southern pyramids are different from the northern all time. Swelim dates it to the end of the 3rd Kula). two stelae . The kind found in pyramids of the early 4th dynasty. to judge Dreyer. The Provincial Pyramids Elephantine Edfu El-Kula Ombos Sinki Zawiyet Seila South el-Meitin Orientation 17° NW ~N E-W ~ 12° NW ~ E-W ~ 20° NW 12° NW Max. of the Seila pyramid. The next is at Sinki near Abydos. at Seila. 4 m of which was inscribed with the stood for more than the royal tomb.The Enigma of the Provincial Step Pyramids (Right) The step pyramid o f two. A passagr in the north side slopes down to a chamber of the Seven step pyramids are known in the provinces. covered with mudbricks and numbered I. the Brigham Young University These pyramids may therefore have been symbols Expedition did. Another. political centres. 4. chapels. first king of the 4th dynasty .5 cubits 35.46 m 35. none has been shown to have also be connected with the early organization of the a burial chamber or ancillary buildings such as country into nomes (provinces). Three Though it is unique for this period in being built of more are near Ombos.09 cubits accretion: accretion: 35. father of Sneferu.5 m c. Excavated they were part of a single building programme by by Nabil Swelim and Gunter one king . hinting that the step pyramid slab. 43 cubits Slope angle 13° -1 3 ° <11° 10° ?> 10° ~ 10° ~ 14° Steps 3 (3) 3 3? (3) 3-4 4 respectively King Huni ? Huni ? Huni ? Huni ? Huni Sneferu 96 . A further pyramid is tentatively place.8 m Base length Average 35-36 cubits 18.1 m 5. or that they are symbols of spaced out along the provinces of Upper Egypt migh the primeval hill. It has been suggested that they mark the representatives during a journey through the land t homelands of royal consorts.23 cubits ~ 18.and dead king. that they are the sacred collect taxes and give judgments.75 m 6. The pyramids places of Horus and Seth. (Far right) The pyramid ascribed to Huni. but outside. southernmost is on the island of Elephantine. The five Egyptian nation for building the largest pyram ids. (Below) large rock knoll at Abu Roash that Lepsius had seen The pyramid at Seila. overlooks the Fayum from royal residences near. In 1987. It is interesting that Huni took the pyranr.3 m. it had ramps and by a large granite cone inscribed with his name fou: accretion marker bricks still in at Elephantine. A solitary dynasty or the start of the 4th. major religious am atop the desert spur between it and the Nile. 35 cubits On 2nd On 3rd 18. but their similarity to one another suggests thr Sinki.39 m c. and assigns it to Hu: i small pyramid is found in Middle Egypt at Zawiyet The small step pyramids may mark the locations el-Meitin. the marker of a name of Sneferu.5 m 8.5 m. 35 cubits 48 cubits On 3rd accretion: 22. They would have been temporary The purpose of these small step pyramids is a residences occupied during visits of the king or his mystery. scant traces of a mudbrick causeway on the east side to the provinces just before people and pjrjduce wou'.6 m 18.perhaps Huni. however.

Sneferu would become the greatest court moved to the area around D ahshur (p. traditional inward-leaning w as used for the outer faces of the accretions. Djoser’s w as the only large royal pyram id that In his 15th year on the throne Sneferu and his stood complete. the ancient nam e of of the pyram id while it w as under construction. beginning with a step pyram id of seven rising above a sloping mound of debris. lacking fact th a t Sneferu’s name. the method of corbelling was ed th a t Huni w as responsible for this pyramid. T he pyram id at exceeds even that of his son Khufu. Previously it w as su g g est­ pyram id w as still exploited as a q u arry in his day.a total m ass of stone th at pyram id as a true pyram id (E3). Transition at M eidum In many w ays Meidum is the most m ysterious of all the great pyram ids. eastern chapel. in the Great M eidum thus represents the very beginning and Pyramid at Giza. laid in more regular courses. pyramid-buiJder in E gyptian history by construct­ But then. the end of Sneferu’s pyram id-building programm e. Em bedded within the puz­ The First True Pyramids: zles of this pyram id and its surrounding necropolis are distant events that transform ed Archaic Egypt Meidum and Dahshur into the classic Old Kingdom pyram id age. appears in large p art of the debris and recovered various later the fine dressing of the masonry. Initially the masons used the Better quality stone. However. but more regular fine white Turah-quality limestone for the exterior courses were employed for the surfaces of the steps. styles o f construction. Like the tomb for this king. Indeed. suggestion w as used to roof a burial chamber based solely on the need to identify a large royal that the tower and debris resulted from the collapse was at Meidum. tim bers or w ork­ builder of Meidum from sta rt to finish. and the Excavations. Entrance Burial chamber 97 . all point to the form er as the rem ains but no 4th-dynasty ropes. the chamber Meidum. An alternative. texts a t the site. however. o f the pyramid at Meidum Construction techniques for the superstructure reveals the stages in its were initially in the old step pyram id style. have now cleared away a was left unfinished. with building and also the different accretions of stone courses laid at an inward slope. and accretions. Like Djoser’s Step Pyram id. the first king of M anetho’s 4th dynasty. ers’ bodies . came to the throne in around 2575 BC. unlike Huni’s. Djed Sneferu (‘Sneferu E ndures’). ing three colossal pyram ids (at Meidum and the according to Rainer Stadelmann. and controversial.discounting the theory of a sudden (Below right) A cross-section collapse. Meidum w as built in Today Meidum consists of a three-stepped tower stages. he sent his w ork­ Bent and the North pyram ids at D ahshur) and the ers back to Meidum to fill out the original step sm aller one at Seila . Before the builders finished the fourth or assum ption is that the tower w as left after the outer fifth step. T he usual steps (El). Petrie recorded th at the (Below left) The first time Sneferu’s first 14 years. the king enlarged the project to a p y ra­ casing and packing th at filled in the steps was mid of eight steps (E2) which w as completed in quarried away. final stage. W hen Sneferu. 101). during the last 15 years of his reign.

and extended the narrow passage.6 m (54 ft) from the pyram id mid mass.65 m h. though it wa? second time the stelae in its never finished. prob it narrows to the thin capital zone and pyramid district dard. a step pyramid o f eight steps. and Eastern chapel long. a true pyramid with a slope of 51° 50' 35". A long passage from near the centre of the ably for storing plugging blocks before they were running north from here for north face led to the burial chamber. m end o f Sneferu’s reign. Sneferu’s used to seal the corridor. with each course of block- side o f the pyramid was sh o rt vertical shaft opens in the floor. Its base length was around 144 m (473 ft) and it was m (302ft) high. Spanning the wralls near the top court were left blank.(Above and opposite) The Inside the pyramid sage may have been for a door as fragm ents < pyramid o f Meidum towers T he interior arrangem ent of the Meidum pyram id wood were found here. a step pyramid o f seven steps. the transition from the wide. roof Djoser’s vaults. early plain style’ at the bottom of the shaft. 5. have assisted in raising the sarcophagus. mound of debris. A t its end is another vert: 70 km (43V2 miles) to the workmen built the lower p art of the passage in an cal shaft leading up into the burial chamber. h. opening about 16. It is rem arkably small. In place of the thick granite beam s th. h. A little above a certain height projecting inwards until the added when Sneferu’s builders returned to create a beyond this. rising from a cham ber at the approxim ate original desert surface into the cham ber . 1. up into the body of the p y ra­ w'ith w ays to create a central room within the pyra mid. On the north side the Vertical long sloping passage to the passage with h. 2. Meidum the beginning at. Today the open trench cut into the ground and filled with logs embedded in the m asonry half way up th- pyramid stands as a three. 5. 0.85 m 9.65 m (9 ft) wide. to E2. T his is not unusual.9 x Petrie recovered pieces of a wood coffin of ‘th 2. a slot two walls alm ost meet. Ceda- apex o f the Delta.05 m. These may a Is of the powerful and \ ‘Tower’ visible today ambitious Khufu. one of which survives. B ut n trace of a sarcophagus w as found in the chamber Burial chamber. to E3. but they built the shaft may have been used to raise a sarcophagi: - step tower. London.18 x 9 m. base. perhaps intende the pyramid was abandoned a as a kind of coffer in its own right.or to facilitate its removal. 5.65 m. whic corbelled are now in University College.5 m two recesses for burial chamber must have plug blocks been planned from the outst 98 . Entrance Transformations o f a pyramid: from E l. above the Nile Valley where w as an innovation and one that would become sta n ­ Two rooms or niches open off the corridor. when carved into the walls. packing. which descend­ Sneferu’s builders were evidently experimenting ed from the entrance. 6. they used a technique of cor­ The small chapel on the east Tow ards the bottom of the descending passage a belling for the first time.9 r true pyramid. However. just before a horizontal section.7 m Archaic to the classic pyravi Horizontal age. ju st above the first step. floor and ceiling of the p as­ (19 ft) long and 2. perhaps the cham ber at the north end the workmen fitte : because o f the rise to power more logs.

however. how­ Cemetery at Giza. that they called the Approach. Both are cut as chan­ pyram id..17 .anonym ous but probably the tomb o f another I prince. — officials along the eastern escarpm ent to the north. The royal necropolis Meidum w as the first newly established elite Return to Meidum: the true pyramid necropolis since Hor-Aha inaugurated the lst. in having completed side walls of limestone. Inside. (Above) In the chapels of „ S C O : Mastabas of _ *" XX Nefermaat’s mastaba (16) GIZA Mastabas the artists experimented with ... like those in front of the satellite pyram id of the Bent Pyramid. The figures SAQQARA were deeply cid and filled with coloured paste.. |S--a N/ j M astaba 16 belonged to Nefermaat. were left incomplete and unused with the move to D ahshur and the second abandonm ent of Meidum. .The pyramid complex A large rectangular enclosure wall. T he causeway differed. In addition there w as an idea for a cemetery \ i X 1 1 LDjaser’s complex -* . close to the pyram id. the sides and extended the interior passage up T he builders tried at first to replicate the pattern through the added masonry. Just as that Sneferu ordered his w orkers to return to Mei­ the pyram id of Meidum is transitional from the dum to transform the step pyram id into a true step pyram id to the true pyram id.. This restored 1 MEIDUM panel reads: ‘He made his hieroglyphs in writing that Western cannot be erased. though it w as badly destroyed when Petrie found it.. only traces of which survive. to an Mastaba 16 organized but unfinished- western cemetery at Meidum Mastabas for Mastaba 17 officials (2).. perhaps all that is left of a pair of stelae topped by the H orus falcon. surrounded various elements of the pyram id complex th a t were also to become sta n ­ dard. one of Sne­ 1 f c . Petrie’s team excavated a long chan­ nel. first seen in the upper p art of the south and a series of large m astabas for high the Bent Pyram id at D ahshur (p. running from the east-southeast in a straig h t line tow ards the pyram id centre. Most of the tom bs. They increased the length of ished transition from the old to the new. where pyramid the elite tombs were lined along the escarpment. and. ’ The development of the royal cemetery necropolis can be traced from- Sneferu’s Archaic Saqqara (1). which w as now laid in at Saqqara. practically for which it is the centrepiece represents an unfin­ the sam e as K hufu’s. with the king’s funerary m onum ent to horizontal courses. T his w as the seed of the concept that nels into the bedrock and were paved w ith mud and would find its fullest expression in K hufu’s Western had m udbrick sides. It is south of the final causeway and better organized and set ap art to the west of the is perhaps an earlier version. w as m astaba f\ . In the debris on the east side of the small pyram id a fragm ent of relief with the legs of a falcon w as found. Hans are not at the same scale.* ? Western Cemetery feru’s sons. Another feature that would become standard is the causeway. On the south side of the pyram id a small satellite pyram id may have been completed. a short sloping passage led to a burial cham ber from the north. . so the necropolis pyram id (E3) with a slope of 51° 50' 35". j 1st-3rd * dynasties j tomb decoration. ever. It w as probably in the 28th or 29th year of his reign dynasty cemetery of officials a t Saqqara. 99 . 102). to neat rows of tombs west and east of Khufu’s pyramid at Giza (3)..

a fact that seem s inexplicable given th at of Norden in 1737. Robert. b u t the excavators found only long m udbrick higher up the pyram id and cam e crashing down walls. 218 m (E-W) dust bed pavement’ A fernal skeleton w>as found in the Penbolus Tomb. never around the old step pyram id.2 m (nearly 14 ft) tall. in more complex having completed the filling out of the old s t r stelae. would be that of a pyram id under constru have seen the Honts falcons pyram id as a cenotaph rather than a tomb. bul we do not know his name. 100 . the chapel and form. when the pyram id ha our understanding of the E gyptian belief that. We m ight expect a valley temple at laid. From this it can be deduced that th packing stones o f the E3 phase o f the Meidum unroofed. but overlooked. in th> from the causeway would m ortuary temple. while the upper p art w as deposited durim horizontally. And R ober and only the fine dressing of the chapel walls and did not need to m ake a hole to plant his survey flag the stelae inscriptions remained to be completed. as with later p y ra­ and after pieces of casing were dislodged from mids. I. type corresponds to areas of casing that are bad! (Below) The casing and A long causeway. In the granite sarcophagus which still stain. people approaching com memorative chapel to the king and not a true first. in the niche. around the enclosure 236 m (N -S )x wall is Petrie’s ‘chip and sto>. 210 m prince. finer m asonry that the robbers usually strv inscribed. ascended the Mei­ would have no identity. The tion. the lower end of the causeway. If so. as well as one that had been partly stripped. Inspect devoid of a name. T he lower left completely blank. robbing we simply do not know to what extent th- The second abandonment? builders finished the Meidum pyramid. like similar ones at Dahshur. three steps as today. because Sneferu finished the case. Pavement (Left) Plan o f Meidum. why hole. cut into the bedrock and weathered. th a t caused work w as never finished. Two step- Sneferu’s tw o stelae in the eastern chapei were seem to have disappeared between the visit never inscribed with his serekh but were left com­ Shaykh A bu M ohammed Abdallah in 1117-19 an pletely blank . as if perched on the roof of chapel’s interior plan has the sam e w inding p as­ One significant.5 m (46 ft) Enclosure wall: wide. 14. Given the unsophisticated form s of other ele­ Could this lower debris include the rem ains of th m ents at Meidum. Khufu. the constructs causeway of the Meidum stone temple w as built against the centre of the debris and em bankm ents would have covered th- pyramid. In the centre of the top step there w as already If the pyram id w as later stripped by looters. because there has been so much stor. clue can b- the chapel. at the west end Approach was the rifled mummy of a Causeway. became custom ary in later pyram ids. Some inscribed Greek and thrc- to be frozen so suddenly. But the stelae were sages found in front of the chapels of Djoser’s Step found in the two distinct types of debris. In truth. while the upp< two round-topped stelae. A small pyram id as a true pyram id.A. Perhaps it was the king's dum pyram id to plant a pole for his survey. Had the stelae been eastern base . w hich has been interpreted as the socket for did they spare the lower part of the casing and the rod that the builders planted for sighting diagon: stelae? Perhaps they had access to the upper p art lines as they raised the true pyram id m antle up and via ram ps th at the builders had left in place. In 1899 M. Mastaba 17 — Peribolus tom b (below) was filled with limestone chips from the Mastaba 17 construction o f the pyramid (E3?). P yram id complex. T he appearance of Meidum today. 4. In a small unroofed court were type covered well-preserved casing. We can conjecture that the small hieroglyphs indicate that there w as access to builders had finished the pyram id’s third stage (E3) th e top of the pyram id in ancient times. At th unexpected death and the ascent to the throne of an sum m it he had the im pression that the highest stt: aggressive young prince. a m onum ent (like a person) of the Register of Land Survey. reached from the pyram id enclosure to lower layer w as deposited soon after the casing wa~ pyramid were laid the valley minuscule that it may have been a lower. 0 100 m -------------- 1 H 0 300 ft (Above) Two round-topped O ther elements appeared that. the Satellite pyramid dark band. the causeway may have led to a original construction em bankm ents? sim ple enclosure and landing platform .

who may have been very young when he began to build his pyram id. pyramids favour the plateau Despite having built two giant pyram ids at edge. desert.all the more unusual since Meidum itself represented the first time a royal necropolis had been laid out at a virgin site since the founding of Saqqara. Middle Kingdom pharaohs also chose D ahshur I Amenemhet: II as the site for their pyram ids. N eferm aat and the anony­ mous prince of m astaba 17. or Red. A nother son. T his proba­ bly explains w hy he built another pyram id at Hawara. At D ahshur Sneferu built two large pyram ids - the Bent Pyram id and the North. so Amenem het III. close to the cultivation. These three sons should have inherited the throne which passed instead to Khufu . It is 250 m (820 ft) east of the North Pyramid. N ortheast of the Bent Pyram id a cemetery of m astabas was begun. In 1986 Rainer Stadelm ann excavated Lepsius pyram id num ber 50 (L). but which in fact is some distance into the desert. Dahshur Dahshur For w hatever reason. Pyramid. and consists of the base of a pyram id that w as barely begun. the DAHSHUR tombs were for the elite of Sneferu’s court. T his perhaps explains the confidence with which he started out on his gigantic pro­ The Dahshur pyramid zona. Dahshur. were buried at Mei­ IXI Senwosret III dum. Sne­ while Sneferu’s Old Kingdom feru w as apparently still not content and returned pyramids are far out into the to Meidum to finish off his pyram id there. A long causeway Amenemhet III from the Bent Pyram id ru n s to w hat is often described as the first valley temple. ju st as Sneferu had serious structural problem s when building his Lepsius L (50) Bent Pyram id a t D ahshur because of the unstable desert sand. The two are roughly aligned . The Middle Kingdom gram m e at Giza.the east side of the Bent Pyramid North Pyram id approxim ately lining up with the (Sneferu) west side of the Bent Pyram id. Interestingly. one of w hich w as to be for his burial. The pottery in the vicinity appeared to be 4th dynasty. Two of Sneferu’s sons. in about the 15th year of his lake reign Sneferu abandoned Meidum and moved 40 km (25 miles) north to Dahshur. On the east side were large limestone blocks and a brick ram p that Old Kingdom may have been intended for building the su b ter­ mastabas ranean apartm ent. gravel and clays it w as founded on. One suggested motive for the move was Sneferu’s desire to be closer to the apex of the Delta and to the increasingly im portant irade w ith Syria and the Levant. and in some w ays Amenem het Ill’s looks like a m udbrick version of the Meidum pyram id. Decorated with relief-carved chapels. building on a sim ilar surface. just as Sneferu built a substitute pyram id to the north of the first at Dahshur. w as buried in one of the cluster of tom bs near the pyram id of A m en­ em het II. encountered subsidence and cracking. Kanefer. Those of Amenemhet III and Sen­ wosret III are of mudbrick.5 mile 0 . Here he founded another new necropolis . Y N o h 1 km 0. beginning with North or Red Pyramid Old Kingdom tom bs (Sneferu) Amenemhet II.

far from aiding stability. open position. However. work also began on the satellite pyramid. this may seem strange. surface. h. but here the chamber is too small for a human burial 102 . until the block in the top. It had become clear that the chamber was originally built inward-leaning courses.than in th-. larger . T he old step pyram ids had faces th at sloped about tial spaces between the stones are sim ply fillet 72° to 78°. I. Its angle o f slope was 54° 27' 44" up to the bend. had to slope of about 60°. the unstable deser With more preserved casing the pyram id. a time of g reat experim entation.5 m Portcullis blocking systems Northern entrance and passage. passage. It was. 3rd-dynasty pyram ids. W hen Sneferu abandoned his step pyram id at Mei­ before the upper p art wras finished. This is perhaps about half w?ay up. than most pyramids. which. perhaps the 30V: image of the shape of the classic pyramid. most im portantly. 12. But stru ctu ral problem s with be specially prepared using fuel. It may have been a t this point. The Bent Pyram id w as then continued at a mucr The Bent Pyramid decreased slope of around 43° to 44°. with limestone debris and even tafia in places. form ing a slope of ju st under 55°. there was as yet sion was taken to begin a new pyram id at N on' no blueprint for a true pyram id. certainly too steep for a true pyramid. for Sneferu’s burial actually increased the stresses on the pyramid.the casing ones very much so .6 m Chapel and tw o stelae Offering place The arrangement o f passap and gallery leading to the chamber in the satellite Lower burial cham ber 6. Gyp There is evidence within the core of the Bent P y ra ­ sum m ortar was just beginning to be used more fre­ m m mid th at it began as a far sm aller pyram id w ith a quently. Both core stones and casing stones art w as building the Step Pyramid.97 x 5. To us. 32. chamber: 7. the builders began to set the an indication that the higher courses horizontally. the Bent Pyramid reveals that These early stages were constructed using the plunderers began stripping traditional m ethod of laying the courses w'ith the (Below) The sliding portcullis the fine limestone from the stones sloping inward.3 x 4. and 430 Upper burial 22' thereafter. 17 m pyramid is a forerunner of the Grand Gallery in Khufu pyramid. 65 m Satellite pyramid: base length 53 m h. giving it pronounced bend. h. that caused the structural problems. Even at the reduced angle it blocking system in the western corners and from bottom to appears that there were still m ajor problems until. however. com pa­ O ther changes in construction m ethods are dis rable to the period when Djoser’s architect Imhotep cernible. Sneferu's Bent Pyramid - ‘The Southern Shining Pyramid' . A round the sam e time. w ith a clear Dahshur. unlike the desert clay m ortar. 74 m Western entrance and passage. with a year of Sneferu’s reign according to Stadelmanr. no g reat care war- How the pyramid got its bend taken to lay the internal m asonry neatly. I. as is evident here.96 m.26 m. th a t the d a ’: dum and moved north to Dahshur. slope of 52° or 53°. It w as this comb: subsidence soon set in.had a base length of 188 m (617 ft) and a height o f 105 m (345 ft). carelessly la: the form of an added girdle around the stum p of blocks and. Substar.5 m Causeway Antechamber: h. 16. Em ergency m easures took nation of a lack of good mortar.

blocking these statues were two rows of the w estern system may be a vestige of the South five rectangular pillars. structures. Behind this. As at M eidum the contrast sides. It w as definitely built later as it w as hacked ran from the pyram id complex to w hat is often through the m asonry by someone who knew exact­ called the first valley temple . small chapels of both M eidum and the Bent P y ra­ figure o f the king. A causeway. also corbelled. also with w alls of T urah limestone. One suggestion is th at curiously.Inside the pyramid The pyramid complex Sneferu’s Bent Pyramid. 228). would have taken place in a trench ed as cenotaphs. stone roofed with slabs. On the back wall were six ulate why Sneferu decided to have this duplicate statues of Sneferu striding forth. as in estates of the king bearing produce tow ards the the Ist-dynasty royal burial ground at Abydos.a beautiful small. 'hetep'. structural instability is evident as the glyph for offering. again w ith a corbelled m udbrick walls. the stum ps of which remain. ly w here the two cham bers were. sunk into the original desert surface. is above this antecham ber and w as perhaps mid were not p art of the development of the large reached by a stairw ay or ladder. w ith entrances on the north and west mid is a small chapel. rather they were intended to be plus a vertical shaft on the precise central axis of simple shrines for pyram ids that Sneferu com plet­ the pyram id. the long passage em phasizing walls carved the earliest representations of the once again a general southw est orientation. A courtyard beyond had Tomb of Djoser. a connecting passage w as made between them. with T he Bent Pyram id is unique in having two internal A t the centre of the eastern side of the Bent P yra­ its satellite. m ortuary temples. Initially the Bent P yram id’s chapel w as a very The second passage runs from the w est side of simple affair composed of two walls of T urah lime­ the pyram id. All this building. through portcullis blocking system s. T he burial chamber. In front of and. arrangem ent in his pyram id. lae. ed. which was expanded by to another burial chamber. We can only spec­ rectangular structure. W ithin it w as an offering place roof. two round-topped ste­ scaffolding of great cedar beams. a stylized loaf of bread cham ber w as completely shored up w ith balks and on a reed mat. Stadelm ann points out that the Pyramid showing the seated corbelled roof. statu es of Sneferu (p. sloping passage between this tiny structure and the giant pyram id A stela from Sneferu’s Bent leads to a narrow antecham ber with an impressive is very striking. From the north side a long. were formerly Some time after both cham bers were construct­ inscribed w ith the nam es of Sneferu. looking northwest to southeast. Here consisting of a slab that took the form of the hiero­ once again. 103 . T his is at a higher level than the first.

In mid he found hundreds of pieces of the fine lime­ recent years. It elegant than the Bent Pyram id. 12. thanks to Stadelm ann’s excavations. 14. if biennial. however. he later completed it. This. on a su b ­ excavations of the debris at the base of the p y ra­ lime scale. notch in the ascending passage. or Red. Although Sneferu was probably not buried here. his nam e was com­ pleted on various stelae and so this w as where his life continued. Sneferu ples. Many of these have graffiti inscribed we have learned that Sneferu’s N orth Pyram id w as on their rear faces by the work gangs.1 8 x 8 . A second causeway probably ran from this although. the burial at Dahshur. which. T h is stru ctu re is in fact a com bination of both The First True Pyramids: The North Pyramid m ortuary and vaiiey temple. Two o f Giza. the m asons often accidentally broke off the Rainer Stadelm ann has been w orking at N orth sharp lower foot so that patches had to fitted. where the builders w as built using the new m ethod of laying courses obviously struggled and experim ented with vari­ horizontally. 3. In many ways this w as more the transition to the G reat Pyram id of Khufu. with a T his refers to counting year 15. stone casing. Per­ haps it w as because here at the Bent Pyram id we have a fully completed complex. there is a very curious (689 ft) to the ‘valley temple’ of Sneferu’s Bent Pyramid. Instead. Its D ahshur for over a decade. with features that are Meidum and Dahshur developed later in both. On the north side. In em placement or pit for some so rt of cult activity - fact the temple is not down in perhaps the burial of offerings.67 m The causeway reaches 210 m ju st below the entrance. It has the court. o f 220 m (722 ft) and a height o f 105 m (345 ft). n. corner bears the hieratic (shorthand hieroglyphic) T he internal stru ctu re is in some w ays an abbre­ inscription m entioning ‘bringing to earth year 15’. T he N orth Pyram id show s none of this had to be cut into the outer face of the casing stone. is also found at the Giza pyramids. the valley but far up a narrow wadi that might have been The cult of Sneferu partially flooded during the By contrast with the pyram id-building kings of season o f inundation. or Red.5 5 m. valley. this w as also the pyram id complex th at ran into severe stru ctu ral problems and tested the builders’ nerves to the greatest extent. Its Antechambers: It m ay instead have been for the ritual angle o f slope was 43° 22'. plugging blocks. h. to a dock or landing-stage. One from a also built on a limestone platform . Pyramid Ju st a s in the South Tomb of Djoser. he began work on the North. Ironically. ignored by E gyptians of the Middle Kingdom. 4 . interm ent of a statu e of the king. The North. viated version of the G reat P yram id’s. the cult of Sneferu took root and prospered in succeeding periods. There is evidence that in the process of cutting and built with an efficient use of materials. pillars and architectural statues found in later m ortuary tem ­ In around his 30th year on the throne. In the course of his outer casing is built on a platform . It w as at the valley temple of the Bent Pyram id that this cult w as focused W hy this w as so is an interesting question. A small is equivalent to the 30th year of Sneferu’s reign. The ‘Shining cham ber of the satellite pyram id is far too Pyramid’ had a base length small to have contained a hum an burial.65 x 8 36 is a neatly planned and executed construction. A wood piece fitted into the notch could be pulled by rope to release the plugs. which. descending and an ascending passage. 104 . . setting.31 m On the east side of the pyram id w as an offer­ ing place with two more round-topped stelae Burial chamber: inscribed with Sneferu’s name. w here it increases Some 30 courses higher Stadelm ann w as able to in height to a m iniature G rand G allery adds weight place a casing stone dated only four years later - to the supposition that that stru ctu re in the Great this gives us a very clear picture of the length of Pyram id w as indeed intended for the storage of time it took to build such pyram ids. the satellite pyram id is an im portant link in from the beginning. and it is situated about halfw ay down to the abandoned the Bent Pyram id as his burial place. presented the m asons ous solutions to the structural problem s they were with a new problem: the slope of the pyram id now faced with. who seem to have been entirely the king’s name stelae stood at the southern corners. as at Meidum. P yra­ In term s of both its m asonry and internal stru c ­ mid which w as built at the gentler slope of 43° 22’ ture.

