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date: 19 July 2019

The Art and Archaeology of the Giza Plateau

Abstract and Keywords

The pyramid complexes of kings Khufu, Khafra, and Menkaura of the Fourth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom period with their surrounding cemeteries at the Giza Necropolis contribute to our understanding of the development of a royal necropolis. Although there is evidence for pre-Fourth Dynasty settlement and burial, Khufu’s pyramid complex of the early Fourth Dynasty included a decorative program with reliefs and presumably statuary; while the decoration of the mastabas ranges from slab stelae and reserve heads to fully decorated chapels. Khafra’s and Menkaura’s pyramid complexes of the mid to late Fourth Dynasty probably focused more on statuary reflecting an evolving ideology of kingship. The quarrying of local limestone provided the necessary core blocks for the pyramids and mastabas, creating areas for the Sphinx and rock-cut tombs of the late Fourth Dynasty into the Fifth. The Heit el-Ghurab settlement (HeG), a center of production, and the tombs of the pyramid builders also contribute to our understanding of the necropolis’ functioning and its hierarchical structure. Giza continued to be used for burial through the Late Period.

Keywords: Giza Plateau, pyramids, Egypt, Egyptian Kings, Fourth Dynasty

Introduction

The art and archaeology of the Giza Plateau contribute to our understanding of the functioning of a Fourth Dynasty royal necropolis and its expansion over time. The Fourth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom period is circa 128 years in length (ca. 2575–2465 +18 years?) and a highlight of the Pyramid Age.1 It witnessed the construction of the three pyramid complexes at Giza, west of the Nile River, belonging to kings Khufu (Greek: Cheops), Khafra (Greek: Chephren), and Menkaura (Greek: Mycerinus): father, son, and grandson. Djedefra, another son of Khufu’s who reigned between Khufu and Khafra, built his pyramid complex at Abu Roash to the northwest of Giza. The pyramid complexes of Khufu, Khafra, and Menkaura consist of a pyramid, pyramid temple, causeway, and valley temple (Fig. 1). Queens’ and satellite pyramids as well as boat pits are also features of these complexes, although their locations vary. Surrounding cemeteries contain the burials of members of the royal family, elite, and officials, perpetuating the familial and bureaucratic structure that existed during their lifetime. Mastaba fields (mastaba: Arabic for bench) were laid out in regular rows around Khufu’s pyramid during the early Fourth Dynasty. Later, mastabas were added to these nucleus cemeteries and rock-cut tombs were hewn into the bedrock, including in former quarries used for the building of the pyramids and tombs. The Sphinx, guardian of Khafra’s pyramid complex, was carved in one of these quarries. Southeast of the three pyramid complexes is an administrative and economic center, the Heit el-Ghurab settlement (HeG), associated with the pyramid builders. To the west of this settlement are the tombs of the pyramid builders, including overseers of the artisans and workers. These peripheral areas were instrumental to the construction and decoration of the pyramid complexes since they supplied stone, materials, labor, and, skilled artisans. How these various areas interacted over time illustrate how the Giza Necropolis evolved and expanded during the Old Kingdom period and later.

The Art and Archaeology of the Giza PlateauClick to view larger

Figure 1 Plan of the Giza Necropolis.

Drawing by Tamara Bower after Jánosi, Giza in der 4. Dynastie, 78, Abb. 1.

Reign Lengths of Khufu, Khafra, and Menkaura

Traditionally, the reign lengths of the Fourth Dynasty kings are as follows: Khufu (twenty-three years), Djedefra (eight years), Khafra (twenty-six years), and Menkaura (eighteen years) based on a Biennial Cattle Census, graffiti, and the Royal Canon of Turin. However, recent research has suggested that Khufu had a reign length of twenty-six or twenty-seven years based on a rock inscription in the Western Desert and a papyrus discovered in Wadi el-Jarf on the Red Sea coast (Kuper and Förster 2003, 26; Tallet 2013, 1020–1021, fig. 5). Djedefra also has the possibility of a longer reign length due to Khufu’s boat grave graffito at Giza (Year 21/22?) (Abubakr and Mustafa 1971, 11, fig. 6; Jánosi 2005, 71–72, 441, Tab. C1) and the time necessary for the construction of Djedefra’s pyramid complex at Abu Roash (Jánosi 2005, 72). A discussion of the art and archaeology of the Giza Necropolis must factor in what may have transpired during Djedefra’s reign, that is, the construction and decoration of tombs at Giza, despite the transference of the royal necropolis to Abu Roash. Although the three pyramid complexes date to the Fourth Dynasty, the Giza Necropolis was used for burial throughout the Old Kingdom period (Fourth through Six Dynasties) and into later Egyptian history, most notably the Late Period.

Radiocarbon dating of Old and Middle Kingdom monuments, including the Giza pyramids, was undertaken by Mark Lehner and The American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE) in 1984 and members of the David H. Koch Pyramids Radiocarbon Project in 1995, which included more than 450 organic samples, in order to establish a radiocarbon chronology (Bonani et al. 2001, 1297–1320).2 This chronology would then be compared with the historical chronology based on written evidence. The 1984 results showed a 374-year discrepancy (older) between the project’s findings and the Cambridge Ancient History dates associated with the kings who built the pyramids (David H. Koch Pyramids Radiocarbon Project 1999, 30). The findings from the 1995 study are as follows: “In general, the calibrated dates from the 1995 Old Kingdom pyramid samples tended to be 100 to 200 years older than the historical dates for the respective kings and about 200 years younger than our 1984 dates” (David H. Koch Pyramids Radiocarbon Project 1999, 31). However, there are problematic issues associated with the radiocarbon dating, namely differing dates for Khufu and Khafra between the 1984 and 1995 studies, but not Menkaura; whereas the dates associated with Khufu’s pyramid range over a 400-year period from the 1995 study (David H. Koch Pyramids Radiocarbon Project 1999, 31; Bonani et al. 2001, 1305–1306). With regard to Khufu’s pyramid: “In 1984, 20 dates on charcoal produced a calibrated average age of 2917 B.C. In 1995 we had 18 dates on charcoal from this pyramid giving an average date of 2694 B.C., closer to the pharaoh’s historical dates, 2589–2566 B.C., but still a century older” (David H. Koch Pyramids Radiocarbon Project 1999, 29, 31). Interestingly, three samples taken from Mark Lehner’s excavation in association with the Ancient Egypt Research Associates (AERA) south of the pyramids at Heit el-Ghurab (HeG), a site dated to Khafra’s and Menkaura’s reigns, provide an accurate correlation with the historical dates of Menkaura, 2532–2504 B.C. (David H. Koch Pyramids Radiocarbon Project 1999, 29, 32; Bonani et al. 2001, 1304).

More recently, the discrepancies, particularly in the Fourth Dynasty, were addressed by the Egyptian Chronology project at the University of Oxford (Dee et al. 2009, 1061–1070). Their approach utilized the raw data from the previous 1984 and 1995 studies, but reanalyzed it “using the OxCal calibration program, making particular use of its new outlier detection functionality” for the 158 measurements from the Fourth Dynasty (Dee et al. 2009, 1061). The Bayesian approach resulted in a series of new calibrations that are closer to the “conventional chronological records” (Dee et al. 2009, 1061). One of the suspected reasons for the range of dates for the Old Kingdom in the previous studies (1984 and 1995) is based on the life span of building materials that were possibly reused from settlements, “accruing further age offsets” (Dee et al. 2009, 1064). The new study had results with younger and even more precise ranges of calibrated age, and they were based on estimates of completion dates for the monuments (Dee et al. 2009, 1067).

