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The 'Lost' Pyramid of Djedefre at Abu Rowash

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Author Topic: The 'Lost' Pyramid of Djedefre at Abu Rowash  (Read 3949 times)
Bianca
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« on: June 29, 2008, 05:18:09 pm »









                                          The Lost Pyramid of Djedefre at Abu Rowash





by Alan Winston

Djedefre, the 3rd ruler of ancient Egypt's 4th Dynasty and the son of Khufu, for unknown reasons, abandoned the necropolis at Giza and built his pyramid at Abu Rawash.

It was called "Djedefre's Starry Sky".

This move is interesting, and it is often suggested that Djedefre had some sort of falling out with his family, or at least his brothers, for this location is an odd choice. His successor immediately returned to Giza. However, this conflict with his family is far from certain, and more recent evidence suggests that there were in fact no problems at all.


 Other than the ruins of Lepsius pyramid number one, Djedefre's pyramid is the northernmost of any pyramid in Egypt.

Before Lepsius, Perring briefly investigated the ruins, concentrating on the substructure, and Petrie
later examined the pyramid in the 1880s. However, only at the beginning of the 20th Century was this pyramid systematically investigated, first by French archaeologist Emile Chassinat, and about then years later, by his fellow countryman Pierre Montet.

Later still, it was further investigated by Maragioglio and Rinaldi. In 1995, the French-Swiss team headed by Michel Valloggia began excavation at the site, and perhaps this modern effort will answer questions about the pyramid and Djedefre that have long been left unanswered.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2008, 05:20:26 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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Bianca
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« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2008, 05:24:09 pm »











Unfortunately, this pyramid became a popular target for early stone thieves. It has been proven that, from the end of the 19th century, stone was being hauled away at the rate of three hundred camel loads a day. Previous findings have held that the pyramid was probably never completed, but it appears that the current excavators are now refuting this claim.

We know nothing of a valley temple that might have been connected with this pyramid, and very little about the causeway leading to the pyramid complex. The Causeway was probably very long. It would have had to be about 1700 meters (5,577 ft) to have reached the pyramid complex from the valley. The causeway was very unusual for this period as well, because it  run north-south at a time when most causeways ran east-west.

The complex is surrounded by an outer perimeter wall that is approximately two and one half meters thick. It is somewhat oriented to the north-sough, with the causeway approaching from the north. Interestingly, in the area within the perimeter wall to the north, where the causeway leads in, is a large open space. This is the area where there should have been a mortuary temple if the causeway connected to this temple as in others, but no remains have been discovered.

The problem is that until the end of the 3rd Dynasty, mortuary temples were erected on the north side of pyramids, but beginning with the 4th Dynasty onward, they were located at the foot of the east side of the pyramid. If indeed there was a mortuary temple on the north, unexplored area of the complex, then this would have been a reversion back to earlier layouts.

However, it should also be noted that the corridors and burial chamber of the pyramid itself, below, rather than in the superstructure, was also a reversion, and while the roofs of this substructure  is highly damaged, it appears that the design may be similar to the earlier style of Djoser's Step Pyramid at Saqqara.
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« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2008, 05:39:37 pm »



Views of the Mortuary Temple

There may yet be discoveries made on the north
side of the pyramid.

However, recent excavations have also unearthed
an inner perimeter wall about six meters (20 ft)
from the north pyramid base, and widening on the
east, where a mudbrick structure is thought to be
what remains of a mortuary temple.

A covered corridor is believed to have lead from
the northeast entrance of the inner enclosure to
the mouth of the causeway. Just outside of this
corridor, recent excavations have revealed a
cache of votive pottery, which indicate the ex-
istence of sustained cult worship of this King.
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« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2008, 05:46:49 pm »



The layout of this "mortuary temple" on the east
side of the pyramid  is very different than other
known Old Kingdom examples, and was apparently
completed in haste.

It was formed of rather thick fieldstone walls, fini-
shed with mudbrick to form the compartments and
chambers surrounding an open courtyard. In the
courtyard, some of the original pavement, store-
houses and other architectural elements remain
today.

In the middle of the northeastern part of the
structure stood a row of columns, apparently inscrib-
ed with Djedefre's cartouche, if fragmentary evidence
may be believed.

This is interesting, because other than some columns
and half columns found at the complex of Djoser at
Saqqara, this would represent the only appearance of
columns in a pyramid complex mortuary temple prior to
the 5th Dynasty.
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« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2008, 05:52:38 pm »



Descending Corridor




There is a depression in the middle of the east
wall of the pyramid core.

Due to the location, Egyptologists believe that
this was a niche that might have held a false
door, in front of which would have been an altar,
all a part of an offering hall. 

In the area near the columns, fragments of statues
of three of Djedefre's sons and two of his daughters
were discovered, along with a possible limestone
sphinx. If this was indeed a sphinx, it would probably
be the earliest know form of this statuary.

Like a number of pyramids in Egypt, this one used
part of a rock outcropping that was reshaped as
part of the core. The remainder of the core consists
of local limestone blocks.

