Thursday, August 8, 2013

the Pyramid of Menkaure

The Pyramid of Menkaure

In the southwest corner of the plateau of Giza, the pyramid of Menkaure (Mycerinus) is in alignment with its larger neighbors. Menkaure was the son of Khafre and his monument, by far the smallest of the three pyramids of Giza, was called "Menkaure is Divine. 
Pyramid of Menkaure and Queens Pyramids
The unfinished pyramid appears to have been the king's death and was completed in mudbrick by the son of Shepseskaf of Menkaure, and later additions were built for its temples during Dynasties V and VI, suggesting that his mortuary cult was still flourishing then. The king ruled for about eighteen years and an inscription at the entrance of the pyramid (seems to have been carved by Khaemwaset, son of Ramses II) gives the day and month of his death. The housing blocks on the upper parts of the pyramid were probably white limestone, but the lower courts have been sheathed in pink rough granite. This suggests that the final envelope was made from the top down and added to the theories of the pyramid is unfinished. Blocks of granite casing can still be seen around the modern entrance.A large gash was made in the north side of the pyramid at the time Mamaluke the 12th century, but the first Europeans to enter the monument were Vyse and Perring in 1837, who found a basalt sarcophagus was sailed for England in Beatrice - only to meet doom getting lost at sea when the ship sank in the Mediterranean. The pyramid was then properly excavated by Reisner and Harvard University Expedition 1906-1924. 
Entrance to the pyramid of Menkaure
The entrance to the pyramid of Menkaure, on the north side about 4m above ground level, leads to an opening of the corridor down in a short horizontal passage and a room decorated with panels of carved stone facade reminiscent of the palace reasons, but the significance of this unusual design is unknown. A horizontal corridor leads into a large rectangular hall, east-west, which seems to have undergone a number of changes before being finalized and may have been intended as a burial chamber earlier. This room was also reached by another downward passage (known as the upper corridor) which passes over the bottom row of the pyramid base. Once the plan has been changed, the floor of the vast hall was reduced which means that the upper corridor is released near the ceiling and was therefore abandoned. Vyse has discovered the remains of an anthropoid wooden coffin in this room, which bore the name of Menkaure and contained human remains, but they were later proved to be a much later date than the pyramid. Another passage that leads from the floor of the antechamber of the tomb chamber. Before the burial chamber is reached there is another room that has six deep niches - four in the east and two in the north - which may have been used to hold funeral goods or canopic jars of the king.The burial chamber vaulted rectangular cradle in the rock below the pyramid is lined with pink granite and north facing south and there it was on the west wall that Vyse is the beautiful basalt sarcophagus of the king. The sarcophagus had lost carved decoration panel in the design of a withdrawal "palace façade".Mycerinus built the pyramids of three queens on the south side of the monument, although the largest Eastern one (G3-a), which has a T-shaped structure, was perhaps first conceived as a pyramid cult TV, but later, probably used for the burial of a queen, as were all three satellite pyramids, which had mudbrick chapels attached. The burial chamber cut into the rock-G3 once contained a pink granite sarcophagus embedded in the ground, and charred remains of wood and mats have been found there. It was perhaps the burial place of the wife of the head of Menkaure, Khamerernebty II, which is thought to be buried at Giza. The pyramid of the central Queen (G3-b) was found to contain a pink granite sarcophagus and the bones of a young woman, while the third pyramid (G3-C) was unfinished and had no traces a burial. 
Mortuary temple and causeway of Menkaure
The rest of the funerary temple of King are still visible on the eastern side of the pyramid and it was also found guilty of having been hastily completed. It seems that it started in massive blocks of local limestone quarries, with the intention of addressing the inner and outer walls of black granite, but in fact, they were mostly finished in painted plaster mudbrick, presumably by Shepseskaf. The structure was built around a rectangular courtyard, which leads to a portico with a double colonnade bordered to the north and south by storerooms and niches and the sanctuary. The temple is actually better preserved than the Mortuary Temple of Chephren and the team Reisner found proof construction techniques very interesting. Fragments of royal statues were found in the temple.Floor of Menkaure was apparently completed by Shepseskaf in floods rather than limestone bricks, but without ever reaching as far as the temple of the valley. The excavations of the temple of the valley covered with sand Reisner revealed several fine statues of Menkaure which show the superb quality of Egyptian art from this period. Three complete triads and partial, showing the king wearing the white crown of Upper Egypt with the goddess Hathor and four different nome deities (now in Cairo and museums in Boston), were discovered in 1908 and the famous perfectly preserved Menkaure representative dyad with an anonymous queen (maybe his wife head Khamerernebty II), were found in 1910 (Cairo Museum). Two different phases of construction were found in the valley temple, the first parts built of stone and later parts of mud bricks. An inscription in the temple of the valley indicated how Shepseskaf finished the temple in memory of his father. It was completely rebuilt in the sixth dynasty, probably Pepi II. 
Registration Khaemwaset and pregnant pyramid
Reisner found evidence of massive clay walls, workshops and housing of the pyramid builders in front of the valley temple and houses of Menkaure who invaded later, the temple walls. It is not surprising that the recent excavations by the team of Mark Lehner have again begun to discover this great city workers who built the pyramids and maintained for generations thereafter. Since 1988, excavations have focused around the area about 300m south of the Sphinx and known as the "Wall of the Crow," close to "cemetery worker" gigantic structure was recently discovered. So far they have found bakeries, a copper workshop, and the houses of workers, which in 2000 proved to belong to a vast royal complex comprising huge galleries or corridors, separated by a cobbled street. The royal palace?Other recent excavations around the pyramid of Menkaure were conducted by the Egyptian Antiquities Organization in search of evidence of funerary boats of the king and the ramp of the construction of the pyramid. They found a double unfinished statue of Ramses II, carved from a single block of stone and measuring over 3 meters high - the first major new statues Kingdom to be discovered in Giza, and yet another mystery.For more details and a virtual tour of the pyramid of Menkaure see Guardians Giza.Information excavations Mark Lehner in the city of the pyramid is the Lost City.EntryThe three major pyramids are open on an annual rotation with one of them being closed for restoration each year. Tickets on sale at 08:00 and 13:00 and cost 25 EGP.

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