The Great South Court
QuickLink to Main Home Page: Ancient Egyptian Monuments Project
- QuickLink to Djoser's Step Pyramid in Saqqara: Djoser's Step Pyramid in Saqqara
(Note: all dimensions to be verified) (editing) The Great Court is located directly South of Djoser's Pyramid. It is enclosed by the Pyramid and 3 implied walls that are ± 8.500 meters high (2 meters lower than the perimeter wall) and measure in a North/South direction ±177.000 (?) meters to the spring point of the base of the pyramid by ±106.400 meters wide. On the Southwest corner, the wall is interrupted with the Token Palace structure that also retains the same height and detailing of the inner wall, except that there is a frieze on top with cobras... (not sure if the frieze goes all the way around or is just for the Token Palace). While this wall is detailed in a similar fashion with niches as the Perimeter Enclosure Wall, there are a few differences to this interior enclosure wall: first there are no projecting bastions, second this wall is not as tall, third there an additional convex horizontal element near the top of the niches, fourth, there is a square shaped upper niche, and fifth, there are projecting cobra emblem relief at the top. (does this only exist at the palace or does it run all the way around?) The East and West wall faces are set in from the outter edge of the pyramid creating a condition where the orthogonal wall intersects the sloped based of the Pyramid. There are only 2 (?) places to enter the Great Court from outside the Djoser precinct, through the colonnade (public entrance?) or through the Sed-Hed Court (priest entrance?). There are only two other exits, one leading into the Token Palace and the other to the Pyramid (?-is this original or a modern entry point). It is said (where?) that temporary structures were put within the Great Court (during festivals?). The area is __ hectars (ha) allowing it to hold a reasonable capacity of as many as ________ people in combination with other temporary structures and areas for circulation (show formula).
The elements within the Great Court consist of the following:
- Token Palace: situated in the South-West corner with projecting platform. (size)
- Boundary Caims: 2 sets of closed U-shaped low structures (4 total?), to the right of the centerline to the pyramid and orientated towards each other. They are aligned with a (statue?) which is itself situated next to the base of the pyramid. While commonly referred to B-shaped, the pairs of Boundary Caims are set very close to one another without actually touching. Photographs indicate that they may of been double walled, that is with an opening in the center. As such, we might better refer to them as two sets of D's since each one doesn't actually touch the other.
- It is said that that these markers where for the Pharaoh who, on specific occasions, would perform a ritual run between them thus symbolically encompassing the entire country, both North and South. 
- (provide dimensions and exact location, relationships to other components within precinct)
- Exit of Colonnade: Probably the same height as other pass throughs within the colonnade, it features what has been called a false door. This angled buttress or door has no apparent embellishments as do other doors in the same area and of the same or earlier periods. On the other jamb/side of this doorway the limestone alternates leaving recesses. Of the blocks that do project they are cut in a concave fashion implying that there might of been a functioning door which when opened would present a symmetrical composition by complimenting the false door.
- Entry/Exit to Sed-Hed Court: is situated at the Southeast corner of the Pyramid base and led to the Pyramid East Courtyard.
- Ramp: (?) (there is a reference to a ramp but I see no signs of one)
- Throne Dais: Situated adjacent to the pyramid roughly centered on the original mastaba and Boundary Caims now appears off center to the final pyramid.
- Entrance to pyramid: (?-original? there appears to be an entrance into the pyramid on this side)
- 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)
Above description unless noted otherwise: --NBuccalo 15:09, 14 January 2009 (UTC)