Giza Plateau | Em Hotep!

Posts Tagged ‘Giza Plateau’

000 rus sphinx 000Last 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.

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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.

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30
May

Giza 3D Project Media Clearinghouse

   Posted by: Shemsu Sesen

   in

Audio/Video

The Giza 3D Team at the Louvre Museum—Kate Bourdet takes us to the Louvre to explore the technical considerations of making scientifically accurate virtual reality models of locations and artifacts (posted to YouTube May 04, 2011)

 

 

3D and Egyptology—Peter Der Manuelian and Giza 3D in the classroom, with Dr. Manuelian demonstrating how the technology is used to transport students to the times and places being discussed (posted to YouTube April 5, 2011)

 

 

Avignon Forum 2010:  The 3D Interactive Experience—Mehdi Tayoubi and Peter Der Manuelian discussing the importance of the Giza 3D Project (in French and English) (posted to YouTube November 17, 2010)

 

 

Harvard Viz Center—short clip of Peter Der Manuelian using the 3D VR tools in the classroom (posted to YouTube November 12, 2010)

 

 

Giza 3D Guided Tour—a clip of the Giza 3D fly through demo, narrated by Peter Der Manuelian (posted to YouTube November 08, 2010)

 

 

Reassembling Giza:  The Tomb of Nefer—a three minute video showing some of the steps involved in reconstructing a tomb in 3d, including gathering puzzle pieces from all over the world and reassembling them in virtual reality (posted to Vimeo July 10, 2010)

 

 

Course Trailer Video: Pyramid Schemes: The Archaeological History of Ancient Egypt—Peter Der Manuelian’s video introduction to his Gen Ed course at Harvard, including some very nice high resolution clips of the Dassault Systèmes’ real-time 3D imaging software (posted to Vimeo July 10, 2010)

 

 

Giza 3D on France 3 TV (with English subtitles)—a 2.5 minute news feature story with Mehdi Tayoubi and more demo footage of the Giza 3D software (posted to YouTube June 05, 2010)

 

 

Dassault Systèmes and Boston Museum of Fine Arts: Giza 3D Preview—a two-minute fly through demo of the Giza 3D Project, including a trip around the Western Necropolis, down into a tomb, and a view from beneath the necropolis, without narration but in higher resolution (posted to YouTube April 22, 2010)

 

 

Dassault Systèmes 3D Giza Immersive Experience—another demo of the 3D technology, illustrating how smoothly participants can navigate their way through the landscape in real time (posted to YouTube April 22, 2010)

 

 

What’s Cool: Giza Web Site Highlights—a video summarizing the highlights of the Giza Web Site (posted to Vimeo April 14, 2009)

 

 

Giza Homepage Images Slideshow—historic dig and discovery photos, modern color images, and even some vintage postcard views of the Giza Plateau (posted to Vimeo April 10, 2009)

 

 

Search Giza from Above—video demonstrating how to use the top-down visual surveying tools on the Giza Archives website (posted to Vimeo April 10, 2009)

 

 

The Giza Digital Library—Peter Der Manuelian describes how to make use of the hundreds of online books and journal articles archived at the Giza website (posted to Vimeo April 10, 2009)

 

 

Why are the Tombs at Giza Important?—this 12-minute video is taken from a lecture on Giza by Peter Der Manuelian, Giza Archives Director at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. It took place at the Museum of Fine Arts on April 3, 2009 (posted to Vimeo April 6, 2009)

 

 

Websites and Journal Articles

 

Dassault Systèmes and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), announce a strategic partnership to enable real-time virtual reconstruction of the Giza plateau based on actual archeological data.

 

This Web site is a comprehensive resource for research on Giza. It contains photographs and other documentation from the original Harvard University – Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition (1904 to 1947), from recent MFA fieldwork, and from other expeditions, museums, and universities around the world.

 

News from the Giza Archives at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

From my earliest study of ancient Egypt, I realized that sharing the excitement of this field with others would always play a major role in my career. Many of the great scholars with whom I have studied were also extraordinary teachers, and I have always wanted to follow their example.

 

His primary research interests include ancient Egyptian history, archaeology, epigraphy, the development of mortuary architecture, and the (icono)graphic nature of Egyptian language and culture in general. He has published on diverse topics and periods in Egyptian history, but currently focuses on the third millennium BC, and specifically on the famous Giza Necropolis, just west of modern Cairo.