Another study was undertaken at the University of Oxford; but instead of sampling charcoal, wood, or mummified and human material, the project conducted 211 radiocarbon measurements on samples from short-lived plants (Ramsey et al. 2010, 1554–1555). These measurements were done in cooperation with a Bayesian model that incorporated the historical information concerning reign lengths (Ramsey et al. 2010, 1554). The goal of the project was the creation of a chronology for Dynastic Egypt. Ramsey et al.’s results are important, particularly as there are no astronomical observations in Old Kingdom papyrus finds (Ramsey et al. 2010, 1556). According to the study, “The results for the OK, although lower in resolution, also agree with the consensus chronology of Shaw (18) but have the resolution to contradict some suggested interpretations of the evidence, such as the astronomical hypothesis of Spence (24), which is substantially later, or the reevaluation of this hypothesis (25), which leads to a date that is earlier” (Ramsey et al. 2010, 1556, Tab. 1).

Discovery and Exploration

Antiquity

During the Middle and New Kingdom periods (ca. 2030–1070 B.C.),3 stone was robbed from the pyramid complexes at Giza, including blocks with reliefs, for reuse in other buildings (Lehner 1997, 38, 132). Royal statues were also presumably broken up for reuse based on the fragments discovered throughout the necropolis, including the Eastern (G 7000) and Western cemeteries (Smith 1946, 20, 31, 33–35, pls. 5a, 12).

In the New Kingdom period, Amenhotep II constructed a temple near the Sphinx as Horemakhet (“Horus in the Horizon”) and also set up a stela (Sphinx Stela) that mentions Khufu and Khafra (Lichtheim 1976, 39–43; Zivie 1976, 64–89 [NE 6], 262–265; Lehner 1997, 38, 132; Lehner and Hawass 2017, 470–471). The Dream Stela erected by Thutmosis IV, Amenhotep II’s son, is located in an open-air chapel between the Sphinx’s forepaws.4 The Dream Stela recounts Thutmosis IV’s dream while in the area of the Sphinx, substantiating his right to rule over Upper and Lower Egypt if he restored the Sphinx (Zivie 1976, 125–145 [NE 14], 266–269; Lehner 1997, 130–132; Lehner and Hawass 2017, 472–473).

In the Third Intermediate and Late Period (ca. 1070–332 B.C.),5 the Giza Necropolis was still used for worship and burial, and there was a renewed interest in the Old Kingdom (see Lehner and Hawass 2017, 494–525). In the Twenty-First Dynasty, a Temple of Isis (“Mistress of the Pyramids”) was installed in the chapel of Queen’s Pyramid GI-c, east of Khufu’s pyramid6 (Zivie-Coche 1991, 172–246; Lehner 1997, 116; Lehner and Hawass 2017, 499–505). During the Twenty-Sixth Dynasty, the Isis Temple was enlarged and became a center for the worship of Khufu, Khafra, and Menkaura (Baines and Málek 1984, 164; Lehner 1997, 38). Burials also occurred during the Late Period, including along Khafra’s causeway (Baines and Málek 1984, 164; Zivie-Coche 1991, 267–302, particularly 282–287).

Classical Period

Herodotus, who visited Egypt in the fifth century B.C., described the pyramids at Giza, and stated that it took twenty years for Khufu’s pyramid to be built (Reisner 1942, 20; Herodotus 1972, 7–8, 179–182). He also gave a description of Khufu’s causeway as “decorated with carvings of animals” (Herodotus 1972, 178–179; Lehner and Hawass 2017, 82).

Medieval Egypt

During the medieval period, blocks were taken from the pyramid complexes at Giza, including casing stones,7 and reused in buildings in Cairo (Reisner 1942, 20–21; Lehner 1997, 41; Manuelian 1999, 139; Lehner and Hawass 2017, 85–86). Blocks with relief decoration were also reused, such as the hippopotamus in a wall of the eleventh century Bab el-Futtûh in Cairo, possibly from Khufu’s pyramid temple (Drower 1935, pl. VIII; Hawass 1987, 519, 803, plan 35; Pawlicki 1990, 20, 25, fig. 8).

Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries

Eighteenth Century: Napoleon Bonaparte (French; 1769–1821)

Napoleon Bonaparte’s expedition to Egypt in the late eighteenth century included a documentation project (members of the Commission des sciences et arts d’Égypte), which involved cataloguing and drawing the monuments of Egypt, resulting in the publication of Description de l’Égypte (Atlas Antiquités I–V: 1809–1828) (Commission 1809–1828; Lehner 1997, 46–47; Néret 2001, vol. V, 178–189; Manuelian 2017, 31; Lehner and Hawass 2017, 90–92). The Giza pyramids and Sphinx are recorded in this publication.8

Nineteenth Century: Belzoni, Caviglia, Lepsius, Mariette, and Petrie

Giovanni Battista Belzoni (Italian; 1778–1823)

Giovanni Battista Belzoni explored the pyramids of Khufu and Khafra. He discovered the upper entrance of Khafra’s pyramid (Reisner 1942, 21 [4.3]; Lehner 1997, 49; Lehner and Hawass 2017, 94-95; Manuelian 2017, 35).

Giovanni Battista Caviglia (Italian; 1770–1845)

Giovanni Battista Caviglia also explored Giza, including the pyramids and tombs, from 1816 to 1819 (Reisner 1942, 21 [4.1–4.2]; Lehner 1997, 49, 130–132; Lehner and Hawass 2017, 92–94; Manuelian 2017, 32–33). He excavated around the Sphinx, finding Thutmosis IV’s open-air chapel with the Dream Stela.

Karl Richard Lepsius (Prussian; 1810–1884)

Karl Richard Lepsius documented about eighty-seven tombs at Giza by clearing, drawing, and numbering them9 (Reisner 1942, 22 [4.5]; Lehner 1997, 54; Manuelian 1999, 139–140; Lehner and Hawass 2017, 99; Manuelian 2017, 40–42). Between 1849 and 1856, Lepsius’s massive documentation, Denkmaeler aus Aegypten und Aethiopien (twelve volumes), was published; it has views, plans, and drawings of the pyramids and tombs at Giza.

Auguste Mariette (French; 1821–1881)

At Giza, Auguste Mariette cleared the Sphinx and discovered Khafra’s valley temple in 1851 (Manuelian 2017, 43). He was appointed the head of the new Antiquities Service in Egypt in 1858 (Lehner 1997, 55). Mariette also excavated Khafra’s valley temple, uncovering statues in 1860 (now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo), including the king seated with the falcon god Horus encircling his head with wings (Egyptian Museum, Cairo CG 14) (Reisner 1942, 22 [4.6]; Porter and Moss 1974, 21–23; Lehner and Hawass 2017, 99–100; Manuelian 2017, 43).

Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie (British; 1853–1942)

Sir W. M. Flinders Petrie arrived at Giza in 1880 surveying the site, including Khufu’s pyramid (Reisner 1942, 22 [4.8]; Manuelian 1999, 140; Lehner and Hawass 2017, 100–101; Manuelian 2017, 47). He made accurate measurements using a system of triangulations (1880–1881), which he connected with “the ancient points of construction” (1881–1882) (Petrie 1883, 3, 7, pl. I; Lehner 1997, 56–57). Petrie also explored mastabas in the Western Cemetery (Manuelian 1999, 140).

Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries

During the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, American, European, and Egyptian Egyptologists excavated different archaeological concessions at Giza, establishing its major features.10

George Andrew Reisner (American; 1867–1942)

George Andrew Reisner worked at Giza both for the Hearst Expedition (1902–1905)11 and the Harvard University-Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition (1905–1942) (Reisner 1942, 22–25; Manuelian 1999, 140–145, figs. 80, 83–86, 88–89, 92; Lehner and Hawass 2017, 102–104; Manuelian 2017, 51–53, 57–61, 63). His excavations in the Western Cemetery include tombs in cemeteries G 1200, G 2000, G 2100, G 4000, G 5000, and G 6000. Reisner’s early excavations in G 1200 produced slab stelae and a reserve head (Manuelian 1999, 144; Manuelian 2003, 117, fig. 175). He also uncovered Menkaura’s pyramid complex, discovering important statuary such as the series of triads (1908) and the dyad of Menkaura and a Queen (1910) (see later) (Reisner 1931, 35, 37, 108–115). Excavations of Menkaura’s valley temple also revealed a late Old Kingdom town in association with the temple (Lehner 1997, 137, 232; Manuelian 1999, 145). In the 1920s, Reisner uncovered the mastabas in the Eastern Cemetery (G 7000) belonging to members of Khufu’s family. He also discovered the tomb of Hetepheres I (G 7000 X) in 1925, who was the wife of Snefru and also possibly Khufu’s mother (Reisner 1927; Lehner 1985; Lehner 1997, 117). Another important discovery is the excavation of the rock-cut tomb of Meresankh III (G 7530sub) in 1927, who was a presumed queen of Khafra and daughter of Queen Hetepheres II and Kawab (Reisner 1927). This beautifully decorated chapel retains its original painting, showing the brightly colored aspect of these decorative programs.

Georg Steindorff (German; 1861–1951)

Georg Steindorff, affiliated with the University of Leipzig and the Pelizaeus Expedition (1903–1907), excavated the western portion of the center section in the Western Cemetery (Reisner 1942, 22–23, 25; Porter and Moss 1974, 108–118; Manuelian 1999, 140, 143, 145–146, fig. 83; Spiekermann and Kampp-Seyfried 2003; Manuelian 2017, 53–54). The mastabas in the “Steindorff Cemetery” are smaller and are dated to the Fifth and Sixth Dynasties. Eventually, Hermann Junker took over Steindorff’s concession in 1912.

Uvo Hölscher (German; 1878–1963)

Uvo Hölscher cleared Khafra’s pyramid complex in 1909 and 1910, defining the features of its temples as well as uncovering finds, including statuary (Hölscher 1912; Manuelian 1999, 146; Lehner and Hawass 2017, 104; Manuelian 2017, 54).

Hermann Junker (German; 1877–1962)

Hermann Junker, affiliated with the University of Vienna, excavated at Giza from 1912 to 1914, taking over Georg Steindorff’s concession in the Western Cemetery (Reisner 1942, 23, 25; Manuelian 1999, 143, 146, fig. 83; Lehner and Hawass 2017, 104; Manuelian 2017, 55, 62–64). Junker uncovered the large mastaba of Hemiunu (G 4000) with its wonderful statue of the tomb owner in 1912 (Junker 1929, 132–162). Following World War I, Junker resumed his work again from 1925 to 1929. He excavated the central section of the Western Cemetery, including tombs in G 2100, G 4000, and G 5000. In 1928 to 1929, Junker also excavated the G I S Cemetery, south of Khufu’s pyramid, which contains mastabas of officials of the late Fourth and Fifth Dynasties or later (Junker 1951, 1953; Porter and Moss 1974, 216–228; Jánosi 2005, 254–274).

Selim Hassan (Egyptian; 1886–1961)

From 1929 to 1935, Selim Hassan excavated the mastabas and rock-cut tombs in the Central Field and the Khufu-Khafra Quarry, between the Sphinx and Khafra’s pyramid, in association with Cairo University (Hassan 1932, 1936, 1941, 1943, 1944, 1950, 1953; Reisner 1942, 23, 26; Lehner 1997, 60, 61; Lehner and Hawass 2017, 106–107). From 1936 until 1938, he cleared the area around the Sphinx on behalf of the Service des antiquités de l’Égypte (Reisner 1942, 26; Hassan 1953, 1960; Manuelian 1999, 146). In 1938 and 1939, Hassan worked on the east side of Khufu’s pyramid clearing the area of the pyramid temple, the upper end of the causeway, and the boat pits (Hassan 1960).

Zahi Hawass (Egyptian; 1947–)

Zahi Hawass, former secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) and former minister of state for antiquities (MSA), excavated tombs in the Western Cemetery (Hawass 2003, 64–76). He also cleared several areas including: east of Khufu’s pyramid (1984–1995) discovering his satellite pyramid in 1991; in front of Khafra’s valley temple; and around Menkaura’s pyramid (Hawass 2003, 54–61, 82–95). One of Hawass’s most important discoveries is the tombs of the pyramid builders (Hawass 2003, 96–131; Lehner and Hawass 2017, 339–353; Manuelian 2017, 75), located southeast of the royal pyramid complexes, which contained different types of statues (Hawass 2011, 21–73).

Mark Lehner (American; 1950–)

Mark Lehner, director of Ancient Egypt Research Associates (AERA), has studied the Sphinx and its geological layers.12 More recently, in conjunction with the Giza Plateau Mapping Project (GPMP) and AERA, he discovered an important administrative and economic center, Heit el-Ghurab (HeG) settlement, located south of the “Wall of the Crow,” which is associated with the pyramid builders (Lehner 1997, 236–237; Nolan 2012, 2–3; Lehner and Hawass 2017, 364–388; Manuelian 2017, 74–75; also see aeraweb.org). Lehner has also reexcavated the pyramid town associated with Menkaura’s valley temple (MVT) as well as excavating the Khentkawes Town (KKT) and the Silo Building Complex (SBC) (Tavares, Mahmoud, and Shehab 2012, 20–23; Sadarangani and Witsell 2013, 9–11; Nolan 2013, 12–14; Lehner and Wetterstrom 2014, 2–5).

Documentation Studies

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston’s Giza Mastaba Series has contributed significantly to the documentation of individual mastabas and rock-cut tombs (see References). These publications include drawings and photographs as well as information from George Andrew Reisner’s original excavations in the Eastern (G 7000) and Western cemeteries.

