Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Pyramid of Neferefre

 The Pyramid of Neferefre

A review of the pyramid Neferefre, long known as the unfinished pyramid in the area of ​​the pyramid at Abusir, gives us considerable insight on how Egyptologists gather evidence to unravel Egyptian history.

This pyramid was known by the name of the pyramid is divine divine spirits of the Ba is the power of Neferefre.

 A view of the unfinished pyramid at Abusir in Egypt Neferefre

This pyramid was examined by a number of early explorers, including Perring, Lepsius, Morgan, Borchardt and others. While some of them thought it might be pyramid Neferefre, others attribute it to Shepseskare. Others are reluctant to make any identification of its owner. None of them believed that the mummy of the destination owner occupying the unfinished pyramid. In fact, the pyramid was much like a mastaba, but it was square and not rectangular, or north-south as mastabas. Indeed, due to its truncated form, which had been planned as a pyramid structure has become a bench as priests later called "the primitive hill", a place of eternal birth, life and resurrection.

A closer view of one corner of the unfinished pyramid at Abusir Neferefre
Ludwig Borchardt, an experienced archaeologist and expert in pyramids, in fact came within inches of discovering the true nature of the unfinished pyramid in the early 20th century. Not wanting to completely ignore the ruins on the western edge of the cemetery Abusir, he conducted test excavations. He decided to dig a trench several meters into a deep ditch which opened from the north towards the center of the monument. Here, in the case of a finished tomb, it would be natural to assume the existence of a passage leading to a burial chamber. However, it has not reached the passage or its debris, and this negative result confirmed his belief that it was a crude wooden structure consisting of no more than the first step of a core of the pyramid, the work never started the basement.

A view of the burial pit in the unfinished pyramid Neferefre at Abusir in Egypt during its excavation
Unfortunately for Borchardt, had he continued his probe, maybe dig a meter lower than the point where he left, he would have made two important discoveries in the rubble. Had he reached the bottom of the pit, he would have discovered, still in situ in part, the huge blocks out of red granite which was built in the portcullis blocks the passage leading to the burial chamber, which showed the existence of a substructure completed. He also found a cursive inscription recorded in black on a block from the heart of the structure containing the name of Neferefre. However, negative findings shipped unfinished pyramid 70 years of archaeological oblivion. Finally, in 1970, the University of Prague made a systematic investigation and gathering various indices, came to the conclusion that it was the pyramid Neferefre, and his mother was actually buried in the pyramid.
First, they discovered that the mortuary temple of Neferefre is specifically mentioned in a fragment of papyrus found in the funerary temple of Neferirkare. This paper suggests at least that the mortuary temple of Neferefre was located in Abusir area, and probably very close to that of complex Neferirkare.
The second index is a block of limestone found in the village of Abusir, which is probably the mortuary temple of Neferirkare. It revealed a partial scene of family Neferirkare, which included, with the king, his wife Khentkaues II and his eldest son, Neferre. We believe Neferre, which means "Re is beautiful", probably later changed its name to Neferefre which means "Re is its beauty."
The unfinished pyramid as it was before the excavation

