Pyramids | Em Hotep!

Posts Tagged ‘Pyramids’

000 - djoser digest tabDjoser’s Step Pyramid is the first monumental work in dressed stone and the first Egyptian pyramid, and his pyramid complex brought together funerary elements, such as tombs and enclosures, that were originally separate edifices, setting the pattern for centuries to come.  Last week the Em Hotep group shared their explorations of this architectural icon, which we have gathered here for your enjoyment and education.

Read the rest of this article »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

19
Dec

Khufu Reborn: One Year Later

   Posted by: Shemsu Sesen

   in Egypt in the News, Old Kingdom, Pyramids, The Giza Plateau

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…

Read the rest of this article »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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!

Read the rest of this article »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Read the rest of this article »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Read the rest of this article »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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..

Read the rest of this article »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

ar1-tabThe Current issue of Archaeology (Volume 62 Number 4, July/August 2009) has a great article by Bob Brier regarding the theory first proposed by Jean-Pierre Houdin about the possibility of an internal ramp inside Khufu’s Pyramid

The theory accounts for some anomalies in a microgravemetric survey couducted by French researchers in the 1980′s, and includes his trip up the side of the pyramid to explore the “niche”.  He discovered an unexplored chamber right where you would expect one if his theory of an internal ramp was correct…

Archaeology was kind enough to put the entire article online.  Read it here -  Update: Return to the Great Pyramid.

Tags: , , , , ,

31
Jul

The Pyramid of Pharaoh Teti

   Posted by: Shemsu Sesen

   in Lower Egypt, Old Kingdom, Pyramids, Saqqara

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.

Read the rest of this article »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

27
Jul

The Pyramid of Pharaoh Unas

   Posted by: Shemsu Sesen

   in Lower Egypt, Old Kingdom, Pyramids, Saqqara

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.

Read the rest of this article »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

21
Jul

The Pyramid of Pharaoh Userkaf

   Posted by: Shemsu Sesen

   in Lower Egypt, Old Kingdom, Pyramids, Saqqara

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.

Read the rest of this article »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

9
Jul

The Pyramid of Pharaoh Khufu

   Posted by: Shemsu Sesen

   in Lower Egypt, Old Kingdom, Pyramids, The Giza Plateau

khu-tabWhen Pharaoh Khufu set out to trump his father’s pyramid at Meidum he set the bar higher than would ever be achieved again.  Khufu had a reputation for being a cruel and despotic ruler, and ignoring all other speculation about how the Great Pyramid was built, the sheer logistics of completing the project within the presumed timeframe suggests in the very least a classic overachiever.  Whatever else may be true of Khufu, the man knew how to get things done.

Read the rest of this article »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

9
Jul

The Pyramid of Pharaoh Khafre

   Posted by: Shemsu Sesen

   in Lower Egypt, Old Kingdom, Pyramids, The Giza Plateau

kha-tabThe second pyramid built on the Giza Plateau, and the second largest in Egypt, Khafre’s Pyramid takes advantage of its superior location to steal the limelight on the plateau.

Possibly symbolic of a second son who was not his father’s first choice to reign, Khafre’s Pyramid steps forward from the plateau’s horizon as if to say “I will have my day in the sun…”

Read the rest of this article »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

9
Jul

Pyramid of Pharaoh Menkaure

   Posted by: Shemsu Sesen

   in Lower Egypt, Old Kingdom, Pyramids, The Giza Plateau

man-tabPerhaps it would be a stretch to call Menkaure’s Pyramid modest, but it is significantly smaller than those of Khufu and Khafre.  He is recalled much more fondly than his autocratic grandfather and seems to have been less vain than his statue-happy father, although more of his statues survived intact and are of such exquisite craftsmanship as to suggest that maybe quality over quantity was Menkaure’s trademark. 

Read the rest of this article »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

9
Jul

What is a Pyramid?

   Posted by: Shemsu Sesen

   in Lower Egypt, Memphis, Old Kingdom, Pyramids, Saqqara, Temples, The Giza Plateau

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…

Read the rest of this article »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

kod-tabIt’s the northern tip of a vast cemetery that spans the desert from Memphis to Cairo.  It’s the home of the Great Sphinx, scores of pyramids, and thousands of tombs.  One of its features, the Great Pyramid, is the last remaining Wonder of the Ancient World, and the best minds still can’t agree on how it was constructed.

Welcome to the Giza Plateau, the only place on Earth that is recognizable from outer space because of a few 4,600 year old buildings.

Read the rest of this article »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,