It w as here. Its pieces wrere found near the base.did not haps further evidence of a hurried conclusion to all but for traces at ground approach K hufu’s in grandeur.two cubits’.were very small. T his w as a simple culmination of the structure . Egyptologists eagerly anticipated the excavation of seen at the end of the last century but have never with his Bent Pyramid in the the m ortuary tem ple at the N orth Pyram id. w'ho soars above all living crea­ tem ples designed for long-term cults.. to a corbelled chamber. Stadelm ann also found pieces of the pyram id’s capstone. rejected by those who were stripping the outer m antle of its fine limestone. 15 m (50 ft) tall. From high up in the pyram id a long corridor descends to ground level. North From Sneferu to Khufu we w itness the struggle and south of the temple. high up to deter robbers. exem pting Pyram id . it w as the double pyramid complex of Sneferu. Remarkably. features that the increasing identification of the king not just seem far more ephemeral than the great stone Giza Mi j with the god Horus. technically far in advance of those at Meidum. 105 . courtyards retained round to raise the cham ber from ground level into the sockets in the soil for potted plants or offerings body of the pyram id. Indeed. place. in the temple’s enclosure. but it has not been ascertained stone chapel on either side of an inner sanctuary w hether or not they are from the royal mummy. that is Sneferu’s 29th to 30th regno' year. but w ith the sun and its M eidum and the Bent er. (Above) A fragment o f casing from the base of the North Pyramid with the graffito ‘bringing to earth the western corner [stone] [counting] year this case resented a huge leap in both scale and complexity. temple tures.a block with no carving or inscription and made of good quality limestone rather than any costlier material. simple structures. the m ortuary temple of the North lack of a causew ay linking the two temples is per­ North Pyramid was destroyed Pyram id . Inside the pyramid The N orth Pyram id’s su b stru ctu re is a continua­ tion of the developments seen a t Meidum and the Bent Pyram id. while that belonging to K hufu’s G reat Pyram id rep­ along w ith their fields. of which the Although a few possible traces were found east pyram id is a symbol. a substantial causeway 0 ap p ears never to have been built down to the valley 0 500 ft The pyramid complex temple. A t this point are two alm ost identical tall antecham bers with cor­ belled roofs of great finesse. it seem s to the completion of the North Pyram id. of the m ortuary temple. A sh o rt horizontal passage leads from the second antecham ber.. trees and wells . perhaps by Khufu at Stadelm ann believes w as Sneferu’s final resting capstone was reconstructed the time of his father’s death. which level Its pyramidion or have been finished hurriedly. Stadelm ann w as able to reconstruct the plan of F ragm ents of hum an rem ains were found in the the temple from the scant remains. Rudim entary rem ains of the latter were Sneferu’s North Pyramid.Sneferu’s probable burial place . howev­ background. th a t the decree of Pepi I was found. The The mortuary temple o f the None the less. P y ra­ been system atically excavated. There was a burial chamber. the khentm-she of the pyram id town from taxation. built within the m asonry of the pyramid. which m ay have contained a false door stela. P erhaps this is a reflection of made in connection with the funeral. mid chapels prior to this .

the front of K hafre’s m ortuary temple called nummulites. Khafre. By aligning the south side of Khafre’s pyram id aligns w ith the layers in blocks for the themselves to this. although the base of expect from m ethods of sighting and m easuring and head of the Sphinx. you are following its strike. west sides of Khufu’s and Khafre’s pyram ids are hard and soft stone. The that is. containing many purely practical m ay also have influenced the onal ends to the southw est a t a small hillock of the fissures. 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 m The Giza Plateau consists o f The pyram ids al Giza were built over the span of It is certainly clear that at Giza. bases of the three main pyram ids were at approxi­ are out by ju st about the am ount that we would Known as Member II and III. and layers to remove the harder down. Khufu's Mokkatam Formation. a t Giza inspires many pyram id enthusiasts to look The three pyramids at Giza. cardinality w as a principal concern. Khafre and M enkaure are would align. To the northwest is nearly aligned on the g reat Giza diagonal th at runs the diagonal of M enkaure’s first subsidiary p y ra­ an embankment o f fossils. T his follows what geo­ and K hufu’s first subsidiary pyram id (Gl-a). the builders ensured that the south wall of the Sphinx Khufu. Any overview of these pyram id is laid out w ith its sides oriented alm ost regular surface is ideal for colossal hum an achievem ents in stone m ust take exactly to true north . about 43° east of true north. and could use to align points across the plateau. using long cords across a kilometre of sloping Further south rises the Maadi Some religious or cosmic im pulse beyond the plateau. Its son. more than ever a plate o f limestone called the three generations . in the direction of the Netherworld T he formal sym m etry of the pyram id complexes entrance of the first royal cemetery at Abydos. Perhaps the diagonal pointed n o rth ­ ‘back sig h t’ for the ancient surveyors. The slope to the southeast a sequence of layers alternates logists call the strike of the M okkatam Formation. Down the to the dip of the plateau. W hen you close to alignm ent with the fronts of the pyram id Egyptians cut away the softer walk along the side of a hill w ithout going up or tem ples of Khafre and M enkaure respectively.the greatest deviation is building and it was here that the 4th-dynasty Egyptians into consideration the natural geology of the land under 5'. and the 4th-dynasty builders took pains to created the most carefully they were built on. a line perpendicular to the slope. T he southeast corners of the ensure th at major p arts of the pyram id complexes designed of the royal pyramid pyram ids of Khufu. wadis and gullies. southw est. ancient surveyors. this stone is visible in the body mately the sam e level. T he Giza diagonal line passes close to clusters. alm ost perpendicular mid (GHI-a). his second-reigning before. which they stone and tafia (the natural desert clay) for pyramid east to Heliopolis. 106 . Khafre’s is about 10 m (33 ft) higher than K hufu’s. the hom e o f the ben-ben. support structures. Their breathtaking accuracy and alignment has inspired much theorizing. and M enkaure. tombs and temples. though we can only speculate Maadi Formation th a t may have been useful as a This area was quarried for w hat it was. These alignm ents pyramids. T he great n o rtheast-southw est Giza diag Formation.

or any other constellation. Reisner excavated these cemeteries and saw the necropolis as a 'com m unity of kas for the court of K hufu to Covington’s Tomb reign over in the Afterlife. Here is the realization of C3 Khentkawes Khufu the unified cemetery begun west of the Meidum pyram id and the more loosely organized row s of m astabas east of Sneferu’s D ahshur pyram ids. T he channel that A plan o f the Giza plateau pyram id and temple changed in favour of a gave birth to the Giza necropolis thus became the showing the major reduced pyram id and an enlarged temple. With M enkaure the size ratio between duit for construction supplies. which the E gyptians saw as a symbol of sure. 139). settlem ent and possi­ Khafre bly a palace at the foot of the plateau (p. pillars the m outh of the wadi that had been the main con­ and statues. and pyram ids for which there much less so around K hufu’s. Main Wadi . 138).for more alignm ents. necropolis to Saqqara and Abusir. Menkaure The cemeteries of m astaba tom bs east and w est Op of Khufu’s pyram id. Over the course of three generations builders continued to position m ajor architectural elements The classic pyramid complex at Giza. B ut when the m ap of Orion is positioned three huge rectangular precincts by m eans of stone over that of Giza and nearby pyram ids. are replaced by large. 120). up this classic pyramid cluster. it is clear and clay walls. computer reconstruction hidden m eanings or lost treasures. Yet during this time work w as interrupted A t Giza the pyram id reached its apogee and the in the reign of Djedefre. These are still wrell preserved that there are stars in Orion for which there are no around the pyram ids of Khafre and M enkaure. 230).as needed. Sneferu’s small chapel have begun the unfinished pyram id at Zawiyet el- and inchoate valley temple a t the Bent Pyramid. of the Giza pyramids. are no s ta rs in Orion.the m ortuary and valley temple . T he approach to the tomb of the queen m other who per­ alignments and the many causew ays of the Giza pyram ids reached nearly a haps gave birth to a new dynasty that moved its different elements that make kilometre east to valley temples close to the flood. Wall and causeway defined an area of harbours. While the possible harbour lapping at Khafre’s valley temple and inspired by the stars in the belt of the constellation each pyram id stood within its own narrow enclo­ the Sphinx Temple. A theory of giant pyram id complexes fitted into one necropolis. K hufu’s w as the longest and it m ay also have been he who built the huge southern boundary wall Mokattam Formation at the m outh of the Main Wadi. Her Dahshur. w ith three A. are organized in the streets and avenues of a preconceived plan. T he last m ajor royal sepulchre at and his hastily finished pyram id temple at North Giza w as the tom b of K hentkawes (p. who went north to Abu standard features of the Old Kingdom pyram id Roash (p. with Robert Bauval suggests that the Giza diagonal is some delineation of borders w. Orion.were a king between Khafre and M enkaure who may expanded and formalized. well-built temples mastaba-like tom b had a large doorw ay opening to with a vastly increased use of hard stone. and perhaps during the few years of complex . alw ays with the suspicion of In such a rigid organization of space. plain. but m atching pyram ids. representing another advance Maadi Formation in form al orthogonal design. A ryan (p. the E gyptians also divided the plateau into Osiris.

in which time he completed his three giant two temples. 2. only recently found. Even with a reign of 30 to 32 the inner core is as well-cut and uniform as the years. satellite pyram id.000 three queens ’pyramids. the estim ated combined m ass of 2. Khufu also built another astonishing leap forward. m eans that Khufu’s called Akhet Khufu. If Khufu did not equal the total m ass of his with an angle o f slope of of its size. in his study of the reigns of blocks of stone.122 cu.33 Khufu for sh o rt (Cheops in Greek). Its orientation is struction. m (95.6 cm (3 in) high. compiled the pyram id. ft) of stone per day. begin building his own pyram id complex. and we do not know if the m asonry of some 1. concludes that. In organization it represents. he came close in his single 51° 50' 40". chose the Giza (8. to size block every two or three m inutes in a ten-hour height o f 146. The only known figure o f the pharaoh who built the largest pyramid in Egypt is tins tiny The Great Pyramid figurine. addition to this astonishing achievement. Its base length is calculated as 230.5 tons. boat Rainer Stadelmann. T he G reat Pyram id contains about 2. father Sneferu. builders had to set in place a staggering 230 cu. was pyram ids at Meidum and Dahshur. In term s day.400 years later. Khufu who came to the century.300. Her- o f Khufu Mejedu.700. around 7. Khufu reigned longer than the 23 the stones certainly get sm aller tow ards the top of years given him in the Turin Papyrus. like his c. three queens’ pyra­ throne around 2551 BC.000 stone courses th a t are now exposed (the outer fine 108 . built by Sneferu may have ruled E gypt for nearly half a cu. ft) for his pyram id.000 cu.59 m (481 ft). m Horizon of Khufu’.350. a rate of one average- m (756ft) and it rose to a Plateau. the g reat concern for cardinality and the pyram id and far surpassed his father’s pyram ids in 3' 6" off true north. causeway. the early pyram id builders. the technical accom plishm ent of its con­ father’s monuments. often said to weigh on average pits and a satellite pyramid. K hufu’s pyram id was size and accuracy. His son m ids and officials’ m astabas. is inscribed on the throne. found at Abydos. ‘The Khnum -khuf (‘the god K hnum is his protection’). T his m ight be som ew hat exaggerated. King’s Chamber with relieving chambers above ‘Air shafts1 Air shafts’ ‘Queen’s Chamber Grand Gallery Horizontal passage Ascending passage — Entrance Enclosure wall — Descending passage Two southern boat pits Eastern boat pit Subterranean chamber Eastern boat pit Mortuary temple Satellite pyramid and boat pit -— Boat pit Queens’ pyramids The Great Pyramid. Khufu’s Horns name. 40 km (25 miles) north of Dahshur.

only 20 m were present. only 54. This is the first time we find granite 2. but it is not known w hether the five statue 4. 109 . often wide interstices between the core stones. W hat rem ains is some Causeway. much o f it badly worn. and ple. for the outer wall.48 m (697ft) o f the foundation platform we know from the testi­ that it may have been a response to the architectur­ mony of Herodotus and the discovery of a few al disaster at the D ahshur Bent Pyramid. for his highest officials and to the east for A t the corners and tow ards the top higher quality his nearest royal relatives . though they have mostly since disap­ (66 ft) per side. this century. Chamber and the stress-relieving cham bers above it black basalt pavem ent of an open court. carefully laid. showing the rock inside the pyramid. 212) . On the other hand some of the casing bedrock over the centuries. never and w estern recessed bay. ing a court.023ft) o f original pyramid baseline. 10. rem ained undetected until recently. The T urah limestone wall. It is on the basis o f these remnants that the amazing accuracy o f the original building is reconstructed by surveyors.4 cm (1 %/\ in). Large 232). with packing blocks in between. a form Access to this court could only be gained via the th a t m atches the galleries under the east valley temple.8 m have been estim ated to weigh from 50 to 80 tons. satellite pyram id.1 cm (under 1 in). 739. the average deviation of the and basalt combined to construct a truly large tem ­ sides from the cardinal directions is 3' 6" of arc. we noted that o f a total of 921.2 m (33 ft) wide. K hufu’s precision and control. while repeated frequently. It is otherw ise completely unknown quantities of gypsum m ortar wrere poured into the and its form remains totally hypothetical. the core. It is tiny. As well as his own pyram id and tem ­ G reatest precision w as achieved in the fine outer ples. The walls were of fine limestone A s for accuracy: the base is level to within ju st carved in relief. unified fashion.leaving a low m assif of natural valley temple. W hy such phenom enal precision? niches and false door that became standard later 200 m For the royal designers such exactitude may have were already p art of the plan. 116). dations were still extant at the tu rn of complex internal structure. It is square and much stones at the base may weigh as much as 15 tons. 118). enclos­ side w alls of the cham ber lean the w est ment on the internal fabric of previous pyram ids. side of Djoser’s Step Pyramid. East of the escarpm ent these foun­ Pyramid. During our survey of Khufu’s pyramid. like those built by Sneferu.44 m (3. while only 212. and has a T-shaped peared. w as less built three pyram ids for queens (p. perhaps for his ka. The G reat Pyram id. laid in horizon­ bly the rem ains of the valley temple (p. larger than the small chapels associated with the and the large granite beam s roofing the King’s M eidum and Bent pyram ids. though it is still a marked improve­ and cemeteries of m astabas . which is w hat we see now. over 8 m (26 ft) high. 500 ft been imbued with symbolic and cultic significance K hufu’s causeway walls m ust have been covered that now eludes us. and the bedrock cuttings cease to astound. plus boat pits (p. Khufu also casing. A more practical explanation is with fine relief carving . sockets for I. tal courses.all laid out in limestone w as used because of the need for greater a system atic. the granite pillars of the surrounding colonnade Such statistics. like a tent or canopied structure. white T urah limestone casing w as stripped off T he m ortuary temple w as dem olished down to long ago). paved in limestone. T he finished pyram id was surrounded by a descending passage plus chamber. There w as an inner sanctuary and storage the greatest difference in the length of the sides is rooms. when The pyramid complex it w as discovered by Zahi H aw ass during All the standard elements of the pyram id complex cleaning operations.44 m (179 ft) remains. A basalt pavem ent is proba­ consisted of casing and core stones. To avoid a carved pieces. Its foundations rose to an astonish­ repetition the builders founded the outer casing on ing height of more than 40 m (131 ft) to carry the Computer-gemrated a specially levelled platform constructed on the corridor from the edge of the plateau down to the diagrams o f Khufu’s Great bedrock (p. causeway and m ortuary temple.

The interior o f Khufu’s pyramid is explored overleaf .The Great Pyramid A computer reconstruction o f the Giza pyramids.


reached via the Ascending P assage and a horizon­ tal passage. however. Three lels and no precedent. ending in the Subterranean Chamber.05 m (3’/2 ft) wide and a little taller. it is intended burial cham ber of the king. each with the sam e floor area as the successively abandoned as terranean Chamber. A t the very top. T he Queen’s Cham ber w as therefore totally closed off . this room is impressive for its sim plicity Subterranean Chamber and so-called ‘Queen’s Chamber’ gists have long accepted B orchardt’s suggestion and resonance. w ith the abandonm ent of the S ub­ ing cham bers. Moreover. However.the king’s spiritual double . A fter the cram ped and difficult crawl up the A scending Passage. believed to be the original respective cham ber below. Old Kingdom pyramids th at all three cham bers and the entire passage sy s­ nious arrangem ent. introduce a sarcophagus the size of that found in Inside Khufu s Pyramid the King’s Chamber. One of the real puzzles of this cham ber is a small. But here. inching forward into the blind rock with ham m er and chisel.such as the statue of Djoser sealed in a stone box at the n orth side of his Step Pyram id. the Descending Passage is simply too small to . ft) east from the centre axis . as this w as always the last cham ber of a series. though it w as never completed. with only the walls and floor still to be dressed down. a room for the ka statu e . Names of rooms were probably planned dom pyramids. for the first time. from the outset to cater for From the original entrance . Entirely constructed out of red some argue that the the entire history of architecture. for which there are few p aral­ frequently have three tem were planned together from the outset. Only one m an could have fitted at the end of it. about 1. the Subterranean Cham ber cannot have been for the king’s burial. A t the top is w hat is known as the Great The passages and chambers Inside K hufu’s pyram id we find developments that Step.offset by 7. Many Egyptolo­ granite. the cham ber w as carved out of the solid bedrock. combine to m ake it probable of m asonry above. T his is an innovative and inge­ plan. a corbelled niche in the east wall could certainly have contained a larger-than- life statue of the king. Graffiti left by the work chambers. It lies exactly on the east-w est centre axis of the pyram id and w as alm ost completely fin­ ished. and then the stones are cantilevered in the form of a pent roof to possible that the entire inner Queen’s Chamber. were each in turn intended for th at the pyram id’s three cham bers represent two Above the K ing’s Cham ber are five stress-reliev­ the king’s burial but were changes in plan. T he junction of the A scending P a s­ sage w ith the horizontal passage leading into the Queen’s Cham ber w as originally roofed. in favour of the K ing’s Chamber. rough passage leading south from one cor­ ner. distribute the weight and stresses of the m ountain complex was conceived and built according to a unified Several clues. Evidence for this takes the form of holes for large beam s for holding blocks th at roofed the horizontal passage and provided a continuous floor from the G rand Gallery to the A scending Passage. as seen at Meidum.the descending p as­ sage plunges down through the pyram id. This was the classic pyram id substructure: a corridor descending to a cham ber at or below ground level. the route to the King’s Chamber sud­ denly opens out into the breathtaking Grand Gallery.29 m (24 different aspects o f the king’s spiritual welfare.a characteristic of a serdab.7 m (15 ft 5 in). Here the two lower cham bers seem to have been the rule for Old King­ crews on the walls add a hum an element. W here w as it intended to lead? If it was to another room. T he so-called Queen’s Cham ber (misnamed by A rab explorers) is higher up in the pyram id. the plans changed. W ith a total height of 4. followed by the antecham ber and finally the inside the Great Pyramid: are unique in pyram id evolution and rem arkable in K ing’s Chamber.

5. 5. though very possibly the py ramid casing clds(id o ff these purely 'King s cidtic shaflsyvhich may cdso C ha rr: - have been originally plugged 10. pyramid masonry. 4.8 C ham ber was certainly not m (92 f t 6 in) through the fo r the burial o f a queen. now on display in the British Museum (inset.3 m (99 f t 5 in) room for a special statue o f through the natural rock the king. A square pit at its base was deepened by early treasure- seekers.5 x 5 in the chamber h.7 m (15 f t 5 in) high. The ‘a ir sh a fts ’ extend like antennae through the body o f the pyramid from both the King’s and the Queen’s x ^Chambers. representing his ka without deviating more than or 'spiritual force’.8 x 5. right). Those from the Ri^ig’s Chamber penetrate all the\(iy to the outside.8 ‘Air shafts' oriented to Orion (Right) Rudolf Gantenbrink’s robot. and then Very p robably it was a sealed another 30. A few objects were reportedly found in the northern airshaft in the kite 19th century.3 m. h. Its walls and pented ceiling are o f fine limestone. which slopes at an The so-called Q ueen’s angle o f 26" 34 ’2 3 "for 28. a corbelled niche. just 20 cm (8 in) square. It was stopped after about 65 m (213 ft) by a fine ‘Queen's limestone plug with two Chamber’. embedded copper pins. 112 . carried a video camera up the southern shaft of the Queen’s Chamber. which may once have held such a statue. This is a centimetre in angle or suggested by the existence o f orientation. The ‘Queen’s Chamber’lies exactly on the east-west centre axis o f the pyramid. Upuaut II. 6 m (Below) The S u b terran ean C ham ber lies 30 m (98 ft) below the plateau surface. It is reached by the Descending Passage. on the east wall o f the chamber.

Grand Gallery. however .7 x 2.1 m. 5. h. 5 8 .5 m back the blocks which sealed the Ascending Passage - which would make this beautiful construction basically a parking space and slipway. 'Air shafts’ oriented to the northern polar stars (Above) Between the Grand Gallery and the King’s Chamber. These are generally believed to be sockets for large Descending Passage. The does not reach to Entrance the very top.3 m s ons) 113 . wooden beams for holding I.the final gap is spanned by slabs. Along the sides are regularly spaced matching holes in lateral benches and in the walls.74 m (26 ft) and is the glorious culmination a series of corbelled roofs seen at Meidum and Dahshur.7 m The Grand Gallery is a stupendous achievement: the Ascending Passage roof soars to 8. 8. three sliding granite portcullis slabs were the final defence against anyone would had reached this far in an a ttempt to violate the royal tomb. I ^amber. 46.

ing for Piazzi Smyth. Investigations halted at this point with red granite and gus is fractionally wider than the doorway into the and the m eaning of the block. Rather than the first cham ber to be built. There are signs that the great beams had begun to crack even while the pyramid was under construction. if an y ­ resonating with every cham ber and it would therefore have to have been thing. so th at work allow the king’s spirit to ascend to the stars. He tapped the wall till he ascending passage the third line of defence for found places that sounded hollow and broke the king’s burial. lined axis of the pyram id. murmur and footstep. The room itself granite as his cham ber and is on the exact central in front of a plugging block with two copper pins is like a sarcophagus. m asonry as K hufu’s and so the builders provided but w as probably cut to conduct air down to the the King’s Cham ber w ith small model passages to bottom of the descending passage. which had nothing to do down the so-called ‘well’ or ‘service sh aft’ cut into w ith conducting air. wiii: the royal sarcophagus. No other pyram id contains the west wall a t the bottom of the G rand Gallery. It cam e to a halt. The sacred room was probably put in place in the cham ber as the pyram id was already robbed o f its contents being built around it. The red granite the w orkers are combined w ith that of the king . they sealed the tomb collapse o f the Old Kingdom w as the purpose of the Subterranean Chamber? cham ber by sliding portcullis slabs down three (c. Petrie noted th at the sarcopha­ sticking out of it. Never before had the Egyptians spanned such a wide space in stone. could continue on the S ubterranean Chamber. Nun great granite beams stretch across the roof. lies beyond. remain mysteries. searched for ing passage from the m outh to its junction wit h the them in this cham ber too. He sent a small robot cam era up the southern was the final resting place o f Khufu’s sarcophagus w as made of the sam e red passage. and still under con­ knocking aw ay the beam s holding them. The entrance in the face of the through. they sealed the tomb by sliding three portcullis slabs down slots in the side walls o f the Antechamber. the heavy lid. Khufu s body. Those who first Rainer Stadelm ann suggests that its rough and slots in the side wall of the antecham ber. . These slid sarcophagus in order to lift struction when the king died and work w as frozen. w orking for Rainer Stadel­ indistinguishable from the pyram id casing. although the Egyptians had created one o f the most remarkable structures in architectural history to prevent it. they did not vice shaft. Then. pyram id would have been sealed with a limestone Recently these passages have been investigated block th at the builders hoped in vain m ade it by Rudolf Gantenbrink. m ann of the German Archaeological Institute in sarcophagus near the western wall o f the King’s Chamber here Khnum-Khuf. Sealing the tomb some time between the end o f If the King’s Cham ber w as the burial room and W hen K hufu’s priests and workm en left the King’s the K hufu’s reign and the the Queen’s Cham ber w as a statue serdab. w'hat Chamber for the last time.5 m (18 f t or 10 cubits) long and weighing 25 to 40 tons. w ork­ out through the original entrance of the pyramid. it ite plugging blocks stored in the G rand Gallery by break in the corner o f the is possible that it w as the last. 2134 BC). the plugged m outh of the ascending passage and In 1872 an engineer called W aynm an Dixon. the pyram id sealers could climb up past penetrate through the walls of the cham ber itself. after about 65 m (214 ft). Once There are sim ilar ‘air-shafts’ in the Queen’s they arrived a t the descending passage via the ser­ Cham ber though here. as a violated the stone box and robbed the royal mummy unfinished state may represent the Underworld second line of defence they released the huge g ra n ­ probably made the prominent cavern. mysteriously. each mon than 5. cham bers and passages so high in the body of the T his w as no robber’s tunnel as some have believed. The Great Pyramid o f Khufu The King’s Chamber. thus blocking it. When the priests made their final exit in 2528 bc. A symbolic function should also be attributed to T he men probably m ade their escape by slipping the so-called ‘air-shafts’. down the ascending passage. and w hat. know ing of the existence of They probably plugged the section of the descend­ such passages in the King’s Chamber. Cairo.

sm aller equiva­ lents of the great m ortuary temple of Khufu. The Queens’ Pyramids Khufu built three pyram ids for queens. parked at its eastern side. Gl-b m ight belong to a queen Meritetes. The Great Pyramid o f Khufu (Right) K hufu’s eastern cemetery and queen’s pyramids before the discovery o f the satellite pyramid. 38). probably for m anoeuvring the sarcophagus. one-fifth of K hufu’s. 116 . th a t of Kawab. Gl-a. with a like chunks.seen on all three who lived through the reigns of Sneferu. sloping to a cham ber th a t m akes a w estw ard Plans and profiles o f K hufu ’s minimum of cutting. guess at the identities o f the original intended occupants blocks of soft yellow limestone . Backing stones. We can a packing layer. GI-c. Which queens? leading to a chamber. As with K hafre’s. in dynasties 21-26. reveals three inner tiers or step s of m astaba. these accommodated the slope of the ground. The boat pit between two o f the queens’ pyramids may in fact belong to the satellite pyramid. casing with exquisite joins. an ‘eldest son’ of Khufu. could belong to a queen Henutsen. and only the foundations of Gl-b remain. 117). robbed down to bedrock. based on an inscription found in the chapel are not certain. These lay in a row on the nucleus. equal in size and hue The first pyram id to the north. w est of the centre axis. with a slope near 52°. T he m ortuary chapel of Gl-a is now entirely missing. In contrast to the levelled foundation of his own pyramid.and. so that All three have a passage on or near the centre the top of the first course could be levelled with a axis. rem ains of fine limestone Khafre. thought to be the m other of Khufu the burial chamber. turn. were to right GI-c. the most com­ each with a sloping passage plete. One theory is that the male occupants of m astabas closest to the small p y ra­ m ids were sons of the respective queens. This was found when Zahi Hawass removed the modern road visible in the photograph and cleaned the area. Gl-a. north to south. so that their bases are neither level nor perfect squares. east side o f K hufu’s pyramid. Gl-a). three queens’ pyramids (left Each queen’s pyram id had a stepped internal T he burial cham bers. Scrutiny of GI-c. Khufu and o f these pyramids. each rose about a-fifth of its height. Gl-a has thin stone retaining walls visible cut out of bedrock and lined with masonry. and. in its denuded top. They may have been planned to an ideal length of 88-89 cubits. But only th at of GI-c survives with its walls intact. (Below right) The remains o f K hufu’s satellite pyramid in front o f the right-hand queens' pyramid. Gl-b and GI-c. a nam e known only from much later. Gib. obscure the tiers. but they pyram ids . T he southernm ost pyram id. m ay have been right-angled turn leading to to the nucleus. when the chapel at the centre of the eastern base of this pyram id w as con­ verted to a temple of the goddess Isis under the epi­ thet ‘M istress of the P yram ids’ (p. thanks to its conversion. the bedrock for the bottom course of casing is cut to different heights and angles. Near the bottom is for Hetepheres. of small (p. labelled. of the first m astaba to the east. between core and casing. All three pyram ids once had sim ilar chapels. finally.

Seal impressions included the name Her-Mejedu . after the first Chairs pyramid was begun and then abandoned. Why? Reisner thought Curtain that Hetepheres had originally been buried at DOX Dahshur but her tomb had been violated and her body stolen. in a niche in the western wall. Pieces of furniture that had been Reconstruction o f the burial jammed into the chamber could be reconstructed Hetepheres’s reassembled assembly o f Queen from surviving gold foil although most of the wood canopy and items o f Hetepheres. It is not certain that Hetepheres was the mother of Khufu.which took weeks to clear. unmarked shaft for safety. it was apparent that this assemblage was a reburial. perhaps with a new set of equipment. I suggested that her body is missing because it was removed to the burial chamber in Gl-a. What we have here is the private boudoir of a queen. On the front panel Reisner's meticulous beautiful long poles belonging to a canopy in the o f the canopy was found the excavation o f each individual form of early papyrus bud columns. as indicated by the beginning of its passage cut into the bedrock. where the excavators found a beautiful alabaster sarcophagus and. a small alabaster box with the string around it still in place and its sealing intact. Aligned with the abandoned pyramid on the north is the deep shaft belonging to Queen Hetepheres. The Burial o f Hetepheres Queen’s pyramid Gl-a was begun 28 m (92 ft) east of its final position. The great bed is Sneferu. From the moment of discovery. while George Reisner was absent in the United States. Investigation led to the discovery of a sealed shaft and stairway. if not entirely satisfactory. who survived three older brothers. a headrest and two sets of silver bracelets. In 1925.the Horus name of Khufu. however. At the very bottom of the shaft was a chamber. This was the canopic chest for the queen’s internal organs. since the pottery was smashed and linen lay disintegrated among the remains of the boxes that had once contained it. would fit exactly into the chambers of Moot. based on had deteriorated. Khufu’s men did not tell him of the missing body and he arranged for a reburial at Giza. Yet another line of speculation sees this unmarked burial (or reburial) of a queen mother’s grave goods as an indication of disputes over the royal succession. The original shaft was then filled in and forgotten until stumbled on by Disassembled Reisner’s photographer some four-and-a-half canopy thousand years later. a carrying chair. Other chair explanations are possible. two sitting chairs. 117 . The shaft was extraordinarily deep (over 27 m or 89 ft) and was blocked with masonry from top to bottom . She was called ‘Mother of the King’ and ‘Daughter of the God’ and it became evident that she was the wife of Sneferu and mother of a reigning king. his photographer was setting up his tripod when one leg sank into the ground. the queens’ pyram ids There were also the parts of canopy was found disman tled. Carrying in a deep. The sarcophagus was empty and Reisner noted that the contents of the chamber were in the reverse order usually found in tombs. On top of the sarcophagus were furniture. The first name found in the tomb was that of Sneferu But then other texts came to light that contained the name Hetepheres. if Horus name (below) Neb- fragment o f the disintegrated reassembled. a tube for walking sticks. ‘Lord o f T r u th th a t remains. This canopy.

under the supervision of Ahmed Youssef. port and starboard. One pit is cabin. the the Netherworld: the eastern 1. boat pits. boats.of boat-shaped pits back to the predynastic period . 117). The Great Pyramid Khufu s Boats the stern one bent over.and size . . On either side of that we see in the canopy of Hetepheres (p. Its (Above) The existence o f a second boat in the unopened boat pit was confirmed when a tiny camera was inserted. It is thus a wooden replica o f Khufu of a type of p apyrus reed boat perhaps dating T he large num ber . stern. to the n orth and south.224 separate p arts had num erous U-shaped side o f K hufu’s Great holes so that the boat could be ‘stitched’ togeth­ Pyramid is occupied by the er using ropes made of vegetable fibres. boat. the boat temple (of which just the w as finally reassem bled like a giant jigsaw. b u t which in fact the pit did contain the disarticulated p arts of a differ in one im portant respect. After remains o f his mortuary m any years of painstaking work. bled the boat m easures 43. The boat w as removed from its pit. These southern boat pits do not seem to have been p art of the symbolic The royal barques layout of the whole Khufu T he two southern boat pits were discovered in complex b u t rather are 1954.3 m (142 ft) long. A hole w as drilled through the limestone and. piece by piece.another exam ple east of Khufu’s pyram id give it the appearance of a of the E gyptian fondness for sim ulating their earli­ royal p o rt authority or docking place on the jour­ est reed stru ctu res in more durable materials. cantly. It w as hoped newly discovered satellite pyram id. or inner shrine. is enclosed within a reed-m at parallel to the causeway and therefore at the very stru ctu re with poles of the sam e papyrus-bud form threshold of the m ortuary temple. though the pit w as shorter than the fully- and they contain the disassem bled p arts of real assem bled boat would have been. but there were obvious signs that this further boat pits that are often discussed together w as not the case. perhaps for the that the pit had been so well sealed that the air symbolic tran sp o rt of the king’s ka statue. signs for prow. it w as ascertained that w ith those mentioned above. are two even T he second boat pit. M ade of cedarwood. the temple. a fifth has been found east of the beam s and a tiny cam era inserted. Signifi­ first pit. queens’ m useum next to the pyramid. When the first boat was restored (far right). A ney from this world to the Netherworld. recently. positions. the planking of a g reat boat was seen. the m aster restorer who worked on H etepheres’s funer­ Pyramid. the pits completely dism antled b u t arranged in the sem ­ would have blance of its finished form. lying in approxim ately their correct relative narrow and rectangular rather than boat-shaped. prow and stern are in the form of pap y ru s stalks. basalt pavement survives). the foundation o f his and is now housed in its own boat-shaped causeway. They are long. 117). inside would have last been breathed by the ancient On the south side of the G reat Pyram id are two Egyptians. just to the w est of the m use­ larger boat-shaped pits. Next to the National G eographic w ith the Egyptian A ntiquities queen’s pyram id (Gl-a) is a fourth boat-shaped pit authority. possibly for boats to tra n s­ um. each covered by a roof of huge limestone a deliberate. as port authority o f ary furniture (p. were discovered on the planks. However. similar to phyle names in work gangs and temple priesthoods. ritual slabs. W hen reassem ­ pyramids and mastaba tombs. w as investigated in 1985 by a team from p ort the king to stellar destinations. W hen one of the slabs w as raised from the disposal.