Documentation and Modern Technology

Peter Der Manuelian, Philip J. King professor of Egyptology and director of the Harvard Semitic Museum at Harvard University, created the “Giza Archives Project” (http://www.gizapyramids.org) as founding director in 2000 in association with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. He has put the archaeology of Giza online through photos, excavation reports, and publications, including the Harvard University-Boston Museum of Fine Arts expedition as well as other expeditions and collections of Giza material (Manuelian 2017, 84–123). Manuelian has also renumbered tombs throughout the Giza Necropolis, which had their original Lepius numbers, giving them a “G” designation following upon Reisner’s system. In conjunction with Dassault Systèmes, Manuelian has created a three-dimensional image of the Giza Plateau (Giza3D) (http://giza3d.3ds.com/#discover) (Manuelian 2017, 126–153). This imaging is an invaluable recreation of the pyramid complexes and tombs, presenting both superstructures and substructures, as well as reconstructing the decorative programs of the chapels. More recently, Manuelian is developing a new website (http://giza.fas.harvard.edu), “Digital Giza: The Giza Project at Harvard University,” which includes documentation, photos, drawings, and publications regarding the pyramid complexes, tombs, and related sites at Giza as well as three-dimensional imaging.

The Art and Archaeology of the Giza PlateauClick to view larger

Figure 2 A point cloud image of the eastern elevation of the Khentkawes tomb (LG 100; G 8400) produced with the Riegl LMS-Z420i laser scanner. The interior room of the chapel shows faintly through the exterior.

Aeragram 8/2 (Fall 2007), 10-11. Courtesy of Yukinori Kawae and Ancient Egypt Research Associates (AERA).

Yukinori Kawae’s three-dimensional mapping of Khentkawes’ funerary structure (LG 100; G 8400) through laser scanning, in conjunction with Japanese colleagues, has gathered data through millions of points (Kawae 2013, 1–4; also see Lehner and Hawass 2017, 292–293) (Fig. 2). Kawae is a research fellow at Nagoya University in Japan and is also a member of the 2016 class of Emerging Explorers of the National Geographic Society in the United States. Laser scanning technology will greatly assist future documentation projects based on its accuracy and efficiency in gathering information.

The Archaeology of the Giza Plateau

Archaeological Evidence for Early Giza: Pre-Fourth Dynasty

The Memphite region, particularly during the Early Dynastic period, witnessed the construction of cemeteries, the main areas being North Saqqara and Abu Ghurab on the west bank of the Nile and Helwan and Ma’sara on the east (Jeffreys and Tavares 1994, 143, 161–164, 166–171, figs. 1–5, 7–13). Interestingly, the early tombs in North Saqqara are located in relation to the escarpment (Jeffreys and Tavares 1994, 149, 166, 167, figs. 7, 8), demonstrating how the positioning of cemeteries is connected to the topography of the site.

The construction of the three pyramid complexes of Khufu, Khafra, and Menkaura during the Fourth Dynasty with their surrounding cemeteries on the Giza Plateau probably disturbed the presence of earlier structures, which makes a discussion of the early archaeological history somewhat problematic. Evidence for both the Predynastic and Early Dynastic periods at Giza is based on archaeological finds including architecture as well as objects.13 Settlement debris which was removed for the construction of Menkaura’s pyramid complex was excavated by Karl Kromer in 1971, and it is dated to the Predynastic and Early Dynastic periods based on the pottery and flints (Kromer 1978; Bietak 1979, 114, 142n35; Jánosi 2005, 75). Presumably, there was an earlier settlement, whose destruction was necessary in order to construct Menkaura’s pyramid complex.

Excavations of south Giza have also uncovered tombs dated to the Early Dynastic period (First and Second Dynasties). From 1902 through 1903, Lorenzo Dow Covington excavated the “Mastaba Mount,” uncovering thirty-nine tombs of mud brick and stone, which he numbered (Martin 1997, 279–288, fig. 1; Manuelian 2017, 49). Tomb 1, known as Mastaba T or “Covington’s Tomb,” is made of mud brick with palace-façade decoration (PMIII2 1994, 294, plan III; Martin 1997, 281; Lehner and Hawass 2017, 49–50). W. M. Flinders Petrie also recleared this mastaba between 1906 and 1907 (Petrie 1907, 3, 7–8, pl. VII; Martin 1997, 281). Although Covington dated it to the First Dynasty by comparison with a tomb at Saqqara, Petrie placed it in the early Third Dynasty; while Geoffrey Martin dates it to the late Second/early Third Dynasty (Martin 1997, 281).

Further evidence for the Early Dynastic period includes a mud sealing of Djet of the First Dynasty from Mastaba V (Nazlet Batran), which was discovered by Alessandro Barsanti in 1904 and excavated by Georges Daressy on behalf of the Cairo Museum, and then reexcavated by Petrie between 1906 and 1907 (Petrie 1907, 2, 5, pls. II, IIIA, VI; Kromer 1991, 12). In another tomb that may be Tomb 11 according to Martin, Petrie discovered five mud sealings with Ninetjer’s name, which he dated to the Second Dynasty based on the sealings (Petrie 1907, 7, pl. VE; PMIII2 1994, 295; Martin 1997, 283; Manuelian 2009, 116n17; Lehner and Hawass 2017, 49).

More recently, Egyptian excavations have concentrated on the Early Dynastic tombs in south Giza, and there are also early sherds from the Heit el-Ghurab (HeG) site excavated by Mark Lehner and the Ancient Egypt Research Associates (AERA).14

Another area that may predate the Fourth Dynasty structures at Giza is the Wadi Cemetery, located north of the Western Cemetery near mastaba G 2000 and beyond the edge of the plateau (Manuelian 2009, 106, fig. 1; Lehner and Hawass 2017, 57–58). This area was excavated by George Andrew Reisner and the Hearst Expedition between 1903 and 1904 (Reisner 1942, 23–24; Manuelian 2009, 105–140). Although Reisner numbered seventy-seven tombs, there were more that were left unnumbered and probably unexplored (Manuelian 2009, 108).15 The tombs are of mud brick, undressed stone, as well as fieldstone with two distinct levels of architecture (Manuelian 2009, 109, 115). On top of these tombs are ancient dumps that apparently originated up in the direction of mastaba G 2000, and Reisner discovered a layer that contained “mud brick or plaster and limestone chips” between two further strata of clean sand and dirt (Manuelian 2009, 115–117, fig. 13). These dumps may have originated from the clearance of the area near G 2000 in the Western Cemetery when Khufu began constructing his pyramid complex and adjacent tombs. Interestingly, mud-brick and fieldstone mastabas near G 2000 on the plateau appear on a 1904 photo, indicating that such may have proliferated in this area prior to Khufu and survived beyond his development of the Western Cemetery (Manuelian 2009, 116, 117, fig. 14). If pre-Khufu, these tombs further reinforce the idea that Giza was used as a necropolis prior to the construction of the Great Pyramid.

