Structures

Archive for the ‘Structures’ Category

skjph tabSarah 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.

Read the rest of this article »

jphspx-00With the support of architectural and topographic evidence, Jean-Pierre Houdin is convinced that the Giza Sphinx represents King Khufu.

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.

Read the rest of this article »

jphspx2 - 00Last 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!

Read the rest of this article »

jphspx3 - 00We 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.

Read the rest of this article »

fsi-000What 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.

Read the rest of this article »

000 - tabGiza 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.

Read the rest of this article »

The more we learn about Hierakonpolis, the more likely it seems that during the Naqada II Period this ancient township was the capital of a province that reached well beyond its immediate boundaries. While it may be too early to call it a kingdom—we don’t know if the position of chieftain was hereditary or not—it was certainly headed in that direction.

Had consolidation been emphasized just a little more, and a tighter grip exercised over the northward expansion, Hierakonpolis might have become the capital of a united Egypt 500 years earlier than Narmer (Andelkovic, 2011, p. 29).  As it turned out, expansionism during Naqada II was more about the gradual assimilation of Lower Egypt, and consolidation was focused on three cities rather than just one—Hierakonpolis, Naqada, and Abydos.  But the roots of royalty were firmly established at Naqada II Hierakonpolis.

Read the rest of this article »

The unification of Egypt is credited to Narmer, the traditional first king of a unified Egypt, who extended his pharaonic mace from his capitol at Hierakonpolis to smite the backward villages of Lower Egypt and rein them in to southern ways.

Well, maybe not exactly.

The unification of Egypt was a process, not a historical event that can be neatly situated into a single time and place, much less a single person.  But one thing is for certain, that process began to take recognizable shape at Hierakonpolis and the earliest roots of that development began with the Badarian culture.  As we shall see in this article, the Naqadian people would build on the material culture of the Badarians, mostly through innovation and improvement of existing types, and this process would plant the seeds for pharaonic Egypt first at Hierakonpolis.  But as sometimes happens, we are getting ahead of ourselves.

Read the rest of this article »

Tausret: Forgotten Queen and Pharaoh of Egypt is a collaboration between Richard Wilkinson, who is Regent’ Professor of Egyptian Archaeology and Director of the Egyptian Expedition at the University of Arizona, and some of the most recognizable names in current Egyptology.

Written for a general audience, but with all the details a specialist looks for in a good book, Tausret is one of those books that will teach you about Egyptology while entertaining you with an adventure.  But it’s not the sort of swashbuckling adventure you might get with, say Belzoni.  It’s more of a detective story, spread out over a lot of detectives.

Read the rest of this article »

It would be easy to think that the ancient Egyptians, for all their amazing accomplishments in the arts and sciences, were morbidly obsessed with death.  After all, what do you think of when you imagine ancient Egypt?  The Pyramids:  tombs.  Tutankhamun:  a golden mummy.  Valley of the Kings: a cemetery.

But the truth of the matter is that the Egyptians were obsessed with life, and they fully expected it to continue on the Other Side.  Just as we work, save, and invest for our retirement today, the ancient Egyptians prepared for their eternal retirement amongst the gods.  Most of the art and artifacts connected to this planning, what we would call the funerary tradition and/or architecture, was considered to be the machinery of the afterlife, the tools and rituals required for the care and feeding of a departed spirit.

Read the rest of this article »

The Djedi Project is not just the new mission to explore the pyramid shafts—it truly is the next generation in robotic archaeology.  Beginning with Waynman Dixon’s iron rods, researchers have been probing the Great Pyramid’s mysterious claustrophobic passageways for 140 years.  But now, using technology designed for uses as divergent as space exploration and terrestrial search and rescue, we are finally able to explore the chamber behind Gantenbrink’s Door.

Picking up where we left off with Pyramid Rover, this Em Hotep exclusive covers how the Djedi Team won the “Robot Olympics in the Desert”, the members who make up the team, the specifics of the robot’s design, and the results of Djedi’s maiden voyage up QCS and into the chamber behind the first blocking stone.  Through interviews and exchanges with the Djedi Project manager, Shaun Whitehead, as well as other team members, this article promises to be the resource for the published Djedi material to date.

Read the rest of this article »

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.

Read the rest of this article »

Last week as news was breaking about the new tomb—KV64—Em Hotep received word from Stephen Cross, an Egyptologist and Geologist specializing in the Valley of the Kings, that he had photographed the tomb while conducting his own, unrelated research in the Valley.  Naturally, Steve held onto this wonderful shot until after the University of Basel had made their announcement.  Now that the whole world knows about KV64 and its lovely occupant, Steve has very kindly agreed to allow us to publish the photo, along with answer some questions about what is going on in the Valley of the Kings.

Inside:  Current projects in the Valley of the Kings, Steve’s meeting with the new head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, and a picture of KV64 you will not see anywhere else!

Read the rest of this article »

In case you haven’t heard, there is a new addition to the list of tombs in the Valley of the Kings!  As I am currently focused on the next pyramid shaft article, and my multi-tasking cache already runneth over, I am pointing you to the sources I go to for information about such things—my brother and sister bloggers.

As always, these are not typical bloggers (have I mentioned how much I dislike that marginalizing term, blogger?), these are folks who are thoughtful, critical, analytical, and who often have direct channels to the primary sources.  Don’t forget to check out the comments sections, as this is where the story tends to develop.  And you have my word that these kind people will welcome your comments and questions as well.

 

 

(Kate gets two entries because VoK is her bailiwick)

Last May the Project Djedi Team caught the world’s attention, and imagination, when they announced that the robot crawler designed to explore the southern shaft leading out of the Queen’s Chamber of the Great Pyramid had transmitted back images of markings left behind by the pyramid’s builders.  Hidden behind a “door” that had either thwarted or limited previous attempts to investigate the shaft, the markings prompted much speculation about their nature and purpose.

The Djedi Project was back in the headlines at the end of December when New Scientist magazine named the discovery one of the Top 10 Science Stories of 2011.  For the next few articles, Em Hotep will bring you up to date on the history of the exploration of the mysterious shafts in the Great Pyramid.  This current article will cover the ground from Waynman Dixon up to the Pyramid Rover Project, with the next article focusing exclusively on Project Djedi.  This will be followed by a couple of very special interviews you will not want to miss..

Read the rest of this article »