It was found in his pyram id. but wholly disassem bled.224 pieces. pit for 4. found.48 m (5 ft). 5.9 m wide with a total length It seem s probable. with several lines o f mortice and tenon joints across the hull. close to but o u t­ side the funerary precinct. that these complete.500years. but why? The boats could have been symbolic transport1 m echanism s for the king to ascend to the heavens - w estw ards with the setting sun and eastw ards with the rising sun . as seen in the diagram (below left). though the builders could easily have achieved this if they had w anted to. o f 43.3 m (142 ft). Items connected with the royal funeral were considered in some sense highly charged. ritu ­ is 45 tons. Both the pits are rectangular.been beyond the pyram id’s enclosure wall.b ut the indications are that they fall into a different class of objects. A nother exam ple is the The displacement o f this boat wood canopy for tran sp o rtin g a statue. To neutralize them they were dism antled and buried separately. therefore. 126). The maximum ally disassem bled in an extra shaft outside K hafre’s draft is 1. It ap p ears therefore that the boats were intended to be dism antled and buried. 119 . which Master craftsman Ahmed is now' missing. all originally voyage . stitched together with rope. Youssef with the boat o f rather th an boat-shaped and are also too small Khufu that he reassembled after it had lain buried in a to have contained the fully assem bled boats . boats were con­ comprising 656 major parts nected with K hufu’s final earthly o f the boat. It is satellite pyram id (p.

with evidence revealed a foundation bed with a 12° slope. its destruction and K hafre’s return to Giza indicate a split between The first Sphinx? The face the sons of Khufu and conflict over the succession. However. Now rath er it is from the Roman period. like the first stage of Sne­ Djedefre’s pyramid. beginning o f a lion body. . is finding little evidence turn outwards. as in K hufu’s and K hafre’s.2 T he Franco-Swiss excavations at the north cor­ m (348ft) to a side. A num ber of blocks have a 60° slope. however. The scant father’s funeral. though it has been casing blocks were laid a t this angle. Its theoretical range near 52°. m ean th a t Djedefre’s m asons returned to inclining The enclosure o f Djedefre’s pyramid ako departs from its counterparts at Giza. with dark purplish quartzite head w orkers’ graffiti. though the team suggests a nearer 52°. It was feru’s Bent Pyram id a t Dahshur. The mortuary temple is shifted north o f the pyramid ’s east-west centre axis. which would conform to Sneferu’s height is between 5 7 m (187 M eidum pyram id (E3) and K hufu’s. Djedefre. /4s a rectangle oriented north-south. If the for 48°. suggesting the of destruction dating from the Old Kingdom. indicating to T he very pronounced alignm ents between the some that Djedefre intended a step pyram id. The French Institute/U niversity of remains o f the original Geneva A bu Roash Expedition. Perhaps he w as motivated by reli­ gious reasons since Djedefre is the first pharaoh we know to take the title ‘Son of Re’. So it Swiss team at Abu Roash is w as previously concluded th at Djedefre w as build­ revealing new details about ing a very steep pyram id. is the pyram id built by Shepseskaf. the pyram id suggested it would have been slope is reduced to 48°. Core m asonry east o f the pyramid o f and m ortar adhere to the bedrock m assif which Djedefre. than Giza. 8 km (5 miles) to the north on a hillock overlooking the Giza plateau. show ing that he oversaw his nemes crown. step pyram id accretions gen­ erally had a much steeper slope of 72-78° and the The work o f the Franco. probably intended to be 106. Djedefre’s pyram id w as nearer due west of Heliopolis. would have been preserved in the middle of the pyram id. Khufu’s son and successor. o f Djedefre in a magnificent However. The pyramid is located on a high plateau. begun in 1995 surface behind the headdress under Michael Valloggia. it may be the first revival o f the ‘Djoser- type’. in the Louvre. T h is would ft) and 67 m (220ft). G reat quanti­ ties of granite from the casing lie all around. approached by an extremely long causeway. It has been suggested th a t Djedefre’s removal of his funerary m onum ent from Giza. on the lim estone beam s covering found at Abu Roash. it is one o f Today nothing rem ains other than the stum p of several magnificent pieces o f sculpture found in the boat pit the core around a natural hillock. An m astaba. There is uncertainty about the exact ners and centre of the base of the pyram id have angle o f slope. O thers pyram id complexes at Giza show considerable con­ have suggested that he w as planning to build a cern for unity of design over three generations. m astaba of Shepseskaf has an angle of 65°. like the later tom bs of K hentkaw es and anom aly in this. Djedefre’s cartouche was found. By m oving to this spot. centre of the sun Djedefre at Abu Roash cult. The king is shown wearing the K hufu’s boat pit.

Being so fa r north. at Giza. finished with m udbrick to pyram id w as less than a q uarter of the base area of form com partm ents and cham bers (chapels accord­ his father’s. as some kind of cult emplacement. and 67 m (220 ft).. 23 x 10 m (75 x 33 ft) and c. Shepseskaf’s m asonry suggest that it w as rem iniscent of the m astaba and Raneferef’s pyram id. Djedefre’s thick fieldstone walls. T his configuration is sim ilar to w ork­ knew th at he m ight not have m any years left to shops at Giza and elsewhere. Djedefre’s m ortuary dim inutive character of the pyram id is a striking tem ple appears hastily built. A deep recess in the core m asonry a t the back of the ‘tem ple’ was Inside the pyramid perhaps for a false door. With the north baseline now accurately determ ined as 106. T he tentative. Scant rem ains of roofing at M eidum and Dahshur. looking southeast. Per­ hieroglyphs for Men. at 52°. which lay across the valley (upper left).Ra. at 48°. towards Giza (upper right). Just outside this corridor. Just beside the northeast cor­ some 20 granite courses at the base. as in the bottom of Sneferu’s Bent P y ra­ mid.perhaps north pyram id base. Djedefre the pyram id. layers of chips rem ained of a fragm ent of a throne of a diorite statue. haps some of the walls were ancillary to the con­ Stadelm ann suggests th at he undertook restoration struction of the pyram id and were finished quickly work on the uncom pleted pyram id. Djedefre’s pyramid was located due west o f Heliopolis. some 20 m (66 ft) higher than the Giza T he Franco-Swiss team has now ascertained that plateau. and w idening on the east to 1. with the vast stoneyard for working pyram id blocks. Similar long and sloped a t an angle of 22° 35'. 6 m (20 ft) from the w ay w as needed to reach the valley . A covered corridor led from the northeast began his substructure as a colossal p it in the entrance of the inner enclosure to the m outh of the ground. Were temporary structures simply converted into a temple for the unfinished pyramid? the casing. recent excava­ m ore deep. It is form ed of rather counterpoint to the size of its causeway. and as opposed to the finely levelled horizon­ tal coursing of Khufu’s casing. and perhaps the complete his pyram id. Djedefre returned to the earlier concept and temple. the resulting theoretical height is between work on the pyram id stopped. 20 m (66ft) or causeway. Perhaps.2 m (348 ft). cursory and contain the m ortuary temple. A n access corridor w as 49 m (161 ft) tions discovered a cache of votive pottery. 121 . Petrie found a ner of the pyram id. It indicates a earlier style of Djoser. most probably M enkaure. sustained cult service for Djedefre. 577 ft) long. M enkaure. already an ing to Stadelmann) around an open court east of elderly m an when he came to the throne. and chose a sm aller design - stru ctu res were sim ply left w hen Djedefre died and he is said to have reigned for only eight years. m eant th at an extraordinarily long cause­ there w as an inner enclosure.700 m (5. From Sneferu to Khufu we have seen a continual A boat pit against the south side of the temple striving to build cham bers higher in the pyram id recalls the one just outside the entrance to Khufu’s body. The form o f the mortuary temple resembles workshops around a courtyard. We still habitations also occupied the northeast corner of do not know how far building progressed above the inner enclosure. Khufu. W orkshops and 57 m (187 ft). Djedefre’s mortuary temple viewed from the py ramid. The caches have been found near the entrances to the entrance passage and burial cham ber were built temples or enclosures of the pyram ids of Sneferu into the corridor and pit. T he height of the knoll on w hich the pyram id The pyramid complex w as built.

corner. T he discontinuity m ight indicate different building styles.5 m (471 ft) at an angle o f 53° 10'. the built up with large blocks of m asonry at the oppo­ The casing stones at the top of the pyram id are unevenness may be due to site. 222). loose stones. a band of regular stepped side. T he rest of the surface down shoulder to shoulder with his father’s. the core m asonry may sim ply have been laid suggesting they were cut to ancient builders cut down by c. another son of granite. setting. exposed when the casing slope. 3-6° slope of the M okattam Formation. but to allow the builders greater control (p. Only the upper quarter of the casing rem ains throne before K hafre and we m ight p erh ap s im ag­ . into the pyram id body. A part from the bottom course of outer casing in of K hufu’s pyram id and those of his queens. one sees that this irreg­ because the four corner angles were not quite ular m asonry seem s to continue for some depth aligned correctly to meet at the apex. Khafre’s to the base . guised this by founding it on bedrock some 10 m W hat is this loose lower band? Is it packing (33 ft) higher. Enclosure Lower descending passage Causeway Subsidiary chamber Djedefre w as succeeded by Khafre. Its base length was 215 m (705 ft). The simplicity o f the chamber and passage system may reflect the builders’ experience o f problems in building chambers high in the body o f the pyramids o f Sneferu and Khufu.w BSS?33IB)6®ltibi55£^^ Return to Giza: Khafre’s Pyramid and the Great Sphinx Khafre’s pyramid was called 'Great is Khafre'. southeast.the greater p a rt of the pyram id - pyram id is in fact the sm aller of the two.apparently a reflection of the robbers’ practice of ine him as a rath er young m an youth. A lterna­ casing at the top o f Khafre’s pyramid are not flush. climbing tw ist can be discerned at the top. stripping first the corners and base and then w ork­ could account for the extraordinary confidence he ing upwards. Just beneath the lowest surviving showed in laying out a square 215 m (705 ft) to a course of casing stones.about 1 cubit thick (c. perhaps even a The blocks o f surviving The pyramid hiatus and then resum ption of building. 53° 10' to K hufu’s 51° 50' 40". The pyram id w as founded on a terrace which the tively. rising to a height o f 143. However. introduced the corners of the pyram id. irregular. to form the base of a pyram id th at stood core stone is visible. the pyram id w as cloaked in T urah lime­ Khufu. 10 m (33 ft) below in a more regular fashion tow ards the top in order the pyramid ’s slope before the original bedrock surface to the northw est. T heir 122 . It also has a slightly sh arp er angle of between core and casing. 50 cm/20 in) - settling when lower courses natural c. T his com pensated for the m uch sm aller . than the casing stones which survive at the bottom were robbed. but he dis­ consists of very rough. A very slight w as torn away? T h at seem s likely until. Two older brothers had been in line for the stone. at least.

so that the lower passage.7 m high (c. with a pented roof can perhaps be seen as the equivalent o f the Subterranean Chamber or Queen’s Chamber o f K hufu’s pyramid. nam ed ‘Queen’s Chamber’ in the G reat Pyramid. But it is hard to im agine th at there was an blocks weighing up to hundreds of tons. It has been suggested th at the pyram id w as origi­ mid-building techniques were still largely ad hoc. One begins in the body of the masonry. A su b ­ sidiary cham ber opens off the horizontal section. in this these m asonry variations is that even now . Khafre’s burial chamber (left).pyra. The lower bedrock chamber (right). T his m ight suggest th at at other ru n s from in front of the base line at ground this level the outer slope w as cut into the blocks level. equivalent to the m is­ sages. Netherworld began. like the upper one. 1. K hafre’s w as the fifth of the giant pyram ids . due to reduced w orking alm ost all pyram id passage system s. its does not space. Huge lime­ earlier plan for a larger pyram id. such is the sculpt­ stone piers project beyond the northeast and south­ ed unity of the pyram id terrace. nally intended to be larger. Inside Khafre’s Pyramid cut out of the bedrock and w ith a pented roof. It m ay Khafre’s pyram id contains two descending p a s ­ have been a serdab chamber. the tres rath er than flush.and case lying a little more than 12 m (39 ft) to the east. enclosure wall and w est corners of the terrace. Portcullis closure systems were built into the beginning o f the lower and upper horizontal corridors. the pyram id w as line w as first planned to be 30 m (98 ft) further conceived as a p o rt from which the voyage to the north. The black granite sarcophagus was originally sunk into the paving o f the chamber. 123 . W hat we are seeing is m ore likely or giant docks. es between the two piers and the m ortuary temple. A square hole in the floor at the west end o f the south wall probably held the canopic chest. 5 ft 8 in). or th a t its north base A m ong its m any m eanings.54 m (38 ft) above the level of the base. near the centre of the northern side. W hat we can say with confidence about align w ith the centre axis of the pyram id. Like before they were laid. outside faces are often staggered by a few millime­ about 11. looking like slipw ays pyram id base. The double entrance passages suggest to some a change in plan from a larger to a smaller pyramid base. The broad terrace to the east of would have been entirely within the body of the Khafre’s pyram id is m ade of m assive limestone masonry. T he purpose of this cham ber is not entirely clear. Five narrow boat-shaped trenches evidence of a vacillation between two different p a s­ carved into the natural rock extend into the recess­ sage system s in the course of building. T he lower passage descends at an angle to a hor­ izontal corridor.

itself descending to the bedrock from high up in the m asonry of the pyram id. half embedded in the very thick paving which once covered more of the cham ber floor. Khafre’s sarcophagus is of black. At the end of the horizontal sec­ tion an ascending passage rises. Curiously. limestone beam s like the ‘Queen’s Cham ber’ and the upperm ost of the five relieving cham bers above the burial cham ber in the G reat Pyramid. Immediately to the left 124 . Its lid lay in two pieces. Khafre added the not the first to enter it in post-pharaonic times. bones found in the sarcophagus turned The burial chamber o f out to be those of a bull. Belzoni. The roof of the burial cham ber is composed of pented. In a much later period Khafre's pyramid must have bulls were buried as sym bols of the pharaoh him ­ been built in a pit cut into the self or of Osiris. Alternatively it may have been simply used for storing offerings. hard g ra n ­ ite.the first exam ple of this found in a pyram id. T he inside of his m ortuary temple w as alm ost entirely lined with granite. T he causew ay enters the m ortuary tem ple near the south end of the front. It consists of a fore part. form ing an entrance to the main court. that these bones were probably an offering thrown into the sarcophagus at some unknow n later date by intruders. A pit cut into the floor of the cham ber probably held the canopic chest . The sarcophagus T he burial cham ber is at a right-angle to the axis of the passage system . and a back part.both the n o rth -so u th and the vertical axes of the p y ra­ mid. quarried nearby. which were then encased with finer quali­ ty stone. w as introduced by Khafre.being both larger than previous exam ­ ples and for the first time including all five elements th a t were to become standard. T he use of huge blocks to form the cores of the walls. T he fore p a rt w as construct­ ed of megalithic blocks of limestone. reaching an inter­ section with the other passage. Its lid would have been formed by one of the paving slabs of the floor. made his w ay into this cham ber in preserved o f the three Giza 1818 but found to his disappointm ent that he w as complexes. Khafre’s mortuary temple. putting the sarcophagus in this case very close to . having rediscovered the entrance to the causeway foundation and valley temple are the best upper passage.but not directly on . Great Sphinx and its temple. Rainer Stadelm ann has suggested bedrock massif. though not as deep. the cham ber m ust have been built in a pit sim ilar to that in Djedefre’s pyram id at Abu Roash. The Pyramid Complex The m ortuary temple Khafre’s m ortuary tem ple m arks a real architectur­ al advance . Since the bedrock was left nearly 10 m (33 ft) high in the northw est corner of the pyram id while the tops of the burial cham ber’s walls are at the level of the pyram id terrace. long after the king’s body had been robbed and lost.

the architectural p attern of an o f the causeway into the a fragm ent of a model of the king w earing the entrance. In dow n ‘U over the crown.200 years more statues of the king. now badly destroyed. M enkaure saw an explosion of statue m aking . lared court a corridor led to the paved pyram id Next in sequence came the open court. first found in Khafre’s: 1 an entrance hall. a false door or a combination o f both. Intriguingly. with a back pillar painted to a corridor running along the front of the temple im itate granite. They are carved into the them were 12 granite statues standing in pits or rock in a boat shape. The roofs of both royal statues wearing the crown of the south. while from the northw est corner of the pil­ Ram esses II.were two granite cham bers and at the other end of crown of the south. or later. T his is because they were removed intact n ortheast corner of the temple climbed up to the north Egypt. against papyri indicate that in the ones remain from the m ortuary temple. and possi­ they formed piers around the courtyard. Behind them are five fold titulary o f the king. and recycled for other royal projects. unlike the m ortuary temple. alm ost 1. It has of the Khafre m ortuary temple. here. 238). O ur excavations of the ‘w orkm en’s b arrack s’ west Its m ajor cham bers are in fact very sim ilar to the A view into the interior of of Khafre’s pyram id produced a clue suggesting fore p art of Khafre’s m ortuary temple. been suggested that huge statues of the king once should confirm whether or not these derive from 4 five storage chambers. as a gatew ay or portal to the lintels intact. narrow. lously well preserved. At the very back of the temple. since. sockets in the white alabaster floor. temple. Among the finds was a single temple. it more or less encapsulates. lit only by narrow slits in the walls at ceiling height. A long. (Below) Twenty-three statues of Khafre were placed around the T-shaped hall o f his valley temple. 2 a broad columned court. Beyond The five niches may size and num ber of Khafre’s statu es were u n p aral­ the court were five niches. But Herbert Ricke argued for Down the causeway Khafre’s valley temple. lined w ith alabaster. within the right is the continuation but a royal w orkshop (p. were supported by colum ns made of single blocks usurped by Ram esses II b u t made m uch earlier. The corridor on These galleries turned out to be not living quarters whole complex. T h is is not Khafre’s valley temple. by royal order. Holscher su g ­ gested that these were standing statues of the king The valley temple in the form of Osiris. A stairw ay-ram p in the king as ruler o f south and or larger. no fragm ents of any larger five statues. a s did the colonnade roof Mortuary Temples the fore p art of the temple the entrance hall consist­ over the pillars of the court of Khafre’s m ortuary Five standard features o f ed of two sections. though the pyram id itself. stood at the back of these dim passages. The Abusir ues have been found. encased in granite. slit-like cham ber T heir bases fit closely the sockets around the court 3 five niches for statues o f branches off from each end of the first hall. three o f the niches held statues o f the there were over 52 in Khafre’s complex of life size bly with a false door niche. of granite. and as Osiris. proba­ 5th dynasty. . m arvel­ seated statues of the king w earing the nem es scarf. But while hundreds of pieces of sm aller s ta t­ storerooms. one transverse with recessed temple. with granite lining. w as the inner sanctuary. were so broad that two on the north and three on the south. In front of bly a sixth w as planned. the pillars enclosure. we have a series of striding later mortuary temples were bays and the other rectangular. surprising. perhaps for the offerings made to these the five phyles.a The reigns of Khafre and to a lesser extent T he inner walls of the court may have been deco­ pair o f stelae. F u rth er study the king. of which. two still retain roofing slabs. pillars and that we should reconsider the form of these statues. possibly in the 18th dynasty or by roof. for relate to the completed five­ leled until the New Kingdom. The pillar projects in an upside- Five Features o f were four more cham bers.the rated with reliefs above a certain height. 5 an inner sanctuary . Outside the temple were five boat-pits.

a m ater­ H aw ass recleared the area. In front of the Sphinx Temple the side the door to these cham bers from the T-shaped canal ru n s into a drain leading northeast. Khafre’s satellite pyram id furnished evidence are folded around the king’s w as sheathed w ith polished red granite and white to su p p o rt this. the satellite pyram id of Khafre. the headdress in a gesture o f alabaster. It has tw o descending passages. beyond its base. Il was one of 23 that originally would have block granite pillars. In valley temple. T he statue sequence sta rts ju st out­ north south. Dim and m ysterious. com parable to the this niche w as a wooden box containing pieces of larger sym bolic circuit of the pyram id complex as a wood th at had once form ed an item of furniture. In tomb scenes. though the one at the centre of pieces. It probably continues south in front of the the T-shaped hall. In 1995 Zahi Symbolic conduits lined w ith alabaster. more likely. sockets and the cuttings for the statue bases. from which point ram ps lead to the open to the sun. T his passage extends beneath the lined the T-shaped hall o f the A kind of internal cosmic circuit w as incorporat­ pyram id. this turned out to shaped hall. ritual. The symbolic circuit ru n s through the entire bly to the quay buried below the m odern tourist temple. T his circuit began in the cross-bar of the T. Reassembled by Ahmed Youssef. T his again force. for exam ple one from the the statue-carrying shrine the leg of the T-shaped hall is w ider and perhaps tom b of K hufu’s granddaughter M eresankh. On the south side of the roof w as a small courtyard. and its roof w as supported by 16 single­ second on the centre axis of the pyram id b u t out protection. has temple entrances were closed w ith huge been alm ost completely eradicated by stone rob­ single-leaf doors. m any still in position today. sphinxes.perhaps sym bolizing the ‘below’. Both entrances were flanked by a pair of aspects of afterlife beliefs and of the em balm ing lions or. a dark and chthonic aspect of the temple. Ricke and S. Were fumi­ sah netjer is depicted holding the queen’s statue as shown here on a transport gations and libations perform ed to a statue of it is ritually draw n along tow ards the tomb. valley temple. whole. taking in both the chthonic and the solar plaza. Satellite pyram ids are The diorite statue o f Khafre. 25). w as counted twice. originally polished to a lustre. thought to derive from the south tomb of Djoser found by Mariette in the and the floor w as paved with white alabaster. em bedded in the core m asonry of ft) deep. There ritually. ed into K hafre’s valley temple.chopped into regular-sized (Below) A reconstruction o f are 23 statue bases. the only light be a fram e of cedarwood in the form of a sah net- came through narrow slits at the top of the walls. as much as 16 m (52 storeys of three. revealing th at the ram ps ial especially identified with purification. it seem s . the king’s spiritual double and vital wings o f the Horus falcon the greater p a rt of the valley temple. b ar of the ‘T ’ and ended at a doorw ay leading to a corridor from which a stairw ay ram p wound clock­ wise up and over the roof of the corridor and exited on to the roof of the valley temple. red granite. run from cross over tunnels fram ed w ithin m udbrick walls the tem ple’s roof-top courtyard down into the deep. The Pyram id GH-a. or divine booth. The valley temple w as built of megalith. Here the walls were of simple tre axis of Khafre’s pyram id. probably of cedarwood. m aking 24 in total. jer. for which the valley tem ple w as the stage All th at rem ains are shapes described by lever according to some Egyptologists (p. ending in a dead-end and a sm all niche. as H. Schott thought? tomb o f Queen Meresankh III The statu e sequence continued along the cross­ (below right). T he court represented an ‘above’. positioned on the cen­ vestibule. w hich had been deliberately - Statues of Khafre sa t in pits along the walls. The door then led to a T-shaped hall. sled. A depiction o f such a Khafre for every hour of the day and night? Or did sled and statue shrine is the statues represent the deified p a rts of the royal shown in a relief from the body. 8 m long (26 ft long). A quay or revetm ent in front of the Sphinx Tem­ directly over six storage cham bers. bers only the outlines of the foundations and a Between the two entrances runs the few core blocks now remain. which constituted cated to the ka. The satellite pyramid ic core blocks sheathed in red granite. arranged in two ple w as revealed by drillings. proba­ hall. A and may have been for the burial of statues dedi­ valley temple vestibule. that form ed a narrow corridor or canal running dark cham bers. while the cham bers were the two doors of the temple . positioned 126 . duality of U pper and Lower Egypt. the found in pieces under Khafre’s satellite pyramid.

It is also a common archetype of royalty. or maat. and cut down out of proportion. T he sphinx. Khafre. The nem es headdress was sal piece of sculpture in ancient Egypt. T he explanation seem s to here looking across the Khafre’s pyram id complex would. w ith a soft yellow band between two harder bands.the bottom The different geological layers Sphinx ditch form s the northern edge of K hafre’s two of the three geological layers from which the the Sphinx was carved from causew ay as it ru n s p ast the Sphinx and enters Sphinx is carved (p. however. T he standard large core blocks in the Sphinx tem ­ ple. in the design Return to Giza: Khafre’s Pyramid and the Great Sphinx achieved by the time of the G reat Sphinx. T he valley temple w as probably com pensate for it. Huge fis­ limestone core blocks o f the temple dedicated to it. T he greatest of these fis­ (p. The flaring sides of E gyptians would not carve statues of such propor­ the royal nemes scarf replaced the lion’s mane to The Great Sphinx stands tions again until the reigns of New Kingdom bring the hum an head into proportion with the guard before the pyramid o f pharaohs like A m enhotep III and Ram esses II. has a sm aller head o f man and lion was sculpted in about 2500 BC. by the intelligence of the pharaoh. 106). it was the first truly T he Sphinx w as carved from the natural bedrock at gated body. T he G reat Sphinx. survived T he largest of the hundreds of statues built in for two-and-a-half millennia in the iconography of Khafre’s reign. if extended east­ lie in the specific geology of the location. w ards. the Sphinx w as the first truly colos­ Egyptian civilization. Design and iconography T he lion w as a solar sym bol in more than one ancient N ear E astern culture. 106) account for the K hafre’s valley temple . g u arantor of The Great Sphinx cosmic order. and a considerably elon­ spectator. the E gyptians carved from a much better building stone (Member III) Close study by geologist T hom as A igner of the encountered this serious defect and realized that it titan the soft layers o f the geological layers in the Sphinx and the individual would prevent them from finishing off the curve of body (Member II). composed of huge blocks quarried from the layers that ru n through the upper p a rt of the Sphinx body. (Member I). exclusive to Egyptian kings. A s they isolated the block of stone o f its parts. while the stones of Khafre’s temples enabled us to unravel the rum p and the haunches. It is quite likely that they elongated the body to hard shoal and coral reef ed this complex. for whom this fusion some 1. Towering and headdress in relation to the lion body than in 20 m (66 ft) above the Location and geology the classic sphinx form. The south side of the sures cut through M embers I and II . T he lion the particular way of folding the scarf that w as body is carved to a scale of 22:1 and the head 30:1. T he rectangu­ recarved. The head was probable that the Sphinx w as carved for Khafre. seen lar secondary enclosure wall which surrounds body by itself is too long. It is not a question of the head being colossal royal sculpture in the the very base of Khafre’s causeway. the hind paw s and the base is carved from a petrified the sequence of quarry in g and building th at creat­ tail.200 years later. the lion history o f ancient Egypt.the close association of the sures ru n s right across the thinnest p a rt of the variation in preservation Sphinx with Khafre’s valley temple m akes it most Sphinx’s body. T he royal hum an head on a lion’s body symbolized power and m ight controlled . that w as to become the statue. lion’s chest. came from ju st below chest height in the Sphinx body. take in the Sphinx.

bringing the base of the statue flush with the Khafre’s builders did not complete the Sphinx alabaster paving covering the bcdrock floor.temple Ricke. specifically dedicated to the Sphinx. The temple seem s to be exact copy of that in Khafre’s m ortuary temple. the Old Kingdom sat in sockets cut in the floor in front of each pillar. The builders o f the Sphinx began by quarrying a U-shaped ditch. leaving the exterior without its intended court pillar w as encased in red granite to m atch the granite casing. who studied this temple (1967-70) w as keen 128 . Each Temple. Stone was removed in the form o f colossal blocks which were used to build the core walls o f the valley temple (the upper layers) and the Sphinx Temple on a lower terrace to the east. temples at Giza had long been abandoned. then sculpting the lion body from the reserved bedrock block. 9 ft) g ranite pillars formed a colonnade and am bulatory lower than the Sphinx terrace. cut down into the around a central courtyard. 2. We can only make educated guesses about of priests and priestesses dedicated to its service architectural symbolism in a text-less temple. Twenty-four red T he floor of the Sphinx Temple is c. The Sphinx Temple service may never have begun. which perhaps explains the absence statues. T he court statues activated in the 18th dynasty. By the time that a cult of the Sphinx was because of lim itations of space. But Kingdom texts that refer to either the Sphinx or its here there are 10 rather than 12 statues.5 m (c. am ong the Old Kingdom tom bs at Giza . but we know with colossal royal statues before huge pillars made very little about it because there are no known Old of core blocks of locally quarried limestone. T he court is an almost hard stone of M ember 1. perhaps temple.

. The dual sanctu­ mortuary aries were perhaps associated w ith the rising and temple setting sun. the eastern sanctuary would have been a well-defined sacred space about the size of a 90 ft small closet. In front of each sanctuary there are two pillars which Ricke interpreted as the arm s and legs of the goddess Nut. m aking 12. each a t the back of a recessed bay such as w as first Causeway to Khafre’s seen in K hufu’s m ortuary temple. The Sphinx temple is unique in having two sanc­ tuaries. On the ceilings of New Kingdom tem ples Nut is depicted bending over giv­ ing birth to the sun in the m orning and swallownng it in the evening. Return to Giza: Khafre’s courtyard ■” =r' Khafre’s valley temple sit side J-------------. For Ricke these. 1400 bc 332 b c .Sphinx Temple axis The Sphinx Temple and Central ----------------.. Vestibule to do so. On the basis of New Kingdom parallels he suggested the colonnade pillars represented the 24 hours of the day and night. W orking a t Giza over the seasons. fallen Service 1940s away 129 . W hen the granite casing w as intact on 30 m its inner walls.L Pyramid and the Great Sphinx with 24 by side. They pillars also share the same megalithic style o f masonry. Phase 1 Phase III II Egyptian Antiquities 18th dynasty (?) Graeco-Roman Service 1960s-70s c. 664-525 bc /•? Phase I recut for Egyptian Antiquities / / Phase II. □ ( 1 ] The north shoulder o f Khafre’s causeway is the line Sphinx o f the south wall o f the Temple - Sphinx ditch. the sun sets at the southern foot ancient and modern of Khafre’s pyram id along the line of the Sphinx restoration masonry. too. may have symbolized 12 hours of the day and/or night. T he end statues may have been double. A photogrammetric elevation I w as intrigued to discover that.-------. one on the east and the other on the west. Sphinx Temple a t the equinoxes (21-22 March and showing a patchwork o f 21-22 September). or the 12 m onths of the year. viewed from the of the Sphinx from the south.a d 642 •j Phase II Emile Baraize ■ Missing stone 26th dynasty (?) 1925-26 c. in a neat line. These are some o f the reasons why Khafre is thought to be the builder o f the Great Sphinx.

it sets mid-way betw een the two ancient E gyptians chose large limestone slabs (old­ largest Giza pyram ids. T he soundest restoration w ork dates again. At the very sam e moment the statue’s history. assisted by Ulrich Kapp of the German Archaeological Institute who produced front and side Sphinx view drawings with photogrammetry. Some 2. 48). temple axis. Baraize reset m uch of it th a t he found place on the horizon for three days before its setting tumbled. The w orst deterioration - the shadow of the Sphinx and the shadow of the patches where the m asonry flakes and crum bles - pyram id. his 11 years of work reign of K hafre’s predecessor. w as the nam e given to small. the p attern th is forms is the hieroglyph for durable m asonry which developed a brown protec­ horizon. iglia in 1816 (p. when it w as in a much more 130 . A kh e t. element of the king’s nam e architecture around the Sphinx were dism antled emerged. W hat did the Sphinx originally look like? To find Computer the answer I first spent five years (1979-83) mapping Modelling the the Sphinx. also to the entire Giza necropolis. ‘son of Re’. in certain textual T hutm ose IV. More recently computers have been brought in to digitize the maps and create a 3-D wireframe model. ed of sm all brick-sized stones. The Sphinx itself.5 million surface points were then plotted to put ‘skin’ on the skeletal view. when the Sphinx Temple. Prior to in the 5th dynasty. The chapel w as excavated by Cav- contexts. tive patina. Unfortunately. viewed from the to the pre-Roman pharaonic period. that the w ere never published and many different phases of fifth. akhet w as ‘the place of glorifica­ answ er lies tucked between the forepaws of the tion where the su n sets’ and also a circumlocution Sphinx in the shape of the scant rem ains of a for ‘tom b’. D uring those three days. w ithout ever being properly documented. across the court and Repair w ork on the Sphinx began some three-and- into the eastern sanctuary. Djedefre. w rit very large indeed across the Giza skyline. possibly illuminating a-half millennia ago and has continued throughout any cult image within. A kh WThat is the date of the oldest repairs? T he m eant ‘to glorify’. This relatively soft white limestone deteri­ position begins to move back tow ards the south orated badly. In ancient tim es it would have passed Restoring the Sphinx over the w estern colonnadc. W hether by chance or by est phase of restoration) and in general selected design. become merged affected Graeco-Roman and m odern repairs from silhouettes. akhet. open-air chapel built in the 18th dynasty by the G reat Pyram id of Khufu and. seen for instance on At the sum m er solstice the sun sets in the sam e the paws. the sun between two mountains. both sym bols of the king. symbolized 1926 to 1988. M ajor excavations were begun in the pharaoh presenting offerings to th e su n god in 1926 un d er the supervision of the French engineer the court of the temple. or horizon. but the Sphinx Temple m ust be the m assive reconstructions of the veneer m asonry counted as the first solar-oriented temple associat­ from 1981 onwards. T he first true sun temples were built later. the Roman restoration consist­ ed with an Old Kingdom pyram id complex. it seems. An overhead view was painstakingly mapped by hand with measuring tape. It w as during the brief Emile Baraize.

