Saqqara

Archive for the ‘Saqqara’ Category

And now for something completely different!  Terry Jones of Monty Python fame teams up with Egyptologist Dr. Joann Fletcher to give us a look at everyday life in ancient Egypt by comparing it to everyday life in modern Egypt.

Food and fun, work and play, you will be surprised by how much remains the same.  Summary, analysis, and some really cool video clips wait inside!

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News is beginning to pop up about a new tomb discovered in the Saqqara area of the Memphis Necropolis, and it’s a big one!  Actually, two tombs have been discovered, and while they seem to have already been looted, archaeologists have found artifacts, including human remains.

 

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djo-tabThe complex of Djoser at Saqqara is more than just the first pyramid and template for all pyramid complexes that would follow. 

Djoser’s complex is a highly integrated machine, an eternal representation of institutions, religions, and architecture culled from all corners of Egypt and incorporated into a stone microcosm intended to project the king’s world into the afterlife.

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bnt-tabOk, I realize that most of my posts have been about Dr. Hawass this week, and I promise the article on the Djoser Pyramid complex is nearing completion.  But one does have to wonder why he might have a lovely new post on his blog about the Bent Pyramid at Dashur..

After all, as informative as it is, the new post doesn’t really contain anything new.  Of course, he is currently blogging about the pyramids in the vicinity of Dashur.  I think I might know why..

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tet-tabThe Sixth Dynasty rolled in like the thunderhead that portents a rising storm.  There had been tension between the royal line from which Teti descended and the one which had just vacated the throne.  Court officials had grown accustomed to wealth.  Provincial nobles were flexing their will to independence.  Famine.  Waves of refugees.  Ongoing religious reform.  Teti’s agenda could be summarized in two words–damage control.

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una-tabThe King is dead, long live the King.

The death of Pharaoh Unas prompted the most fragile transfer of power in the Old Kingdom to date, but it would hardly be the last, or the worst.  Without an heir, or at least one who ascended to the throne, the fact that the crown passed from one dynasty to another peaceably amidst a time of growing turmoil is a testament to what remained of Egypt’s institutions.

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mer-tabIn every recession there are winners and losers.  Meet Chief Justice and Vizier Mereruka, one of the winners.  Even as the kings during his lifetime were building ever-smaller and cheaper pyramids, this officer of the royal court built the Taj Mahal of the Sixth Dynasty.

Ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration.  But Mereruka stands out as an excellent example how the power dynamics were shifting as the Old Kingdom entered its twilight years. 

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usr-tabPharaoh Userkaf is one of the many Egyptian kings who have left very few clues regarding his biography and reign.  Well, he did leave a pyramid and a few temples from which we have been able to extract a couple of details. 

Actually, these structures contain some intriguing clues about Userkaf and his times, and a shadow of things to come.

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pyr-tabFor starters, it’s a large four-sided structure made of stone, wide at the bottom and pointy at the top, making a perfect triangle. 

There are three of them, they are located in the middle of the Egyptian desert, they were built by slaves, and they have mummies in them.

Right?  Well…

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