 

Museums have begun to discover that, with the help of technology, their vast collections, and the intellectual property that accompanies them can reach both the scholar and the interested layman far beyond the doors of the physical museum building itself.

 

Dr. der Manuelian began by taking the audience back to a quieter time; as in 1927, when one reached the great pyramids via a street car traveling up the Al Pharon.  Work at the Giza Plateau at the turn of the century was a sort of “Indiana Jones” type of affair, during which great quantities of objects, papyrus and debris was removed, and some of the world great museums were the major benefactors.

 

The main goal was to teach the 3D artists who will recreate the whole Giza world what’s important in terms of design. For example, I learned that proportion of Egyptian objects meet very tight rules. Our team had then to understand what the rulers were and how to use them.

 

Peter Der Manuelian tells me that Giza 3D at Harvard’s immersive virtual reality Viz Center is up and running, and the 170 undergraduate students in his “Pyramid Schemes” Egyptian archaeology class are loving it!

 

Our ultimate goal is to preserve and post the world’s collected archaeological knowledge about the Giza pyramids, and we can only accomplish this challenge with the help of the world community.

 

I must confess I got excited when I learned about Dassault Systèmes’ partnership with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.  The entire Giza Archives in 3D for educational and research experiential/interactive discoveries!

 

The Giza Archives Project is a very useful and comprehensive online resource for anyone interested in the Giza Necropolis. Excavations that have occurred in the area are documented on the site.

 

 

News Articles

 

How do Egyptologists view these events through the lens of Egypt’s millennia-old civilization? As the playing field has turned upside down, some of us might remember the admonitions of an ancient Egyptian sage named Ipuwer. Some of his phrases almost seem aimed at Hosni Mubarak himself: “We do not know what will happen throughout the land…Indeed, the laws of the council chamber are thrown out…See, things have been done which have not happened for a long time past; the king has been deposed by the rabble. You have deceived the whole populace. It seems that [your] heart prefers to ignore [the problems]. Have you done that which will make them happy? Have you given life to the people? They cover their faces in fear of the morning.”

 

At first glance, the archeology of the Egyptian pyramids might seem out of place at an event devoted to the French economic presence in New England, but there is actually a connection.  Professor Manuelian is Director of the Giza Archives Project at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.  The Giza Archives Project has recently begun collaborating with Dassault Systèmes to create a 3D virtual model of the entire Giza plateau.

 

“The course has given me a chance to go beyond what I would normally experience in a classroom,” said William Weingarten ’11. “I’ve enjoyed getting the chance to travel out to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and to visit the Visualization Center here at Harvard to get a deeper intuition for what Egypt was really like thousands of years ago.”

 

Der Manuelian has led a 10-year effort to digitize extensive materials pertaining to the Old Kingdom Giza Necropolis, a 4,500-year-old array of tombs, temples, and artifacts near Egypt’s famous Giza pyramids.

 

  • All Art News: Boston’s MFA Uses Dassault’s 3D Tech to Study Pyramids—no author listed (May 03, 2010)

Dassault Systèmes, a world leader in 3D software solutions and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), one of the world’s most important encyclopedic art museums, today announced that they will join forces in a strategic innovation partnership to bring the power of industrial and experiential 3D to the domain of archaeology.

 

  • Art Museum Journal:  Dassault Systèmes and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston use 3-D technology to study Giza Pyramids—by Stan Parchin (April 21, 2010)

Dassault Systèmes (DS), a world leader in three-dimensional software solutions, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA) announced today a strategic innovation partnership related to the Giza Archives Project, the museum’s digital initiative that assembles and links the world’s archaeological information on the pyramids and mastabas (tombs) at the Giza Plateau. The collaboration will enable real-time virtual reconstruction of the ancient structures.

 

 

 

 

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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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

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Just hours before the premier of Kheops Renaissance (also called Khufu Reborn), Jean-Pierre Houdin granted an exclusive interview to fellow Egyptology blogger Marc Chartier, proprietor of the website Pyramidales.  Timed for release immediately following the event, Marc’s interview is a perfect introduction to Episode Two and the  Project Khufu material that will be forthcoming from both Pyramidales and Em Hotep.

