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!
Archive for the ‘Old Kingdom’ Category
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.
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.
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.
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.
One year ago today Em Hotep was present for the premier of Khufu Reborn at la Géode in Paris, France. Phase Two of Jean-Pierre Houdin’s work with the Great Pyramid of Khufu was revolutionary, but was preceded by another revolution in Egypt just two days prior. Now, on the one year anniversary of Khufu Reborn, we visit with Jean-Pierre to ask a few questions about his work, the impact of the January Revolution, and where we go from here.
It has been nearly a year now since architect Jean-Pierre Houdin premiered the second phase of his work with the Great Pyramid—Khufu Reborn. How has his work been received so far? Where does the project stand at the moment? Has the Arab Spring affected the progress of Project Khufu? Where do we go from here?
My good friend Marc Chartier of Pyramidales (and more recently of Égypte-actualités, but more on that endeavor later..) had a chance to sit down recently with Jean-Pierre and discuss these questions and more. Thanks to Em Hotep’s partnership with Pyramidales, I am able to bring you the English language version of this interview. Enjoy, and please feel free to join the conversation, as they say…
If you weren’t able to make it to the premier of Khufu Reborn, the second episode of Jean-Pierre Houdin’s theory of how the Great Pyramid of Khufu was built, then you are in luck—the full presentation is now available on the web, courtesy of Dassault Systèmes! This isn’t just a dry lecture with some slides, this is the full 3D presentation, with narration.
In addition to providing the full simulation illustrating Jean-Pierre’s theory in detail, the Khufu Reborn universe is interactive. You can actually navigate you way around the Giza Plateau of 4,500 years ago. But if you aren’t ready to dive into Khufu’s world just yet, this Em Hotep tour and tutorial will equip you for the journey.
Last week the news about the preliminary findings of the Djedi Project broke worldwide, and not without a little sensationalism. While sensationalism can be fun, it can also backfire when people form preconceived notions about what the findings mean.
“Red-painted numbers and graffiti are very common around Giza,” advises Peter Der Manuelian, an Egyptologist at Harvard University and director of the Giza Archives at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. “They are often masons’ or work-gangs’ marks, denoting numbers, dates or even the names of the gangs.”
There is a lot to be excited about with the Djedi mission, but we need to keep the discoveries in context until Egyptologists have had an opportunity to analyze the findings and their implications. But that does not mean that we can’t have some fun in the meanwhile…
Follow Pharaoh Khufu’s funeral procession into the Great Pyramid where we learn the layout of the two very different routes to the King’s Chamber—one used by the workers in the construction of the vast monument, and one created for the sole purpose of the king’s last journey from his Valley Temple to the burial room.
This is the seventh article in a series based on Marc Chartier’s discussions with Jean-Pierre Houdin following the premier of Khufu Reborn, the long awaited revelation of the second chapter of Project Khufu. These articles are provided in English to Em Hotep via special arrangement with Marc Chartier/Pyramidales, Jean-Pierre Houdin and the Project Khufu team at Dassault Systèmes.
Jean-Pierre Houdin’s theory of the how the Great Pyramid was built continues to unfold. How were the sixty-ton megalithic beams moved from the harbor at the base of the Giza Plateau to 43+ meters high into the Great Pyramid? Was there a second counterweight system like the one in the Grand Gallery? Why was Khafre’s Royal Causeway so wide?
In this, the sixth in a series of articles and interviews from Pyramidales writer Marc Chartier, we learn some of the key evolutions in Jean-Pierre Houdin’s theory. In the few short years between Khufu Revealed and Khufu Reborn, researcher/architect Houdin has expanded his work to account for anomalies surrounding the pyramid of Khufu’s successor, Pharaoh Khafre, and what they tell us about Khufu’s pyramid.
The English-language version of this article was very kindly provided by Marc Chartier, Jean-Pierre Houdin, and the Project Khufu team at Dassault Systèmes exclusively for Em Hotep readers.
One of the most contested aspects of the architecture of the Great Pyramid is the function of the relieving compartments (or chambers) stacked above the King’s Chamber. Do they serve a strictly symbolic purpose? Do they represent, as has been suggested, the Djed Pillar, or some other sacred configuration? Or do they serve a structural purpose, despite adding seemingly unnecessary weight atop the King’s Chamber?
French architect Jean-Pierre Houdin sees the answer in the arrangement of internal elements of the pyramid’s architecture still hidden from plain view, but discernable by other architectural and material oddities, such as the relieving compartments themselves. Why were they so high? What purpose did raising the pressure points serve?
This is the fifth in a series of fascinating dialogues held between writer Marc Chartier, of the website Pyramidales, and Jean-Pierre Houdin following the premier of Khufu Reborn, the next chapter in the unraveling the mysteries of the Great Pyramid and the Giza Plateau. This series of articles is being provided in English for Em Hotep in an exclusive arrangement with Marc, Jean-Pierre, and the Project Khufu team at Dassault Systèmes.
Is there a second, as of yet unopened, entrance to the King’s Chamber in the Great Pyramid? How did the ancient builders seal the burial chamber? Measuring the entrance that we do know about suggests that the sealing block would have fit into the entrance like a cork, but this cork was made to plug the neck from within the bottle. In other words, the sealing block could only have been closed from within the King’s Chamber.
So who pushed the block into place, when did they do it, and how did they get out? Human sacrifice within royal tombs had not been practiced since the early years of the Second Dynasty, so, cork or no cork, ultimately the King’s Chamber had to be sealed from the outside. How do we reconcile this contradiction?
This is the fourth in a series of articles and interviews conducted by Marc Chartier, writer and webmaster of the French-language site Pyramidales, with Jean-Pierre and other key members of Team Khufu, provided in English exclusively to Em Hotep.
The legacy Pharaoh Snefru left to his heir, Khufu, included more than the crown and wealth of the Old Kingdom. Building on an architectural and engineering revolution that stretched at least as far back as Pharaoh Djoser’s Master Builder, Imhotep, Khufu’s own architect Hemienu was determined to build a monument that would last the ages. To say the least, he was successful.
But erecting the final resting place of a god-king involved more than structural and aesthetic considerations. Hemienu was creating sacred ground, and within Khufu’s holy mountain there were specific paths to be trodden and a celestial order of operations to be observed.
Beginning with the physical evidence from the pyramid, Jean-Pierre Houdin pieces these ancient traditions together in a way that suggests where to look and what to look for in unlocking the secrets of the Great Pyramid. This is the third in a series of articles and interviews conducted by Marc Chartier with Jean-Pierre and other key members of Team Khufu, provided in English exclusively to Em Hotep.
Part Two of Marc Chartier’s interview with Jean-Pierre Houdin following the premier of Kheops Renaissance, the long-awaited Episode Two of Project Khufu. This interview is part of a series of articles that first appeared on the website Pyramidales, run by Marc Chartier. These exclusive English-language translations are provided to Em Hotep courtesy of Marc, Jean-Pierre Houdin, and Dassault Systèmes.