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Measurements and Construction Pictures


The members of the "Galerie LAEMMER" attempt to determine the construction situation using measurements of the Egyptian structures with the accompanying construction pictures and drawings and to archive this in a compact form using books. A brief excerpt from the measurement work already conducted will be listed here.

Grave shaft of the Djoser pyramid

The entrance to the south passage to the grave shaft underneath the Djoser Pyramid was opened in 1993, revealing one of the strangest and most secretive passages underneath the Djoser Pyramid. The Hobby-Ägyptologen e.V. measured this passage in 1997 and created a construction picture. This passage connects the south courtyard with the Djoser grave shaft at a depth of 4.8 meters and an average cross section of 2.9 meters wide and 1.85 meters high. This stone hewn passage leads, with many changes of directions, to the southwest corner of the Djoser grave shaft. The imprecise construction of this passage and the long chisel tracks lead to the assumption that the passage wasn’t created during the ancient empire, but during the middle empire or even later. It is difficult to imagine that this passage was created by grave robbers as it is much too big and extensive for this purpose and the square form does not correspond to the typical round passages dug by grave robbers, as their haste and lust for gold places little value on precisely square designs. On the other hand, it is possible that the removal of masses of stone (1,400 m3) take place through this passage. This would make it conceivable that grave robbers dug this tunnel. It can further be assumed that the creator of the south passage was not aware of the off center design of the grave shaft. The entrance to the south passage was placed in the middle of the south side of the pyramid last like the 2nd pyramid entrance on the north side, also placed in the middle. As can be seen from the drawing, there was a large correction in direction at the rear end of the passage so that one could still join the exterior corner of the grave shaft.

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The question still remains open today as to what use and purpose the passage had. Is ist a cult entrance or were additional burials meant to take place here? Furthermore, there are question related to the columns and arrows in the passage. Three arrows and twenty columns, some of which have been roughly worked with stone tools are in the middle of the passage at irregular intervals. With few exceptions, they have a square abacus and the same foundations. With most supports, the shaft consists of multiple parts. The space between the roof and abacus is filled with limestone mortar, whereas some wooden wedges provide stability. These supports were probably erected when the cracks still visible in the stone roof today were noticed, which were caused by the masses of stone of the pyramid construction above. In the lower part of the passage, near the grave shaft, are two columns on which someone placed two sculpted basins on the upper part of the columns. The basins, filled with oil and fat, contained a wick which served as a light source. According to our knowledge, the attachment of a light source using an oil filled basin to a column is unique in Egyptian construction history. A further discovery was made in the passageway on one of the front columns in the entrance area. A ribbed column here included a cartouche whose pharaoh name is unfortunately no longer legible. From the location where the south passage joins the grave shaft, the newly freed grave shaft provides a unique glance at the construction history of the Djoser pyramid. The shaft floor is covered by the fallen stone blocks and bars which bury the granite sarcophagus of Pharaoh Djoser. These bars and stone blocks, which serve as the shaft covering and/or walls, are still partially visible in the walled mastabas shafts. On the north wall of the grave shaft, it is easily recognized how the 18 meter high north shaft, hewn crookedly in the rock, which is primarily still walled, joins the grave shaft. On the lower part of the wall (-25 m), one can see the passage opening of the north pyramid entrance join the grave shaft.

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Royal Pyramids in the Cheops Pyramid

Cheops erected his own necropolis for family members on the eastern plateau of the royalburial complex. The former director of the pyramid districts, Dr. Zahi Hawass, freed this part of the royal pyramids of debris and restored the passages and burial chambers. In 1998, the cleared royal pyramids and their surrounding were measured by the association Galerie LAEMMER and documented with construction drawings. We would like to make a small part of these construction drawings available to the public here.

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