Finally, as the southeast corner of the pyramids of Giza line with each other and the point of the old center of Heliopolis (the temple of Ra and the famous center of the solar cult, Iunu) is also the case of northwest corner of the main pyramids at Abusir. The first two pyramids on the line with Heliopolis Abusir are those of Sahure and Neferirkare with the unfinished pyramid is next. Therefore, it seems that belonged to another king, whom we believe to have been Neferefre. Other archaeological evidence has since reinforced the assumption that the pyramid is that of Neferefre.
The Czech team, now in the latter part of the 20th century, had a technical advantage over Borchardt, they began their investigation using geophysical surveys, in particular with magnetometry. They did not need to cut to the original work, because they were able to study the front of the eastern wall of the structure of the surface. Their findings were both surprising and ambiguous, for tests that found in the sand lay a huge building, very articulate mud brick, with a basic outline of the shape of the letter "T". It was the characteristic shape of the mortuary temples in the 5th and 6th dynasty.
The excavations that followed, with intervals between individual archaeological seasons, lasted throughout the 1980s and 1990s, and produced a number of unexpected events, and in many ways, unique archaeological discoveries involving construction complex technique, the status of a royal tomb of this period and the organization of royal mortuary cult, among others.
In addition, the incomplete nature of this complex probably held off looters and thieves stone do as much damage they might have (although they did considerable damage), while at the same time allowing the Archaeologists examine many previously unexplained issues relating to the construction of a pyramid.
We now know that the site has been leveled and the bearings were taken to the base of the pyramid future. Then, in the middle of the base trench was dug rectangular east-west orientation, in which the underground parts of the royal tomb to be built. Then, a deep ditch was dug in the trench of the north, to be the initial search for the passage leading to the underground chambers.
It was also possible for archaeologists to determine the unfinished nature of the structure that work on infrastructure was expected to begin shortly after the masonry work on the first stage, the lowest of the superstructure.
This superstructure has provided some interesting and meaningful to archaeologists surprises. It was long believed that the core pyramids were built by the organization of the masonry stone entered a system of layers inclined core, inclined at an angle of about 75 degrees, leaning on a central axis stone around the vertical axis of the pyramid. Therefore, the effect was masonry arranged in an inner envelope system resembling the layers of an onion. Interestingly, this theory was proposed by Richard Lepsius, based on a study of the pyramid and other Neferirkare at Abusir. Borchardt, who investigated the three great pyramids of Abusir embraced this theory.
However, the incomplete nature of this pyramid and cleaning thick layers of debris covering the remains of the king's burial chamber seems to refute this theory earlier. Here, the outer face of the first step of the pyramid core was formed by a retaining wall made of huge blocks of dark gray limestone up to five meters long, which were well linked with clay . These were stacked to the first basic step of about seven meters high. Similarly, there was a retaining wall internal build smaller blocks, which are the walls of the rectangular trench for the infrastructure of the grave. Between these walls there were, however, no layers of accretion, but rather small rooms, poor quality limestone, sometimes glued together with clay mortar and sand, and sometimes packed dry. Sometimes there were even small compartments built of pieces of raw stone and filled with rubble where sometimes mixed with fragments of mud bricks and pottery.

It is logical that other great pyramids of Abusir were built the same way. Certainly, if this method is sloppier and not as safe in terms of stability, it is also less demanding in terms of time and materials. Of course, this also explains why the pyramids Absuir, now stripped of their outer casing of fine white limestone and their nuclei exposed to all kinds of erosion in both humans and Mother Nature, now look shapeless heap of stones. This is not necessarily true that all the pyramids of Egypt were built this way.
Start working on the structure, shortly after the start of work on the superstructure was given the gable roof rooms substructure, which was almost certainly planned by the architect of the pyramid logical step, as in previous pyramids of Abusir consists of three layers, each made huge limestone blocks. Apparently, however, we assume that the premature death of the rule forcing manufacturers to reduce the number of layers.
However, the procedure needed to construct the roof of the infrastructure the presence of compact masonry on the sides so that the huge blocks of the gable roof could be anchored. Therefore, the gabled roof was at the base of the pyramid.
The premature death of the king, apparently even before the construction of the corridor down and infrastructure has led to a radical change in the original draft construction. All underground chambers were quickly completed and vacant above the gable roof of the king's funerary apartment space was filled with pieces of stone and rubble walls arranged diagonally race crossing over the center the pyramid. Now, the first step of the soul like a truncated pyramid, which was then faced with blocks of white limestone and end. The outer surface, which had a tilt angle of about 78 degrees, has been carefully smoothed, and now it had been planned as pyramid has become an atypical square mastaba.
Papyrus fragments found in the mortuary temple of the evidence that its complex structure has been referred to the "Butte" by those who built and later served in the funerary cult of the king. Interestingly, the top surface of it was covered with a clay layer several centimeters thick, on which coarse gravel collected from the surrounding desert has been applied. Therefore, the roof of the "Butte" merged with the desert.
Unfortunately, while it may have made the structure less attractive to thieves stone that some of the most visible pyramids, it has also made it easier to quarry stone structure. The thieves simply dug up, and even set up a workshop on the terrace to break the white limestone align the internal parts. The structure was probably the first looted during the First Intermediate Period, so it became an easy target for stone extraction in subsequent years. We know, for example, that the stones of the pyramid were used in some graves nearby tree by the Persians at the end of the history of Egypt, and the stones continued to disappear down in the 19th century.
 The ground plan of the unfinished pyramid at Abusir in Egypt Neferefre