perhaps A menhotep II. There was no need. Thutmose IV. then contoured it mm so the computer could produce a three-dimensional image. The profile of the nose was taken from the famous diorite statue o f Khafre (far left). who carried out the restoration. This single element was added by overlaying an alabaster face o f Khafre in the Boston Museum o f Fine Arts. We drew the Sphinx over the photogrammetric elevations. minus the nose. WM Wmm ilpli v fe w P . When he became king he added a granite stela IP1! which became the centrepiece o f a chapel between the forepaws. whose features closely matched those o f the Sphinx. to add a face to our reconstruction of the Sphinx since it already has one. It was Ins son.M te w ■mt 131 . The computer model was then used to reconstruct the Sphinx as 18th-dynasty Egyptians might have done: they restored Hie lion body with masonry cladding and very possibly added a statue o f a pharaoh.

dedicated to the Sphinx as Horemakhet.Khepri-Re-Atum every pharaoh w as a new incarnation of the god . Several show a royal statue standing between the paw s of the Sphinx. ju st at the base of its chest and in the protective em brace from the rear. In fact its back wall is a granite stela. Khafre. a kind of royal national park Another interpretation is that dating the oldest restoration work to the reign of around the ruins of Khafre’s 4th-dynasty temples. it probably derives from the temple complete condition than today. New7 Kingdom inscriptions refer to the Sphinx sanctuary a s Setepet. In their first year of rule.indicat­ that pharaohs would strip the temples of Horas- ing that sand then lay up to its neck. possible that this was what at the top of the stela Thutm ose etched a scene of W hen its cult w as reactivated in the 18th was intended also when it was him self giving offerings and libations to the dynasty. Sphinx. they participated in a hypostasis of royal power from living pharaoh to the ancestral king of the 18th dynasty (probably Amenhotep II). the Sphinx originally T hutm ose IV. probably also a royal w*— \ resthouse. pharaohs came to the chapel between the forepaw s to make dedications to the Sphinx and to be ordained and confirmed in their position. It Pyramid and the Great Sphinx depicts the Sphinx couchant upon a high pedestal with a door in the bottom. perhaps their individual m onum ents were In the New Kingdom the Upper and Lower Egypt in retu rn for repairing its regarded as sim ply the communal property of Sphinx was seen as an image of the sun god. The centrepiece of entrance at the upper end of the causeway. Given also the dated to the first year of his reign.colossal in its own right. from Khafre’s m ortuary temple. not A m enhotep II built a temple on the higher terrace represented the king as a presenter o f offerings to the only because of its story. Behind T hutm ose’s stele. Given the enorm ity of the lintel. he fell the 19th dynasty. of the In origin. the prim eval god-king whose image towered above them in the form of the Sphinx. kings and commoners d uring the 18th dynasty and later New Kingdom. T he Dream Stela is com pelling evidence for m udbrick complex. But since prim eval king) in all its aspects . Behind Khafre’s valley temple was the resthouse of the pharaoh T utankham un and in front there w as a typical Am arna-style villa. Scores of stelae com memorate the visits of royalty. A broad viewing platform and stairw ay fronted the Sphinx. about 1. It may seem strange or unlikely asleep in the shadow of the statu e’s head . Thutmose IV makes an offering to the is a hidden passage or temple. through ancient kings like Khufu and Khafre and ultim ately to Horemakhet. T he text breaks off. w eighing 15 tons the pivot sockets on the back of the stela match and 3. but Horus. 132 . to resurrect the cult of the Sphinx the Sphinx. While he slept. the Sphinx Temple. This continued into expedition in the vicinity of the Sphinx. erectcd by T hutm ose IV and those in the threshold of the temple. User-ib. T h is w as a very typical 18th-dynasty configuration. this com m em orates his accession left of those of the walls of the causeway. but there is a huge block of m asonry which could have served as a plinth for a statue 6-7 m (20-23 ft) in height . it to the throne and tells the story of how. the Sphinx became the focus of a great created in the 4th dynasty. less Return to Giza: Khafre s constructive. Called match of the earliest restoration stones to w hat is the Dream Stela. In so doing. not only is there room for such a statue. as the em bodiment of the sun (and as Horus-in-the-Horizon. that has not stopped it nurturing embrace o f the Sphinx the persistent legend that beneath the Sphinx there (opposite). contributions to Sphinx studies. princes.100 years after Khafre. T his is most likely sim ­ ply an artistic motif to bring the recum bent Sphinx In the upper part o f his to a height equal w ith the shoulder and head of the ‘Dream Stela. ‘T he Chosen’. but because the limestone northeast of the Sphinx in the first year of his sun god in the open court of blocks fram ing the stele are uniform with the reign. set up in the king. restoration on the Sphinx’s paw s and chest.appeared in a dream and offered him the throne of Horus. 1401 BC. as a young ap p ears that the m asonry of Khafre’s complex w as prince (though not crown prince) on a hunting stripped in the 18th dynasty. Sphinx in the form. the stela is a reused lintel of a doorway god Horemakhet. and it is body and clearing the sand. T hutm ose’s granite stela has m ade other.6 m (12 ft) tall. However. Horemakhet.


where it dips down to the south and courses of red granite casing were left undressed. has been Antechamber. ahead of his time in recording and excava­ tion technique. Its 134 . The ing the tomb. its tem ples could provide west end for the sarcophagus. It did. the rectangular chamber. The two descending corridors may indicate that it was planned to Adi.2 x 104. The eastern one ivas concession for M enkaure w as won by George Reis­ from the bedrock. freeing the pyram id other two small pyramids of rule. contain a granite sarcophagus and it had an mid offered a uniquely complete pyram id profile. Reisner. ner. at least here. Smaller than his predecessors' pyramids at Giza. the ap art from token patches around the entrance to suggested as the place for the m ortuary temple. while the smallest of limestone casing. which suggests work w as completed in m udbrick. Stadelmann accounts for the upper passage as a conduit for air for the builders. Indeed. was re-used for a queen’s story of this pyram id: he could study the pyram id burial (although it has been and its burial chamber. T he upper p a rt of the pyram id w as finished in Giza diagonal and on the very edge of the Mokat- traditional T urah limestone. or that a passage had been intended to open as high on the exterior o f the pyramid as K hufu’s. disappears into the younger Maadi Formation. A passage at the back leads to the space above the granite ceiling \ eastern chapel suggesting it beams o f the lower chamber. Because M enkaure died after at least 26 years Along with the actual burial. It rose to around 65 m (213 'A ft) at an angle of 51020' 25 ". A rth u r Mace. had Indeed. king’s mummification). with the niche at its h. the causew ay and the valley tem ­ the pyram id and behind the inner m ortuary temple. its remains face seem s to have been an integral p art of activat­ were either built intentionally represent a very revealing ‘frozen’ moment. satellite or ka-pyramid and it the richest finds (his assistant. leaving his complex unfinished. the queens’ pyram ids. core and haste. 6 m (335 x 343ft). 16 tam Formation.84 m. 4. however.. that. finished in granite and seen as an earlier burial 14. by his successor Shepseskaf. H andling bosses are still visible on as step pyramids or left unfinished. hewn evidence. apparently in m any of the undressed granite blocks. LftJId be much smaller. its has a Menkaure’s Pyramid base area of 102. w as able to reconstruct much of the Egyptian houses. M enkaure’s pyram id lies at the far end of the casing did not rise together. the niche resembles lies close to the centre axis of reconnoitered the site). It has the chamber. The ple. M enkaure’s p y ra­ bed-niches in ancient the main pyramid.87 m T-shaped substructure o f a the three Giza pyram ids. He knew beforehand that. Menkaure’s pyramid was named ‘Menkaure is Divine’. Upper passage (abandoned) Queens’ pyramids Entrance Descending passage Glll-b Glll-a Room with 6 niches Mortuary temple Causeway Menkaure’s queens ’pyramids W hen archaeologists drew lots for excavating Giza (Right) The easi-west present some fascinating on the balcony of the Mena House Hotel in 1399. A t the bottom.2 x 3.

90 m. M enkaure’s com­ m ids of Khafre and Khufu.62 m.7 x 1. In carved as a drum roll representing the rolled up an imitation o f a curved reed-mat curtain.2 m 'amber. A horizontal passage w ith three vault. 3. oriented east-w est. The the softer limestone. and less on the pyram id as the m ark­ ft) to a horizontal chamber. It ivas removed to be taken to England. and was lost when the ship carrying it sank. h.and which continued false door motif. which was probably used to store the food offerings for the royal ka Passage Position of sarcophagus Burial chamber. portcullises leads from here to a rectangular antecham ber. It may also may be a precursor o f the standard three-niche eastern room in 5th. (Bottom) The rough-hewn ‘cellar ’ with.70-0.05 m. and with an original plex used a g reat deal of granite.57 x 0. pharaoh had the north side of the pyram id. however. These were carved in in the complexity and expense of its decorations.43 m 6 niches Niches: 2. One specula­ The entrance lies about 4 m (13 ft) above the base of (Below left) The east-west rectangular chamber. 63 x 3. which w as Menkaure’s Pyramid height of 65-66 m (213-16 ft). This is the first purely decorative o f the actual burial chamber throughout the Old Kingdom . w here there is a series of constructed to help er of his personal tomb.59 x 2. 1. However. Chamber with h. T he lintel (below centre) and to insert the huge granite beams o f its shrank. In a process already evi­ panels carved w ith a repeated very tall and stylized manoeuvre the granite lining dent in the reign of Khafre . which tion is th a t as the son of the sun god. 6. 1. carved with niches and panelling. there Inside the pyramid were doubtless other forces a t work. six niches may derive from K hufu’s subterranean chamber. base area is less than a q uarter of that of the p y ra­ spite of its reduced size. : anelled 31. h. A descending p a s ­ some see as an earlier burial now to place more em phasis on temples and their sage slopes down at an angle of 26° 2’ for 31 m (102 chamber.16 m Entrance 135 . with the east end (Below) In Menkaure’s granite-lined burial chamber Howard Vyse found his beautiful dark stone sarcophagus.and 6th- dynasty pyramids. was probably endowments. the m ortuary temple expanded in size and spanning the entrance to the horizontal passage is ceiling. it represents about alw ays more costly to q uarry and tran sp o rt than Vio of the building m ass of K hufu’s pyram id.while the pyram id element inside a pyram id since Djoser’s. ancient builders were perhaps running out of room at Giza for another huge pyram id.4 m Descending passage.

M enkaure’s m asons sanctuary.a wooden coffin A m ong the finds in the m ortuary temple were inscribed for M enkaure as fragm ents of royal statues. Unfortunately. as had to the burial chamber. However. this m udbrick chapels and presum ably all received passage slopes up into. the burial cham ber T he original intention w as to encase the temple in statue niche. It w as T he unfinished granite casing w as concealed by a accompanied by the goddess em pty and its lid w as missing. in m udbrick by Shepseskaf. and also one (shoivn with its of the latter were found. perhaps Wmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm directly above the point where the horizontal p a s­ K ham erernebty II. and down the line date to the Christian period. ting back the large limestone core blocks to ensure temple Reisner found several Inside Vyse found a beautiful dark sarcophagus th at the front faces of the g ranite blocks were flush. suggesting it temple the causew ay w as probably never more was initially begun as a than a construction ram p for delivering stone. A t the end of the passage. along with the bones and w hitewashed. how work was progressing. O rigi­ period at the very earliest. A fter a short horizontal section. when Reisner stripped aw ay the m udbrick casing queens. Similar cham bers northw est corner of the temple. m ystery . and inner out of the bedrock and entirely encased in granite. In the north corridor we see very clearly chambers. entrance hall. hold for eternity and projected his divine force Such findings suggest that through the pyram id complex and out into the Nile burial practices in p y ra­ Valley for the good of all Egypt. These included the though it w as the cotfin in head. m arking levelling lines. A rchaeo­ (Below and opposite) Menkaure's mortuary temple m ay be forerunners of the three cham bers to the logical evidence suggests that building in stone included the five elements that left (or east) in the standardized substructure of ceased abruptly and the entire temple w as finished appeared in Khafre’s: an 5th. while through the false door. m ids were more complex Had M enkaure’s pyram id complex been com plet­ than we can appreciate. very fine statues of Menkaure with recessed or ‘palace facade’ panelling. of the causeway to the land of the living. In his valley slabs of g ranite laid in the form of a pented roof. them to be much later than T he statue represented the king emerging the 3rd dynasty. the king looked across the open found in the upper cham ber court. sym bolic portal to and from female bones from under the underw orld of the pyram id. with core blocks of limestone that were is another cham ber with four deep niches in the quarried locally. On the right of the passage Khafre. Djoser’s burial vault show there w as probably a false door. and stops. It is conventionally stated that Shepseskaf Three queens’ pyram ids were completed the causeway. . but in m udbrick rather built to the south of M enkau­ than limestone. w hen the floor of th e antecham ber w as lowered. T here he received the Step Pyram id date cen­ the offerings brought to him as head of his house­ turies earlier than Djoser. b u t it w as carved into the undersides of huge blocks on both sides of the corridor. a t the base of the pyram id. broad court. in the pyram id burials of queens. satellite pyram id and w as later taken over as a b u r­ Menkaure’s Pyramid A nother passage opens in the wall of the cham ber ial place for one of M enkaure’s queens. But life alabaster statue of M enkaure th a t m ust have its style dates it to the Saite been the centrepiece of his entire complex. w eighing over 200 tons. the body of a young w om an was core. chest. T he upper passage w as probably abandoned found in the burial cham ber of the middle pyramid. From here. From this point down to the valley substructure. Behind Recent radiocarbon dating the g reat statue.and 6th-dynasty pyramids. T he largest of these. though the five statue niches were possibly Its ceiling h a s the appearance of a round barrel h a d just started bringing in a series of granite replaced by a single colossus vault. A sh o rt passage slopes w estw ards from the m id­ The m ortuary temple and causeway dle of the floor of this antecham ber. All three queens’ pyram ids had sage enters. leading down M enkaure began his m ortuary temple. the sarcophagus wras lost at sea on he found bright red paint on these core blocks the ship Beatrice. storage w as constructed within a rectangular space carved granite. m easurem ents and the T he sarcophagus contained a nam es of the work gangs. it does not stretch beyond re’s pyram id. although fragm ents casing of m udbrick which w as plastered and Hathor and nome deities. Below the east­ the point w here it m eets the west side of the old ern one w as a T-shaped Khufu quarry. ed. directly under the vertical axis of the pyramid. M enkaure’s successor. knees and shins of a larger-than- which he w as laid to rest. the causew ay would have been walled and roofed and extended all the way down to the valley The queens’ pyramids temple. nally it stood at the back of a tall and narrow Radiocarbon dating has east-w est hall at the end of the centre axis of the proved th at the hum an bones temple. is the heaviest appear in the later m astaba of Shepseskaf and known at Giza. through the entrance hall. Though it has all disappeared today. found a t the east wall and two in the north. on the other side of the back wall of m um m y p arts from of the m ortuary temple. T hey were cut­ of Menkaure. findspot) with one of his w rappings of a male body in the upper chamber. lap.

Each of these show s the king w earing the tall coni­ cal crown of the south. builders that this w as to be the last of the large complexes at Giza. the foundations were laid out by Magazines M enkaure in huge. expanding as the num bers of ancient E gyptian art: the dyad of M enkaure strid ­ its tax-exem pt inhabitants increased. In some of the earliest stratig rap h ic excavation 25 m — i---------------. In the tem ple’s small offering space Reisner found the bases of four alabaster statues of M enkaure. some intact granite casing is visible. it w as com­ pletely rebuilt after it had suffered grievously from flooding. he found the rem ains of other statues. and later the temple w as completed in m ud­ brick by Shepseskaf. And in the m agazines flanking the rear central sanctuary were the triads of M enkaure. Below it. closing w hat had been the principal conduit place still in position with ash from the last offer­ for construction m aterials brought to Giza for three ings m ade to the few statu es kept intact in dark generations. The temple w as built in two Inner sanctuary phases. Then. Queens’ pyramids Causeway I. First. Menkaure s pyramid. T he pyram id tow n became a the m ost m arvellous pieces in the entire history of kind of sacred slum. the other a deity7 representing one of the E gyptian nomes. striding forth in the em brace of two gods. His first pit brought to light one of the temple (p. F urther back in the very inner san ctu ­ ary. 232). Reisner projected the axis against the front wall of the tem ple and then began of the causew ay from the entrance hall of the m or­ to be built over the wall. one the goddess Hathor. 608 m The valley temple and pyramid town houses of the pyram id town first crowded up To find the valley temple. A t the Valley T he valley temple lies at the m outh of the main back of the valley temple Reisner found an offering temple 300 ft wadi. probably during the reign of Pepi II. Evidently it w as clear to M enkaure’s inner chambers. to detect the discrepancy between royal intention K ham erernebty II. which also rank am ong the greatest pieces of ancient E gyptian art.1 in Egypt. for the pyram id complex and popular reality. with the great gash in its north face made by Othman in AD 1196. Reisner retraced the process by which the 50 ft 137 . So we begin ing forth in the em brace of his principal queen. in the 6th dynasty. locally quarried limestone blocks. invading the courtyard of tuary temple.

U pper and Lower E gypt and Mother of the King of the tom b has a boat pit. T he pivot socket of its northern gate­ Her pyramid town itself extraordinary as an entrance to such a royal way w as form ed by the base of a statue of Khafre. U pper and Lower E g y p t’. though badly dam aged in ancient tional to the kings of the 5th dynasty. T he lower bedrock section w as encased in w ith the pivot hole in one of the royal feet. tkaw es with the sam e titles at A busir (p. a female tan t house. On the granite The Passing o f a Dynasty gate o f her tomb an incised portrait o f the queen mother (below left) showed her wearing the uraeus and false beard . with a slope o f c. sion of M enkaure’s pyram id town enclosed by a 5th dynasty. With a mastaba. Once assum ed to be that of Shep. Her remarkable ately southw est of this block is an enclosure of eastern approach that was tomb has a base consisting of a large cube of w alls and room s that Selim H assan called the val­ flanked by her ‘p yramid’ bedrock reserved as the stone around it was qu ar­ ley temple of Khentkawes.5m (57ft) high. Khen. 74°. 145). the queen who m ay have been transi­ extension. The southern ed. thick wall. her ancestors). Khentkawes's tomb measured 45. tkaw es’s nam e w as found on a great granite gate. it is. like Shepseskaf’s m astaba.65 m Antechamber Like her name. a set of m agazines and a burial cham ber con­ Kings of Upper and Lower E g y p t’ or T h e King of residence. structed in granite. consisted o f 10 modular tomb. 3. has som e sim ilarities w ith M enkaure’s. an exten­ have helped give birth to the m asonry stru ctu re resem bling a m astaba. 17. consisting o f The interior. Khafre and cemetery in 1932 3. Khufu. Causeway 0 150 ft with 5th- and 6th- dynasty houses Burial chamber. the sam e as the accretion layers of the earlier conduit for the building projects at Giza over three have been part o f her wabet step pyram ids.8m (149 x 150ft). this queen mother closed the Giza line and may ried for the g reat pyram ids.e. ‘In-Front-of. short. The queen’s generation apart. (p. was for administration.symbols o f kingship. symbolically separate buildings. sloping passage leads down to an antecham ­ title th at translates either as ‘T he M other of Two possibly a token royal ber. it in fact belonged to Khentkawes. From closed the passage to the great Giza necropolis. As with other royal pyramids. th a t the southern extension com prises an im por­ like superstructure and chapel seskaf. strange tomb. The Tomb o f Khentkawes series of houses in one of the oldest planned urban the bedrock tomb o f stru ctu res in Egypt. Imm edi­ doors open wide to the ruler of the end of the 4th dynasty. 0 50 m 1 ----------------. m em ory w as preserved by people who lived in a Her-Kas’ (i. Khentkawes. Both One of the m ost interesting aspects of this ruled as kings in their own right but seem to be a pyram id is its associated settlem ent. T he top m asonry is slightly vault­ generations. a court times. On top of the cube is a of M enkaure’s valley temple. These houses were arranged Khentkawes stands before the In the course of excavations of the Giza Central in a linear settlem ent along K hentkaw es’s cause­ pyramids o f her pharaonic lineage. near the southw est corner . T he m ystery deepened once again the direction th at w as so im portant from when Miroslav Verner found a pyram id of a Khen­ the lst-d y n asty tom bs at Abydos. with granaries. There are hints Menkaure.95 x 4. terraces and a granite-lined hall hewn into the bedrock cube a On the tom b’s granite gate Selim H assan found a a tunnel under the causeway.5 x 45. houses along her causeway. fine T urah limestone at the steep slope of about T he tomb is at the edge of the wadi that w as the A t the west end a larger ‘house’ with thicker walls may 74°. in fact. perhaps even a token palace. 26). M erging into the front town. Selim H assan investigated a w ay and to the south in an L-shape. By positioning her tomb at its mouth. 138 .

except for a bot­ belongs to a pharaoh who ruled between Khafre tom course of red granite. 6 niches Burial chamber (magazines?) 7. chose to be a height o f about 18 m Yet another puzzle associated w ith the p assin g of buried in South Saqqara. it may have risen in two steps and certainly Shepseskaf’s granite burial been overlooked in the king lists.4 m (244 ft) broad. Hieratic (short­ took the form of a Buto shrine . 135). sunk into the pavement. It is thought that this massive structure was worked on for less than a year. At the bottom it w as paved w ith gigan­ defined by m udbrick walls. compel us to west to the burial chamber. Its ceiling. Shepseskaf. in any case. From the southeast of the w alls of fieldstone and clay. w as sculpted into a false vault.a vaulted top chamber is carved into the hand hieroglyphic) inscriptions have been tran slat­ between vertical ends. this ple on the east had an offering hall and false door. decorated to Khafre’s.. It has a large secondary precinct with like M enkaure’s (p. sloping passage leads down to and Khcntkawes.6 m (327 ft) long by 74. 665 x 420 m (Above and below) The Descending Unfinished Pyramid at Mortuary temple passage Zawiyet el-Aryan was in tended to measure 200 x 200 m (656 x 656ft). or Wehemka. (59ft). Entrance passage Enclosure. T he granite sarcophagus took the niches though p art of a statu e of Shepseskaf was form of a great oval tub. a valley temple which has never been excavated. under a huge m astaba. begun in the full confidence flanked by five magazines. O thers see Baka.85 m. w as a m assive project. To the east lay a small inner T he cover survived b u t the sarcophagus w as court and a larger outer one.6 m (327ft) by Zaiviyet el-Aryan 74.79 x 3. and the precursor of the three a deep.4 m (244 ft) and had a slope o f about 70°. The sloping passage down to the burial chamber is 106 m (348ft) long. antecham ber. the pyram id would have been close in size found of a hard dark stone sarcophagus. like those around the antecham ber a narrow corridor leads to six niches. It has been suggested th at it nally encased with fine limestone. A small m ortuary tem ­ tic blocks of limestone and granite. w as perhaps later remembered as N ebkare or lowed by three portcullis slots and a passage to an Baufre. square pit. the Bicheris of M anetho’s king list. Remains were finished. the 4th dynasty is the large unfinished pyram id at 99.95 m (69 ft) to a corridor-cham ber fol­ slabs.9 m Pit for burial chamber 0 150 ft Shepseskaf’s giant mastaba The Unfinished Pyramid at The Mastabat el-Fara ’un measured 99. like th at of Djedefre (p.7 x 24 m (38 x 78 ft) and 21 m m astaba w as surrounded by a double enclosure (69 ft) deep. Giza pyram ids and of sim ilar dimensions. Clearly. h. found in the temple. origi­ Zawiyet el-Aryan. 4. which 30' for 20. If re’s. There were no statue of a long reign. With an outer slope of The arched roof o f and M enkaure for such a sh o rt time he may have 70°. 120) and small m agazines that would become standard. A short passage slopes down to the T he m easurem ents. A long causew ay led to empty. Inside the equivalent of those in the tom bs of M enkaure the pyram id a long. 139 . reaching M enkaure’s successor.Pit for burial chamber. The sim ilar in size: 11. A corridor descends at 23° undersides o f the ceiling ed as Nebka. like M enkau­ date this unfinished schem e to the 4th dynasty.

13 m around Djoser’s complex. Unas. From here a horizontal corridor ran nally encased in fine limestone. an anteroom exactly on the pyram id’s vertical to From here another sh o rt corridor led west to the from a colossal statue that must have stood in the temple any change in building practices. The corridor ran to related to the geology of the Saqqara formation . U serkaf s reign w as short . on the south of. partially clad with granite and core m asonry that w as so haphazardly laid th at plugged with blocks of the sam e stone. It w as origi­ the pyram id. ones. Magazines \ Vestibule Offering chapel Causeway 50 m j 7 5 0 ft Offering chapel Userkaf’s temple is in a very N unusual position. con­ ground level before the pyram id itself w as begun. due to a possible moat 7. but this disguised a for 18. placed his at the opposite southw est cor­ ner. pyram id su b stru cture that would persist through Inside the pyramid the Old Kingdom. M anetho begins a new dynasty. U serkaf also returned to the pyram id form.under 10 years.1 4 x 3 . Its roof was pented. em pty when archae­ the base of which w as 8 m (26 ft) below the base of ologists found it. was much sm aller even than M enkaure’s. the last king of the 5th dynasty. each other. fragm ents when the outer casing was stripped the pyramid of which survive. w as m ade of basalt.1 2 m 140 . The sarcophagus. p er­ haps even as few as seven (c. Antechamber.87 x 3. probably a son of Khentkawes. Queen’s pyramid I. Magazine 4 . the pyramid. All the elements of the pyram id’s substructure T he burial cham ber w as originally lined and were constructed in a deep open shaft sunk below paved with fine limestone. T he choice of corridor w as a huge portcullis slab and beyond this core m asonry in this case may have been as much opened a T-shaped magazine.and his pyramid. 2465-2458 BC) . The slope 5 statue niches was 5 3 0 and it rose to a height o f 49 m (161 ft). building his pyram id at its exact northeast corner.5 m (61 ft). ‘Pure are the Places of U serkaf. sisting of huge limestone beam s leaning against A passage descended to the construction trench.3 m Open court (240ft) to a side. There may be ideological causes or practical Burial chamber. the 5th. In the middle of the horizontal slum ped into a large heap of rubble. A granite head o f Userkaf which consists of thin layers of limestone . The Pyramid o f Userkaf With Userkaf. burial chamber. It is inter­ esting th a t U serkaf returned not just to Saqqara but also chose a site as close as possible to the com­ plex of Djoser. The pyramid o f Userkaf Satellite pyramid called ‘Pure are the Places o f U serkaf measured 73. and turned away from. T h is w as the basic pattern for a court.

T he walls had a base of granite but sure wall and the eastern side of this depression . as seen here in sun cult at Heliopolis. South of the court U serkaf’s a t A busir w as the first (p. Yet a third pyramid. Beyond. Some have interpreted this change in time of Khafre on. Userkaf statue niches . it seem s th a t it w as im portant for (69 ft) square. containing a quartzite all sides. It m easures 26. 21 m precise reason. as hinted at by the legendary a vestibule and then to a kind of entrance hall. been the quarry for the core stone of Djoser’s com­ Like the m ortuary temple. Some o f the finest relief carving in Egyptian art decorated the 5th-dynasty pyramid temples. U serkaf’s pyram id fitted between the enclo­ black basalt. pyramid chambers roofed by term s of ideology. 141 . ‘M eidum -type’ with eastern m ortuary tem ples and Its su b stru ctu re w as a sm aller version of U serkaf’s. if in a different arrangem ent. ju st south of and outside yet another possible reason for his peculiar layout. exceptionally. the pyram id. He separated his offering chapel. 17 m (56 ft). which he moved to the m ents standard to every pyram id temple from the In the 5th and 6th dynasties. By plac­ w as a small columned hall. causew ays (p. U serkaf’s causeway eastern side w ould not. And herein lies mid. but. T hat the chamber of Userkaf’s satellite pyramid.the statues of the king would have would ensure that the su n ’s rays would shine direct­ faced the pyram id in this position . A colossal head of began to build special solar temples of which Userkaf w as found in the debris. with a T-shaped su b stru ctu re and a U serkaf to place his pyram id in close proxim ity to cham ber w ith a per. moat completely surrounding Djoser’s enclosure on consisted of a central room. The pyramid complex Middle Kingdom pyramids. as in all other m ortu ary temples. pyram id complex. carved with but the pyram id combined w ith the temple on its very fine relief offering scenes. w as apparently for a queen Dieter A rnold has pointed out the vacillation whose nam e is lost. of w hich only traces remain. which could have false door. south side. 18). This fragment is from Userkaf’s mortuary temple. Not only w as the temple deviation from an established tradition as simple moved to the south side. A doorway led to were the rule.a sanctuary ly into it all year round. a s deep as 25 m (82 ft). W hatever the U serkaf also built a satellite pyram id. Nabil Swelim has pointed to evidence of a large T he offering chapel. While sw itching back and forth w ithout the magazines. due to the fact th at the ground w as m ents are oriented tow ards the south rather than poor to the east.25 m (86 ft) to a between the ‘Djoser-type’ pyram id complexes and side and probably rose to a height of c. 150). In in tu rn led to an open court with a colonnade addition to their pyram id complexes kings now of monolithic granite pillars. has never been traced to the east and his valley U serkaf’s reason for m oving his m ortuary temple temple rem ains to be discovered. U serkaf returns to the The position of U serkaf’s m ortuary temple is a sig ­ ‘Djoser-type’ elements: a n o rth -so u th rectangular nificant departure from the plan of the standard enclosure and. by placing his temple on the south. the enclosure wall. were completed in Turah limestone. at the centre of the eastern base of his pyram id. the chapel had a floor of plex. We know that the kings of the The causew ay entered the pyram id enclosure near huge pented limestone beams 5th dynasty became increasingly involved with the the southern end of the east wall. O thers see this dram atic and storage chambers. and the pyram id had its between the two is m ore characteristic of the own m ortuary temple. w ith a narrow cham ber on either side. its ele­ expediency. an entrance at the far south end of the eastern side. were the five ing his m ortuary temple on the south. If the ‘m oat’ did exist. decorated with reliefs. origins of the dynasty in the W estcar Papyrus.ted roof as in the main p y ra­ the already ancient Djoser complex. T he m ortuary temple seem s to have had ele­ from his m ortuary temple. to the south may have been practical.