Finally, the tomb of Hetepheres I (G 7000X) in the Eastern Cemetery (G 7000), excavated by George Andrew Reisner on behalf of the Harvard University–Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition between 1925 and 1926 (Reisner 1927, 2–36; Reisner and Smith 1955, xxv, 1–3, 13–22, figs. 1, 12–15, pls. 1, 2. 3a, 4; Lehner 1985), recalls Third Dynasty traditions, and it may have existed prior to the construction of Khufu’s pyramid complex (Jánosi 2005, 76). Located south of Khufu’s causeway, Reisner believed that the entrance to the tomb with its twelve steps resembled those at Dahshur as “the stairway type of Dynasty III” (Reisner 1927, 31; Reisner and Smith 1955, 13; Jánosi 2005, 76, particularly 76n333). Certainly, the development of the Giza Necropolis under Khufu would draw upon earlier traditions; however, as noted previously, there is an earlier presence, which may support the dating of certain architectural features of Hetepheres’ tomb (G 7000X) to pre-Khufu.

Early Fourth Dynasty: Khufu’s Pyramid Complex and Surrounding Cemeteries

The Selection of the Giza Plateau: Geography

The selection of the Giza Plateau as a necropolis for Khufu’s pyramid was probably due to a variety of factors. As already mentioned, there is evidence for the plateau’s earlier usage as a settlement as well as a necropolis during the Predynastic and Early Dynastic periods. However, there is a distinct northward pattern in the location of the pyramid complexes during the Third and Fourth Dynasties: Meidum, Dahshur, Saqqara, Giza, and Abu Roash. Several factors may have influenced the choice of necropolis. First, the proximity of the Nile to the west bank during this period (Jeffreys and Tavares 1994, 157–159, 173, fig. 15; Lehner 1997, 13) is an important asset to the construction and decoration of the pyramids and tombs on the Giza Plateau. According to David Jeffreys and Ana Tavares, “The Libeini and the marginal lakes seem at all events to be fully exploited for funerary and other ceremonial purposes only from the late Third or early Fourth Dynasty (Meidum, Giza) when the pyramids and solar temples were located much closer to the edge of the plateau, no doubt partly for logistical reasons” (Jeffreys and Tavares 1994, 159). The positioning of the pyramid complexes at Giza close to the Nile, particularly during the annual inundation, allowed the transportation of materials, such as stone, to the pyramid site via the harbor areas (Lehner 2014, 14–23), as well as contributing imagery to the decorative programs of the pyramid complexes and surrounding tombs.

Secondly, each king chose a separate site for the construction of his necropolis. In the early Fourth Dynasty, Khufu made a conscious decision to create a “new” necropolis separate from his father, Snefru, at Dahshur, by utilizing the advantages of the Giza Plateau in constructing his pyramid complex. However, in addition to Khufu, Khafra and Menkaura also chose the Giza Plateau for their pyramid complexes, suggesting a closer affinity to this site as well as the possibilities it offered for construction. Similar to the Early Dynastic tombs in north Saqqara, the topography of the Giza Plateau contributed to the monumentality of the pyramids. The plateau itself, higher than the surrounding area, provided a vista for the pyramids and pyramid temples; while the causeways lead down to the valley temples, which were located near the floodplain. Moreover, the geology of the site, namely the Mokkatam Formation, contributed to the layout of the three pyramids on a diagonal (Lehner 1997, 106). It is noteworthy that the southeast corners of the three pyramids are nearly aligned on this diagonal. There is definitely a strong emphasis on alignment and adherence to the cardinal points in the laying out of the pyramid complexes and surrounding cemeteries (Lehner 1997, 106). The quarrying of local limestone was also a significant factor in the creation of the pyramid complexes and surrounding cemeteries, as well as the Sphinx. The core blocks used in the construction of the pyramids derived from the “large open-cast quarries near to the pyramids themselves” (Klemm and Klemm 2008, 42–43).

The Importance of the Giza Plateau: Religious Reasons

From a religious standpoint, it is suggested that the diagonal created by the three pyramids at Giza points to Heliopolis: the main center for the worship of the sun god Ra, located to the northeast, which became more prominent during the Fourth Dynasty (Lehner 1997, 106). The pyramids themselves are presumably solar symbols or represent the primeval mound from which creation arose (Wilkinson 2003, 209). Moreover, the correlation between the developing solar ideology and its architectural expression is evident in the early Fourth Dynasty at Giza. According to Dieter Arnold, “The influence of the sun cult at the beginning of the 4th Dynasty caused royal mortuary enclosures (Djoser precinct) to be replaced with a complex of structures whose chief elements had their origin in sun temples: an east-west orientated precinct with a pyramid, representing a solar monument or a primeval mound” (Arnold 2003, 183). There is no question that the east-west axis, following the route of the sun, affected the layout of the temples and tombs at Giza. Glen Dash of the Glen Dash Foundation for Archaeological Research (see http://glendash.com) has focused on Giza’s solar alignments, including the setting of the sun during the winter solstice along a line from Khufu’s valley temple to the southeast corner of his pyramid (Dash 2011, 7–8). It is apparent that the individual components of the pyramid complexes, namely the pyramids and temples, have distinct alignments that are connected with the solar routes.

Plan of Khufu’s Pyramid Complex and Surrounding Cemeteries

The establishment of Khufu’s pyramid complex and the surrounding cemeteries (Western, Eastern [G 7000], and the youngest G I S [southern]) date to the Fourth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom period (Reisner 1942, 77–84; Jánosi 2005, 84–154, 254–274, part. 258) (see Fig. 1). By the early Fourth Dynasty, a central pyramid with cemeteries formed the essential plan of pyramid sites, such as at Meidum and Dahshur. The Middle Cemetery at Dahshur is, however, approximately 800 m from Snefru’s North Pyramid (Alexanian 2007, 162, Abb. 223). The change in Giza’s plan was the greater proximity of the cemeteries to the pyramid: the western edge of mastaba G 1209 in the Western Cemetery is about 475 m from Khufu’s pyramid;16 while the eastern edge of Ankh-haf’s mastaba (G 7510) in the Eastern Cemetery (G 7000) is circa 240 m from Khufu’s pyramid.17

The laying out of the mastabas in regular rows at Giza also emphasizes a preconceived plan. This regularity may derive inspiration from the Middle Cemetery at Dahshur, which has four rows of mastabas in a somewhat uniform plan (Alexanian 1999, 15–17, Abb. 1).

The Giza Necropolis and Social Status

Nicole Alexanian studied the location and dimensions of the mastabas at Dahshur in relation to social status, formulating a hierarchical structure. She demonstrated a direct correlation between social status and the scale of the tomb as well as the burial equipment of the tomb owner (Alexanian 2007, 163). At Giza, Alexanian used textual evidence as a basis for understanding the ancient Egyptians’ perception of tombs (construction, size, status, and burial) during the Old Kingdom, such as those belonging to Debeheni (LG 90; G 8090) and Meresankh III (G 7530sub), rather than “a theoretical construction of a modern scholar” (Alexanian 2006, 1–8).

Ann Roth cites a number of factors, including titles, family connections, and economic resources, that might have influenced the type of tomb (Roth 1995, 49–58, particularly 49–50). She also provides a list of criteria that “might have affected independently eleven different areas of potential investment” during the construction of the tomb and its functioning, including scale, location, shape and size of the chapel, casing, decoration including the texts, size of the substructure, and the equipment found in the serdab and burial chamber (Roth 1995, 50). Certainly, the connection to the king must also have significantly influenced the location and type of tomb, such as the burials of the queens and the children of Khufu, Khafra, and Menkaura, namely the Eastern Cemetery (G 7000), Khufu-Khafra Quarry, and Menkaura Quarry Cemetery respectively,18 as well as access to certain materials and artisans.

