Talk:Djoser's Step Pyramid in Saqqara

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General Discussion[edit source]

Culvert, Debris, Filled Buildings, Construction Methods, Master Plan: I was thinking about all the structures on the site that look like buildings, but are filled with debris. Considering after the walls were built, it would of been much easier to leave them empty, why did they fill them with debris. Certainly they didn't go off-site and bring debris into the complex just to fill up a bunch of buildings that wouldn't be occupied? Obviously to me is they had a lot of debris on site already that they didn't want to cart away and dispose of at a great enough distance to not impact the necropolis. What was this debris used for? Ramps. I hope to show a relationship between the volume of the void of the culvert and the fill within the complex. I think Imhotep designed the scale of this project with the calculations of what to do with the material that was left over at the end, hence not only the size of the Perimeter Bastion Wall but also consideration was given to the disposition, placement and sizes of all filled areas. Getting walls at the correct height, allowing for terraces to not visually impact the Great Court, but allow for additional volume, was all a part of the Master Plan. --NBuccalo 17:28, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

Are animations okay in Wiki?--NBuccalo 22:38, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

  • I have never seen anything that prohibits them. You should go ahead if you want to use them Barta 01:54, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

I am planning to draw up a plan of the Djoser complex and saqqara. I was hoping to post it on just this page but now because the parts of the complex are on different pages I suppose we'll have to post them on each page. I like the separate pages, but it does seem redundant to go to a page from the main page to see a table of contents to then have to click on another link. Oh well, I think these individual pages will fill up as well. --NBuccalo 22:38, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

I really need some elevation dimension for the reconstruction. It's hard to spend lots of time trying to figure out what height the colonnade is only to find a dimension somewhere and have to rebuild it again. If you see anything on JSOR (?) with dimensions and elevations (height), let me know. thanks. --NBuccalo 22:38, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

  • I will look for them. Barta 01:54, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Thanks, today I was working on the reconstruction. The colonnade is completed, at least until I get new dimensions --NBuccalo 03:08, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

  • Ugh. I looked everywhere I could think off. Verner, Lehner and Rossi don't have any height measurements. I tried JSTOR and that was a bust as well. One more chance: The Complete temples. I'm looking for the book rigth now ... Barta 04:33, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Nope, can't find anything ... Barta 05:10, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

Amazing that nothing is available except hand drawn plans with a scale bar. Too bad. Okay I'm really glad you tried, I will go ahead and finish the digital model based on my best estimates, then maybe a grant will allow me to create an 'architectural dimension set' we can share with anyone. thanks again. --NBuccalo 23:48, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

I was just thinking this section, when we link to a new page, I think we should add at least an image of what we are linking to. Right now that page looks strange to have so many important aspects with just a link representing them. I will try and do this myself. --NBuccalo 23:49, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

The Great Trench[edit source]

Speculation: I think this was the material for either the Pyramid, the ramps or both. I plan on doing mass studies to show where the material went. I don't think it was a mistake that many of the interior 'buildings' were filled and that Imhotep had probably made calculations of the material needed and where he'd have to put it after construction. I need to know how deep the trench was to make a calculation. I think it also served a part of a procession partly based on its spiral shape. There are references that there are niches in the trench. I think I have found one image of the Trenches/niches. I've read that they may of been filled with water (Lerner). If part of a procession, that would mean the little access point in the SE corner was used only when the procession wasn't happening as the width of the trench could easily hold 10s of thousands. It's interesting that there is another trench to the West but there are no signs of a Pyramid or any other structure on that site.

That's possible. I can't remember, are any other quarries known? I think sometimes they have been able to identify the source of the stones used. I wonder if there was any evidence that the thench was ever meant to be filled with water? Barta 12:46, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