Previously available only in French, this is the first official English language translation, made available through our partnership with Pyramidales and Dassault Systèmes.  Over the next few weeks I will be publishing, in addition to Part Two of this interview, translations of additional material that is being very kindly provided by Marc, Jean-Pierre, and the Project Khufu team at Dassault Systèmes.  This will allow me some time to get caught up and reoriented after having to take one of my infamous sabbaticals (sometimes life just shows up with a bag full of challenges, but all is well, Gentle Reader!).

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With the exception of the King’s Chamber, Pharaoh Khufu’s Master Builder Hemienu 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 Hemienu 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 Hemienu designed the floor plan of the Great Pyramid on the vertical rather than horizontal plane. 

Hemienu 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 Hemienu to Houdin:  Phase One, Part A, we looked at how Jean-Pierre Houdin proposes Hemienu 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 Hemienu 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, Hemienu, 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 Hemienu 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 Hemienu 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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If the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, what were the first steps Hemienu took when starting the construction of the Great Pyramid?  Six letters from Hemienu is a work of epistolary historical fiction, with a very heavy emphasis on historical, which explores the sort of details that would have required his attention immediately after choosing a building site for Khufu’s Pyramid. 

The purpose of these imaginary missives from the desk of the Overseer of All the King’s Works is to give the reader an idea of the amount of planning, materials, and manpower involved not only in building the Great Pyramid, but in preparation for the work itself.  There were mines and quarries to be opened, a fully functional workers’ city to be constructed, and an entire nation to be mobilized.

In many ways this is a re-introduction to the Hemienu to Houdin series, but it is also intended to be a stand-alone monologic narrative (fancy-speak for letters from just one person that tell a story) of how Hemienu initiated the project that would occupy all of Egypt for more than two decades.  Methods and materials, labor and logistics, tools and tasks, they are all here for your evaluation, along with a short annotated bibliography at the end.

Note:  The names used, with the exception of the Grand Vizier himself, are invented but not without some forethought (the Overseer of the Expedition to the Sinai to open the copper mines, for instance, is named Biah-Ahky, which translates to copper miner), and the titles and positions they hold do have their historical counterparts. 

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Can’t make it to Egypt this summer?  Never fear, Peter Der Manuelian and Mehdi Tayoubi are combining Fourth Dynasty architecture, Twentieth (and 21st) Century archaeology, and Generation Wow technology to take you places that would be off limits even if you were in Egypt. 

From scanning the landscape to crawling down into ancient tombs, you are there, dude.

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In the first part of January the media began breaking the news that the old yarn about slaves having built the pyramids had finally been dispelled.  Dr. Zahi Hawass of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities announced that three large tombs had been newly discovered very close to the pyramid itself.  As the final resting place of some of the overseers of the workforce, both the structure and location of the tombs made it clear that these were no slaves.

Dr. Hawass’ statement that “These tombs were built beside the king’s pyramid, which indicates that these people were not by any means slaves” (source) was widely repeated in the press under headlines announcing that the belief that slaves had built the pyramids could now be retired.  But Egyptologists have long known that the Slave Hypothesis was pure Hollywood. 

Along with Hawass, Egyptologist Mark Lehner began uncovering the truth of the pyramid builders more than 20 years ago.  Lehner was consumed with the question of where such a large workforce could have lived.  After conducting the first detailed “to scale” survey of the Giza Plateau, he narrowed his focus to the area around the enigmatic Wall of the Crow, a colossal wall with no apparent related structures.

Lehner hit pay dirt, and his dogged pursuit of these ancient builders led to the excavation of the very city where they lived and worked—a large complex of barracks and permanent housing, distribution centers, industrial sites, and scribal workshops.  The recently discovered tombs tell us something of the status of the workers, but the Lost City of the Pyramid Builders gives us the everyday details of their lives.

Most of Em Hotep’s readers will be familiar with Dr. Lehner and his work.  But if you are not, then his total absence from the recent news stories may have left you with an incomplete picture of just how strong the case against the Slavery Hypothesis really is.  In this three-part series we will take a look at what Lehner discovered about the pyramid builders.  We will examine the evidence that the workforce had a surprisingly modern division of labor, followed by a tour of the city itself.

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