There remains about fifteen horizontally laid layers
of the limestone core, but very little of the fine,
pink granite casing is left.

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« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2008, 05:57:35 pm »











Originally, because of the slope of the casing blocks, it was thought that the pyramid had an
extremely sharp slope.

Some even believe it might have been planned as a step pyramid, as these structures had a
much sharper slope than true pyramids. But with the newest investigation, it has been deter-
mined that the casing blocks were not laid horizontally, but leaned slightly towards the middle
of the pyramid creating, instead of a 60 degree angle, a  more standard 48 to 52 degree slope.

This method was also used in the Step and Bent pyramids. Given that the baseline has been
accurately determined to be 106.2 meters (348 ft), the pyramid would have risen to a theore-
tical height of between 57 and 67 meters (187 ft to 220 ft), much smaller than Djedefre's
father's pyramid at Giza.

Though the substructure was highly damaged, we can see that the builders used the open pit
method of construction, which was also a throwback to earlier times. In the north wall of the
pyramid, they built a trench that now contains the remains of a descending corridor.

Here, Valloggia found a copper ax blade within a part of a foundation deposit buried there when construction on the pyramid was begun. The corridor generally follows a north-south axis, and
leads to an area that probably contained two rooms, an antechamber and burial chamber.

Petrie, in his investigation, discovered a fragment of what he though was part of a pink granite sarcophagus in this area.
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« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2008, 06:01:40 pm »



Entrance Corridor Trench




On the east side of the pyramid within the
enclosure wall is a trench that, because of
its form in the shape of a boat, might have
originally held a royal solar boat. However,
no remains of a boat were found here.
Rather the fragments of some 120 statues,
mostly representing Kjedefre sitting on his
throne, were discovered.

Three more or less complete heads were
found, including one now in the Louvre in
Paris and one in the Egyptian Antiquity
Museum in Cairo. The statues had been,
it would seem, intentionally destroyed.
This may have done by Khafre, his half
brother and successor, who could have
possibly murdered Djedefre as revenge.

There is a possibility that Djedefre him-
self gained the throne by murdering his
older half brother, Kauab.  However, this
theory has lost much ground lately.

The view of a majority of scholars appears
to be that, because the pyramid was locat-
ed in an isolated area, the local population
may have vandalized the statues.

This theory hold that the destruction began
during the New Kingdom, and became espe-
cially intense during the Roman and Christian
era. At that time, a Coptic monastery was
built in the nearby Wadi Karin.

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« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2008, 06:08:14 pm »










Interestingly, no tombs of Djedefre's family and high officials have been found within the complex, though there is a structure near the southwest corner of the pyramid that might have served as a subsidiary tomb for one of his consorts. However, Egyptologists such as Stadelmann and Janosi think that this is in fact a cult pyramid without burial. Again, future excavations will be required to answer this question.

In the northeast corner of the inner enclosure, workshops and housing have been found that apparently were used by the builders of the pyramid. Here, layers of chips remain from what was apparently a stoneyard where the pyramid blocks were worked.

It should also be mentioned that Petrie found a fragment of a diorite statue with the probable hieroglyphs representing Menkaure. Some Egyptologists believe that this king undertook restoration work on the pyramid.



Height 60m

Base 106m

Volume 131,043 cu. m

Slope 52

Dynasty 4

Satellite Pyramids (1)

Queens Pyramids (0)



http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/djedefrep.htm
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« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2008, 06:14:14 pm »

                  










                                     The Pyramid of Djedefre - Breaking New Ground






Djedefre, son of Khufu, chose to build his pyramid 5 miles north of Giza at a site now called Abu Roash. From this vantage point there is a clear view of the pyramids of Giza. It is not known whether or not this pyramid was unfinished, or quarried away, but little remains of the superstructure of the pyramid. Estimates place its original base at about 380 feet, and casing stones have indicated a possible steep angle of 60 degrees! Here is how the shaft and chamber appears from the upper rim, just above the east wall:



                                                                               
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« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2008, 06:24:44 pm »



Here is the area where the entrance would have been, the mouth of the descending passageway. Note the granite blocks which indicate that the pyramid was partially cased in granite:

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« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2008, 06:28:06 pm »












Here is the descending passageway which, in certain places is as wide as 23 feet:




                                                                 
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« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2008, 06:46:44 pm »











                                                             

As you enter the chamber the evidence of excavating is all around
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« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2008, 07:05:24 pm »











                                                             


First view is the west wall looking up. Notice the remnants of the original ceiling, now supported with metal braces.

The second view shows what was the south wall, looking back up the descending passageway
« Last Edit: June 29, 2008, 07:07:54 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2008, 07:09:26 pm »













                                                             


Against the south wall, left of the ramps is a niche.

The second view shows part of the remaining superstructure of this pyramid


http://www.guardians.net/egypt/djed1.htm
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« Reply #14 on: June 29, 2008, 07:44:08 pm »




Djedefre's Pyramid at Abu Rawash was originally 106.2 metres square and 68 metres high.

Quarrying since Roman times has now removed almost all the structure of the Pyramid.

The photograph shows the Pyramid viewed from the North East.
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