and the upper p arts were fine limestone. perhaps indicating that the palace lay in this direction. the w aters of Pyramid of j Niuserre L-'-'. to the west of Abusir. 1500 ft w ith a gabled roof of three tiers of enorm ous lime­ Sun temple stone beams. T he front ram p led to an elegant portico. A short. A s at Giza. who inserted his pyram id between The Pyramids o f Abusir Sahure’s and N eferirkare’s . and an unfinished p y ra­ mid. the roof of which w as decorated with carved and painted golden stars on a blue background and supported by eight granite colum ns with capitals in the shape of palm fronds. but here. are the two align on a north east to southw est diagonal along remaining sun temples o f six Inside the pyramid known from inscriptions to their northw est corners. with extension of the Saqqara necropolis. Just south of the lake are the great lst. the dado w as red granite. there is desert slopes northw est of the A busir lake that a proportionally greater em phasis on decoration. Per Wsir. Here the plateau where his successors would create a pyra­ g ap ’ allowed the builders to work on the inner diagonal ivas interrupted by mid cluster. The Arabic word derives from the Greek name. horizontal section led to the burial chamber. perhaps for queens (Lepsius XXIV and XXV). near the floor level of the court. around. A Pyramid of %=&> wall here could belong to the pyram id tow n . at Abu Ghurob. mids . roughly shaped blocks of limestone from quarries dynasty m astabas located on the high ridge (p.of Sahure. Several places in E g y p t are nam ed Abusir. The Pyramid o f Sahure which in tu rn stem s from the ancient Egyptian. just east of centre. three of the A busir pyra­ stru ctu res while they raised the pyram id core all Niuserre. M iroslav Verner.J the A busir lake lapped up to the main entrance. possibly of Shepseskare. two. where there w as a landing ram p. Pyramid of ^ fe n r 'k a r l ShePseskare?) Raneferef The pyramid complex <Y— | A t the front of S ahure’s valley temple. served as a n atural harbour for the pyram id com­ T he core of Sahure’s pyram id w as form ed of plexes. 78). Busiris. the sacred ben-ben. w as an interesting contrast of stones: the floor w as black basalt. w ith the blocks loosely held together w ith the concern for alignment as by building his sun temple slightly north of the m ud m ortar. decorated with painted reliefs featuring the king as a sphinx tram pling on his defeated enemies. lay in an inner sanctuary of the sun temple. two diagonals converge at the site of Heliopolis. Here. It consisted of five or six The 5th-dynasty pyramid field at Abusir shows once again U serkaf initiated the royal cemetery a t Abusir steps. In addition to the four pyram ids of kings. director have been built by 5th-dynasty of the Czech mission at Abusir. T he pyram id field of A busir is a northerly had also been decorated w ith reliefs. It lies on the a vast reduction in the size of the pyram id. suggests that the Sahure’s pyram id w as entered by a passage open­ pharaohs. whose plex in 1902-8 he found a great wealth of relief body w as cut into pieces and buried a t different carving.‘The Khentkawes Soul of Sahure Comes Forth in G lory’. his father. 142 . T he substructure had been badly of Userkaf dam aged and when P erring entered the burial cham ber in the early 19th century he found only a Unfinished □ vi * pyramid (of single fragm ent of a basalt sarcophagus. there are the sm aller pyram ids of Khentkawes. Walls of 4th-dynasty pyram id temples places. T he A busir diagonal was broken by Niuserre. ing on the north side. ‘Place of O siris’ . as throughout Sahure’s com­ plex. In the north side a wide ‘construction noted at Giza.the multiple A busirs W hen Ludwig B orchardt excavated Sahure’s com­ reflecting the m yth of the m urder of Osiris. sloping section lined with red g ranite w as blocked at the bottom by Sun temple of Niuserre a granite portcullis. granite- 500 m . Neferirkare and Raneferef . The passage next ascended slightly. now lined w ith limestone. i lined. this gap w as later filled with debris. where the quintessential icon of the pyram id. A canal or inlet Lepsius XXV led to a secondary entrance to the south. Just to the north. A short.

the walls of the causew ay were deco­ decorated with scenes o f Nile 100 ft rated w ith reliefs. m (107. the -walls were 50 m entire length.500 years. relief carving covered the 12. or 51 f t 6 in) to Kingdom examples. Pyramid court ' . 1. (Above) A n estimated 10.643 sq. Reliefs with a 5 6 °slope. while on the south he is hunting with his Borchardt’s. This artist’s on the north wall show the king fishing and fowl­ reconstruction is based on Landing ramps ing.7m (30 cubits. a few fragments o f which are Open court Entrance passage. His satellite the ‘conceptual beginning’ of all subsequent Old pyramid was 15. For their Inside. S ahure’s are am ong the oldest know n reliefs o f the Ba Spirit'stood 78.15 m Satellite pyramid walls o f Sahure’s complex. redrawn here. h. the m ortuary temple up on the plateau. 235 m (450 cubits or mortuary temple was o sacred 771 ft) long. ft) o f fine Burial chamber. 1. Such scenes were m eant to ward off any evil or dis­ access to the satellite pyramid.6 x 3.000 sq. including scenes of gods leading gods and offering bearers. 11.-Offering hall 5 statue niches Transverse corridor Magazines Satellite pyramid Open court Entrance hall Inside the valley temple a T-shaped hall gave A t the south side o f Sahure’s direct access to the causeway. In the w.75 Porticoes. A granite-fram ed doorway led a side. which would be placed a t temple m (258ft) square and 4 7 m entrances for the next 2. leading straight to the entrance hall of service entrance for deliveries to the temple magazines. prisoners taken from E g y p t’s traditional enemies. 235 m T-shaped order th at m ight threaten the security of the inner Sahure’s pyramid ‘The Rising hall temple. This small portico also gave Causeway. of this genre. with a slope T he plan of the m ortuary temple h as been called o f 50° I V 40".27 m.55 m (38 ft) high. Causeway Portcullis 143 . (154 ft) high. to a closed corridor around a pillared court.87 m mortuary temple the goddess Seshat records booty gained Entrance hall in war (top). in his valley temple goddesses suckle Sahure (centre) and troops greet his barque (bottom). I.

p art of a com­ been completed. A lthough he may have been advanced in age when. the entrance to Neferirkare’s complex symbolically. the from near the middle of the north side. roofed with g u arantor of order. In the north wall a granite incline by about 73°. T he burial cham ber was each with the insignia of Sahure. T he colonnade of the court is great gabled limestone beam s that discharged the supported by g ranite pillars with palm capitals. it woidd have plex drainage system that ran through the temple. weight to either side. but the court and entrance hall were com plet­ exam ples of this subject on walls flanking a temple ed in mudbrick. risen to about 72 m (236ft) Sahure’s satellite pyram id is in a sim ilar position at a slope o f 54" to Khufu’s. However. Side doors gave access to built when work stopped. Had the o f the first pyramid at Abusir doorway led to five rooms. only fragm ents of catted the ‘Pyramid o f the which survived. rising in six tiers of well-laid. courtiers. 144 . T he floor of this cham ber w as Ba o f Neferirkare’ The paved w ith white alabaster. pyramid town and administration moved up to the front of the The Pyramid o f Neferirkare mortuary temple. on the . At the heart of the m ortuary tem ple is the offer­ Neferirkare’s pyramid was ing chapel with the false door. A descending corridor led court . including one scene show ing the king about to exe­ The pyramid complex cute a Libyan chief while his family beg for his life. a t the pyram id’s southeast corner.' m asonry rem ains from w hat m ust have ' v filled in the steps. Small cham bers to the west were deco­ bundles of lotus stalks and buds. Only the founda­ rated with processions of offering bearers. the substructure was the walls of the dark corridor surrounding the open very badly dam aged. ap p a r­ on the temple’s main axis led up to a cham ber with ently. It seem s the lowest course w as laid. / limestone retaining walls. A small alabaster stairw ay directly w as moved up to the m ortuary temple. No trace altar stood in the court. So. rudimentary inscribed with Sahure’s titulary. On the east five statue niches and offering hall were built in wall are reliefs of sea voyages . the king’s victories over A siatics and Libyans. two of which also had conversion to a true pyramid limestone basins and copper drains. for unknow n reasons. he rather than Sahure’s son became pharaoh. It is certainly not by coincidence that Inside the pyramid The Pyramids o f Abusir themes of capturing wild gam e are played out on As with Sahure’s pyram id. 'Phis (Opposite) Since Niuserre would be its standard place until the end of the Old usurped Neferirkare’s Kingdom. It w as surrounded by its own small court unfinished valley temple. and the pyram id w as never finished. A w hite alabaster covered with three layers of such beams. but not Antechamber smoothed. was the adm inistration of the pyram id which five niches with an alabaster floor and a double-leaf norm ally would have focused in the town near the door.' south and west sides some of the loose . the entered by a portico with two round granite pillars entrance. T he inner temple with its rating the front from the inner temple. Evidence suggests that it w as planned as a step pyram id. with wood columns in the form of threshold. each tions of the causew ay and valley temple had been personifying an of the earliest stone. or 344 ft) a black granite statu e and an offering basin with a A statue o f Sahure. It is certain that a t a later stage the builders began to enlarge the pyram id by adding a girdle of m asonry and a casing of red granite. where all the goods hunted. When Niuserre later took more magazines. Originally it contained length o f the base was about 105 m (200 cubits. sep a­ been finished in haste.a bright clearing tamed by the king. cap­ over the site of N eferirkare’s temple for his own val­ tured or cultivated were stored . Neferirkare attem pt­ ed to build a pyram id th at exceeded his brother’s in size. Neferirkare ascended the throne after his brother Sahure. Neferirkare’s m ortuary tem ple appears to have Beyond the court is a transverse corridor. builder and the faces o f the steps drain of copper tubing. Reliefs on the walls show of the sarcophagus w as found inside.if perhaps only ley temple. Each would have held a statu e of the king. suggesting th at the step pyram id m ight have been transform ed to a true pyramid.

valley floor. the A busir Papyri. T hanks to this. one p a rt of the adm in­ Contrasting pyramid clusters: ► N istrative archives. Over time the wood­ o f Giza in the background. 234). Nine or ten houses were built. It was only in the 1970s. was pre­ the slumped cores o f the served. his son. probably for Abusir pyramids form a line 0 25 m in front o f the giant pyramids 0 50 ft those in temple service (p. howev­ looking northwest across the 5 statue er. along with sanctuary The pyramid o f Neferirkare. Khentkawes's pyramid. that the Czech expedition identified her as the niches mortuary lemple o f Queen owner of a small pyramid at Abusir. Raneferef. Open court Entrance hall Burial chamber Descending passage . She also appeared as \ Magazines Neferirkare’s wife in a relief of the royal family on \ Inner another limestone block from the site. en columns and roofs m ust have deteriorated and the inhabitants hid the columns in m udbrick walls that were p art of new rooms. The Pyramid o f the Queen Mother On a limestone block from Neferirkare’s pyram id found by Perring was a graffito m entioning ‘the King’s Wife Khentkawes’.

146 .► n Entrance built while the core of the pyram id rose around it. agriculture and sacri­ mortuary temple. and the entrance of the first included square limestone pillars painted red and inscribed w ith K hentkaw es’s nam e and titles. her m ortuary temple. On another K hentkaw es w as w orshipped at her small pyram id block. It w as extended to the east T his location hints at a link between the function of and had the east-w est axial alignm ent characteris­ satellite pyram ids. three deep recesses probably held statues of the queen. The Burial chamber Czech team. Second stage Raneferef’s builders levelled the site and laid out the square for the pyram id base w ith sides of 65 m (213 ft 3 in) . the word ‘M other’ w as added above 'King’s for 300 years. A granite false door w as embedded in the west wall of the offering hall that backed on to the p y ra­ mid. T hus the unfinished pyram id ironically provides m uch infor­ Potter’s workshop m ation about how pyram ids of this period were built. shown in scenes covered the walls of the inner tem ple depict­ a relief from the court o f her ing processions of estates. an ephem eral ruler whose was badly destroyed. On one fragm ent she is given the sam e title as Khentkawes at Giza (p. the substructure of The Pyramids o f Abusir the pyram id was badly ruined. T he site w as less dis­ turbed than others because there w as no towering pyram id to attract robbers.this one w as the mother sceptre. Khentkawes become king. Five storage cham bers were role of the queen mother. though the inner part it belonged to Raneferef. Like the fices. 138). paused in Year 10 of an unnam ed king. In the middle of the square they dug Magazines Domestic rooms a pit. thought to be exclusive to kingship. As with the superstructure. who transfers the royal ka added south of the entrance. enhancing her status? like those from N eferirkare’s. suspecting temple. th at the title should be read as ‘M other of the King of U pper and Lower Egypt. symbol o f northern of Raneferef and Niuserre. Had a son of temple yielded another collection of papyri. 138). under Miroslav The last pyram id on the A busir diagonal w as long Verner. T heir research showed that the pyram id potter’s workshop occupied w as indeed left unfinished. The Czech team ascertained that the m ortuary temple w as built in tw o stages. for which stone was a block of the pyram id indicates th a t construction diverted from an enclosure wall of the pyram id. K hentkaw es at Giza (p. in which the burial cham ber would have been H---------. and m ost of the temple had been finished in m udbrick rather than the lime­ Satellite pyramid stone used by m anufacturers of mortar. pyram id and near its centre axis the position T he idea th at K hentkaw es II ruled as pharaoh in occupied by the satellite pyram ids of Sneferu’s her own right is supported by the second stage of Bent Pyram id at D ahshur and K hafre’s at Giza. with a slope o f 52°. perhaps when work resumed. Carved and painted relief Queen Khentkawes. b u t w as made function­ one corner. Next to the hall.a respectable size. Verner has suggested Egypt. Site had m o rtu ary temple w as m entioned in the A busir five storage magazines and her own satellite pyramid. show the queen holding the p ap y ru s wad) sceptre and w earing the royal uraeus on her brow. Khentkawes’s pyramid would have stood about 17 m (56 ft) high and The Pyramid o f Raneferef 25 m (82 ft) square at the base. al for the cult of Raneferef. [exercising office as] K hentkaw es’s pyram id is south of Neferirkare’s The King of U pper and Lower E gypt’. Her Wife’. and the tic of kings’ temples. related to the kin g ’s ka. and how they functioned as ritual centres. Sim ilar pillars. gracing an open court. until the end of the 6th dynasty. A Papyri. retrieved the major known as the Unfinished Pyram id. K hentkawes also had from one generation to the next. B ut the two are proba­ she wears the uraeus o f kingship and holds a papyrus bly not the sam e person . slightly sm aller than Sahure’s. In 1974 the elements o f her mortuary Czech Expedition began to excavate it. A date inscribed on her own satellite pyram id. provide a literary w in­ dow on to the life of a pyram id complex When complete. which.

233). unusually ori­ reconstruction is not possible. have been studied and published by Paule sun temple. checking for damage. under the capping layer. seems to have Posener-Krieger. the ing chapel with a red g ranite false door and an temple . Pit for burial chamber Hypostyle hall Magazines -----------► N Sanctuary of the Knife 0 25 m -------- 1 ■ 1 0 50 ft Entrance (3rd stage) An open trench.a period of perhaps 70 days. An entrance on the south led to 3rd dynasty.the died. No The pyramid complex slaughter house for sacrificial animals. as well as financial Three sets of pyramid archives have been found at transactions. also still being studied. their use or storage. The Abusir Papyri A ccounts of products and materials supplied to Raneferef the temple. They stipulate offerings. as well as a number of royal guard duties. leaving the tomb in the form of a fill of poor-quality limestone. written in hieratic. Another S ch ed u les of priestly duties in the temple relating to archive was discovered inside it. It w as a small rectangular building. found by local villagers earlier this royal residences and other institutions. m ortar and sand. albeit not with inw ard-leaning cours­ a vestibule and three cham bers. sacrifices and Neferirkare’s archive.a of clay into which desert stones were stuck. Neferirkare's papyri can be divided into existence of Raneferef’s mortuary temple which was several main categories: subsequently located by the Czech team. Although now missing. who built his pyramid at South category. It also includes a mention of the Sanctuary of the workforce (p. at the centre of the east side of around a tall. completely missing. as well as important studied. between the king’s substructure is notv Here the Czech team had the opportunity to test death and his burial . They record the hieroglyphics. 147 . If this was the case. narrow central core. Inventories of the furnishing and equipment of the was found in the mortuary temple of Khentkawes. a cursive form of the economic function of pyramids. etc. vessels.knives. which is still being daily and monthly ceremonies. Another archive. which w as quickly faced with limestone the burial chamber. dynasty pyram ids were built in steps in accretions ented n o rth-south. Between these tw o w alls w as a third stage consisting o f a at a slope of 78°. The fragments. T he top w as finished off with a layer ‘Sanctuary o f the Knife’ . oversee the mortuary cults of family members buried One fragment of this last category gave a clue to the at Abusir. later contained the onion. and also from of Neferirkare. It seems to contain similar categories as festivals. date mostly from the reign of A rchitectural records form a small but interesting Djedkare-Isesi. ary temple w as finished quickly. These are key to our understanding of Abusir. which has not been found. jewellery. Only one step of the core. as well as outlining the organization decrees. the su b ­ core consisted of an outer retaining wad of four or base length o f 65 m (213 fi 3 in ). of the Knife. including the offer­ es. the excavators discovered that the Raneferef was begun with a entrance passage. These relate to inspections of the masonry Saqqara but required a good administrative system to of the temple. like those of the pyram id platform. Neferirkare’s century. Its mortuary temple structure may have been finished when Raneferef five well-laid courses of limestone blocks and an stretches out along it . a the idea of Lepsius and Borchardt th a t the 5th. Papyri associated with the pyramid goods flowing in from royal estates. only a fraction of played a special role in this. boxes. however. Instead. had been inner line of smaller blocks fram ing the trench of L-shape is due to an added completed. Since the pyramid wonder the pyram id is referred to as the ‘M ound’ in Verner believes the first stage of Raneferef s m ortu­ was never finished and the the fragm ents of p ap y ru s found in its temple. the original archive. left to allow the builders to bring in accretions should have resembled the layers of an The unfinished pyramid of the stone for the burial chamber. columned courtyard and the low m astaba.

T he valley temple was entered by a anim al fat. form of sheaves of lotus buds. It consists only of the base of the pyram id core and the beginning of the pit and altar. Evi­ black basalt. his brother. the slope to the antecham ber. b u t this showed th a t they took the cham ber blocked by three granite portcullises. temple were 10 more magazines. as well as in inscriptions on vessels for valley temple. size to Sahure’s. Imm ediately inside. Four From the entrance a t ground level in the middle of row s of five wooden columns supported the roof. the north side a passage ran horizontally for the Only the im print of the columns remained on the thickness of the casing and then sloped down to a limestone bases. that were probably attached to the lower p arts of each 10 m (33 ft) long and w eighing 90 tons. in any case. Inside. extend­ assum ed the throne for so short a time. A columned courtyard w as added to the front of the temple in the third stage. Verner believes Shepseskare. Only the bases remain. w ithin this family of kings and inserted his p y ra­ Two wooden cult boats were ritually buried in one. The Pyramids o f Abusir T he Sanctuary of the Knife w as in operation for a sh o rt time before the third stage of the temple shut it down and it w as used for storage. his mother. perhaps because that pharaoh w as buried and cham bers.the ‘Sanctu­ N iuserre took over the terrace and foundations that ary of the Knife’. the throne or dais on which the m ain statue stood. reigned for a sh o rt time after Raneferef. One of the m ost rem arkable features of Ranefer. There cal axis. He seem s to have w anted to remain a transverse corridor led to five large magazines. In the the northern p art of the therefore have determ ined the size of this pyramid. A m ong m any frag­ Beyond. bulls could be slaughtered during a 10-day festival. The entrance Niuserre reigned for more than 30 years b u t his in the centre of the east side w as m arked by two pyram id is sm aller than N eferirkare’s and closer in limestone lotus-stalk columns. Raneferef shown in the embrace o f and merging his identity with. as well as num erous objects casing blocks found still in position. Libyans and Nubians . god of kingship. his father. Khentkawes. Spatial limitations may have adorned them. because two m ud sealings complete the pyram ids of Neferirkare. including stone vessels and flint knives. T his second stage enveloped the in a large m astaba that had been prepared before he earlier stone chapel and spread to the east. the Horus The Pyramid o f Niuserre falcon. It w as perhaps Shepseskare who made a sta rt on another pyram id between Sahure’s and the sun temple of Userkaf. Its nam e w as found in texts from had been prepared for N eferirkare’s causew ay and the temple. b u t the im print of the shaft on one A limestone statue o f indicates th at they were palm columns. w ith w alls of fine limestone with dence from the papyri indicate that as m any as 130 painted relief decoration above a dado of red 148 . deviating slightly to m ost beautiful show s Raneferef with the Horus fal­ ensure th at the threshold between the antecham ber con. giving the whole arrangem ent a T-shape. in and the burial cham ber w as on the pyram id s verti­ wood. Here another cache of adm inistrative nally sheathed in fine limestone as shown by some papyri w as found. who perhaps trench for the substructure. m ight have and when N iuserre came to the throne he had to built this small chapel. mid in the space in the angle between Neferirkare’s along w ith thousands of carnelian beads th at may pyram id and Sahure’s. w as a special focus of cult activities. The southern p a rt of the temple w as taken up by Inside the pyramid one of E g y p t’s earliest known hypostyle halls. Papyri inform us th at the largest statue. and Raneferef. A w ide entrance allowed w orkers to portico with two row s of four columns in the form bring in anim als to be ritually slaughtered in the of p ap y ru s bundles. The antecham ber and burial cham ber were also small wooden statues of E g y p t’s tradi­ were clad in fine limestone and roofed with the tional enemies . A new entrance w as su p ­ ported by two six-stem m ed p ap y ru s columns. It w as never finished. arranged in two T he pyram id core w as built in steps and w as origi­ pairs of five. ing the entire length of the pyram id. w ith his H orus nam e were found in the vicinity. The statue was found in his mortuary temple. standard three tiers of enorm ous limestone beam s. while 24 wooden colum ns lined the court. the passage continued at a more gentle m ents of statues found in the ru in s of the court. the pavem ent was court in the northw est corner of the building. It is certain. th a t it w as N iuserre who He did not finish the possible pyram id of Shep­ added the spraw ling complex of m udbrick walls seskare. The pyramid complex ef’s complex w as added at this sta g e .Asiatics.

or 259ft) square For the first time there is a small square antecham ­ and 51.Satellite 5 statue pyramid niches ‘Pylon’ Magazines ‘Pylon’ Open Inner sanctuary court Square Magazines antechamber Entrance hall Causeway 25 m Niuserre's pyramid was called Valley red granite. mid within its own enclosure had He also usurped the the standard T-shaped substructure of foundations of his father’s passage and chamber. lin­ Ancient documents. across the ruins o f Userkaf’s sun temple. in the inner ‘The Places o f Niuserre Endure’ It measured 78.68 m (164 ft) high ‘Pylon ber. Limestone figures of fettered enemies may Sun Temples o f Abusir The Abusir pyramids. lion tram pling his traditional enemies. looking have stood near the exit to the causeway. The Swiss and N iuserre’s builders made great use of basalt. and to temples. To avoid the older m astabas the tem ple had an u n u su ­ al shape but kept the principal elements of previ­ ous ones. the walls were decorated the 5th dynasty except Djedkare-Isesi and Unas. again show ing the king as a sphinx or T he nam e of Sahure’s. Because it w as intended for Neferirkare’s pyram id. which Pylon may have belonged to queens of Niuserre. N iuserre’s satellite pyra­ usurp his father’s causeway. the caasew ay had to bend quite sharply to bring it to the entrance of N iuserre’s m ortuary temple. w as found on a construction. At the southern edge valley temple to build his own. Niuserre enters the com pany of the gods. flank the offering chapel with its red granite false door and offering slab. Fragm ents of reliefs from the outer temple temple depict members of the court. one for each king of to reconstruct the four major causeway with it. (150 cubits. particularly Sahure’s. German expedition were able ing the bases of the walls of the entire length of the inform us of six sun temples. Five statue niches. a deep niche contained a huge lion of . th at leads with a slope o f 51° 50' 35". Above. ‘Field of Re’. lined up with the burial chamber. in tu rn to the offering hall. These temple. Satellite scenes of homage. The ceiling was a field of blue. studded with golden stars.9 m temple. of the pyram id cluster are two badly destroyed possible pyram ids. including the A busir Papyri. Relief fragm ents depict This view is looking north. Immediately north of the entrance to the five statue niches. A nother new element in this across the corner o f pyramid complex is a pair of m assive blocks of m asonry Neferirkare’s mortuary 3 portcullis Burial at the corners of the pyram id court. complemented by five oblong magazines. granite. The inner offering chapel is in its traditional place a t the centre of the east side of the pyram id. phases o f the temple's with reliefs. its roof supported by a single pillar. Niuserre built his blocks chamber mortuary temple in an L- appear to be the precursors of the great shape in order to avoid older Antechamber pylons a t the front of later Egyptian mastabas to the east. le p siu s XXIV and XXV.

T his continuous the five phyles into which priests and labourers construction process w as not the work of Userkaf were organized (p. with their narrow doorw ays and sharp turns. new altar. saw a pharaoh in addition to a pyram id and the first the exterior surfaces cased in plastered mudbrick. places for setting out offerings . A m ong these were ples. 5 benches Annex PHASES 3-4 Causeway (Centre) An early form o f the hieroglyphic name of Userkaf’s sun temple includes a mouncl surmounted by a mast. But archaeologists have found only quartzite and g ranite replaced the tem ple’s central inner enclosure in limestone two sun temples. after the ancient nam e of Hier­ ilar small partition walls describe two stall-like akonpolis (p. wall com pared to the tow ering granite obelisk. The upper temple w as so badly ruined that Ricke Several features of this sun temple would have could retrieve only the m ajor elements and consid­ m ade the movement and slaughter of sacrificial erable deductive skill w as required to piece together anim als less of a problem than in the pyram id tem ­ Altar small architectural fragm ents. with two shrines in front. ascertained tha:. layout both resemble a pyram id complex . w ith a w inding corridor up to the roof and and extends older enclosure. valley temple. 2 Neferirkare sets ‘Place of Re’s P leasure’. Neferirkare and Niuserre were a sm all stela labelled Wer (‘G reat’) phyle found com­ responsible for later stages on behalf of Userkaf. 72). pletely hidden inside one bench. In Phase 3 the enclosure and the area (re)bidlds valley temple. We know th at N eferirkare’s w as called Neferirkare erected in Phase 2 to m atch the obelisk enclosure. A pedestal building clad in building.Four phases of a sun temple: block of m asonry in the m ortuary temple of p a rts of a granite obelisk . 128). however. Raneferef’s w as ‘Re’s Offer­ he had built for his own sun temple. which building belonged to the last phase. In mound.four in this millennium later . although previ­ appears to have been dedicated to the sun and may ous stages m ust also have had one. early form s of the sun temple’s hieroglyphic name More curious yet are five low benches m ade of show s a m ast projecting from a mound. Herbert Ricke. royal edifice at Abusir. as seen in its a granite obelisk on a pedestal ing Table’. The only precedent is the A m udbrick altar at the east side of the pedestal 4th-dynasty Sphinx Temple at Giza (p. 150 . and ly claim to A busir as their eternal home. causew ay and upper temple. the last two were left unopened.a new form that 1 a mound in a rectangular Niuserre. those of U serkaf and Niuserre. perhaps a m ud and broken stone. surrounded by a curiously dim inutive enclosure U serkaf’s sun temple w as nam ed Nekhen-Re. around the obelisk were again completely rebuilt. T he Palerm o vations of the site in 1955-7. who directed exca­ fields immediately east of the altar. No additional ste­ the progenitor of the dynasty w ho staked the fam i­ lae were discovered in the next two benches. stalls U serkaf’s ‘Stronghold of Re’ and benches added.with a a sacristy. sure wall and cham bers of limestone that were not U serkaf’s is both the first sun temple to be built by completely dressed before the next phase. Valley temple (Right) A schist head o f a statue o f Userkaf found in Open court his sun temple. Here case . No signs of have housed ritual activity sim ilar to th at carried b u rn in g were found around the altar.or low benches for priests. It 4 inner enclosure cased in w as probably N iuserre who added an inner enclo­ mudbrick. the temple under­ altars in the sun temples of A khenaten more than a w ent several m ajor transform ations . the upper temple may well have con­ oxen and two geese were sacrificed daily in his sun tained the principal elements of its namesake: a rec­ temple. 4. 224) is m ade more compelling by Obelisk alone. 3 Niuserre rebuilds the Horizon of Re’. while M enkauhor’s w as nam ed ‘The hieroglyphic name. One of the holding live animals. Ricke thought they were symbolic perch for the sun god in falcon form. which was out in the later sun the open-air As with so m any pyram ids. but the partitions hardly seem adequate for tangular enclosure and a central mound. Sim­ ‘Stronghold of Re’.following one upon another before the previ­ the correspondence between the five benches and ous one had even been completed. in its Stone m entions that in the reign of U serkaf two earliest form.

nam ed ‘Delight of Re’. W hy was this so? T he renewal of reluctant oxen up to their fate on the hill. the causew ay entered a walled in the earliest pyramids. or by the valley In the second p hase a casing of yellow limestone temple of N iuserre’s su n temple. Niuserre m ay well have built this one also. and possi­ the m ain doorw ay on to the causeway. A T. Five niches also echo the five cham bers built over the central mound a t the original Nekhen temple after which this complex w as named and w ith which our survey of pyram ids began.The causeway w as divided into three lanes along Heinrich Schaeffer and Ludw ig Borehardt found its length by low. the five niches in m ortuary temples of most Old Kingdom pyram ids since Khafre. A pillared portico of four broad court around the valley temple and the wide palm colum ns form ed an entrance through a pylon­ causew ay of U serkaf’s sun temple suggest th a t an i­ like fagade clad in white limestone. after which priests B orehardt thought this w as the enclosure wall of a Pedestal would have ritually offered the m eat in the upper surrounding town but he did not investigate the Obelisk building temples. m udbrick walls formed a grid of reconstructed its plan from fragm ents. statue shrines. Niuserre’s ‘Delight of Re’ In addition to his extensive rebuilding of U serkaf’s sun temple. the knee-high ground water. or o f a barque was docked off only five. so it rem ains conjectural. In addition to m als m ay have been led up it: the early. Those on the centre axis gave on to a broad Valley temple suggested that causew ay and valley temple were rectangular court. It m ight be more easily carried out in installations lay w ithin an enclosure defined by a thick wall. It w as con­ com partm ents filled with debris. In their excavations of 1898 to 1901. T he The front section of the valley temple w as lost b u t m ay have contained an entrance hall and m aga­ Niuserre’s sun temple has zines. In Open court been extensively quarried for stone. we m ight consider th at the m essy mids. even though blocks w as added over the retaining walls. thin m udbrick walls. but Ricke the first phase. enclosure around the sides and back of the valley Like the valley temples of the 5th-dynasty p y ra­ temple. On the other hand. T he slaughter hall nam ed the Sanctuary of assum ed settlem ent. The T he upper temple was set within a rectangular building is rectangular but not oriented to the car­ enclosure oriented to the cardinal directions. A simulacrum w hether there had been seven niches in the rear. it bears a strong resem blance to the southeast corner. N iuserre built his own.a feature also found in T he causew ay ascended to an impressive terrace ‘Sanctuary of the Knife’. Ronald Wells has the direction of Heliopolis. enclosure w alls of the upper temple had either side gave access to narrow corridors. If five. 50 m dinal directions. Two narrow evidence that. so that the It stood on a pedestal in the form of a truncated temple w as a kind of astronom ical clock for sacri­ pyram id. the Knife w as built right in front of Raneferef’s The valley temple's layout w as only partly m ortuary temple. sented by pyram id valley temples. attached to the valley temples. rounded outer corners . form ed by extending a natural hillock to provide a The valley temple of U serkaf’s sun temple had platform on which the upper temple w as built. sky just before sunrise around 2400 BC. and built of fices that took place a t dawn. built of limestone blocks. T he few surviving pyramid complexes. Ricke both temples m ight have com m em orated N iuserre’s believed that the side p ath s may have aim ed a t two celebration of the Sed festival. itself 20 m (65 ft 6 in) high. The five niches could also relate to the five benches in the upper tem ple and to the five phyles of priestly service. A n open court w ith a colonnade of 16 rectan­ elements in common with gular granite pillars is certain. like U serkaf’s sun temple. about sun temples. .b u t not exact­ shaped entrance hall had five granite-lined door­ 150 ft ly . including elements behind the court left Ricke unsure restricted access through a valley temple. porticoes on bly later. but only because no valley tem ­ retrieved because its remains were few and stood in ple w as ever built for his pyram id. However. analogous to developments seen A t its lower end. dominated on the w est by the oriented to stars that would have ascended in the obelisk. limestone with red granite around the base. if these had already been set up in the transform ations could reflect changing ideas front of the obelisk in Phase 2. N iuserre’s w as little more than a m onum ental business of slaughtering and butchering anim als gatew ay form ing the entrance to the causeway. pointing generally . Now. 36 m (118 ft) tall. T hick m udbrick Magazines siderably more than the glorified gatew ay repre­ retaining walls also formed the sides of the terrace. N iuserre’s The Pyramids o f Abusir pathw ays ran on either side of a central roadw ay w as also first constructed in m udbrick and then which would have been wide enough for driving rebuilt in stone.