Moreover, the determination of social status based on these various components should also encompass how these factors may develop over time. Peter Jánosi has compiled a list based on the archaeological evidence at Giza that characterizes the chronological assignment of a tomb. His list includes the location (cemetery), position/orientation, construction, materials, architecture, extension of an older cemetery, burial equipment, and usage—all of which are fundamental to an assessment of the tomb (Jánosi 2005, 38, 53). How these various factors relate to the status of the tomb owner and how they may change over time are crucial to understanding the social environment at Giza.

The analysis of social status at Giza should also include the pyramids of Khufu, Khafra, and Menkaura and the queens’ pyramids as well as the immense scale of the Fourth Dynasty mastabas of G 2000 and Hemiunu (G 4000) in the Western Cemetery in addition to Ankh-haf (G 7510)19 in the Eastern Cemetery (G 7000) in relation to other Fourth through Sixth Dynasty mastabas and rock-cut tombs. Moreover, the queens and children of the kings at Giza used both fine-quality and nummulitic limestone as well as the pyramidal, mastaba, and rock-cut tomb types of burial. In this respect, the use of certain materials and the form of the tomb develop over time, which may reflect changing ideas of social status (nonstatic) and what are acceptable forms of its implementation both by the royal family as well as nonroyals.

The Development of the Giza Necropolis: Society, Monumental Architecture, and the Establishment of Cult

The development of the Giza Necropolis during the Fourth Dynasty reflects aspects of ancient Egyptian society that are harnessed toward the creation and functioning of this major pyramid site. (1) Hierarchical structure: The aforementioned scale of the pyramids and large mastabas (G 2000, Hemiunu [G 4000], and Ankh-haf [G 7510]) emphasizes the importance relegated to the king, queens, and royal family, particularly during Khufu’s reign when such large mastabas were primarily constructed. Khufu’s pyramid formed a crucial hub for the surrounding mastabas, just as the large-scale mastabas did for the smaller ones in the early core cemeteries, that is, G 2100, G 4000, and G 7000: a reflection of the pyramidal structure of ancient Egyptian society itself with the king at the top.

(2) Labor: The pyramid complexes of Khufu, Khafra, and Menkaura with their surrounding cemeteries as well as the Sphinx are labor-intensive projects, requiring manpower, materials, and skill. How these various factors came together during the Fourth Dynasty attests not only to the power and organizational structure of the state but also how society itself supported the religious and economic framework that created such monumental architecture. For example, the discovery of the Heit el-Ghurab (HeG) site excavated by Mark Lehner and AERA, dated to Khafra’s and Menkaura’s reigns, provides a workers’ counterpart to the royal and elite structures of the pyramid complexes with surrounding cemeteries as well as providing invaluable information concerning the provision and functioning of a site for the pyramid builders. (3) Materials: From a materials perspective, the quarrying of local limestone plus the use of fine-quality limestone, for example, Tura limestone, was integral to the construction, casing, and decoration of the pyramid complexes and tombs. The additional effort required to quarry and transport fine-quality limestone from the east bank of the Nile, as well as granite and anorthosite gneiss from the Aswan area (Klemm and Klemm 2008, 51–55, 233–267, 323–325), indicates a stratified approach not only toward materials but also to the labor-intensive constructions that benefit from such effort, that is, the pyramids, temples, causeways, and tombs. (4) Artisans: Skilled artisans are also integral to the decoration of the pyramid complexes and surrounding tombs. Although rarely identified by name in the Fourth Dynasty, the artisans of relief decoration and statuary possessed the necessary skill, which was essential to the decorative programs and their overall functioning.

From a religious and economic perspective, the pyramid complexes and tombs provide for the afterlife of the deceased through their decoration and the performance of the tomb owner’s cult. Crucial to both the decorative programs and the offering cult are the funerary domains associated with the kings. These domains, depicted as personified male and female figures with a king’s name, are reconstructed decorating the pyramid complexes and also occur in the mastabas and rock-cut tombs of the royal family, elite, and officials. The domains also provided actual offerings for the king, queen, and tomb owner’s cult (Lehner 1997, 228). It is not surprising that the first evidence of scenes of processions with funerary domains (female figures) occurs in the early Fourth Dynasty in conjunction with a pyramid complex, namely the statue-cult temple of Snefru at Dahshur, in which the domains are arranged geographically: Upper Egyptian on the west wall and Lower Egyptian on the east wall (Ismail 2008, 7 [Chapter III]). Their advent coupled with large-scale architecture suggests that the early Fourth Dynasty’s central administration was capable of harnessing the agricultural production and its organizational distribution, which was essential to the functioning of the pyramid complexes and cemeteries at Dahshur and Giza through the offering cults.

The Art and Archaeology of the Giza Plateau: Early Fourth Dynasty

Khufu’s Pyramid Complex

Khufu’s pyramid measures 146.59 m in height (Lehner 1997, 108). On the east side are the pyramid temple, causeway, and valley temple in addition to the satellite pyramid and three queens’ pyramids (GI-a through GI-c) (see Fig. 1). There are also five boat pits on the east side as well as two on the south. It is believed that the boats either were for the king’s use in the afterlife or were actually used to ferry the king over from the east bank of the Nile River to the west for burial (Lehner 1997, 118–119; also see Lehner and Hawass 2017, 166–170).

Khufu’s Pyramid Temple

The pyramid temple measures 40.4 x 52.5 m and had a central court with granite pillars on three sides based on their bases20 and a black basalt floor (Arnold 2003, 126; also see Lehner and Hawass 2017, 163–165). According to Mark Lehner, it is the first combined usage of granite and basalt on a large scale in a temple (Lehner 1997, 109). Fine-quality limestone relief decoration is reconstructed on the inner walls of the colonnade. On the west side was possibly a sanctuary and storage rooms; however, it is unknown whether the sanctuary possessed the standardized five statue niches and false door of later pyramid temples (Lehner 1997, 109).

Khufu’s reliefs presumably showed the king in ritual acts, including the Heb Sed; and the themes on the walls were probably defined by directional influence, such as northern (Lower) and southern (Upper) Egypt, based on the Fifth Dynasty pyramid temple of Sahura at Abusir (Do. Arnold 1999, 93–97, fig. 57; 338–341). Limestone fragments from the pyramid temple of Snefru’s North Pyramid at Dahshur also suggest that there were cult chapels for the king as the ruler of Upper and Lower Egypt (Stadelmann 2007, 156, 157, Abb. 214). Fragments of limestone reliefs were discovered at the upper end of Khufu’s causeway close to the pyramid temple, and they were assigned either to the pyramid temple or the causeway (Reisner and Smith 1955, 4–5, fig. 7; Hassan 1960, 20–24, 34–36, figs. 2–4, 7–8, pls. V-VII, VIIIB). One relief, measuring 1.10 x 1.12 m, depicts Khufu wearing the Red Crown of Lower Egypt facing left with two registers of subsidiary figures behind21 (Reisner and Smith 1955, 4, fig. 5; Hassan 1960, 21–22, fig. 4, pl. VIA). George Andrew Reisner and William Stevenson Smith placed this relief in the colonnaded court of the pyramid temple (Reisner and Smith 1955, 4); while Selim Hassan reconstructed it on the southern wall of Khufu’s causeway (Hassan 1960, 22).

