Posts Tagged ‘Hemiunu’

We have been introduced to the Western Cemetery of Khufu, and how it began as nucleus cemeteries that expanded as additional mastabas and burials were added, creating the not-always-so-neat mosaic of a history in stone of the Fourth Dynasty, beginning with the reign of Pharaoh Khufu. Now the Egyptian authorities were going to allow three international missions to begin excavation in the Western Cemetery. But how would the concessions be divided? How was the decision made, as regards who digs where? In Part 3, we begin to demystify at least how this process began. As we go, we will see that concessions get passed on, swapped, and at least temporarily, set aside. The concessions at Giza today may look somewhat differently, but at least in the beginning of the Twentieth Century, this is how it started.
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14
Jun

Khufu’s Western Cemetery Part 2: The Nucleus Cemeteries

   Posted by: Keith Payne

   in Old Kingdom, Tombs


We introduced the subject of Khufu’s Western Cemetery in the last article of this series. Before we can begin an organized delve into the mastabas themselves, we first need to understand a couple of key concepts. We need to know about the nucleus cemeteries and how they expanded into the necropolis we seek to study (the subject of this article), and how the Western Cemetery was carved up into concessions (the subject of the next article). So, how did the Western Cemetery evolve?

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7
Jun

Khufu’s Western Cemetery Part 1: Introduction

   Posted by: Keith Payne

   in Old Kingdom, Tombs

Khufu's Western Cemetery Part 1 - Introduction

With the Scan Pyramids project doing work in the field, and the Harvard University/Museum of Fine Arts Boston Giza Archive Project being reinvented as Digital Giza, it seems the Old Kingdom is in the air. Many of you have been following my Western Cemetery series on Facebook in the Old Kingdom Egyptology Group, but there is a need for a more permanent home for the series, which is a great reason to jump start Em Hotep!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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labelJean-Pierre Houdin’s theory of how the Great Pyramid of Khufu was built is unique not only in that he explains how this engineering marvel was accomplished, he shows how the architecture itself gives up these secrets.  Nowhere is this more evident than in his explanation of how the Grand Gallery served as the mechanism for constructing the King’s Chamber.

The burial room of Pharaoh Khufu required that his Overseer of Royal Projects, the great architect and engineer Hemiunu, transport massive beams of granite, some of which weighed in excess of 60 tons, more than 60 meters above the pyramid’s foundation.  With each successive course of blocks his workspace became more confined, the uphill drag became longer, and the placement became more precise.  Where did the energy required for this undertaking come from?

In Phase One we looked at how two thirds of the pyramid and all of its internal structures below the King’s Chamber were constructed with a ramp that reached less than one third of its height.  In Phase Two we will look at how the King’s Chamber and its related architecture were built using this same ramp, as well as some innovations in design and methodology that included scaffolding, an elevator, and a powerful tractor, all of which were integrated into the architecture itself, and all of which used tools and principles known to be in existence during Hemiunu’s time.

We will devote this current article to explaining exactly what it was Hemiunu was building in Phase Two.

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With the exception of the King’s Chamber, Pharaoh Khufu’s Master Builder Hemiunu strategically located all of the known internal structures of the Great Pyramid either in the lower third of the architecture or cut into the underlying bedrock of the Giza Plateau.  So far we have looked at how the superstructure of the pyramid was built—now it is time to look at the internal details.

In preparation for what Jean-Pierre Houdin calls “Episode 2,” a comprehensive update and expansion of his work with the Great Pyramid in particular and the funerary architecture of the Pyramid Age of the Old Kingdom in general, Em Hotep has embarked on this mission to lay out his theory to-date in a simple but detailed format that will allow the specialist and layperson alike to evaluate the theory as well as mark its progress in Episode 2.

In Phase One, Parts A and B, we looked at Jean-Pierre’s detailed explanation of how Hemiunu could have built two thirds of the Great Pyramid with an external ramp that only reached one third of the pyramid’s final height, and how this ramp could have used an alternating-lanes strategy to avoid work stoppages, even while the ramp was built up from layer to layer.  Now we will lay the foundation—literally and figuratively—for Phase B by looking at how Hemiunu designed the floor plan of the Great Pyramid on the vertical rather than horizontal plane.

Hemiunu to Houdin presents the opening statement and theories.  Soon the counselor himself will present the evidence and closing arguments.  My goal is to provide the transcript for the deliberations of you, the jury.

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In Hemiunu to Houdin:  Phase One, Part A, we looked at how Jean-Pierre Houdin proposes Hemiunu could have built two thirds of the Great Pyramid with a straight, external ramp that only reached one third of the total height of the pyramid.  We also outlined how the ramp would have been three ramps in one, or rather, a ramp of three lanes, two of which alternated from level to level.

In Phase One, Part B, we will be taking a detailed look at how the alternating lanes functioned, and how Jean-Pierre thinks Hemiunu would have changed his strategy once the ramp became too narrow to accommodate two lanes, while still maintaining uninterrupted work from level to level.  We will examine what “building from the inside out” means and why it is the only way Jean-Pierre believes the Great Pyramid could have been constructed.  Again, our goal is a clear and visual understanding of Jean-Pierre’s theory in preparation for the coming update and expansion based on his more recent work.

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Most theories of how the Great Pyramid of Khufu was built agree that some sort of external ramp was required, even if an external ramp alone would not have been sufficient.  But what kind of ramp?  What would it have looked like and been made of?  Where would it have been built?

Architect Jean-Pierre Houdin has put forth a comprehensive theory of how Khufu’s architect, Hemiunu, could have built the pyramid using only the tools, methods, and materials that we know would have been available at the time.  Now, just weeks before M. Houdin is to release an avalanche of new work and material that will greatly update and solidify his theory, Em Hotep has endeavored to get a detailed and thorough description of his work to-date online and available for reference.

Picking up where I left off over a year ago with the Hemiunu to Houdin series, I admittedly have my work for the coming month cut out for me.  Wish me luck!  But with the generous oversight of the theory’s author himself, I can promise that the forthcoming will be the best precursor you can find on-line for what Jean-Pierre mysteriously refers to as “Episode 2.”

In this current article we will examine how Jean-Pierre’s theory describes the external ramp that was used to build the bottom third of the Great Pyramid.  In particular we will see how Hemiunu could have built two thirds of the pyramid with a ramp that only reached one third of its final height; we will see how the Great Builder overcame the limits imposed by the terrain and turned many of them to his advantage; and we will begin looking at how this deceptively simple structure solved some rather complex issues confronting Khufu’s Chief Architect.

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