With open ends, it seems doubtful that water was used (but the boat connection does add an element). I see it as a spiral procession, allowing visitors to literally wait in line to be able to get in to 'see the show'. One things has struck me, apparently 10s and hundreds of thousands of people worked on the pyramids, don't you think they'd want to be there when the pharaoh is being entombed? I can imagine that every time a Pharaoh got on the Nile highway that people would line the banks to see, much like people do when the President of US drives by in his/her procession today (I know I did once and waved to Ronald and Nancy Reagan, picking a spot where we were the only people they would see, got a big smile and wave from both of them :-). The spiral makes sense in terms of moving material. I have a couple of excavations in mind to explore layers of 'all that debris' to see if remnants of a ramp can be found within the complex which might yield clues on the culvert. Back to the boat development, I think this was added later, I suspect Imhotep had enough new concepts to deal with that adding a trench with water/boats would of been over the top, after all he was asking his Pharaoh to build a huge monument and complex that had never been dome before. The boats though do seem reasonable given my theory on the wave aspect of the pyramid and I could understand in that context how a later Architect would propose it. Also, why add niches and then fill the whole thing with water? Did they think niches were structural and needed? --NBuccalo 18:50, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

The Perimeter Wall[edit source]

Speculation: I'm very interested to know if soldiers, banners, etc. lined the tops of these walls during special ceremonies. I can easily imagine a stair leading up to the main entrance bastion and soldiers marching to the left and right to take positions. It would be great to find an image of soldiers on top of a wall, this according to the way the wall has been reconstructed. I mention banners because of a connection to sails, square rigging sail to be specific and how that might limit one's view of the Pyramid during a procession around the culvert. The banners could/would have hieroglyphs... --NBuccalo 18:53, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

I'm not aware of any depictions of soldiers (or priests for that matter) lining the top of the wall. Unless it was for pomp and ceremony, would there be a reason to have them on the top? My first guess wold have been that the people would have gathered in the courtyard if at all. I'm also not sure what kind of standing army they had in that time. I might expect maybe some personal guard for the king. I have no idea how large such a personal guard would be. Barta 12:46, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

I had to look up what bastion means ... According to an online dictionary it's a projecting part of a fortification. Barta 17:07, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

I've seen bastion used in reference to this perimeter wall and it seems a good descriptive way to distinguish it as being different than the interior wall. I think, as the population of Egypt grew, that the precinct idea was probably made impractical along with the trench as a place to stand in line. Was it about a million around the 3rd Dynasty, I read population totals somewhere, I'll have to write it down as I think it might be an Architect's consideration for the sizes of spaces he provided. --NBuccalo 18:53, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

I'd like to consider calling this The Perimeter Bastion Wall, what do you think? I'd like for there to be an adjective that distinguishes it from the inner court wall and other enclosures including the Great Trench which may have similar details. By adding 'bastions' it clearly identifies it as having projections which is a completely different characteristic than all other walls. I also think there might of been a significance behind them going to the trouble of essentially doubling the size of this wall, and thus worth making note of. --NBuccalo 15:48, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

  • Sounds good to me. Unless there is a history of referring to it as the perimeter wall? I mean in the literature and such, but I have to admit the extra adjective makes sense to me. Barta 02:01, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

The Entrance Colonnade[edit source]

The available plans for the colonnade that I've found all show slight variations. It will be hard to examine details not knowing exactly what is there, but I'll do my best. --NBuccalo 18:56, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

The Pyramid[edit source]

Dimensions: (there should be a real record of all dimensions starting not at the ground plain, but at the first ridge and working up and down from there. The first ridge is the only thing we can see clearly while the ground plain might of moved up or down over the years. It should include all angles and dimensions from all sides, I understand that the pyramid is not a perfect rectangle... the critical points to document are along the hypotenuses, at each intersection of sloping planes, with this all angles, surfaces and placement of the pyramid can be computed truly accurate, it is the 'working point' method to architectural measurements.)

Access (editing): (was the entrance to the pyramid on the South original ?)... (give sizes, locations, detailing information, and proximity/relationships to other elements)... --NBuccalo 18:54, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

I read that there was a ramp in the NEast side that lead North Court of the Pyramid. The ramp could accommodate many more people than the Hypostyle Hall entrance. I wonder if 'life' events occured on the South facing side (south side of pyramid lit up by the Sun) while when the Pharaoh died, he was taken to the North side (since it was in shadow, representing darkness, night, setting sun and death) considering the North side of the Pyramid holds the funerary structures while the Great South Court holds the caims with the king running around to link North and South parts of the kingdom... just a thought. --NBuccalo 03:55, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

