Time Voyager

Pyramids & Other Monuments

One of the greatest artists of the period was an architect named Imhotep. He designed the Step Pyramid for Djoser’s burial site around 2650 B.C.E. The structure was erected west of Memphis and is over 200 feet high, with a large temple and a mortuary complex around it. Designed to house Djoser’s spirit (ka) in the afterlife, Imhotep included passageways, or labyrinth, to ward off thieves. A huge mass of laborers built this structure. It began as a mastaba, but Imhotep added five subsequent mastabas in rising layers to create the Step Pyramid. Under the pyramid, archeologists found a child’s alabaster coffin, and artistic vases with earlier king’s names, which Djoser may have preserved as monuments.

A serdab, or cellar, of limestone was found near the northern entrance. Inside was a life-size sculpture of Djoser. He was depicted wearing a white festival cloak. Robbers tore out the eyes, but they would have been made of inlaid rock crystal with the remainder of alabaster and obsidian. There were two holes carved into the wall of the structure, so the pharaoh’s statue to see the gifts brought in his honor. This was the first known sculpture in the round.  An unfinished pyramid south-west of Djoser’s Step Pyramid. It was attributed to Djoser’s successor, 3rd Dynasty pharaoh, Sekhemkhet. The pyramid was never finished because Sekhemkhet died after a six-year reign. Following Imhotep’s design, three pyramids were built on the plain of Giza. The Great Pyramid, built by the pharaoh Khufu, was originally 481 feet high, with a base of 756 feet, and constructed of 2.3 million limestone blocks. With 200,000 stones averaging two and a half tons each, it is massive! In addition, Khafra built a large temple and canals with boats that would carry his body and funerary supplies into the afterlife. Khufu’s son, Khafra, built his pyramid next to his father’s.

Rock for the project was quarried near the site and transported by boat across the Nile. With a remaining rock hill, possibly too hard to be quarried, Khafra carved a lion bearing a depiction of his own face into what is known as the Sphinx. Khufu’s son, Menkaura, built a smaller pyramid of red granite, which was transported from Aswan, 500 miles away. His pyramid and temple were never completed, as he died after a short twenty-eight year reign. Two smaller pyramids, built a mile south of Giza at Zawiyet el-Aryan, were erected for Khaba and Huni. Khaba’s Layer Pyramid was built with six or seven steps that led to a rock-cut entrance on the north side. Huni had his burial site moved to Meydum, fifty miles south of Cairo. It was the first square pyramid and was covered in Tura limestone. In Huni’s court are two mastabas to the north and east of the pyramid, thought to be those of nobles. A pair of Meydum geese statues are painted on the frieze of the tombs of Nefer-Maat and Atet. Pharaoh Unas,  a small pyramid at Saqqara. Hieroglyphs cover the inside and outside of the burial chamber, known as Pyramid Texts.

Top-Source: Will Stewart,” World’s oldest wooden statue is TWICE as old as the pyramids: New analysis reveals Shigir Idol is more ancient than first thought”, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3212829/World-s-oldest-wooden-statue-TWICE-old-pyramids-New-analysis-reveals-Shigir-Idol-ancient-thought.html, (Accessed: November 29, 2017),Middle- Source: Gayle Gibson, Meg Morden, Willie Rowbotham,” The Step Pyramid”, http://www.odysseyadventures.ca/articles/saqqara/saqqara_text02pyramid.html, (Accessed: November 29,2017), Bottom-Source:Jaliyah Hicks, “World History: Egypt’s Old Kingdom”, http://jaliyahhwh.weebly.com/egypts-old-kingdom.html, (Accessed: November 27, 2017).

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