flanked by four slabs with the top carved huge m udbrick model of a boat. T his has led to the as belonging to a large ‘slaughter court’. T he the sun temple. flint knives or tuary complexes for the sun. Each basin.into them. ‘satisfied’ or ‘peace’. It can be read as a giant hieroglyph for 'May Re cleaning up after the sacrifice . A similar b u t sm aller installation w as found north of the obelisk. A left tu rn in the entrance hall led to corri­ dors w ith a w ealth of fine relief carvings. between 24 and 26. No tethering stones. . or for the king in his identity as the sun before birth and after death. circular shallow they were functioning a t the sam e time. inscribed block from Sahure’s sun tem ple was Borchardt thought that originally there were ten found in the m asonry of N iuscrre’s pyram id tem ­ An alabaster altar still stands basins. T his colossal sim ulacrum of a ship per­ bread loaf on a reed mat.either ple. In a section that attached to combined height equalled or surpassed that of the pedestal building the three seasons were depict­ N iuserre’s pyram id. for instance that they were m or­ cardinal directions. Channels carved in the upper surface p er­ rebuilt and renam ed Sekhet-Re. Suggestions as to the significance of the sun tem ­ be satisfied' in the four Miroslav Verner doubts whether this w as a place of ples are numerous. commonly found at the sailed across the ocean of the sky. so perhaps the m issing sun tem ples were in the court o f Niuserre’s sun the blood of sacrificed anim als or the w ater used in destroyed for their stone. However. Per­ sun temple at north Abusir. like the pyram id complexes. m ent takes the form of a circle. w as whole arrangem ent can be read as ‘May Re be sa tis­ seen as a symbolic p o rt to the world of the gods. including intriguing idea that the various phases of the two fragm ents of a limestone pavem ent th at had been known m onum ents are in fact the six tem ples men­ raised 15 cm (6 in) above the level of the surround­ tioned in texts .8 m (6 ft) in Just outside the enclosure of the upper temple a diameter. Bread and beer were also delivered from the sun temple. fied’. T he A busir Papyri give us a glim pse of the func­ tioning of N eferirkare’s sun temple. in contrast to such evidence in pyramid at Abusir and a the abattoir next to the pyram id of Raneferef. Niuserre . A t the east end a stairw ay led to the roof. One ox a day w as slaughtered and the m eat sent over to the pyram id. probably for short-term sto r­ age of offerings. There were no obvious signs of burning - perhaps b u rn t offerings were placed on another Meaning and function offering table fitted to a granite socket nearby. in relief as the Hetep hieroglyph . In front of the obelisk and ed. T he central ele­ of ‘com ing forth’ (peret) w as lost. It also h ints that base of false doors in Old Kingdom tombs. T he channels and basins cer­ tainly suggest th a t liquids were involved. But one argum ent haps ran to a row of nine large alabaster basins ag ain st this is th at in the tom bs of officials of the th at still survive. carved around the rim. A nother idea is that they were places where the communion between the sun and the king could be consum m ated. about 1. Fragm ents of the harvest (shemu) and inunda­ aligned with its centre axis stan d s an altar consist­ tion {akhet) seasons were preserved. ensuring the welfare of the land. as though in diameter. but the season ing of five slabs of white alabaster. On papyrus scraps and fragm ents we read of provisions deliv­ ered by canal twice daily from the sun temple to the pyram id. From the entrance hall a right tu rn led along a corridor to a set of m agazines built against the north enclosure wall. had a series of small. and th a t the channels drained fluids .perhaps in the valley enclosure.18 m (3 ft 8 in) sun tem ples more than one is mentioned. 30 m (98 ft) long. T he two sun temples found comprise at least six Certain features were interpreted by Borchardt building or rebuilding projects. suggesting that they may have been produced nearby .builder o f a bones were found. These include one of the earliest scenes of the Sed festival of the king’s renewal. with seven more basins. 1. An dips. haps offerings were ritually purified by laying them on the alabaster altar. T his is the sign for ‘offer­ haps signifies the m ythic boat in which the sun god ing’.for instance th a t Nekhen-Re w as ing court.a stylized conical w as found. T he 5th-dynasty pharaohs seem to have built their sun temples to be a sacred filter for the goods that sustained their pyram ids. this time of lime­ stone and containing three drainage holes each. temple. slaughter at all.

had a burial chamber. except for court Entrance the offering place at the Bent Pyram id (p. It was sunk into the floor. It joined the front of the m ortu­ ary temple between two m assive m asonry pylons. The End o f the 5th Dynasty But Stadelm ann’s excavations established that a small unfinished pyram id northeast of the North Pyram id cannot be M enkauhor’s. It rose to a M enkaure. 4. Scattered am ong the debris were enough fragm ents of the basalt sarcophagus to be able to reconstruct it. ju st east of the centre Pylon of the north side. Vestibule and court were paved in . Beyond w as another passage. He 0 150 ft the standard elements o f the moved 6 km (3% miles) from A busir and built the king’s complex. It w as badly dam aged in antiqui­ 3 portcullises ty and its excavator. Fragm ents of alabaster and a faience bead on a gold filament were found in the burial chamber. Sanctuary first pyram id in South Saqqara. The sym m etrical temple has yet to be completely cleared. 5 statue niches Queen>s ‘T he Sentinel’.84 x 3. relatively new ground except for the m astaba of Shepseskaf. O pen­ Djedkare-Isesi’s pyramid. were traces of a small limestone entrance chapel. as was a niche for the canopic chest. Causeway Burial chamber.5 m chamber. The burial height o f around 52. ing off the antecham ber to the w est w as the oblong 'Beautiful is Isesi’. horizontal corridor-cham ber lined with limestone. the so-called ‘Headless Pyram id’ (p. The Descending entrance w as at ground level. The pyramid complex Although unexcavated.75 m (150 cubits.Not only are we m issing four of the six sun temples found in texts. a base length o f 78. Inside the pyramid 7. ending in an antecham ber. its ancient nam e was ‘Beautiful is Isesi’. in) deep. Shepseskaf and Userkaf. Satellite pyramid Djedkare’s pyram id is now aptly nam ed el-Shawaf. originally concealed by a slab. As with N iuserre’s. A long vestibule led to a court surrounded by a colonnade of granite palm columns.1 m followed by three portcullis slots. Here for the first time. Lepsius pyram id XXIX.1 m A granite-lined passage sloped down to an alm ost Antechamber. constructed in an open shaft 9 m (29 ft 6 (172ft). To the east were three m agazines. 103). D ahshur w as a suspected location because M enkauhor’s pyram id is m entioned in a 6th-dynasty decree relating to Sneferu’s pyramid. Abdel Salam Hussein. 165) at Saqqara is a possibility. but fragm ents of reliefs indicate it w as as richly adorned as those at Abusir. the Corridor-chamber core of the pyram id w as built in steps. we are also m issing a pyram id for Menkauhor. the king who ruled for eight years after Niuserre. for it stan d s on a high sp u r overlook­ pyramid ing the village of Saqqara.02 x 3. died before publishing his work. For the first time a queen’s pyramid includes 0 50 m reduced versions of most of ---------------- 1 H Djedkare-Isesi ruled for 32 years or more. w as roofed with three layers of large gabled limestone ‘rafters’. However. the course of the causeway can be discerned sloping in a straig h t line under the village of Saqqara. or 258ft) and feature we have seen developing in the tom bs of pyramid a slope o f 52°. In Djedkare-Isesi's temple Entrance there is a clear separation between the front and inner The Pyramid o f Djedkare-Isesi temples.

Between the m ortuary temple and the enclosure wall of the pyram id complex were four large open courts. per­ under the pyram id’s centre axis. alabaster. 2356-2323 BC). perhaps p a rt of the pyram id town or even the palace. an d a colonnaded court. w est lay the burial chamber. T he hieroglyphs . These include: its own enclosure wall. antecham ­ From the entrance a passage slopes down to a corri. A queen’s pyram id situated off the northeast corner of the m ortuary temple has. ber and a section of the horizontal passage are cov­ dor-chamber. for the first time. Excavations also recovered lime­ stone statues of prisoners with their hands tied behind their backs.the realization in the round of them es in the reliefs on pyram id temple walls. symbolized by his coffin.460ft) another turn opened into the offering hall. It even had its own small satellite pyram id. a room positioned where the five statue niches are norm al­ ly found. 750 m (2. The Pyramid o f Unas mat screen etched in the walls. whence causeway. sky. an offering hall. In one w as the satellite pyramid. the equivalent of the niched Archaic mastabas. A round the sarcophagus the w alls are dynasty tom b assigned to Hetepsekhemwy.the pyram id of Userkaf. decorated. represent a reed-m at and wood-frame enclosure. northeast corner. opened not in the pyram id’s face b u t at ground level Unas thus lay inside his black coffin. but his burial chamber inscribed with pyram id is the sm allest of all known Old Kingdom Pyramid Texts.the earliest exam ple of the Pyram id p assage then opened into the antecham ber. with its basalt sa r­ Unas’s cham bers contain only 283 of more than cophagus still in place. A door and small stairw ay led to the standard painted relief scenes would cham ber w ith five statu e niches. In pyram id in 1881 are now in Cairo M useum. which here w as more of a separate build­ (Right) A gallery o f brightly ing. enclosed in a wood and reed. p art of a sphinx and a lion su p p o rt . More significantly. a square antecham ber w ith a single column. Unas lay in the good earth. Sunk in the floor to the left 700 know n spells. som e of w hich were already very 154 . covered by the gabled ceiling with golden stars on a field of blue night sky. magazines. M agazines on either side of the vestibule The End o f the 5th Dynasty were reached by passages at each end of the tran s­ verse corridor sep aratin g the front from the inner temple. a door­ haps an allusion. way opened to a room w ith three recesses. In the valley below the pyram id. To the to the w atery aspects of the Underworld. representing in the pavem ent of the pyram id court. smaller-scale versions of m any of the sta n ­ dard elements of a king’s pyram id. w ith a T-shaped substructure. granite archi­ traves and walls of limestone and m udbrick were retrieved. A nother court m ight have been for anim al slaughter or purifications. He was the Unas. Traces the earth. To the east. A few fragm ents of a skeleton found in the dynasty stan d s at the opposite. It is located between the enclosures of Djoser’s pyram id and Sekhem khet’s. like D joser’s blue-tiled chambers. lit by a slit in the great side. lined with white alabaster incised and painted to T he entrance. T his is followed by the usual horizon­ ered with vertical columns of intricately carved tal passage. w ithin the divine reed-booth open to the remain of a small entrance chapel. may have first pharaoh to have his reigned over 30 years (c. magazines. followed by a originally have lined Unas’s square antecham ber with a single column. in the middle of the north side. selecting th is place U nas also put his pyram id tem ­ U nas's cham bers are the first since D joser to be ple directly over the su b stru ctu re of the 2nd. U nas thus completed a historical and architectural sym m etry of the foot of the sarcophagus w as the canopic . the first king of the 5th chest. with three granite portcullis slabs. On either long. the inner temple w as filled with long narrow ceiling slabs. the last king of the 5th dynasty. calves. 31). the Inside the pyramid rem aining walls of the burial chamber. pyram ids. directly Texts (p. Each hieroglyph is painted blue.

155 . the palm columns of the court vast of the pyram id provided a good route for his were thinner and taller and the single column in the causeway and opened on to a lake which form ed a antecham ber is quartzite . son of Ram esses it w as equal to K hufu’s. U nas’s pylons were not as m assive as advantage of tw o natural features. statu e cham ber an unreliable priesthood.a hard stone p a r­ . the m ortu­ m ust have seen w hat w as happening to the m onu­ ary tem ple follows Djedkare’s. Khaemwaset. visible behind.rrangem ent of ram ps. g ap s had to plugged with embank. estate labourers gathering figs and honey. valley temple. lay side frond capitals graced Unas’s by side immediately south of the causew ay at its temples.75 m (110 cubits. with a slope o f 56". allowing a Unas.000years after the Places o f Unas ’. Only fragm ents were found.75 x 3. From here the causew ay led chapel southern entrance to his straig h t to the granite temple doorw ay th at Teti. inscription carved to record these hint at the astonishing array of scenes his restoration o f Unas’s th a t once covered the walls: ships tran s­ pyramid. In plan. Djoser’s Step porting granite palm columns for Pyramid. and lines of offering bearers. was Antechamber.Unas’s pyramid. w ith a sophisticated (‘Red M ountain’) near Heliopolis . such as lions. offering hall with a granite false door. ‘Perfect are sure. The pyramid complex and the satellite pyramid. m arking the tran si­ m ents and cult of form er kings. transverse corridor separating w ithout having to depend for ever on the services of the front from the inner temple. A long wadi those of Djedkare. This consists of an entrance hall. These contained blocks from Djoser’s enclo­ th u s causing the nam e of U nas to live again. completed and inscribed w ith his ancient by his time. 202). quays and a slipway. This pair flank the Entrance upperm ost bend. crafts­ already falling into ruin when pyramid men working gold Unas built his tomb. square antecham ber w ith its sin ­ gle pillar. was Satellite the temple (p. leopards and hyenas. pyramid. T he causew ay m ust have been one of the most U nas’s pyram id had already fallen into ruin by impressive of any pyram id: at 750 m (2. Though the wadi provided II and High Priest at Memphis. left an inscription a natural route. and copper. had an painted reliefs.from the Gebel A hm ar harbour for his valley temple.460 ft) long the New Kingdom. and wild anim als. suggesting it was falling into ruin. on its south side referring to his restoration work. U nas’s successor. 43 m (141 ft) o f Memphis. Other scenes included bearded A siatics and battles w ith enemies. ticularly associated with the sun. Unas would enjoy their effect continually colonnaded court. and harvesting grain. By etching in stone tion to the standard arrangem ent of 6th-dynasty the sacred utterances and spells deep w ithin the pyram id temples. Granite columns with palm- Two boat graves. w ith five niches. ments. each 45 m (148 ft) long. but high. In the roof More than 1. or 189 3. of the causew ay a slit w as left open. a son o f 5 7.08 m shaft of light to illuminate a gallery of brightly Ramesses II and high priest ft) square. Khaemwaset. There are variations: for In choosing the site for his pyram id U nas took instance. The wise men of the court nam e to com memorate the act.

The core ing the essentials of Djedkare and Unas. temples of Sahure. T he antecham ber lies doorw ay w ith a granite fram e inscribed with the under the centre of the pyram id. but here they are far more damaged. N iuserre and Unas. The basalt sarcophagus is well pre­ lar. and of but its plan conform s to a standard scheme. for the first time. tion is the entrance. also missing. w ith a sin ­ the pyram id. it would already have stood in Teti’s for the ceiling to slum p into the rounded m ound seen today. w as a false door resting on a quartzite gle band of Pyram id Texts. had also served under Unas. causing the core M enkauhor. Neferirkare. A granite-lined passage slopes down w ith its five niches is well preserved but not the to a corridor-cham ber followed by a horizontal p a s­ w alls of the niches. Unas and Sekhemkhet. the walls of and pyram id town. T he side walls had painted reliefs Userkaf. One. Iput. b u t m ost of it w as removed. had a vaulted ceiling. A t the w est end. Merenre and Pepi II. To the east is a titles of the king. A rectangular alabaster altar in the centre depicting offering bearers and the roof w as a m as­ retained traces of reliefs. antecham ber and the last part Teti’s pyram id stan d s above relatively high ground of the horizontal passage were inscribed with P yra­ and an enorm ous em bankm ent would have been mid Texts. w ith a chapel built directly over it. on a slightly T he small alabaster stairw ay to the statue cham ber larger scale. Teti’s su b stru ctu re is sim ilar to U nas’s. with three portcullises. A long. Some blocks shifted south of the central axis in order to miss tire burial chamber and sarcophagus. Pyramids o f the 6th Dynasty (Right) Teti’s pyramid with Teti is listed as the first king of the 6th dynasty. M agazines arrayed on both sides of the court and Inside the pyramid vestibule were entered via the transverse corridor. narrow corridor led to a doorw ay on The entrance is at ground level on the centre axis the m ortuary tem ple’s central axis. needed to carry a causeway. T he offering hall. named Kagemni. Teti’s queen. As with U nas’s cham bers. 165). entered by a room w ith three niches. time. the burial cham ber opens vestibule and square antecham ber with a single pil­ to the west. One varia­ from the three-niche chamber w as built in steps and accretions made of small. Robbers broke through foundation block and fram ed w ith limestone reliefs. 156 . at the southern end of the lst-dynasty m astabas and northeast of U serk afs pyram id. Each niche had a double-leaf sage. m ust have seen the building of three pyram id complexes. the burial chamber. The Pyramid o f Teti Teti chose a spot in North Saqqara. He may have been anxious to include his pyram id in the diagonal formed by Userkaf. b u t it pre­ the lid and only a few fragm ents of the mummy sents a puzzle as to the location of his valley temple survived. follow­ under his pyramid: looking his successors Pepi I. flagstones. Teti’s pyram id follows the prototype established The pyramid complex in the late 5th dynasty and its dim ensions are prac­ Stone robbers also left little of the m ortuary temple Teti’s private apartment tically the sam e as those of Djedkare-Isesi. Pivot In his colonnaded court Teti returned to the sockets indicate th a t the chapel w as closed by dou­ square granite pillars of the 4th-dynasty and ble-leaf doors. as the causeway may have been through the antechamber to locally quarried blocks and debris fill. against served an d is inscribed. The wooden of the fine outer casing are preserved on the east Lepsius pyram id XXIX (p. Similar altars are known sive limestone slab decorated with stars. both of which are missing. Djoser. w as the mother Djoser’s Step Pyramid behind. of Pepi I and probably a daughter of Unas. In the from em placem ents or fragm ents in the m ortuary back wall w as a large false door of black basalt. T his led in turn of the pyram id and w as sim ply covered with heavy to a vestibule w ith a roof decorated with stars. whose m astaba tom bs are immediately north of his pyram id. If this belonged to beam is a modern support side. the ruins of his mortuary though there is no evidence of a break in succes­ temple in the foreground and sion from Unas. Certain of Teti’s high officials.

On this were model 157 . Although m (258ft) to a side and rose to 52.75 m (52 ft) long and a steep slope of 65°. Pyramids of Iput and Khuit The Pyramid o f Pepi I Two royal women of Teti’s court were favoured with their own pyram ids. statue cham ber with three niches.45 m — Satellite pyramid Open court Entrance hall Entrance chapel Descending passage T he satellite pyram id w as found in its standard vessels of alabaster.5 m (30 cubits.12 m 5 statue niches 7. and Teti Endure'. Iput’s pyram id w as originally a North Saqqara. N Pyramids o f the 6th Dynasty 50 m 150 ft Entrance chapel Sanctuary Antechamber Burial chamber.57m) E-W. with a large covered spaces. cubits (105 m) N -S by 243 cubits (127. A lthough thieves had broken in. 3. transform ed into a desert in South Saqqara. It still stan d s for 7 m (23 ft) of its original 20-m (66-ft) height. The eastern side and a third on the west.9 x 3. all chambers pyram id. this burial assembly seem s to have been far angle o f 53° 7’48". measured 78. but it w as only exca­ vated by Z. alabaster Teti’s pyramid. w as built over a vertical m astaba shaft and burial chamber. Pepi I returned to a sp u r of high complex. along with fragm ents of her necklace and a gold bracelet.7 slabs inscribed with the nam es of sacred oils. which her son. Labrousse ascertained the position of Tafia on the south. in separate enclosures Teti may have exhausted the topographical oppor­ north of Teti’s pyram id and behind the m astabas of tunities for pyram id complexes in Central and Audran Labrousse’s computer model of Pepi I ’s pyramid court officials.75 x 3. in 1897-9 and Firth in 1922. about 12 m (39 ft) high. A. lost since the excavations of Loret low mound. The room w as filled with limestone chips to the level of the sarcophagus lid. 51 ft 6 in) square.5 m (172 ft) high at an rounding it were two basins of red quartzite on the robbed. Pepi I. ‘The Places of place south of the inner temple and m easured 15. pottery and copper. defined by the broad Wadi central court. His pyram id is now reduced to a and magazines were dark Khuit’s pyramid. Iput’s rem ains were found in a cedar coffin in a roughly dressed limestone sarcophagus. Except for the m astaba. Loret could not find the entrance of Iput’s. a small lime­ more m eagre than that of Hetepheres at Giza. for the simple reason that it had none. Iput’s skeleton w as intact. and offering hall with a limestone false door and a g ranite offering slab. enclosure measured 200 stone basin was placed somewhere on the north. T he small pyramid. Five crude canopic jars were also found. In the court s u r­ model gold-leaf covered copper tools. A small red granite false door on the north side w as p art of an ‘entrance chapel’ and a chapel on the east side had its own court. with sides 15. Hawass in 1997.

Teti and Pepi II.the tightly w rapped Sanctuary bundle retaining the shape of the alabaster jar 5 statue niches which once held it (p. In 1993. the French made a rare find in pyram id tours may point to the valley temple under the allu­ vium in the bay. the colour of freshness. Satellite pyramid 3 magazines broken at the neck and waist. It was in been brought to be throw n into lime furnaces. p re­ sum ably Pepi Is. The pyramid his back. Though now badly destroyed it is estimated cleared and studied by the French Archaeological m ids of Djedkare-Isesi. As in the pyram ids of U nas and Open hall court Teti. highly standardized pattern of and its m ortuary tem ple have been system atically Remains of sim ilar statues were found at the p y ra­ the 6th dynasty. who the settlem ent around the nearby Ptah temple. extended in the Middle Kingdom to the French Mission. grow th and renewal. The pyramid complex Like all the Saqqara m ortuary temples. On both the interior and Burial exterior of the sarcophagus of hard. around it the walls of pyramid the cham ber were decorated w ith the m otif of the Entrance reed-m at booth. on the south side of the main pyramid. Lauer su g ­ to have been 78. Vertical columns of hiero­ never been excavated.r* its lid. with the temple. the French found another inscription of Khaemwaset.5 m (172 ft) directed by Jean Leclant since 1966. p a rts of stelae and offering tables found Pyramid Texts were restored in the debris indicate that the cult of Pepi I contin­ like a gigan tic jigsa w puzzle. Each Perfection o f Pepi is this pyram id and M erenre’s th a t the B rugsch broth­ represented a kneeling m an. were found in the southw estern p art of the temple where they had Pepi I ’s pyramid. A complete packet of viscera. 22). ► N archaeology. causew ay to signify the conquered peoples of the high. ‘T he Perfection of Pepi is after the impressive work by E stablished’. T he nam e of the pyram id and its The burial chamber o f Pepi I town. with one packet Pepi I’s satellite pyram id w as in a better state of o f the king’s viscera (p. ‘The crater in the centre dug by stone robbers. with Pyramids of the 6th Dynasty 0 50 m 1---------. beginning in 1951 and gested that they lined the two sides of the to a side and 52. difference th at the P yram id T exts have expanded to Pepi I’s valley tem ple and pyram id town have cover more of the walls. though the pyram id w as falling into ruin by the New Kingdom. Inside the pyramid under scenes of the king’s victories in the m ortuary Pepi I’s su b stru ctu re is sim ilar to Teti’s. sarcophagus (below) and canopic chest. and found the black stone w as handed down in Greek a s Memphis. M en-nefer Fepi. Statue Thousands o f fragments o f fragm ents. the room to the east of the antecham ber w as left uninscribed. nor has his causeway. ued into the Middle Kingdom. with an angle of slope n orth and south. 22). A lternatively they may stood o f 53° 7' 48". preservation than the m ortuary temple.75 m (258ft) Saqqara Mission (MFAS). dark stone chamber Satellite w as a line of Pyram id Texts. belonging to E g y p t’s traditional enemies. In the course of restoration However. A num ber of limestone statues of prisoners. w as still set into the floor niche in front of messHsatmmstf 0 150 ft the sarcophagus. in *I . Pepi I’s had suffered grievously from lime makers. but three Corridor-chamber decades of study by the French have show n that it 3 portcullises had all the essential com ponents of previous tem ­ ples. lay close by . for a few m etres in front of the m ortuary temple. his hands tied behind Established’followed the ers discovered Pyram id Texts in 1881. the line of the causew ay revealed by con­ work. The pink granite canopic chest. except glyphs were painted green.

Each had its own enclosure and small offering temple. all about 20 m (65 ft 6in) square. in the course of clearing by the French Archaeological Mission at Saqqara. Pyramids o f the 6th Dynasty The ruins o f the pyramid and mortuary temple o f Pepi /. prisoner statues that may But the most dram atic finds of the last few years have lined the court o f Pepi I ’s mortuary temple. (Left) A copper statue of Pepi I and one of his sons. found in one o f the five chambers on the temple mound at Hierakonpolis. Eventually three pyram ids were cleared. Nebwenet. roughly aligned in an east-w est row. In 1988 court). m ents for three small pyram ids were located and soon an apex stone and casing stones of a small pyram id emerged. T he w estern queen’s identity is preserved only 159 . which he describes how he read ied for posterity the (Above) Two o f the bound proprietor of a pyram id he had found abandoned. have been the queens' pyram ids. On the fallen east jam b of the m ortuary tem ­ ple of the eastern queen w as an image of the queen. so he ties the hands the French team used electrom agnetic sounding to o f ‘wild’ nomadic peoples on Egypt’s margins. As the king plants trees in orderly rows in the court Queens’ pyramids (the columns) and clears a An enorm ous accumulation of debris and sand space o f wild foliage (the covered an area south of Pepi l’s pyram id. possibly Merenre. ‘Queen of the E ast’ and ‘Queen of the Centre’. with her name. They had look for boat-pits and queens’ pyram ids th at they been deliberately broken at suspected m ight be buried here. and her titles. Possible em place­ the neck and waist. They were ascribed to the ‘Queen of the W est’.

100 cubits tall. T he pyram id is 450 m (1. apparently that of a pyram id . Inenek/lnti emerged when her visage. burial chamber enter. a lock of youth. reigned corner stones of the entrance chapel in position. The great anatom ist of Egyptian royal wife and daughter.a suspicion confirmed by the discovery young man. it T he French team suspected yet a fourth queen’s still contained a mummy. Eliot Smith. the French found two Pepi Is eldest son and successor. Amazingly. the offering hall was dard dim ensions (150 cubits square. its lid intact but pushed back. includ­ follow the dimensions o f ing the distribution of Pyram id T ex ts The his predecessors ’pyramids. ial cham ber the huge limestone ceiling girders and . 0 150 ft A linear feature may be the beginnings of an Merenre’s pyramid was badly em bankm ent. who are fulfilling one of the highest has not yet been properly studied. with its lid. how short. These women of Pepi’s secondary burial. in front of one end of the sarcophagus. although an exact survey has yet to be done and so we do not have precise details or plans. by craw ling through a robbers’ tunnel around with the sarcophagus and the lowered g ran ite portcullis slabs. considered it an intrusive pyram id has been located. now in Cairo Museum. W hen the French hopes of literate ancient E gyptians by ensuring team cleared the burial cham ber they found the red that their nam es live on after death. only a short time. the French. it w as probably only nine years. Although we are uncertain just along with fragm ents of reliefs of deities w alking from her pyramid chapel. a s ‘eldest daughter of the king’ on a small obelisk a gigantic slab between this room and the ante­ in front of her pyram id.tall and slender in 6th-dynasty style . in the m ortuary temple. Traces of an offering table 53° 7' 48" slope) as his im m ediate predecessors.476 ft) southw est of Pepi Is and the sam e distance directly west of Djedkare’s. Recently a fifth queen’s mummies. court would be deeply appreciative of the work of U nfortunately the mummy. lie would have needed a causeway that spanned a drop 0 50 m o f 27 m (86 ft) over a distance of only 300 m (984 ft). as the hair w as braided into the side of a stela inscribed with the nam e of M erytytyes. granite canopic chest. But and titles were found on jam bs and small obelisks the black basalt sarcophagus w as in good condi­ flanking the door to her temple. destroyed and has yet to be fully cleared or surveyed. Merenre. It Inside the pyramid may have been planned to The su b stru ctu re is very sim ilar to Pepi Is. The Pyramid o f Merenre The pyramid complex On the pyram id’s north side. Merenre tow ards the king to greet him as he entered their probably planned his pyram id to the sam e stan ­ world. The nam e of the central cham ber hung suspended after robbers had queen. G. paved with limestone. B rugsch brothers were the first archaeologists to (Right) The. Queen Nebwenet . It is unusual for a pyram id to be located due west of an older one but perhaps Merenre w anted to use the Wadi Tafia as his harbour. name removed much of the lower supporting walls. possibly of the 18th dynasty. tion. Inside the b u r­ canopic chest.