The Great South Court[edit source]

need confirmation of some basics:

  • Entry/Exit to Sed-Hed Court: (original?)
  • Ramp: (?) (there is a reference to a ramp but I see no signs of one)
  • Statue:
  • Entrance to pyramid: (?-original?)
  • Surface: Currently there is a very fine sand throughout this Great Court and has been said to be unique to Saqqara. (would of course be curious is this was part of the building material used to help move stones, to grind them, etc. or a modern 'topping' for tourists I think Imhotep did think of everything, perhaps it could be analyzed and compared to other 'sands' to identify its origin)

I changed this title as I have seen it called The Great Court before, but keeping South Courtyard as a reference as this has been used as well. The Great Court identifies its significance as it was probably the main square of the entire complex. What do you think? --NBuccalo 15:52, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

hmmm, changing the name again to The Great South Court thus combining the two, as there may be something important about the activities that occurred on the south versus those that happened on the north. --NBuccalo 04:18, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

think about this a little more, perhaps The Great South Courtyard would be better so not to make it sound like a court of law. --NBuccalo 23:51, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

The South Tomb[edit source]

The T Temple[edit source]

The Sed Festival Complex[edit source]

Considering this area was filled with sand after the death of the Pharaoh, as he would no longer need it, it is no wonder that this was the first and last time the mock buildings were built of stone. --NBuccalo 03:49, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

South Pavilion and North Pavilion[edit source]

The Mortuary Temple[edit source]

The Serdab and the Northern Part of the Djoser Complex[edit source]

SERDAB topic: I was thinking about this 'experience' of looking through a hole to peer at the Pharaoh Djoser... I have/had a hunch that the Ankh symbol was placed on the outside of the hole, so that one would look through it. Seeing how it obviously wasn't carved into the surface I realize this is probably not likely (perhaps painted on?). But I'd be interested in seeing or knowing about other examples where one can peer through a hole to see a statue/image of a Pharaoh. The idea is you'd be looking at the image of the Sun. --NBuccalo 17:05, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

I think the point may have been for the pharaoh to look out, not us look in on the pharaoh. I think he was the focus of the complex and it revolved about his experience in the afterlife. But maybe there were markings on the inside of the serdab? I actually don't know if the inside was decorated or not. Barta 16:05, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

SERDAB topic: Hmm, I saw it as a kind of signature: 'this Pyramid belongs to Djoser and here he is...' Considering the Pharaoh could fly through walls, why the hole? I'd be curious to see more examples, if they're always located to the North, in a Mortuary Temple area? There are also two holes to look in/out. In plan there is also a space directly behind the statue within the Pyramid, and on the outside two flanking (outreaching) walls (kind of Sphinx like). This stature (Serdab) is also located in a 'public-like' open space, as if to give access to many people, just outside the entrance to the maze which leads into the Mortuary Temple. Speaking of the maze-like quality, I'd be interested in looking at comparisons of building hieroglyphs to the disposition of walls as shown in plan. I think I've noticed some similarities. It would be very interesting to see if Imhotep actually 'wrote the meaning' of a structure with actual hieroglyphs (words) or at least alluded to them. It would also show, if true, that there was a real link between hieroglyphs and architecture. Of course the reverse could be true, that palaces existed in one form and hieroglyphs copied the architecture to infuse the hieroglyph with an understandable meaning. --NBuccalo 17:05, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

One last observation, I think these holes are shaped like funnels, like the bell of a musical instrument. I wonder if sound was a component of the experience? I think there was an obelisk during a later period that 'sung' but stopped once repairs were made to it. --NBuccalo 17:11, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

I looked at some of the illustrations in Lauer's book and there are no visible decorations of the serdab, either inside or out. Barta 12:48, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

I can't imagine they wouldn't of carved it, so that idea is out! but the shape of it (although the sound thing is totally off the wall), might be interesting to note to see if it appears elsewhere. --NBuccalo 18:56, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

The West Mounds[edit source]

They terrace I believe to not only hold additional fill but to also not be visible from the Great Court above the inner wall. --NBuccalo 17:30, 14 January 2009 (UTC)