The second relief, measuring 1.75 x 0.27 m, shows Khufu on two parts of the same relief: on the left, he is on a larger scale facing left and wearing an early form of the khat-headcloth with a falcon at the back (Reisner and Smith 1955, 4, fig. 6; Hassan 1960, 23–24, pl VIB; Roehrig 1999, 254). An inscription in front mentions the pyramid of Khufu (Akhet Khufu) (Hassan 1960, 23). On the right side of the relief, Khufu is seated in a shrine facing right wearing the Heb Sed robe and holding a flail. George Andrew Reisner and William Stevenson Smith reconstructed the relief in the colonnaded court of the pyramid temple (Reisner and Smith 1955, 4); while Selim Hassan placed it on the southern wall of Khufu’s causeway (Hassan 1960, 23).

Based on Snefru’s statue-cult temple at Dahshur and Djedefra’s pyramid complex at Abu Roash, Khufu’s pyramid temple probably had a statuary program. Fragmentary remains of statues attributed to Khufu include those of Egyptian alabaster and red granite, which may originally have decorated his pyramid temple (Smith 1946, 20, pl. 5a; Hassan 1960, 35–37, pls. VIIIA, XIA).

Khufu’s Causeway

Khufu’s causeway, measuring 616 m (Arnold 2003, 46), is also reconstructed with limestone relief decoration (Hawass and Senussi 2008, 128, 223–296, photos 46–53; also see Lehner and Hawass 2017, 185–186). Herodotus described the causeway as: “constructed of polished stone blocks decorated with carvings of animals” (Herodotus 1972, 178–179). If this account is accurate, the animals probably were advancing westward toward Khufu’s pyramid temple as offerings or booty based on the causeways of the Fifth and Sixth Dynasties (Do. Arnold 1999, 222–223 [38]; Labrousse and Moussa 2002, 52–53, 131, 156–157, figs. 9, 68–70 [Docs. 52–54], pls. Xb, XIa). Relief fragments found in the upper area of Khufu’s causeway may belong to the causeway rather than the pyramid temple (Reisner and Smith 1955, 4, figs. 5–7; Hassan, 1960, 20–24, 34–35, figs. 2–4, 7–8, pls. V–VII, VIIIB).

Khufu’s Valley Temple

Khufu’s valley temple, currently under the modern village of Nazlet el-Samman, is not excavated. However, the construction of a sewer system in the 1980s and 1990s uncovered basalt blocks similar to the paving of Khufu’s pyramid temple (Hawass and Senussi 2008, 128, 297, photos 54, 55; also see Lehner 1997, 109, 230–232; Lehner and Hawass 2017, 186–187). There is also evidence for mud-brick settlement structures and Old Kingdom pottery, which is considered to be the remains of the pyramid city that housed individuals associated with Khufu’s cult (Lehner 1997, 230–232; Hawass and Senussi 2008, 128, 289–291, photos 43–45; Lehner 2014, 14–23).

The Western Cemetery: Early Fourth Dynasty

Slab Stelae and Reserve Heads: Slab Stelae

The oldest cemeteries in the Western Cemetery, G 1200, G 2100, and G 4000 (see Fig. 1), have a specific funerary assemblage that includes a slab stela and, in some instances, also a reserve head (Fig. 3). The slab stelae were the singular focus for the tomb owner’s cult: they were placed on the southern section of the east façade of the mastaba within an emplacement (Jánosi 1999, 29–30, fig. 14). A mud-brick chapel enclosed the surrounding area (Fig. 4). These limestone slab stelae depict the tomb owner seated on the left side, facing right with an offering table, offerings, and an offering list.22 He or she usually wears a wig and a long garment, which is identified as a leopard skin on some examples based on traces of paint (Manuelian 1998, 128). Above the tomb owner is his name and titles. On the right side of the stelae is a linen list that may include granaries (Manuelian 2003, 141–144, 153–160). There are two different types of stelae: long form and short form. The long form has an expanded offering list.23

The Art and Archaeology of the Giza PlateauClick to view larger

Figure 3 Slab stela of Meretites. Egyptian, Old Kingdom, Dynasty 4, reign of Khufu (Cheops), 2575–2465 B.C. Findspot: Egypt, Giza, Tomb G 4140. Limestone. Overall: 51 x 82.5 x 8.3 cm (20 1/16 x 32 ½ x 3 ¼ in.). Block (aluminum wall frame/four wall securement clips): 53 x 82.6 x 5.1 cm (20 7/8 x 32 ½ x 2 in.).

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Harvard University—Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition 12.1510. Photograph © [2018] Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

The Art and Archaeology of the Giza PlateauClick to view larger

Figure 4 Plan and reconstruction of core mastaba with mud-brick chapel showing slab stela emplacement, reign of Khufu.

Drawing courtesy of Peter Jánosi.

There are fifteen preserved slab stelae and stelae fragments from the Western Cemetery at Giza.24 However, there are an additional ten mastabas with emplacements for stelae, which are now lacking, bringing the total number to twenty-five (Manuelian 2003, 117, fig. 175). The slab stelae occur in mastabas belonging to men and women. Their titles vary including bureaucratic and priestly, but there is also “king’s son” (Wepemnefret [G 1201], Kaemah [G 1223], and Iunu [G 4150]); “king’s daughter” (Nefret-iabet [G 1225]); and “king’s daughter of his body” (Meretites [G 4140] and Wenshet [G 4840]) (Manuelian 1998, 125–127, fig. 6). George Andrew Reisner believed that cemeteries G 1200, G 2100, and G 4000 belonged to three different branches of Khufu’s family (Reisner 1942, 77; Manuelian 2003, 146–147). Although the titles on the slab stelae are high ranking, it is generally understood that the royal family is buried in the Eastern Cemetery (G 7000) based on their titles and the position of their mastabas.

The slab stelae are carved in a low relief style (Smith 1946, 159–160, 249, pl. 32b). William Stevenson Smith equated their lowness with the reliefs from the mastabas of Hemiunu (G 4000) and Khent-ka (?) (G 2130) in the Western Cemetery in addition to the reliefs from Queen’s Pyramid GI-b and the mastabas of Ankh-haf (G 7510) and Akhethetep and Meretites (G 7650) in the Eastern Cemetery (G 7000) (Smith 1946, 159–160). This low relief style, characteristic of Khufu’s reign, is in contrast to the preceding heavy, bold style of Snefru’s reign at Dahshur and Saqqara (Flentye, forthcoming).

