Click on the abstracts below to read or download the PDF of the Journal of Ancient Egyptian Architecture articles.
This article presents a new survey of the corbelled chambers within Snefru’s Bent and Red pyramids at Dahshur, based on photogrammetry work carried out by French company Iconem in 2018. As a consultant to the project, the author was involved in the research design and gave the company guidance on where to focus their efforts to optimize data acquisition and survey effectiveness. Once the data was processed, an analysis of the architecture was carried out and is reported here for the first time. The site survey history including pre-existing reports for the spaces of interest are first reviewed. The 3-dimensional digital models of the interior spaces are then analyzed. High-quality photogrammetry images from the project are presented here, along with new diagrams and a new description of the formation history of the funerary chambers.
This paper is a new examination of the original find context of the Saqqara lion tables (CG 1321–2) in ‘Gallery C’, an underground structure in the Step Pyramid complex. The substructure may date to the 1st millennium BCE, and this structure was likely part of an embalming complex for the Apis or other sacred animals. The adjacent Western Galleries were probably re-used during this period as an animal necropolis.
This article describes a digital archaeological experiment to test a new hypothesis that explains the purpose and unusual form of the so-called Trial Passages at Giza. The enigmatic connected passages are carved into the bedrock on the east side of the Great Pyramid of Khufu and have been interpreted in various ways over the decades since they were first cleared. Based on a new analysis of their design, it is proposed here that they could serve very well as a place from which to observe the northern stars. Prolonged and accurate measurement of the stars of the circumpolar region of the northern sky could have been made from inside the main inclined passage, which rises from south to north. Accurate location of the Northern Celestial Pole (NCP) during these observations could have facilitated the accurate cardinal alignment of sides of the Great Pyramid. Other details of the architecture support this interpretation, and are set out here for consideration.
This article reports a project by the author to analyze the well-known scene showing the transportation of the colossus statue of Djehutyhotep displayed in his tomb at Dayr al-Barshā. As part of the analysis, the author created a full-color reconstruction of the original scene, and carried out a full review of the most up-to-date scholarship available on the subject matter. Finally, the article provides a full translation of the hieroglyphic texts accompanying the scene and interpretation regarding the transportation technique they describe.
This article addresses the techniques used for the extraction of limestone blocks from quarries during the Old Kingdom. The study draws on the latest research conducted at the Wadi al-Jarf harbor complex, located on the western shore of the Gulf of Suez. Approximately one hundred extracted blocks have been discovered there in an unfinished state, along with tools such as ropes, wooden hammers, and pieces of copper chisels. The items found in and around the quarry have led to a better understanding of the methods used by the ancient stonecutters, to produce large-sized blocks. To study the processes in more detail, an experiment was carried out to extract a one cubic meter stone using replicas of the ancient tools found at the site, and to test new hypothetical reconstructions of the steps followed in the process. The information collected and the experience gained has yielded new understanding of the organization of labor and has resulted in cutting performance rates being estimated for the first time. Information about the use of water to soften the stone during cutting of extraction trenches has also been brought to light.
Ancient Egyptian surveyors constructed 90-degree angles at the corners of the Great Pyramid to an accuracy of one part in ten-thousand. This paper proposes that the surveyors achieved this reliably by using an approximation technique and measuring rods and extending the resulting perpendicular lines along the pyramid’s sides. Computations based on realistic and testable assumptions yield results that are persuasively close to those observed archaeologically. Using a 20 by 30 m base/side isosceles survey triangle to construct the perpendiculars at the right-angled corners produces a resultant angular deviation of 35.6 arc seconds, compared to the measured average of 37 arc seconds. Similarly, the calculated difference in the length of the sides is 3.93 cm compared to the measured differences in the lengths between the northern and western sides of 4.4 cm and between the northern and the eastern sides of 4.1 cm. Further discoveries at the pyramid’s base dating to the appropriate era and found in the appropriate locations also support the historical use of the method. Additional considerations show how sophisticated geometrical intuition was developed during the 4th dynasty and that it was fundamental to the construction of highly symmetrical pyramids.