T he retaining w alls are rem iniscent of con­ struction ram ps at Giza. Entrance chapel . Considering Pepi’s long west end of the hall.69 x 3.was the standard size . Work in ritual cycle. Valley temple The Pyramid o f Pepi II Sanctuary \ Causeway % / / Pepi II w as the last Old Kingdom ruler of any su b ­ 5 statue niches stance. with a band across the base. w ith retaining walls of small irregular (p. whose Old Kingdom development. Burial chamber. 16 m despite his 94-year reign. 3. career spanned the reigns of Teti. the whole encased represent Merenre. and about its stru ctu ral security. the descendants of the Giza m asons built the pyram id core in the sam e way as the earlier ram ps. Pepi I and with three queens’pyramids. 159). Despite such a long reign. Merenre. Wedjebten sarcophagus .9 x 3.15 m Descending passage Antechamber. dos is inscribed with one of the very rare contem ­ Neith The pyramid complex o f porary texts about the building of a pyram id. A unique feature of Pepi ITs pyram id w as an immense girdle.78. with an angle of slope o f 53" 7’48". is thought to stones set in tafla anc Nile mud. In the stan d ard ­ another small offering table ag ain st the north wall ized pyram id complexes of the 6th dynasty and an elliptical depression in the pavement. I. Only we see little of the successive rebuildings that the base of the granite false door rem ained at the characterize earlier ones.'Pepi is Established and Living’ . The / Pepi..longer than any other pharaoh. Portcullises Horizontal passage.5 m (172 ft) high. w ith material far easier to mould and manipulate. Sed festivals.. or th at they were worried w ith a limestone trough a t its side were found.trips he describes in g reat detail. added after the pyram id had been completed. Weni became G overnor of a classic mortuary temple Upper Egypt. the five statue niches o f his A slab of limestone from a small chapel at A by­ mortuary temple. Pepi IIs pyram id w as the standard size .5 m/258 ft) square and 100 cubits (52. found near the temple m ust have stopped when the king died. 7. w hich gave him responsibility for and valley temple fronted by bringing back stone for the pyram id. He located his pyram id south of Merenre’s and Djedkare-Isesi’s across the Wadi Tafla. It has been suggest­ ed th at the builders wanted the pyram id to resem ­ ble the hieroglyph for ‘pyram id’. His pyram id w as fittingly nam ed ‘Nefer-ka- Satellite pyramid upe n court Re [Pepi II] is Established and Living’ since he lived 100 years according to M anetho and ruled 94 years Entrance hall .5 m/172 ft 4 in) high. and only 120 m (394 ft) away from the m astaba of Shepseskaf. 6. The small copper statue vated by G ustave Jequier (1926-36). In effect. the girdle perhaps celebrated one of his Pepi II as a child. Under Merenre.75 m (258ft) square and 52.150 cubits (78. I.5 m (21 ft) wide. including the ramps and broad esplanade. T he core comprised st riding figure of Pepi I five steps. Some of the relief decoration reign. in heavy blocks of Turah limestone laid w ithout mortar. however. it had accompanying the larger been reduced to a low mound. II is the culmination of hieroglyphs convey to us the voice of Weni.15 m Pepi IPs pyramid . and if pyram id building w as indeed p art of a An alabaster statuette of had only been outlined and not modelled.. By the time it was exca. Corridor-chamber. 23 m 161 .

of 63°. Reliefs on the decorated with reliefs of the gods receiving the entrance to the inner temple depicted the king king. A doorway at the south end of the transverse together w ith its granite lid. Also ram ps up to an esplanade and platform . there were pyram id tow ns below pyram ids. tram pling on and clay core walk typical walls covered with Pyram id Texts. corridor opened to the court w ith the satellite p y ra­ mid which w as 15. A single recovered was a scene from the Festival of Min. the walls w as a colonnade of 18 rectangular quartzite pillars. T he causew ay changes direction twice to perhaps for perfume. These take advantage of the m ost even slope. topped standing the pillars and granite doorw ays. 52 ft) square and The pyramid complex had a slope. thus asserting closing of the pyram id corridor. lined w ith granite. like m ost late Old Kingdom satellite If. Patches of relief from the east wall of the tra n s­ Visitors could gain access to Pepi IPs valley tem ­ verse corridor belonged to scenes of the king per­ ple either from the desert or from the harbour via form ing the ritual ru n of the Sed festival. door on the central axis of tem ple and pyram id led mortuary temple. were framed in red granite. U nfortunately it has never pavem ent may have collected libation water. A t the head and foot ends. the ruins o f Wedjebten’s pyramid. the suppression of enemies and a hu n t in the being suckled by goddesses. Only the w alls of the open court were undecorated. the m iddle one w as From the scattered fragm ents reconstructed by slightly larger and still held the limestone base of a Jequier it seem s Pepi II’s artists copied much of his life-size royal statue . were decorated in the niched p attern of the sacrcd Each w as decorated on the side facing into the reed-m at booth. the dec­ court with figures of the king and a god. found fragm ents of alabaster and diorite vases. T h e walls were scene in Sahure’s m ortuary temple. A round the open court phagus. A door. T he inner cham bers were covered w ith a gabled to a vestibule w here reliefs depicted the king’s tri­ ceiling decorated with stars. Here Jequier his enemies. a substantial line of settlem ents m ust have other end of the transverse corridor led to the main extended along the base of the escarpm ent by the pyram id court. T he door a t the Pepi II. Shepseskaf and cham ber were left unsmoothed. N otw ith­ oration featured false doors. T he T-shaped passage and small the tom bs of Djedkare.(Above left) The pyramid of Inside the pyramid decorative program m e from Sahure’s complex.75 m (30 cubits. been excavated. w as builders had been developing since Niuserre. painted green. inscribed w ith the kings titulary. The five statue niches p ap y ru s thickets. The Pepi II looking northwest over From the entrance a passage sloped down to a cor­ lower p a rt of Pepi’s causew ay showed the king. with packed stone ridor-cham ber with a star-studded ceiling and transform ed into a sphinx and griffin. and a golden spatula. there w ith a nam e plate of the king. (Above right) Pepi II spears a may have been used in a ritual perform ed at the A t either corner of the east wall of the m ortuary hippopotamus. fram ed in red granite and inscribed with Pepi relief of the king about to execute a Libyan chief in II’s nam e and titles. O ther room s were undecorated. opened into a small hypostyle the presence of his family is a near-exact copy of a hall w ith eight rectangular pillars. A further section tem ple w as a kind of proto-pylon th at temple his control over the forces of chaos in a relief from the of the horizontal passage. A front vestibule o f his blocked by three portcullises. A round the black granite sarco­ king harpooned from a boat. where three basins sunk in the end of the Old Kingdom. bearers. as we suspect. the upper p art had scenes of offering o f the complex. the niche of the canopic chest rem ained in the floor. Single gigantic lime­ um ph over hum an and anim al forces of disorder stone blocks form the north and south walls of the the latter in the form of a hippopotam us.the only direct evidence we 162 . Merenre. Two low walls west seem s to have been a cheapening of m aterials and of the sarcophagus supported the lid until it w as decoration the court w as paved in limestone and pushed sidew ays to seal the king’s mummy. which the burial chamber.

ing enemies and hunting wild animals. two small obelisks inscribed with her nam e and titles. which they set up proxy sym bols of their real enclosure was inscribed with entrance chapel. Neith’s around Wedjebten’s pyramid contained small houses and em pty red granite sarcophagus stan d s in the cham ­ offering chambers of priests ber. small obelisks 45 officials received the king. is a m asonry m assif w ith an with stone. sherds of pottery vessels. her of up-raised arm s on his head . m issing before Jequier’s excavations. A round it the walls were decorated with the queen’s estate. It w as built around a three-step core encased i l l k in a limestone girdle like that around the king’s pyramid. Here as many as 100 deities and ments. U\ \ T he pyram id w as 24 m (78 ft) square with a 61° § ll ] / . An entrance chapel contained scenes of offering bearers. A s in the kin g ’s pyram id.have that these niches did indeed hold statues.25 Between the niches and the offering hall. The walls of of the pyram id tow n bringing ducks. slope. s an offering hall with presentation scenes and a false door. Teti’s and offers of the role of a pyram id in the economics of Djedkare’s. a long corridor w ith several turns. w as the pyram id of Wedjebten. Fragm ents of reliefs reveal scenes of Near the southeast corner of Pepi’s enclosure the king seated before a table laden with offerings. On the east wall were scenes A fragm ent depicted the base of a throne. wine. including a satellite pyram id. or they may have been for offerings for the to a small vestibule and square antecham ber on the queen’s ka. T he flat ceiling of The secondary enclosure the burial cham ber w as carved w ith stars. the chapel were decorated with reliefs of the queen pigeons. another daughter Behind him stands a sm all figure with the symbol of Pepi I and wife of Pepi II. vaulted roof. Inscriptions refer to a family line of priests. sim ilar to of cattle being slaughtered. goats and antelopes. fruit.. Neith’s own satellite pyram id w as 10 cubits (5. shared in that o f Pepi P. Like the other two. priests. a cham ber with three niches. A queen named N othing rem ained of the false door at the west Ankhes-en-Pepi w as buried between the enclosures end of the offering hall. slay­ low grave perhaps the queen’s ow n funerary fleet.the king’s ka (p. beer and bread. By being so honoured. A rectangular cham ber w as filled with open core. Inside w aist before being cut into sm aller pieces. Flanking the entrance to her enclosure were ary estate. ‘food sustenance’. indicating she w as the daughter of Pepi I and wife of Pepi II. Her sm all temple had five magazines. while that to the south gave access body. as in other m. tem ple and tiny satellite households and tombs. Between Neith’s satellite and m ain p y ra­ route to the offering hall. 18 ft) square. protected by the jackal-headed offering tem ple and magazines. Each had been broken a t the neck and jebten’s pyram id is her secondary enclosure. quail. A small vestibule here receiving kau. gazelle. Neith’s w as the finest and probably the were allowed to share the endow m ent of her funer­ a family line o f Wedjebten’s oldest. inner king sat enthroned. It had all the sam e ele­ nal quartzite pillar. tomb contained Pyram id Texts. In the vestibule the king mid 16 wooden model ships w'ere buried in a shal­ was once more show n suppressing disorder. as she the niched and false door pattern. which w as covered by a of Neith and Iput. the most rem arkable feature of Wed­ found here. were cham bers resembling houses and magazines. Before the and plain court led to a chapel with an alabaster king were more than 100 dignitaries and residents offering table inscribed w ith her name. they as ‘gate o f the estate’ of pyramid. before a goddess and scenes of slaughtering cattle. Because of the glimpse it featured prisoner statues a s did Pepi I’s. 163 . perhaps a serdab for hidden statues. cattle. with a m iniature passage blocked Pyramids o f the 6th Dynasty m ortuary temples. here approached by Anubis and by Nekhbet. a m agazine to the east remained uninscribed. T hree alabaster vessels T he north doorw ay of the statue cham ber led to were perhaps used in the em balm ing of the queen’s five magazines. 22). geese. with her canopic chest of the sam e m aterial and their kin who shared in before it. but much greater num bers have been the Afterlife. For the first tim e in a queen’s pyram id o 20 m the cham ber and passage were inscribed with P y ra­ i- 0 50 ft mid Texts. On the n orth wall the at the enclosure entrance. Each A legal document etched Queens’ pyramids beneficiary had a cham ber and sm all courtyard in in stone: the doorway to Wedjebten's secondary Three queens of Pepi II had their own pyram id . Pepi IPs complex also a relief in Neith’s chapel. T he roof of Iput II’s pyram id complex w as built on to the the antecham ber w as supported by a single octago­ southw est corner of Neith’s. without a pyram id of her own. In the south wall a g ranite false door closed the descending passage which sloped dow n to the burial chamber. ju st as she had a share of Pepi IPs. blocked by a single -► N portcullis. vestibule and court. Reliefs on the walls of the court showed the queen and offerings.

Here Jequier found fragm ents of Pyram id T exts for a king named Hakare-Ibi. T he w alls of the last p art of the passage Burial chamber Entrance 150 ft 164 . as 70 kings in 70 days. horizontal corridor. dynasty. roofed now with brick su perstructure w ith rounded corners had modern concrete. His Pyramids o f the First pyram id is sim ilar in dim ensions and layout to the queens’ pyram ids of Pepi II . In the north side of the pyram id a p a s ­ pyram id sequence still surprises us. One of these built a pyram id at Today (below) it is in a very Entrance Dara in M iddle Egypt. In spite of archaeological and docum entary hints of bu t it seem s the builders never began to put the cas­ instability. But N itokerti’s rule followed A huge granite block in the west end of the burial a long period w hen an elderly Pepi II ruled over a cham ber held the sarcophagus.nearly equal to the base of Djoser’s Step Pyramid. the Old Kingdom. Its In the absence of a unifying pharaoh local rulers base length was 31. Its excavator. but the mud- chamber. the burial Kamal. T he w alls of the passage and erti (Nitocris) . T he Turin sage lined with T urah limestone sloped down to a P ap y ru s ends the 6th dynasty w ith a Queen Nitok. Ibi is given only two years of rule. (Below right) Plan o f a From the entrance an alternately sloping and pyramidal tomb o f a local ruler. this small pyram id is in m arked contrast to the g reat pyram id complexes of The Pyramid o f Khui (Right) Plan o f the small pyramid complex o f Ibi. approxim ately on its centre axis. the ab ru p t end of the Old Kingdom ing in place. 50 ft pyram id. T he south but we know of only one ruler who attem pted to side of the chapel w as taken up by m agazines build a pyram id. Today it chamber. M anetho lists the next the pyram id. a small m udbrick chapel w as built. Foundations for the outer casing were laid into a trench around the core. end of th e 4th (p. 138). at Dara horizontal passage ru n s to the door of a burial 30 m in Middle Egypt. A n entrance on the north side of the chapel gave indirect access to an offering hall w ith a rectangular basin set in the The Pyramid o f Ibi floor in front of an em placem ent for a stela or false door. Ahmed from the core. millennium b c . causeway of Pepi II.5m Burial ' took on the prerogatives of kingship during the (103 ft) and it was an chamber F irst Interm ediate Period. m ortar may have been used in rituals. believed it w as a m astaba. 8. possibly Khui.rem inding us of K hentkaw es at the burial cham ber were inscribed with P yram id Texts. Chapel length of 130 m (426 ft 6 in) .5 m (60 cubits or Intermediate Period 103 ft) square. In the Turin Canon. near the w estern desert ruined state. around the end of the 3rd estimated 21 m (69 ft) high.8 m (29 ft) below the base level of the stands just 4 m (13 ft) high. A round alabaster platter and an obsidian The 8th dynasty is listed as 27 kings in 146 years. The pyram id’s core of sm all stones took the form of a double girdle around the trench in which the inner cham bers were built. Piles o f mud and limestone chips remain entrance to the D akhla Oasis. Begun on a low knoll near the opening off a central courtyard. the 7th. On the east side of deteriorating kingdom. is covered sloping sides and a square ground plan with a base with Pyramid Texts.31.

with no substantial distinction. had an offering scene w ith a cartouche with the nam e east of Teti’s and this stela. An open trapezoidal court Deir el-Bahri was cut into the sloping desert until sufficient depth w as reached for a facade with colum ns hewn out of the rock. They are known as s a ff tom bs from the Arabic for ‘row’. in plan at least. whose p y ra­ The plan and reconstruction mid has not been located. 153).. T he pyram id ..w ith his not known for certain. T he entrance is approxim ately in the middle of the n orth side. however. foundation. In the A bbott P apyrus. T he king’s burial was behind this Tomb colonnade. The design Arabic the ‘Pyram id W ithout a hound. Even its owner is (29) may have belonged to this king. and both it and the burial cham ber were lined w ith limestone robbed from tom bs in a nearby cemetery. are o f the tomb o f Intef II. nam ed B eh k a. Dieter A rnold has tions. In beginning of the great spite of reasons to link the pyram id w ith Merikare. opposite w hat would later become the g reat K arnak complex. about 52 m (100 cubits or 170 ft) per side. apparently of the 6th dynasty. It w as thought that the royal tomb w as marked 1000 m —H by a m udbrick pyram id in the court or above the 3000 ft 165 . because of the row s of colum ns an d door­ ways at their west end. associations with M enkauhor (p. A block found in a tomb south of the pyram id.’. with not one but five hounds. A m ong those buried facade. Jarom ir Malek has argued for M erikare as the owner. M ore investigation of this little-explored 150ft pyram id is needed to settle the question. The founder of the line th at would emerge as the 11th dynasty w as sim ply a nom arch and chief priest of a local temple who w as nam ed Intef. Lepsius Pyramid XX IX A cem etery near Teti’s pyram id w as in use through the F irst Interm ediate Period. of it. complex o f Mentuhotep a study by Jocelyne Berlandini pointed to stronger Nebhepetre further south. and which may have come from the p y ra­ mid’s own offering temple. a about a millennium after they were built (c. M aspero entered it in 1881 and F irth cleared established th a t it was found in an offering chapel the site in 1930 but did not produce a plan. from the king’s. located in this 9th. Intef I declared himself King of U pper and Lower E gypt and he and his successors (Intef II and III) built their tom bs a t el-Tarif at Thebes.or lO th-dynasty ruler. Two g ranite portcullises sealed The Intefs built their saff the passage to the antecham ber and burial cham ­ (‘row’) tombs in the el-Tarif plain at Thebes. and the image of the king stan d s. a report of a com­ Only the foundations remain there w as an early 12th-dynasty priest of the p y ra ­ mission into the plundering of royal tom bs written o f the aptly named ‘Headless mid. In 1860 M ariette found Top’ (or ‘Headless Pyram id’) . Terrace Tombs o f the Intefs For a second time rulers emerged from the Qena Bend. It w as suspected that the it w as said of the tomb of Intef II th a t its ‘pyram id area east of Teti’s pyramid at anonym ous pyram id th at Lepsius num bered XXIX w as crushed down upon it.. 1115 bc ) Pyramid’ that Lepsius numbered 29. Wadj Sut (T h e Fresh Places’) of Merikare. There is no evidence that the cally all that rem ains of the su perstructure is the Intefs’ tom bs were surm ounted by pyram ids at all. Side doors opened into cham bers and complex Mentuhotep shaft tom bs of royal followers. Recently.. its stela is set up in front Saqqara. P racti­ east of Intef II’s tomb.were reinforced w ith pilasters. the upper­ w as laid out with little regard to the cardinal direc­ most nam ed Behka. and can be seen as the conceptual the broken lid of a fine sarcophagus w as found. However. indicating that a burial had taken place.

crowned the building - m aking the whole structure
a stylized reed-m at ‘divine booth’. T he ‘booth’
enclosed a central edifice - a masonry-filled build­
ing, of which only the square base remained.
Mentuhotep at Deir el-Bahri In the A bbott P apyrus this tomb, as well Intef
II’s (p. 165), is referred to with the word for ‘p y ra­
m id’ (mer). Further, the hieroglyphic determ inative
for the temple in later texts and graffiti is a p y ra­
mid. For these reasons the central edifice has been
reconstructed as a solid limestone-clad m assif
M entuhotep (‘the god M ontu is satisfied’) Nebhe- which formed a podium for a pyramid. T his recon­
petre (‘Lord of the Steering Oar of Rc’), listed as struction placed M entuhotep’s m onum ent neatly
M entuhotep I or II, w as the fourth king of the 11th into any iteration of E gyptian pyram ids. But Dieter
dynasty. He came to the throne in around 2061 BC, A rnold has now shown th a t there probably never
reuniting the kingdom after the F irst Interm ediate w as a pyram id above Intef’s tom b and so by the late
Period. His tom b complex w as a gigantic s a ff tomb, Ram essid period of the A bbott P ap y ru s m er may
much larger than those of the Intefs, in a deep bay have been a general term for ‘tom b’. A rnold also
in the cliffs on the w est bank of T hebes called Deir pointed out th at the walls of M entuhotep’s edifice
el-Bahri. Excavations by E douard Naville in 1903-7 would not su p p o rt the weight of a pyram id and no
and H erbert Winlock in 1920-31 were incorporated casing blocks with the angled face of a pyram id
in a new study of the m onum ent by Dieter Arnold. were found. T his central icon of M entuhotep’s com­
He clarified four distinct phases (A, B, C, D) in plex was, in A rnold’s view, sim ply a solid building
which M entuhotep’s builders created his complex. capped by a cornice. It perhaps sym bolized the
R ather than clear a terrace in the desert as his prim eval m ound and therefore carried some of the
Mentuhotep was one o f the predecessors had done for their s a ff tombs, M en­ sam e m eaning as a pyram id. More recently Stadel­
most important kings in the tuhotep reserved the entire Deir el-Bahri bay. He m ann has reconstructed a rounded O sirian mound
long history o f Egypt. He can defined his temple precinct with a wall built of n a t­ w ithin the edifice - a tem pting parallel to the
be compared with Djoser in ural field stones across its wide mouth. He may well m ound inside the Archaic m astabas at Saqqara
creating a unique and colossal have conceived and built the m ain p art of his tem ­ (p. 80), b u t completely hypothetical.
temple and funerary complex
ple at about the time he changed his H orus name to
as a monument to the
resurrection o f the kingdom. ‘Uniter of the Two Lands’. The royal tomb
The two complexes are alike A t the base of the cliff a T-shaped terrace w as From the am bulatory a doorway led to a cloistered
in having been expanded in partly built of m asonry and p artly carved into the court a t the beginning of the leg of the T-shaped
several distinct phases. rock. A ram p rose from the forecourt to this terrace. terrace. In the centre of the court and on the centre
Mentuhotep's tomb complex, On the terrace, low walls bordered a platform on axis of the temple the king’s tom b opens as a rec­
however, was a gigantic saff
which an am bulatory w as constructed of thick tangular trench. N ear its m outh is a socket for an
or terrace tomb, several
orders o f magnitude larger limestone walls decorated inside and out w ith altar or offering table. T he trench becomes a tunnel,
than those o f the Intefs painted relief carving. The corners of the exterior descending through the bedrock. Niches in thewalls
before him. walls had to ru s moulding, and a cavetto cornice contained hum an figures from wooden models of
— Burial chamber bakeries, butcheries, granaries and ships, but none
of the model architectural settings survive. From
this point, the sides and vaulted ceiling of the
tunnel are clad in sandstone. The cladding then
suddenly ends, leaving the rough bedrock exposed.
T he burial cham ber is a marvellous structure,
built in a cavern hewn 44.9 m (147 ft) below the
level of the court and at the end of a tunnel 150 m
(492 ft) long. It is a granite vault with a pent roof
and side walls cut with a slight outw ard lean.
T hree-quarters of the floor space w as taken up by
an alabaster shrine with a top form ed of a single
gigantic granite slab. T he shrine probably once

Passage to burial chamber Rock-cut niche
Central edifice
(foreshortened), I. 150 m with statue of king

enclosed the king’s m um m y in its wooden coffin. had been decapitated before they were buried in the (Above) The remains o f
Only a tiny space w as left between the shrine and pits. Also in the garden w as a grove of 53 tam arisk Mentuhotep’s complex-. No
the walls of the cham ber b u t the builders had m an­ trees and a large sycamore fig. name o f the temple or o f
any o f its parts has been
aged to fill it w ith slabs of black diorite. T he buried In the second phase of the complex a m ysterious found in the numerous texts
king w as therefore enveloped by successive shells feature, the Bab el-Hosan, had been built in the fore­ and reliefs. But 12th-dynasty
of costly stone, rem iniscent of the fragm ents found court. It took the form of an open trench, enclosed texts refer to the entire Deir
around Djoser’s chamber. by m udbrick walls. The trench becomes a tunnel el-Bahri bay as ‘The Valley
Behind the colonnaded court th at covered the which leads to a chamber, in the centre of which a o f Nebhepet-Re’ and to the
tomb entrance M entuhotep built the first g rand temple itself as Akh Sut
vertical shaft descends to another, unfinished
Nebhepetre ‘Glorious are
stone hypostyle hall in E gyptian architecture, w ith chamber. A rnold sees this as the first royal tomb, the Places o f Nebhepetre. ’
80 octagonal columns. A t the west end of the hall a which became a cenotaph by sealing a ritual burial
statue of the king once stood in a niche hewn into inside it when the new tom b w as prepared. After (Above, left) The central
the face of the cliff. Directly in front of it w as an Phase C, the burial cham ber of the Bab el-Hosan edifice o f Mentuhotep’s
altar table at the top of a stairw ay ram p th at lay directly under the central edifice of the temple. complex was reconstructed
ascended through the hypostyle hall. T his statue Howard C arter excavated this feature and in the by Winlock as a solid massif
forming the podium for a
was the central focus of the entire complex - every cham ber under the temple he discovered a statue of
pyramid (top). This long-
feature, natural and architectural, led to this point. the king, carefully w rapped in layers of fine linen accepted view has been
Instead of em erging from his pyram id, M entuhotep like a mummy. In the centre of the room a shaft, challenged by Dieter Arnold.
comes forth from the mountain. T he peak called el- perhaps a symbolic link to the Nile of the under­ In his view, the structure was
Q urn, rising slightly to the south, may have already world, dropped to a rough grotto. simply a solid building capped
been seen a s a natural pyram id, and during the by a cornice (below).
New Kingdom pharaohs were buried below it in the Meaning
Valley of the Kings, behind Deir el-Bahri. Given A rnold’s reconstruction of the central edifice
A t the end of the third phase, the M entuhotep as a solid building with the outline of the ‘divine
temple m ust have resembled a step pyram id from booth’, the M entuhotep temple does not, strictly
the east, with three tiers form ed by the facades of speaking, belong to the series of royal pyram ids.
the lower terrace, the am bulatory and the central Some doubts remain, however, on the grounds of
edifice. A M emphite element w as the broad cause­ its description as a ‘pyram id’ in the Abbot Papyrus.
way running down to the valley. The valley temple Beautifully painted reliefs in the complex contain
m ust have disappeared when Ram esses IV levelled m any of the sam e themes found in Old Kingdom
it for his m ortuary temple. pyram id temples: the king as a sphinx tram pling
One of the last elements added to the temple w as enemies, fowling, fishing, hunting a hippopotam us,
a ‘garden’ of pits for trees and two rectangular sowing, harvesting and reaping. T he whole com­
flower beds. A series of standing sandstone statues plex w as a combination of royal tom b and temple
of the king as O siris stood facing the processional to the deified king, and to Montu-Re and Amun-Rc,
way in front of the tree pits. All 12 statues found the new state god.


economic im portance of the Fayum. A t Lisht, a
canal called Bahr el-Libeini, thought to be an old
Nile channel, sw ings west to run close to the
escarpm ent at the foot of Amenemhet I’s pyram id,
The Pyramids at Lisht perhaps providing a harbour.
A m enem het I returned to the approxim ate size
and form of the late Old Kingdom pyram id com­
plex. T he core of his pyram id w as m ade of small
rough blocks of local limestone with a loose fill of
sand, debris and m udbrick. Perhaps the m ost
A nother king began a large tomb th a t m ight have rem arkable feature is the fact that it included frag­
replicated the principal elements and scale of Men- m ents of relief-decorated blocks from Old King­
tuhotep’s complex if it had been finished. It is situ ­ dom m onum ents - m any from pyram id causew ays
ated in a bay on the other side of the Sheikh Abd and temples, including K hufu’s. Granite blocks
al-Q urna hill, south of Deir el-Bahri. W hose tomb from Khafre’s complex went into the lining and
w as this? Two kings also called M entuhotep fol­ blocking of Am enem het I’s descending passage.
lowed the first, taking the nam es Seankhkare and We can only conclude th a t they were picked up at
Nebtawire. T he long-accepted attribution to the for­ Saqqara and Giza and brought to Lisht to be incor­
m er m ade sense. He was the next ruler, graffiti of porated into the pyram id for their spiritual efficacy.
his priests were found nearby, and his sh o rt reign
of about 12 years could explain why the complex Inside the pyramid
w as unfinished. Recently, however, Dorothea T he entrance to the pyram id w as in the now -stan­
A rnold has argued th a t it w as actually begun for d ard position, at ground-level in the centre of the
the founder of the 12th dynasty, Amenemhet I, north side. Above it w as an entrance chapel w ith a
before he transferred his residence north, perhaps red g ranite false door at the back. A passage,
only in the last decade of his 30-year reign blocked w ith granite plugs, sloped to a shaft direct­
(1991-1962 BC). His new ‘capital’ w as named Iti- ly below the vertical axis of the pyram id. Ground
taivi, ‘Seizer of the Two L ands’. w ater has prevented anyone entering the burial
cham ber in m odern times.

The Pyramid o f Amenemhet I The pyramid complex
Very little of Am enem het I’s m ortuary temple w as
Picking up the pieces to Iti-tawi’s exact location is unknow n, but if it was left standing for archaeologists. It w as built on a
resurrect the pyramid age:
Amenemhet I’s pyram id town it would have lain terrace cut into the hill lower than the pyramid.
Amenemhet I incorporated
fragments o f Old Kingdom close to the desert edge near the m odern village of Foundation deposits, in holes covered by limestone
tombs and pyramid complexes Lisht, m idway betw een M eidum and Dahshur. One slabs, included an ox skull, paint grinders and
in his own pyramid. attraction of the site may have been the growing model vases of pottery and alabaster. There were

.Iso bricks with plaques of copper, alabaster and these women, including the king’s daughter, Amenemhet I (above left)
faience inscribed ‘T he Places of the A ppearance of Neferu, principal wife of Senwosret I, the king’s re-established the pyramid
complex as royal tomb, albeit
\m enem het’, the name, perhaps, of the pyram id. mother, Nefret, and another wife, N efrytatenen,
with Theban elements - two
Another name, ‘T he Perfection of A m enem het is m other of Senwosret I.
terraces for pyramid and
i-'xalted’, found elsewhere, may refer to the pyram id William C. Mayes has pointed out th at there is a temple and an open causeway.
:emple. A limestone false door and a granite altar lack of g ran d eu r and a certain degree of provin­ Rows o f tombs on the west
•r offering table are all th at survive of the temple cialism in the pyram id complex of Am enem het I. were for royal women. The
quipment. The altar is carved with Nile gods and Although he revived ihe general M emphite pattern, pyramid had a base length
o f 84 m (276ft), a height
irures representing the nomes bringing offerings. some elements are Theban in origin: the style of
o f 55 m (180ft), and a
Among relief fragm ents found were some dating certain reliefs, the two terraces of pyram id and 54° slope.
the reign of A m enem het b u t which were such temple, the central shaft to the burial cham ber and
::hful reproductions of Old Kingdom style th a t it the open causeway. It was Senwosret I who moved This relief from the pyramid
o f Amenemhet 1 has K hufu’s
vas hard to tell copy from original. Some pieces of the stan d ard M emphite pyram id complex closer to
cartouche and probably came
Lets em bedded in the foundations cam e from a its form er level of sophistication before pyram id from his mortuary temple
•amid temple of Amenem het I th at had been building reached a final stage of experim entation. at Giza.
filed down and they also included the nam e of his
'■ >n and successor, Senwosret I. It is probable that
:her and son were co-regents from Year 20 of
\m enem het I. T he reliefs may reflect the prepara -
ns for a Sed festival for the older king who was
se to or in his 30th year of rule when he died.
-- nwosret I seem s to have rebuilt the temple - relief
r k s from the second temple with both nam es
>el Senwosret I as ‘the king him self’. No evidence
i: a satellite pyram id has been found.
The causeway ran m a straight line on the axis of
- pyram id and temple. Although it w as unroofed,
Laments of relief indicate it w as decorated with
cessions of foreigners, estates, nobles and gods,
"he valley temple has not been excavated because
it :oo, lies below ground water.
Around the pyram id w as an inner enclosure wall
of limestone and an outer one of mudbrick. Privi­
leged m em bers of the king’s family and court were
buried in m astabas between the two. On the west
side of the pyramid 22 tomb shafts in two rows
• -re evidently for royal women. Fragm ents and
-mall stone objects give u s the nam es of some of


and p uts it in the class of the pyram ids of Djedefre
The Pyramids at Lisht The Pyramid o f Senwosret I and M enkaure. Today, however, all that rem ains is
a sm allish hillock w ith its casing preserved up to
Senwosret I chose as his site a prom inent hill about eight courses in one spot. T he pyram id’s core is one
2 km (lVi miles) south of his fath er’s pyramid. It of Senwosret l’s innovations. A skeleton of eight
m ay have had its own pyram id town nam ed Khen- walls radiates from the centre to the four corners
emsut, ‘T he Places [of Senwosret] are U nited’. How­ and the middle of each side. T he walls are built of
ever, this could refer specifically to his pyramid. huge, roughly shaped blocks which decrease in size
Kha-Sm wosret, ‘Senwosret A ppears’, w ritten with tow ards the top. Each of the eight triangular sec­
the sign of a fortified enclosure, m ight be the name tions is subdivided by three cross walls. T he result­
of the town. On foundation tablets the nam e of the ing 32 com partm ents were filled with slabs of stone
pyram id w as inscribed as Senwosret Peteri Tawi, set in steps. B acking stones rest on the steps,
‘Senwosret Beholds the Two Lands’. behind the pyram id’s outer casing, which together
M aspero ascertained that the pyram id belonged form an exoskeleton. T he fram ework and fill must
Senwosret I ’s pyramid is to Senwosret I in 1882 when he found objects with have been built together as the pyram id rose.
the first to have an internal the king’s nam e inside. Excavations by J.E. Gautier Senwosret’s m asons used wooden cram ps to join
skeleton o f limestone walls
and G. Jequier in 1894 were followed by work by the adjacent casing blocks, as show n by sockets cut for
form ing compartments filled
with roughly shaped stones. M etropolitan M useum of A rt between 1906 and them and actual exam ples incised with Senwosret’s
Nine subsidiary pyramids 1943. A rnold renewed study at the site from 1984 to name. A small step w as cut in the foundation
plus one satellite pyramid are 1987. More traces of pyram id-building have been blocks and the lowest course of casing w as laid
more than in any other single found here than at any other pyram id. Q uarries on directly above it, so th a t the baseline of the p y ra ­
pyramid complex. The the southeast, southw est and south of the pyramid mid w as form ed by the court pavem ent. Rather
pyramid’s base length was
furnished stone for its core. R am ps led from the than providing support, this arrangem ent w eak­
200 cubits (105 m/344 ft),
and its intended slope was quarries and h arbour to the pyram id. ened the casing: m ultiple patches are visible where
49° 24', which gives an ideal The base length of Senwosret I’s pyram id - 200 it survives and east of the entrance a crack zig-zags
height o f 61.25 m (201 ft). cubits - su rp asses all pyram ids since Neferirkare, down the pyram id. A rnold believes another source
of instability w as an open construction shaft under
Outer enclosure with the pyram id. The builders’ struggles are further
9 queens’ pyramids dem onstrated by the unevenness of the base - up
to 13-15 cm (5-6 in) difference between the
entrance and two of the corners.
T he entrance to the pyram id opened in the pave­
m ent of the court in the m iddle of the north side. It
Entrance has been completely destroyed but fragm ents of
chapel reliefs from the chapel that once stood over it were

100 m

300 ft

Satellite Entrance hall
(Below) The Entrance Cut
and sloping construction Satellite
passage used to bring in pyramid
materials for the burial
chamber were superseded by
the final, higher granite-lined
pyramid passage.
Entrance chs

Final entrance passage
Descending passage

Burial chamber
(below water level)
Entrance Cut
Present water level chamber
Middle Kingdom water level ---.....................