The entrance to the pyramid in the middle of the north side, near ground level. It curves slightly to the southeast before reaching the hall, and in the lower regions is lined with pink granite and sealed with the same material. The huge barrier block of pink granite is unique in this pyramid. It has no equivalent among the royal tombs of the age pyramid. Normally, the portcullis (the blocking stones) would slide vertically. However, in the pyramid of Neferefre, an ingenious system of pairs of legs and stones with holes was used. This system was designed and can be used because the builders of the tomb Neferefre were aware that the monument would be an easy target for thieves from above.
Past the barrier, the antechamber and burial chamber in the pyramid are aligned precisely east-west. These two pieces are lined with white limestone and fine.

Obviously, there are only lean the original content of the pyramid were found. But of considerable importance, with fragments of a pink coffin, four alabaster canopic jars, containers and offerings alabaster parts of a mummy were also found, including the complete left hand. Anatomical survey suggests that the mummy belongs to a man from 20 year to 23, and other evidence suggest that these remains are probably those of Neferefre.
In addition, a collection of brands and manufacturers markings present on the masonry of the monument is of great historical importance. For example, an entry referencing "the year of the first herd of cattle", which roughly corresponds to the second year of the reign of King, is very important. It is very likely that this year or shortly thereafter, Neferefre death.

A view of the remains of the mortuary temple at Abusir Neferefre

After the death of Neferefre, his heir was faced with a difficult task, because it was he who was responsible for filling the grave, and as the new divine pharaoh, to prepare for the funeral of his predecessor. Normally, the mortuary cult of the pharaoh was created in a large temple built in front of the east face of the pyramid, but in the short time remaining before the funeral Neferefre it was obviously impossible to build a fully articulated complex planned defined on the basis of religious principles.
Thus, on the east side of the foundation upon which the pyramid was built a very small mortuary temple, with a north-south axis, was hastily built small blocks of white limestone and fine. He was a part of five meters from the platform base of the pyramid which was originally created by two layers of huge limestone blocks as a base for smooth limestone casing of the pyramid.
Because of the ruined state of the temple, we can only guess a large part of its design. During the construction phase, the mortuary temple was a very simple, rectangular design. The entrance is via a staircase and ramp on the southeast. The core of the temple consisted of an open, just behind the entrance, where the priests performed the rituals of cleansing essential that were necessary before entering the temple itself, which consisted of three rooms hall.

