Sarah Korcz, a senior at Community Montessori School in New Albany, Indiana, and an aspiring Egyptologist, has shared several of her Egyptological research papers with me, and expressed an interest in doing an article for Em Hotep. Since we were about due for a catch-up session with Jean-Pierre Houdin, and I knew from some of our conversations that Sarah is keenly interested in Jean-Pierre’s work with pyramids, I asked her if she would like to interview him for the website. She was quite happy to oblige.
You have seen the ancient depictions of the pharaoh alone in his chariot with his bow drawn, the horses running in lockstep, as the battle raged around him. And if you are like me, you have wondered if these are historical depictions or artistic license. Few people know the specifics of New Kingdom chariots like Kathy Hansen, who appeared as one of the experts in the NOVA special “Building Pharaoh’s Chariot”. Last Spring Kathy took some time to answer these questions and others for Em Hotep. After some delays (all of them my fault) we are finally able to bring the results to you…
For the last fifteen years, Jean-Pierre Houdin has considered the Giza Plateau to be an area particularly rich and fruitful for research. The architect has notably focused on the star of the site: the Great Pyramid, to which he has devoted an evolving theory, developed in Khufu Revealed, then in Khufu Reborn; these are two installments in the ongoing story of the reconstruction of the building site of this marvel of stone, which was largely echoed by Pyramidales.
Broadening his focus to the whole Giza Plateau, but without moving away from his “preferred” building site, Jean-Pierre Houdin came naturally to integrate in his research another major piece of the great jigsaw puzzle that the Giza site represents: the Sphinx. Jean-Pierre’s research into the Sphinx is guided by these two recurrent questions: What is the meaning of this colossal sculpture? To which King should it be tied?
Loyal to the techniques and teachings from his own profession as a builder, Jean-Pierre Houdin doesn’t take the risk of following the “traditional operating mode” of Egyptologists and other patented archaeologists.
Every man to his own trade…Jean-Pierre intends first of all, while taking into consideration the developments from those Egyptologists, to allow the topography of the Plateau to speak, examining how it evolved according to weather conditions and progress of building projects on the site such as the opening of quarries, the building of the ramps for the transport of materials, the construction of pyramids and in particular, the appearance of a certain…Sphinx!
At the end of the study, a conclusion will prevail: that the Sphinx is inseparable from Khufu. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves…
Jean-Pierre Houdin agreed to describe his development, exclusively for Pyramidales (French version) and Em Hotep (English version), through an interview conducted through an exchange of e-mails. With regards to the technical nature of the topic, this method was imperative. This explains the sometimes “didactic” nature of the answers which was required for clarity.
Last week we published Part One of Marc Chartier’s interview with Jean-Pierre Houdin regarding the Great Sphinx. In that installment Jean-Pierre made the case for Khufu being the face which adorns the mighty guardian of the Memphis Necropolis. This week, in Part Two, we will be looking at the physical evidence for setting a date for the Sphinx’s construction. Enjoy!
We have seen over the past weeks the case for the Great Sphinx having been constructed during the Fourth Dynasty in honor of Pharaoh Khufu, based on the evidence of the Plateau itself. In Part Three Jean-Pierre Houdin examines the evidence of other features of the Giza Plateau where the ancient builders seem to have labored to channel the water runoff that threatened their monuments.
Better late than ever, the synopses for eleven of the ARCE 2013 panel sessions is now ready for your enjoyment. Wonderful memories of some of the brightest Egyptologists now working in the field, many of these summaries were written with the direct assistance of the presenters themselves, and we are sure there is something (if not several somethings) here that will be of interest to you and your own passions in this very wide field. Nighttime at ancient Deir el-Medina, ritual battle scenes on tomb walls, ancient graffiti at Senwosret’s pyramid complex, coffin reuse, New Kingdom chariots, tomb robbery, and much more awaits you within…
What was the order of operations when it came to installing the facing stones on the large pyramids of the Fourth Dynasty? Were they just ornamental or did they serve a larger purpose in the engineering of the pyramids themselves? Was there a difference between how the rare instances of granite facing stones were installed and the Tura limestone facing blocks still visible on parts of the pyramids today? Join us as we probe the thoughts of a man who spends more time systematically and scientifically studying the large pyramids than any other person alive, Jean-Pierre Houdin.
The American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE) Annual Conference is upon us, and thanks to a generous contribution from a supporter who wishes to remain anonymous, Em Hotep will be there! Fifteen panel topics with 118 individual panel discussions over three days… How does one choose what to attend and which to cover for the website? Read on, friends, as we wrap our head around how to approach an Egyptological Christmas in April!
Last year during the premiere of Giza 3D, Marc Chartier of Pyramidales and I had a chance to talk with Egyptologist Rus Gant, lead technical artist for the Giza Archives Project and Giza 3D. In transcribing presentations from last year, I came across this fascinating “lost” discussion, and after working with Rus and Marc to clarify some points, we can now present it in an interview format for your enjoyment. From the resources used to create Giza 3D to George Reisner’s ongoing legacy, join us for a chat with Rus Gant.
Giza 3D is the virtual world of the Giza Plateau reconstructed from the thousands of archaeological photographs, first hand sketches of artifacts and monuments in situ, dig diaries, aerial and satellite imagery, and all the resources the Giza Archives have to offer, “a real-time virtual reconstruction of the Giza Plateau, based on actual archeological data gathered by Harvard and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA) expeditions to Egypt in the first part of the 20th century” (Forbes: “How Harvard Students Explore Ancient Egypt From Cambridge With New 3D Technology”).
Here at Em Hotep we want to provide you with a set of travel guides to the virtual tours conducted by Peter Der Manuelian, where to go and what to see when you enter the free-style navigation mode that lets you wander around, and how to make the best of the many resources Giza 3D offers. Join us for the first Travel Guide as we explore a series of three connected Fourth and Fifth Dynasty mastabas, the G 2100 Family Tomb Complex.
In this Em Hotep Digest we study Snefru’s three large pyramids—the Meidum Pyramid, the Bent Pyramid, and the Red Pyramid. As always we have photography from Em Hotep regular contributors Heidi Kontkanen and Richie O’Neill as well as some lovely photography from the Creative Commons. Come with us as we examine the stage where the pattern for the large Fourth Dynasty pyramid complexes were worked out as the transition was made from step pyramids to the first true pyramid.
This week Em Hotep Digest takes a look at magic in ancient Egypt. Magic as both a creative concept and a deity, magicians and their work, spells and sacred texts, wands, magic bricks, charms and amulets, all these are discussed in detail within, along with photography and contributions from the Em Hotep BBS folks.
What was daily life like in ancient Egypt? That was the question we pondered with this week’s Em Hotep Digest. How did Egyptian families get along? What was town and home life like? What did they eat and drink? How did they attire themselves? What did they do for entertainment? All these issues are considered within.
This week’s digest is dedicated to the French Egyptologist Jean-François Champollion, who is credited with the translation of the Rosetta Stone, thereby cracking the code of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs and opening the mysteries of the ancients for all Egyptologists who followed.