Spouts in the shape of lions’ heads allowed rain w ater to drain off the roof. xactly. and built later.each w eighing 8 tons . including A rnold in internal framework skeleton m ust lie 22 to 25 m (72 to 82 ft) below the surface. Senwosret’s builders began w ith a prelim inary ram p or stairw ay north of the pyram id’s north face. now lies below the w ater lable and has never been entered by archaeologists. although .as would end o f one wall o f the water.vas built . a roof w as added which required narrow ing 171 . A rnold calculated th a t the burial cham ber happen to later archaeologists. T his is one of several aspects th a t demon­ •. T his m ust have formed a slipw ay for a clue that Senwosret followed the 5th-dynasty p a t­ the granite blocks . Here. 1984 . A quarry inscription show s th a t it w as ■•. the Entrance Cut. They strate a desire to connect w ith the realm of Osiris. After east.found.with his ka. w as the sloping pyramid passage. w ith lines of priests and offering bearers. Short wall panels to either side w ere decorated w ith gods. A slight deviation of the passage is ' he pyram id. Amenem het I and M entuhotep. though it has never been seen. If Senwosret’s burial cham ber is indeed under ■he funeral. alabaster containers. w eighing 20 tons. while the side walls carried scenes of the king. it long after the pyram id had been sealed. p erh ap s entered from th e antecham ber to the • ntrance where the lining is fine limestone. Here they T he causew ay w as originally open. T he plugs slid down the were close to the level of the w ater table even when jassage. like those of >und the rem ains of the spoils from the king’s bur. Djedefre :-jid Zawiyet el-Aryan (Unfinished) and those of the R ather than follow the robber’s tunnel deeper into The pyramid o f Senwosret I 5th dynasty. tunnelled their w ay around the granite The pyramid complex locking and lining of the passage. except near the axis. At a higher level. Amenemhet II. W hen they began the sloping pyram id passage. M aspero’s T he valley temple has never been found. From the slope of this tunnel and the the pyram id. The entrance wall had scenes of butchering cattle and stacked offerings. Inside the pyramid A lthough the burial cham ber of Senwosret I. xcept the king’s body and burial goods. w osret’s w orkers to prevent the first granite plug ion and buried in limestone chips and sealed with from crashing into the horizontal passage to the mad the sam e m aterials as hauling tracks around burial chamber. T he back wall of the chapel w as mostly taken up by an alabaster false door. M aspero’s w orkm en ham m ered away is now only a low mound. a gold dagger built as late as Year 22 of Senwosret. seated at an offering table. Arnold w as able to make certain observations on the basis of careful in the pyram ids of Djoser. here it wrent round the second plug. like that of Am enem het I. and from the rise in ground 23 m (75 ft) high. It is likely th a t the builders brought them in Both Am enem het I and Senwosret I showed a >efore they had completed the small and delicately concern for placing cham bers so deep that they iecorated entrance chapel.•ooden boxes. after repeated ittempts. the builders filled in the E ntrance Cut ap art from A rnold believes the sand may be fill left by Sen­ near the surface. just pyram id passage. Under the pyram id this ram p probably becam e a construction tunnel. and by w ater seeping through the masonry. of which only fragm ents were found.that tern of a burial cham ber directly below the centre lined the pyram id passage. ‘. each hitting the next with a force that left they were built. T he lower tunnel would have facilitated the exca- \ation of a deep pit in which the burial cham ber . it lies a fru strating granite plugs. T he chapel fitted into a niche in the casing. too narrow to bring in anything . In the next sheath and p arts of four alabaster canopic vessels.they were halted by sand filling the passage is visible through the debris. that fit the passage 7 m (23 ft) from the archaeologists’ stopping point:. stage. lismantled the entrance chapel and. the 30 m (98 ft) of granite plugging before .vorkmen followed the robbers’ tunnel to the point it may lie under san d dunes an d a Roman cemetery. the passage w as sealed w ith enorm ous the vertical axis of his pyram id. flanked by lime­ :al that the plunderers had left behind: pieces of stone walls. Senwosret II and -ractures radiating through the blocks. Senwosret III would also use shafts and sloping A rnold believes a large group of professional passages to reach down close to the subterranean i nab robbers m ade their way to the burial cham ber waters. Wood beam s were laid in this sec.

here Lower on large. white crown of U pper E gypt on the south. decorated w ith 150 serekh panels. w ith two subterranean cham bers and evi­ dence of two or three phases of construction. Perhaps unity. block-like thrones.75 m (30 cubits. These may have been side o f the causeway. a sm all bath w ith a pottery pipe to Every 10 cubits there were niches. and some additional enclosures. Crown o f the North. T hey are situated on the sam e axis b u t the northern one is slightly larger. so a new shaft w as cut east of the centre of the pyram id’s north side. T he slope of 63° 26" 06' conform s to Old Kingdom satellite pyram ids from Sahure on. Here priests could ritually life-sized statues of the king were placed. tem ples from Teti to Pepi II. final phase. so th at only a few blocks s u r­ parallel to the stone w alls of the causew ay created vive in place. T he five niches in the statue hall . It is not certain if the walls were decorated and an inner enclosure wall of stone.probably held standing statues. In a later phase an enclosure wall w as added to form a court entered by a doorway on the north. A t the bottom. It suffered building for priests or attendants. basalt or diorite ting hard diorite. A side panel from a throne o f open area between the front temple and the enclo­ wearing the Crown of the one o f the statues found in a sures of two subsidiary pyram ids.a feature common ples reveals th at it w as very sim ilar to m ortuary to Middle Kingdom causeways. T he front temple lay the outer lanes broadened into small courtyards w ithin the outer pyram id enclosure and the inner with a gate leading into the pyram id’s outer enclo­ temple within the inner one. Those cutting the new shaft seem to have had difficulty finding the cham bers. b u t a painted dado w as stippled and exterior faces of the inner enclosure wall were red and black to im itate granite. It contained 10 South. A bout the sam e time the pyram id was enlarged by the addition of a layer of casing and backing stones on the north and west. 52 ft) square and the sam e height. T he interior with relief scenes. two corridors led to cham bers. The whole is topped by the sculptors stopped work and the statues were the cartouche o f Senvjosret I. Those (north) and Upper (south) on the north side wore the Egypt tie papyrus and lotus set up under the colonnade of the temple court. stems around a stylized as A rnold points out. In its first phase the pyram id w as 15. Eight Senwosret I surrounded his pyram id with two complete statues were found. This is one of a series pit in the mortuary temple. A doorw ay on the south side of the upper end of Senw osret’s m ortuary temple w as already badly the causew ay w as connected to a small m udbrick destroyed when first excavated in 1894. A pparently the pyram id w as built over the shaft before work w as finished. the hieroglyph for ering and the court lacks sockets for them. only reaching them on their third 172 . In its were used and granite w as used only sparingly.which A rnold reconstructed on the basis of Old Kingdom parallels though there were no traces . complete limestone statu es of Senwosret I seated o f statues that lined the south Horus and Seth . m aking a new base length and height of 18. It is more complicated than most. Com parison w ith Old Kingdom exam ­ a secondary lane on either side . defined by a outer wall of m udbrick bases. T he m ain shaft to the underground cham bers lies under the southeast quadrant. M udbrick walls fu rther in later years. the passage by adding limestone blocks inside. in which alm ost drain it w as installed. A rnold’s excavations in the northern court m ents of the late Old Kingdom are present. 60 ft). In 1894 G autier cleared a rectangular pit in an Senwosret I in Osiride form. Senwosret I built the last of the satellite p y ra­ m ids and the only one known in a Middle Kingdom pyram id complex. wearing cleanse them selves before entering the outer enclo­ the red crown of Lower E gypt on the north and the sure to serve the cults of the queens’ pyramids. they show no signs of w eath­ windpipe.38 m (35 cubits. buried after plans for the temple decoration were changed. A t the upper end. both encased with limestone slabs. then for p reparing gypsum . All the standard ele­ sure. though revealed that it had been used first as a site for cut­ there is no evidence th a t alabaster. bringing it closer to the standard Old K ing­ dom ratio to the main pyram id of 1:5. but.

attem pt. Robbers also found the chambers. Fhther stru ctu re and a second to the east for access to the
they cleared them completely (except for some cham bers after the first w as sealed by the north The Pyramids at Lisht
pieces of wood) or found them already empty, for chapel. A round Pyram id 2 were found many frag ­
nothing remained for the archaeologists. m ents of relief decoration from th e east chapel and
The outer pyram id enclosure, defined by m ud­ from a painted shrine that stood w ithin it, as well as
brick walls, is a busy archaeological area. It con­ of 32-sided colum ns inscribed with the nam e of
tains priests’ houses, granaries, low m udbrick princess Itayket. Her burial chamber, sealed w ith
walls, hauling tracks and slideways left over from m ortared limestone slabs, w as simply an extension
building, num erous shallow pits for ritual burials of the entrance corridor. A lthough robbers had
of model dishes, ox bones and beads, and, in the made a hole wide enough only to bring out small
w estern part, a m udbrick boat pit. objects, no trace of sarcophagus, canopic chest or
The pyram id cem etery extended well outside the coffin were found. Pyram id 3 sa t over a main burial
royal enclosure. Here large and impressive m astaba cham ber and a set of five burial niches. T he main
tom bs of high officials are found, such as those for burial chamber, as under Pyram id 2, w as formed
the Vizier M entuhotep w ith its own causeway, by casing the end of the corridor with limestone
Imhotep, the High Priest of Heliopolis, nam ed after slabs. It w as blocked in three places by limestone
his ancestor with the sam e title, and Senwosret- slabs slid sidew ays or. wooden skids in grooves cut
ankh, who had a copy of the Pyram id Texts in his into the passage. T he cham ber w as alm ost filled by
burial chamber. N um erous sm all sh aft tom bs of a beautiful quartzite sarcophagus and canopic
chose attached to these g reat households scatter chest. P yram id 4 also contained a quartzite sa r­
about the large m astabas. cophagus, b u t it w as found parked in a crude side
niche outside the limestone-cased burial chamber.
The nine subsidiary pyramids There is no evidence i: ever received a burial.
Also within the outer enclosure are nine small p y ra­ Red granite pyram idions may have crowned all
mids, all about the sam e size except Pyram id 1 nine pyram ids - fragm ents were found close to
which seem s to have been the first built. Each is sit­ Pyram ids 3 an d 5. Remains of an over life-sized
uated in its own enclosure, except 8 and 9 which granite female statue were found by Pyram id 6.
share one; each also had a chapel on the east and A lthough P yram ids 8 and 9 form a pair, 9 w as built
north. The angle of slope varied from 62° to 64°, the with a core of m udbrick perhaps when, as A rnold
range of late Old Kingdom subsidiary pyram ids. suggests, all available building stone had ru n out.
W ith the exception of Pyram id 1, the small p y ra­
mids seem to be paired: 3 - 4 ,4 - 5 ,6 - 7 and 8-9, su g ­
gesting a close relationship between two royal Subsidiary Pyramids o f Senwosret I
women. In their alignm ents and spacing they skil­ Pyramid Enclosure Base Slope Height Shafts
fully avoid the corners of the outer enclosure.
Rather than being planned as a set from the 1 100 x75 c 40 c 62.5° 36 c 2
beginning, the series w as built incrementally over a 52.5 x 39.37m 21m 18.9 m
long time. P yram id 9 may have been constructed as 2 72 x 54c 32 c
late as the reign of A m enem het II or Senwosret II. It 37.80 x 28.35 m 16.8 m 63.6° 16.8 m 2
is curious, therefore, that, while the pyram ids and 3 50 x 50 c 32 c 63.25° 16.8 m 2
' heir chapels were completed, including the relief 26.25 x 26.25 m 16.8 m
decoration, the substru ctu res seem never to have
4 46 x 43 c 32 c p ? 3
been finished. In fact it is not certain w hether all
24.15 x 16.8 m
received a burial. A lthough there are several shafts
22.575 m
scattered around the base of each pyram id, none of
5 48 x 47 c 31c 63.917° 31 m ?
:hose around 5, 6 and 9 led conclusively to a burial
ham ber associated w ith the pyramid. 25.20 x 16.275 m
24.675 m 16.275 m
The owners of only two of the pyram ids have
been identified. P yram id 1 is assigned to Neferu, 6 49 x 56 c 30 c p p p
wife of Senwosret I, on the basis of three inscribed 25.725 x 15.75 m
granite pieces. A shaft in the centre of the north 29.4 m
side leads to a gently sloping corridor paved with 7 49 x 49 c 30 c p ? p
imestone. T his leads in tu rn to a chamber, lined 25.725 x 15.75 m
with limestone, under the centre of the pyram id. In 25.725 m
'he floor is a receptacle for the sarcophagus, which 8 47 x 86 c 30 c p ? 1
was not found, and an unfinished niche w as for the 24.675 x 15.75 m
canopic chest. Neferu’s cham bers appear to have 45.15 m
been neither completed nor used. p p p
9 Same as 8 30 c
Pyram ids 2 and 3 had two shafts each, one from 15.75 m [c = cubits]
he north to facilitate the construction of the su b ­


z:zm y '
cross com partm ents were filled with sand. W h f:
the pyram id w as dism antled for its stone, the ma:
limestone chips left behind prom pted the mode:
The Second Phase o f Middle name, ‘W hite P yram id’. Its ancient nam e w as Dji
A m enem het, A m enem het is Provided’. Since :

Kingdom Pyramids casing stones have been found we do not know :
angle of the pyram id and as the base has nev- -
been adequately cleared its exact length is ai>
unknown, though it is about 50 m (164 ft).

Am enem het II began w hat A rnold sees as a second Inside the pyramid
phase in the development of Middle Kingdom p y ra­ T he entrance is in the m iddle of the north side. 1
mids. Amenem het I and Senwosret I, while incorpo­ corridor slopes down to a short horizontal p a s s a .
ratin g innovative elements into their pyramids, blocked by two portcullises, one of which slid
were trying to revive the pyram id complex of the tically and the other sideways; beyond is the b u r
late Old Kingdom M emphite tradition. Amenemhet chamber. Pour niches are connected to the cham b
II gave this up and no consistent development is one at either short end and two in the wall oppos •
apparent in the pyram ids th at followed. Those who the entrance corridor. These have been co m p ared :
designed and built pyram ids in the 12th dynasty the eastern niches of the Old Kingdom, though:
seem to have been experim enting w ith new form s be for offerings or statues.
combined w ith old elements borrow ed from earlier T he sarcophagus, com posed of sandstone slat -
11th- and 12th-dynasty complexes, the late Old was set into the floor against the west wall, lmn
Kingdom and even the 3rd dynasty. diately in front of the entrance to the chamber
New form s included long rectangular enclosures. sh aft drops a little less than 2 m (6 ft) to a p a ssa .
Senwosret Ill’s w as oriented n o rth-south, while leading north directly below the entrance corrid
Amenem het II’s w as east-w est. Amenemhet II situ ­ A square hole sunk in the floor at the end of ti -
ated his pyram id near the escarpm ent about passage may have been the receptacle for
halfway along the D ahshur plateau. From now on canopic chest. T he weight of the pyram id w
royal pyram ids would alternate between D ahshur diverted from the flat ceiling of the burial c h a n r
and the area around the m outh of the Fayum. by a hidden roof of six pairs of huge beam s th
A m enem het II’s is one of the m ost poorly investi­ lean ag ain st one another.
gated and docum ented in the long sequence of
50 m
pyram ids. Jacques de M organ excavated the site in The pyramid complex
0 150 ft 1894-5, b u t devoted much of his attention to the Amenemhet II returned to a broad, open causew
Amenemhet II’s hybrid discovery of the jewellery and personal items of th at sloped steeply down to the edge of the culth
complex: a long rectangular two princesses, K hnum et and Ita, whose burials he tion, b u t no one has searched for his valley temp.-
precinct, as in the 3rd found am ong the row of tom bs west of the p y ra­ At the point where the causew ay enters the pyr
dynasty, orientated east-west mid within its enclosure wall. mid enclosure on the middle of the east side, tv.
as in the 4th, and with Because of its proxim ity to the edge of the culti­ m assive structures recall the pylon-like thickenn. -
massive pylons, as in the 5th.
vation, the pyram id w as quarried for the T urah in the sam e position in m ortuary temples sir.
A pendant from a queen’s limestone which form ed the casing and the core Niuserre. T he space between the m assifs may
tomb west o f Amenemhet U’s skeleton of radiating walls, sim ilar to the fram e­ the entrance hall, but beyond that alm ost nothing
pyramid. work in Senwosret I’s pyram id. Here, however, the known about the layout of the temple.

Entrance passage and burial
chamber of Amenemhet Ill’s
pyramid. The flat ceiling was
protected by a roof o f gabled
beams. The hidden lower
chamber was for the canopic


The Pyramid o f Senwosret II

Senwosret II built his pyram id overlooking the
opening of the H aw ara Channel from the Nile Val­
ley to the Fayum basin, near the m odern village of
Mudbrick Pyramids
Illahun. His choice reflects the grow ing im portance
of the Fayum in the Middle Kingdom. T he pyram id
was built around a stum p of yellow limestone that
was reserved in four steps when the perim eter w as

levelled. On this core, radial and cross walls were
built of limestone to form a fram ework of com part­
m ents that were filled w ith mudbrick. M udbrick
was also used to build the upper part. T he bottom
course of the fine limestone casing w as set into a
foundation trench cut into the rock as a precaution
against settling. As an additional m easure, the base
of the pyram id w as surrounded w ith a cobble-filled
trench to drain off rain water.

Inside the pyramid
Petrie spent m onths searching w ithout success for
the entrance to the pyram id, due to the fact that
Senwosret II’s pyram id m arks a complete departure
from the usual arrangem ent of an entrance on the
north. Instead, the pyram id is entered by a narrow
vertical shaft at the east end of its south side. T he
king’s body and burial goods were probably carried
down this shaft, but it w as too narrow for the s a r­
cophagus and blocks of the burial chamber, which the w ater table. T he corridor continues, rising at
may have been brought in by a wider shaft farther slight angle, w ith a cham ber on the west. After an
south, hidden beneath a sloping passage to the antecham ber at a right-angle, a sh o rt additional
tomb of an unknow n princess. T his disguise, section leads to the burial chamber, entirely clad in
which required a radically new position for the g ranite and with a gabled roof. T his lies not under
pyram id’s entrance, may be the architects’ solution the centre of the pyram id but under its southeast
to the risk of the pyram id being robbed. T h at they quadrant. T he red granite sarcophagus takes up
regarded it as sufficient seem s to be indicated by
the fact that there w as no blocking in the corridor. The pyramid o f Senwosret II Senwosret ITs pyramid, the
At a depth of 16 m (52 ft 6 in) below the surface had a base length of 106 m first o f the giant mudbrick
the construction shaft opens into a horizontal corri­ (348ft). With a slope o f pyramids, was built over
4203 5 'it rose to a height a reserved bedrock stump.
dor which runs to a hall w ith a vaulted ceiling.
o f 48. 6 m (159 ft). Inside, all that remained of
From a niche at the east end of the hall a ‘well’, the the king’s burial goods was
bottom of which has never been reached, drops to this uraeus. The cobra’s body
was o f solid gold set with
green faience, feldspar and
cornelian, the head was
carved from lapis lazuli
with garnet eyes.


Burial chamber Queen’s pyramid
Entrance Burial chamber,
shaft 5 x 3 m, h. 3 m

100 m
Construction ‘Entrance
300 ft shaft Antechamber chapel’



the west end of the burial chamber. In front of it, an another strong O sirian symbol. It would have 1>
alabaster offering table w as inscribed for Senwosret interesting to see if these new ideas found expn •
II. From the southeast corner of the cham ber a sion in the m ortuary temple on the east side of :
short passage leads to a side room where Petrie enclosure, b u t its ground plan is unknown. Nun*,
found all th at w as left of the royal burial, lying in ous fragm ents attest to the use of granite w '
the dusty debris - a gold uraeus th a t once adorned incised decoration. Senwosret retained a bn
the king’s head band. Leg bones, presum ably of the open causew ay but we do not know how it attacl
king, were also found. to the enclosure or temple.
A passage opens in the south wall of the corridor W ithin the north side of the outer en clo su re.'
between the antecham ber and burial cham ber and builders began eight m astabas by isolating bl<
then alm ost loops around the burial chamber, re­ of bedrock that they then built over with m u d b r
entering it in the northw est corner at the head of the sam e m ethod as the pyram id. These were
the sarcophagus. Stadelm ann has pointed out that addition to the tom bs of princesses. A t the ncc
this last section allows a symbolic exit of the king’s end of the row is a small pyram id, originally 27.'
spirit to the north - it would then pass through the (90 ft 6 i n ) square and rising to a height of 18 m
pyram id to emerge in the ‘entrance’ chapel built in ft). Although Petrie discovered foundation depos/
the traditional spot at the centre of its north side. he never found a single passage or chanr
This arrangem ent reflects the old idea of the king’s beneath the pyram id, despite exploring it with t
ascension to the circum polar stars, b u t there may nels and a deep vertical shaft. He did uncover •
be an additional them e in the circuitous corridor. It rem ains of a chapel at the north side. P art <
created a su bterranean ‘island’ - an im portant nam e on a vase, together w ith its position, are :
A diorite statue o f the young
symbol of Osiris, whose w orship w as on the rise only evidence th at the pyram id belonged ti
Senwosret II, from Nag-el-
Medamud. during the 12th dynasty at Abydos. T he ‘well’ and queen. If it is a satellite pyram id, it, and not S
the cobble-filled trench may also be reflections of w osret I’s is the last satellite pyram id, though th •
the Osiris myth. are traditionally south of the m ortuary temple.
Senwosret II’s causew ay has never been inve>-
The pyramid complex gated. T he location of the valley temple is km
T he inner enclosure wall had limestone casing that b u t its ground plan w as destroyed. Immediate!;,
w as decorated w ith niches, which, like Senwosret the northw est of it lay the foundations of par*
I’s, is a nod to Djoser’s complex and Archaic funer­ Senwosret II’s pyram id town, nam ed Hetep Sew*
ary enclosures. Rows of trees of unknow n variety ret, ‘May Senwosret be a t Peace’. The footprint
were planted parallel to the outer enclosure wall of this tow n is one of the basic docum ents for •
mudbrick. T he grove surrounding the ‘m ound’ is study of the history of E gyptian urbanism .

In the tomb o f Sit-Hathur
The Treasure of Illahun Iunet, daughter o f Semv<
II and aunt o f Ameneml
III, were found her canop:
In 1913 Guy Brunton and Petrie examined the jars (left) and a pectoral
plundered tomb of a princess named Sit-Hathor- (below left) with the carte
o f Senwosret II (the reve,
lunet. They found her red granite sarcophagus and
side is shown here).
canopic jars, but very little of her funerary furniture
until they discovered a recess, plastered over,

containing five boxes, two of which were of inlaid
ebony. These contained the princess’s necklaces,
bracelets, anklets, scarab rings, mirror, razors and
cosmetic containers. This ‘Treasure of Illahun’ ah
included a diadem formed of a band of gold ador:
with a uraeus similar, though smaller, to that four,
the king’s pyramid. Her mirror was a disk of silver
with a black obsidian handle in the form of an op<:
papyrus, partly plated with electrum, with a face
Hathor. Two pectorals of chased gold inset with
semiprecious stones revealed details of the life an
death of the princess. One formed the hieroglyph:
name of Senwosret II, her father, and the other w; -
the name of Amenemhet III, her nephew.


The pyramid o f Senwosret UJ
The Pyramid o f Senwosret III at Dahshur had a mudbrick
core. covered with a casing o f
fine limestone - blocks of the
Senwosret III returned to D ahshur to build his
casing were bonded with dove­
pyram id northeast of Sneferu’s N orth Pyram id. It tail cramps (below, right). Chi
w as built directly on the desert gravel with a core of its east side was chapel.
m udbricks laid in stepped horizontal courses. The
bricks are of different sizes, suggesting that s ta n ­
dardized moulds were not used. Some still retained
signs inscribed with a finger in the wet clay, ap p ar­
ently to m onitor work. T he bricks were laid w ith­
out m ortar - instead sand filled the seams.
Turah limestone blocks joined with dovetail
cram ps formed the casing. The bottom
course rested on a foundation, built in
a trench, of roughly squared blocks
on three courses of mudbrick.
Behind the outer casing
the builders laid King’s burial chamber

backing stones on
the m udbrick
steps to tie casing
and core together.

IBelow) Senwosret's enclosure
ms expanded to create a
'Djoser-type complex, with
■>uth temple and an entrance
.7 the fa r south end o f the Entrance The pyramid’s side length is
•ast side. calculated as 105 m (345ft).
Queens’ pyramids Casing blocks were found with
an angle o f 560 18' 35 ", from
■which the original height was
worked out as 78 m (256ft).
South Temple Entrance

the g ranite sarcophagus filled its west end and a (Below) A black granite statue
Second I Weret’s burial
niche in the south wall w as for the canopic chest. In o f Senwosret III from Deir
enclosure j el-Bahri.
the north wall a blocked opening is a corridor that
com municated directly with the entrance passage.
Above the vaulted granite roof of the burial cham ­
ber A rnold found a second ‘stress relieving’ gabled
roof of five pairs of limestone beam s, each w eigh­
ing 30 tons. Above this w as a third, m udbrick vault.
All th at w as found in this p a rt of the pyram id
were pottery vases and pieces of a bronze dagger
East Temple with an ivory handle. There w as nothing b u t dust
in the sarcophagus. The lack of a canopic burial or
other objects, and the absence of a blocking sys­
Inside the pyramid tem, prom pts the question w hether Senwosret III
Jacques de M organ, the first archaeologist to enter w as buried here. He built another tomb, perhaps
' he pyram id, tunnelled extensively into and under his real burial place, at A bydos (p. 178).
: before, in November 1895, he hit upon an ancient
'bber’s tunnel th a t led him to the king’s cham bers, The pyramid complex
.’he real entrance lay outside the pyram id’s base at As w ith so m any other pyram id layouts, Senwosret
•he north end of west side. From here a passage III expanded his in at least two phases. In the first,
>pes under the pyram id, then tu rn s south to an his outer enclosure w as nearly square and con­
ntechamber. A small m agazine opens to the east tained the inner enclosure wall, the pyram id with a
nd the burial cham ber lies to the west, an arrange- small temple at the centre of its east side and an
.ent sim ilar to th at of late Old Kingdom pyram ids. ‘entrance chapel’ at the centre of its north side and
: he burial cham ber w as built in granite b u t the shaft tom bs of royal women. In the second phase,
tils were completely whitewashed w ith gypsum ; the enclosure w as extended both north and south.


zines and entrance chamber. The heavy mudbrick pylon and forecourt with fluted builders used a variety of defences . Yet it was made to look like a cenotaph. It was about they found their royal quar. to reach the final chambers Senwosret Ill's our survey because its layout has many similarities the end of a curving passage. with one of the most compl defence systems of any royal sepulchre. T ous exam ples but it was so thoroughly destroyed reliefs depicted the king in the typical cloak w that it is hardly possible even to reconstruct its for the Sed festival. ‘beloved of Osi: Khenti-Amentiu. niche. and rear sanctuar: m ortuary temple is small in com parison to previ­ F ragm ents of lotus colum ns were also found. it consists of two main parts: an forced up and broken and the sarcophagus emptie. were t cuted in very high relief. the cenotaph in the tradition of Abydos. cattle slaughter and gifts. Relit fragments show that the decoration was similar t< Old Kingdom offering halls. while the canopic chest was built into the complex included a small Senwosret Ill’s complex is immense. Abydos Tomb with a pyramid complex. a long extensive subterranean tomb that opens within a T. fitted in •. Based on com paris with Old Kingdom chapels. from her ing table. this time that the tomb of the . A rnold sees its size as evidence of the decline gods Khnum and Herishef. limestone chapel flanked on either side by magazi: northeast-southwest axis. an altar or chambers. as opposed t< the pyramid. the offer:: . Lord of Abydos’ and ‘beloved of Wepwawet. The hears the layout is the tomb. T causeway was also added in this phase. of the cladding here which could have hidden the royal burial they found nothing. v. Smaller ealen statues stood in the back hall. been the king’s real tomb. The lid had been terrace on the cliff. As in many pyramid temples. fragm ents suggest two sections: a forecourt. 178 .t pectoral o f Merit. which consisted of a . The eastern p ap y ru s bundle columns. tomb under the north side o f list. Deities. storage m aga­ sor of New Kingdom m ortuary temples at Thebt - We should include Senwosret Ill’s Abydos tomb in the ingenious devices.953 ft). Perhaps Senwosret a: his planners thought that the best defence of all w: to bury the royal mummy in the ‘false tomb’. On tearing down nr. and a temple near the cultivation. Behind the cladding - curving substructure. the west wall lay the granite sarcophagus. which some see as his cenotaph. with rows of offering bearers.■ deities moving tow ards the king m ust come fn an antecham ber in which lower registers shov.lst-dynasty king.order defeats chaos . though Arnold coi: T he southern extension enclosed a new temple. Two large seated quartzite statues of the king graced the front of th chapel inscribed for Senwosret III. Lord of the Necropolis’. played a prominent r of the traditional m ortuary cult. Senwosret Ill’s Abydos at Abydos (p. Stretched out opposite corner of the chamber.all aligned on a mortuary temple a t the edge of the desert. 75). offering table stood in the northwest part of the o passages filled with blocks and shafts . The walls were de­ Mudbrick Pyramids rated with panels containing the royal name : m m m B H iB titles. such as the ram-head- plan. reduced to the Arnold believes the south temple may be a p re r : offering hall with granite false door.ry. The central building was fronted by a side of the court at the back of the enclosure.against An elaborate system of channels facilitated the robbers. That Senwosret should build another tomb. which for generations had tradition:. but a new element is t frequent reference to Osiris.dummy columns. No valley temple is known so far. Senwosret Ill’s pyramid enclosure. The king as double-plumed rows of officials and the slaughter of cattle. entrances hidden high in chamber walls. But when they at Abydos is consistent with a vising interest in the removed the quartzite facing of a previous cham!> In addition to a long and cult of Osiris in the Middle Kingdom. A long road connected the great enclosure with desert road and a temple shaped enclosure at the foot of the cliffs. fragm ents of scene. griffin trampling his enemies inner offering cham ber seem s to have had the s*.on the dard repertoire: the king enthroned before an of: . a large over 900 m (2. These. The tomb opens via a long dromos in the north and houses. There is evidence of 200 years of cult service t< memory of Senwosret III in this temple. was remodelled as a tomb of Osiris. like the interior decorations. T-shaped enclosure. But endlessly persistent thieves got past all draining of purification water or other fluids. The south temple w as also completely destroy - probably in Ramessid times. A read its outline in the preserved foundations. Dier. .

Amenem het 111 returned to the east-w est lay­ Dahshur after tin i buried along with them. evidence that the seven su p erstru ctu re bases north ferred the Djoser-type of layout. In a pit in the central corridor of the 100 m lower gallery de M organ found a chest. wife of Sen­ South to m b s 1 wosret II and m other of Senwosret III. Perhaps Amenemhet III w anted take advantage of Lake Dahshur. A nother gallery on a lower level com m uni­ cated with 8 niches containing sarcophagi. each 6 A mens m ini Ill's :n (20 ft) long. belonging to Princess Merit. possibly more. containing 333 pieces of her treasure. once inlaid 300 ft Houses with the nam e Sit-1 lathor. Imm ediately to the east of this w as a ‘fleet’ In contrast to his father’s n o rth -so u th enclosure. and south of the pyram id in its inner enclosure The pyram id’s core w as form ed entirely of m ud­ belonged in fact to small pyram ids and not brick without a framework of stone walls. It included a pectoral o f 57° 15' 50". A toiver o f mudbn with m any elements rem iniscent of Djoser’s com­ remnant o f the ran r >f at least six wooden boats. as had previously been thought. however. plus one or two Offering hall - niches. Amenemhet is treasure. which con­ Beautiful’. A tunnel leads to an Aat's burial antechamber. more complex chambers and passages than than the four superstru ctu res m ight suggest. burial cham ber and canopic cham ber chamber King’s burial actually under the southw est corner of the king’s chamber pyramid. A t only 33 :n (108 ft) above sea level. . dor connecting four sets of cham bers. suggesting that he >egan his pyram id a s early as the first year of his reign when he w as about 20 years old. It is inter­ esting that the queen m other w as buried under the southw est quadrant of her son’s pyram id. For casing o f fine linn In 1997. T he next day he found another The pyramid. he pre­ been robbed. One or m ore wooden sleds were plex. out of the post-3rd-dynasty pyram id complex. In 1994 the shaft of Entrance Queen’s burial chamber 'm astaba' 9 w as discovered. at Hawara. two of which were inscribed . Dieter A rnold’s investigations uncovered his second pyramid. T he mastabas. w as found on a canopic ja r and an inscribed board. each for a sarcophagus and canopic chest. an angle Open tained m any of the sam e elements as Sit-H athor’s courts but w as even m ore extensive. but his deci- >n to build a p