Sme parts of the mortuary temple remain surprisingly Entact
The most important of these parts, and the most important was the supply room. It was originally a very dark room, which almost certainly had a false probably made of red granite embarked on its west wall, but no evidence of this is now wearing. Before that a depression in the ground marks the spot where once stood an altar. It is likely that these two small rooms on the sides of the room supply initially held the funeral boat, and perhaps other cult objects. It was also a foundation deposit discovered in a small tree in the temple paving leading to the head of a small bull, a bird sacrificed during ceremonies related to the foundation of the temple, and vases of symbolic clay miniatures gray clay to seal the vessels.
We do not really know for sure who built a small temple of origin. Near the original temple were found two clay seals engraved with the name of Horus, Sekhemkhau belonging to the king Shepseskare likely, which could be the successor of Neferefre (or its predecessor). If it were, however, it is likely that reigned for a few months at most, and perhaps only for a few weeks.
We know that Niuserre, probable brother Neferefre soon became king and was faced with a number of difficult tasks. Fortunately, there rule Egypt for more than thirty years, because he was faced with not only ended, at least temporarily, the grave of his brother Neferefre, but also those of his father and his mother Neferirkare Khentkau II .
It was certainly that Niuserre, showing a lot of improvisation and originality, prolonged and fundamentally changed the design of the mortuary temple earlier. The result was a huge and unique architecture, funerary complex in design design has no parallel among other pyramid temples. Now, he was named "Divine are the souls of Neferefre."
Now, this great temple built almost entirely of mud brick with a rectangular plan and stretched across the eastern side of the unfinished pyramid. Although less durable than stone, mud brick was cheaper to build and it took less time.
The entry of this new temple was through a portico with two lotus repressed limestone columns four and was in the middle of the facade. At the center of this addition, between input columns and the offering of the ancient temple hall were also the access passage, what we believe to have been five annexes storage. It was a unique arrangement that other pyramid temples have provided an inlet chamber, an open courtyard and perhaps a sanctuary five niches for statues of the pharaoh worship in this space. After damage to a minor accidental fire in the western part of the temple, two boats wooden worship were ritually buried and sprinkled with sand in one of these rooms.

An ornate fragment gods and pharaohs covered with gold leaf from the complex Neferefre
There was a group of ten, warehouses of two floors in the north with five units each arranged on either side of a path. This number of units is not a coincidence, as the temple has maintained a priesthood divided into five groups phylai. Many papyri were found in these magazines North. In addition, there was also a bit mysterious fragments frit paintings and ornaments pottery found in these rooms. The sintered tablets were adorned with images of gods and pharaohs along with hieroglyphic inscriptions that were covered with a white paste and covered with a thin layer of gold leaf. Originally they may have been intended to decorate religious objects and wooden boxes that hold the material worship. Ceramic ornaments, on the other hand, can be decorated large symbolic wooden vessels used in the temple ceremonies. Daily and ceremonial pottery, flint knives and blades, containers diorite, alabaster, gabbro (a type of volcanic rock), slate, limestone and basalt, and other remains have also been found in the reserve. There were also clay seals with impressions of cylinder seals from registration. They are invaluable because they record various information about what was in the reserves, who was responsible for this and what would be obtained or released. The findings of the temple Neferefre more than doubled the number of seals dating from the Old Kingdom. They allow archaeologists to reconstruct with some accuracy the organization of the administration, economic relations, mode of keeping and many other aspects of historical importance.

A 80 cm Statue of walking Neferefre his funeral complex at Abusir
The southern part of the addition consists of a single hall oriented east-west with 20 six columns stemmed lotus wood (even though none of them survived). We do not believe that they were made of wood and covered with a thin layer of stucco. The pillared hall was rectangular in design and divided by four rows of five columns aligned in the same east-west direction. These multicolored columns supported a flat wooden ceiling at a height of about four meters. Although nothing survives of the roof is, from remnants of polychrome stucco discovered on the clay soil of the room as the ceiling was probably painted blue and decorated with golden stars evidence. This was the first pillared hall that we know at the time of the pyramid builders. The room was probably a religious function which we are unaware.

