Written by Felgr Pavel on .

ShepseskafA crisis of the 4th dynasty came after Menkaure's death, which could be related to the death of crown prince and the eldest son of Menkaure - Khuenre. The crisis was over, when Shepseskaf came to the throne, who was likely a son of Menkaure and one of his minor wives.

Mastaba of Shepseskaf

Shepseskaf let build himself a huge mastaba instead of a pyramid in Saqqara (so-called Mastabat Fara'un, which belongs to the most mysterious buildings from Old Kingdom up to the present day). It was already descripted by Perring for the first time. Lepsius put his mind to it only briefly. However, he noticed, that the tomb reminded a big sarcophagus with its shape. But it was Mariette, who began the exploration of the building's underground in 1858. His notes were lost except for several drawings, which were published by Maspero later. He did a systematic exploration of the tomb in 1924 - 1925. It was only him, who set Shepseskaf as the owner of the tomb.

Mastaba of Shepseskaf doesn't stand on a ledge rock, but on a foundation platform. The mastaba has a rectangular plan oriented to the north-south as usual. The core of it is created by two levels of big gray-yellow limestone blocks, which came from the quarries located to the west of the pyramids in Dahshur. Perring, Lepsius and de Morgan as well found the rests of paths the stone was transported on to the site. The facing was from fine white limestone, only the lowermost layer was incased with red granite.

Mastaba structure

The entrace into the underground reminds more a pyramid than a mastaba. It lays in the line of northern wall approximately 2,5 meters above the base. A descending corridor from red granite verges into a horizontal one behind a small hall. There is a granite block from 3 falling boards right at the beginning of this part of the corridor. This corridor leads into the ruler's postmortal dwelling, that is created by a vestibule, funereal chamber and stores. The vestibule and funereal chamber had an gabled ceiling from red granite. The bottom part of the gabled ceiling of the chamber was picked a little to look like a dome. Remains of a sarcophagus were found in the funereal chamber.

Shepseskaf decided to leave the necropolis in Giza a build himself a mastaba in Saqqara. This decision could be partly made because of religious reasons (as a protest against growing influence of the sun god Ra priesthood from Heliopolis), but there could be other reasons as well. There wasn't a suitable place for construction of another royal complex in Giza and the situation was also complicated because of the responsibility for finishing of the complex of his predecessor. The construction in Saqqara could also be taken in as a demonstration of parentage unity, which was founded by Sneferu, whose pyramids were build in nearby Dahshur.



Message from the Nile

  • History of Czech institution of egyptology

    The Czech egyptology founder is Frantisek Lexa, the author of up to now evaluated work about ancient Egypt magic and Demotic grammar. Seminar for egyptology started thanks to him in Faculty of Philosophy and Arts of Charles University in Prague in 1925. Two years later Lexa became the first regular professor of egyptology in then Czechoslovakia.

  • Abusir - outstation of Czech egyptology expedition

    Abusir is an archaeological locality in Egypt named after nearby recent village Abusir. It is situated on western Nile bank on the edge of Libyan tableland approximately 20 kilometers to the south-west of Cairo. The name of this locality is derived from ancient Egypt god Osiris, from Per Usir (Busiris), "(cult) place of Osiris" (Busiris in Greek).

  • Researches in Western desert

    Czech egyptology is successful in researching not only on pyramidal fields in Abusir recently, but also in supporting and organizing smaller expeditions into egyptian Western desert. Czech expedition has been working even in slowly evanescent oasis El-Hajez since 2003, which is situated about 400 km to the south-west from Cairo.

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