Neferefre sitting on his throne holding a club against his chest. The statue is made of limestone pink
About this room were found fragments of statues Neferefre, diorite, basalt, limestone, quartzite and red wood and wooden figurines of enemies captive, with other objects of worship. Among the statues were relatively complete six statues, so often broken Neferefre. The best of them, and it was the smallest at about 35 centimeters high, was a limestone statue pink discovered in fragments and incomplete. It depicts the young pharaoh seated on a throne and holding a club or hedj, the emblem of royal power over his chest. The king's head was adorned with a uraeus, and protected from behind by deployed Horus, the falcon god wings. The largest statue made of stone was about 80 inches high, though the largest statue of any size was a wooden one, though fragments of it were discovered. All statues display perfect finish compared to the materials used and the actual representation of the pharaoh. Now on permanent display at the Museum of Ancient Egypt in Cairo, is the third largest collection of royal statues of the Old Kingdom.
Small wooden statues of the enemies of Egypt are those of Asians, Nubians and Libyans, knees, hands tied behind their backs. These statues may have been originally located on the throne or shrine where the statue of the pharaoh was royal located. Captured enemy kneeling before the Pharaoh are a completely royal motif related to the ancient Egyptian concept of the ability of the Pharaohs to maintain order in the universe.
 The upper part of a statue of an Asian enemy
 Southeast of the funerary temple, another surprise was unearthed. While the name "Sanctuary of the knife," was known from contemporary written sources, archaeological evidence was lacking. Here, however, for the first time, was discovered in a slaughterhouse for sacrificial animals. Built in two phases, there was a rectangular plane oriented north-south with rounded corners. There was a broad north entrance where animals, mainly cattle, but also wild goats, gazelles and others, have been conducted in the region. In the northwest part of the slaughterhouse, the animals have been slaughtered while using the sharp, flint knives. There was room in the northeast corner of the area where the meeting would be to was carved on a block of wood. The rest of the "Sanctuary of the Knife" consists of storage rooms. Stairs up the slaughterhouse suggests that the roof has also had an effect. Here, the meat can being dried.
The slaughterhouse was higher than expected. However, the written evidence of a papyrus fragment explains that, during a religious festival ten days thirteen bulls are killed every day to support the mortuary cult, which clearly reflects the large number of people directly or indirectly involved in Neferefre of worship. This is essentially unproductive use of people and resources may also help explain the cause of economic, political and social decline of ancient Egypt at the end of the Old Kingdom.
The slaughterhouse has been used for its intended purpose for a short period of time. Even during the reign of Niuserre, when the temple was extended eastward, mortuary cult Neferefre was reorganized, and then the meat offering of the pharaoh table was provided elsewhere. At that time, "the Sanctuary of the Knife" has simply become a large storage facility.
The last phase of major construction in the development of a new temple monumental entrance and a large courtyard open columns, how he acquired the characteristic form "T" was made. At this point, the slaughterhouse became a part of the temple. The monumental entrance was located on the east-west axis of the tomb complex, as before. Its roof was also supported by a pair of six columns stems of fine white limestone, but this time in the form of papyrus stems grouped. Of course, just like the lotus, papyrus also had great significance to the ancient Egyptians as a symbol of resurrection, eternal life and lasting prosperity.
The new court was influenced by religious beliefs, and it became an important place of worship royal funeral ceremonies. Oriented in a layout-west, it was rectangular, and around him was a flat wooden roof supported by 24 columns. Although none of the columns have survived, circular trees footprint few bases remaining limestone suggest that the columns were made of wood and probably made to look like palm trees, an ancient Egyptian symbol of fertility, the abundance and peace.
No trace is left on the theme of the decoration on the walls of the court, or the altar, perhaps stone or alabaster, to be held in the northwest part of the court on which bids were submitted.
During the reign of Djedkare, housing for the priests was established between the columns, and if they kept the cult alive, the existence of their homes inside the building must have reduced the status of the temple and accelerated its decline. Towards the beginning of the 6th Dynasty, during the reign of Teti, the entry "Sanctuary of the Knife", with all this section of the complex was walled constantly, and at the end of the same dynasty, during the reign of Pepi II, mortuary cult Neferefre disappeared.
After the good order was restored in the Middle Kingdom, the Abusir funerary cults, including that of Neferefre were restored, but only for a short period of time. In the New Kingdom, the destruction of the complex began in earnest.

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