The use of slab stelae in emplacements is considered a product of Khufu’s “reductionist” policy in which there is limited decoration. Rainer Stadelmann has identified a “strenger Stil,” following upon Hermann Junker’s terminology, based on the reduced forms at Giza, which were already a feature of late Snefru’s reign at Dahshur (Stadelmann 1995, 155–166; Manuelian 2003, 167–168). There are several prevailing theories concerning the reason for this reduced decoration:

  1. 1. Peter der Manuelian has suggested that there are three possible reasons for the use of slab stelae. The first theory considers the slab stelae to be “royal gifts,” which were produced in the royal workshop (Manuelian 2003, 167–168). The second theory, economics, is related to the immense labor and expenditure involved in building Khufu’s pyramid complex, so that the tomb owners in the Western Cemetery received limited decoration, including the reserve heads which were “reduced” forms of life-size statues (see later) (Manuelian 2003, 168). Finally, “non-linear reductionism” posits that the limited decoration of the slab stelae was consciously chosen, despite the more fully decorated chapels at Meidum before Giza and also after at Giza (Manuelian 2003, 168–169).

  2. 2. Peter Jánosi, on the contrary, believes that the slab stelae represent a temporary measure at the death of the tomb owner during Khufu’s reign, before the mastaba was completed with a casing, stone chapel, and false door25 (Jánosi 1999, 29–30; Manuelian 2003, 138–139, 162). The stelae were used for the funerary cult as an “emergency solution” prior to the construction of limestone chapels. The burial chamber, however, was dressed and prepared for burial (Manuelian 2003, 138–139).

Slab Stelae and Reserve Heads: Reserve Heads

The Art and Archaeology of the Giza PlateauClick to view larger

Figure 5 Giza. Eight limestone reserve heads: (G 4640) 13-12-7 (= Cairo JE 46216), (G 4540) 13-12-11 (= MFA 21.328), (G 4340) 13-10-69 (= Cairo JE 46218), (G 4240) 13-11-60 (= Cairo JE 46215), (G 4140) 13-11-1 (= Cairo JE 46217), (G 4140) 13-10-70 (= MFA 14.717), (G 4440) 13-11-90 (= MFA 14.718), (G 4440) 13-11-91 (= MFA 14.719) (photographed in Harvard Camp workroom).

Photographer: Mohammed Shadduf (expedition photographer), C5441_NS. December 17, 1913. Harvard University—Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition. Giza Archives. Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Photograph © [2018] Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

The presence of limestone “reserve heads” in the Western Cemetery, sometimes with slab stelae, represents a special but limited funerary tradition dating mostly from Khufu’s reign through Khafra (Roehrig 1999, 73; Fig. 5). Of the total number of reserve heads, twenty-seven come from Giza (Roehrig 1999, 73). Of these, twenty-two were located in the oldest cemeteries of the Western Cemetery: G 1200, G 2100, and G 4000; while Cemetery G 4000 contained the most reserve heads: twenty in total (Manuelian 2003, 117, fig. 175). Of the thirteen mastabas in G 4000 with slab stelae or emplacements for such, nine also contained reserve heads (Roehrig 1999, 75–76, fig. 47). The majority of the reserve heads were excavated either in the tomb shaft or the burial chamber, but in disturbed contexts (Roehrig 1999, 74–75).

Stylistically, the reserve heads portray different individuals. Some scholars consider them to be “portraits” or, at least, individualistic representations (Junge 1995, 103–109; Roehrig 1999, 73–75, fig. 46). There are also different treatments and techniques used in their carving, for example, the eyebrows (Roehrig 1999, 235–241 [46–49]). The differing portrayals and their carving are probably due to different artisans.

William Stevenson Smith believed that the reserve heads provided a place for the soul to reside if the body was damaged (Smith 1946, 25). Nicholas Millet suggested that they served as models for statuary and relief decoration (Millet 1999, 233). The relief of Nefer (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 07.1002) from his north door jamb (G 2110) and its similarity to the reserve head of Nefer (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 06.1886) is usually cited as an example of this correlation, particularly the treatment of his “aquiline” nose.26 However, other relief images of Nefer differ from his reserve head and are more “generic” (Manuelian 2009, 161). Roland Tefnin considered the reserve heads to be ritualistic objects, including the intentional mutilations (e.g., broken ears and groove at the back) for the funerary ritual (Tefnin 1991, 75–95; Manuelian 2009, 161). The reserve heads are also categorized as a step in the preservation of the tomb owner’s image that also included plaster masks and mummification (Smith 1946, 27–28; Tefnin 1991, 56–62).

Mastaba of Hemiunu (G 4000) in the Western Cemetery

In the Western Cemetery, the large mastaba of Hemiunu (G 4000) is dated to Khufu’s reign based on his genealogy, titles, and the form of his mastaba27 (Jánosi 2005, 125, 441, Tab. C2). It is one of the earliest decorated chapels at Giza and of a high-ranking individual, probably a nephew of Khufu and as “overseer of all the king’s works” was directly involved in the building of Khufu’s pyramid (Falck and Schmitz 2009, 56).28 The chapel is of the “corridor type” with two false doors and serdabs behind (Junker 1929, 132–162; Reisner 1942, 185, 211–212, 213, fig. 121; Jánosi 2005, 183–184).

The north door jamb (Pelizaeus-Museum, Hildesheim Inv. Nr. 2146) depicts Hemiunu standing and facing left (Manuelian 2008, 32, 53, fig. 16b; Falck and Schmitz 2009, 58–59 [6]). He wears a long kilt and holds a staff, presumably in his right hand. Three lines of inscriptions in front give his name and titles. The north entrance thickness (Pelizaeus-Museum, Hildesheim Inv. Nr. 2146) depicts six preserved offering stands with bowls on the top register with offerings shown on the bottom two (Junker 1929, 145–147, Abb. 23c, Taf. XVIIb). Traces of relief on the left side indicate a seated image of the tomb owner with an offering table in front (Manuelian 2008, 31–32, 51, 54, figs. 12–14, 17b; Falck and Schmitz 2009, 58–59 [6]). The south entrance thickness is reconstructed with a relief of Hemiunu’s face (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 27.296) in a scene of the tomb owner seated facing left/east (Smith 1942, 527–528, fig. 13; Do. Arnold 1999, 232–233 [45]; Manuelian 2008, 31, 50, 54, figs. 10, 11, 17a).

Hermann Junker, the excavator, believed that only the southern end of Hemiunu’s corridor chapel (G 4000) was decorated with reliefs based on the undecorated area around the north false door (Junker 1929, 145; Smith 1942, 520, 523). Among the relief fragments discovered are Hemiunu’s name (MFA 25-12-310), titles, his head (25-12-324=MFA 27.1123), overlapping animals (MFA 25-12-308 and 25-12-314=MFA 25.2938),29 and subsidiary figures (25-12-303, 25-12-312=MFA 25.2936, 25-12-329=MFA 25.2950) (Smith 1942, 525, 527–530, figs. 12–14, 16; Manuelian 2008, 36-40, 50-51, 54, figs. 10–14, 17). One fragment depicting a hand with a staff (adze?) (MFA 25-12-301) may be from a boat-building scene (Smith 1942, 527–528, fig. 14), iconography that occurs earlier in the chapels of Atet (Tomb 16) and Rahotep (Tomb 6) at Meidum (Petrie 1892, 23, 26–27, pls. XI, XXV; Harpur 2001, 87–88, 101–102, figs. 87, 94, pls. 36, 44). The reliefs of Hemiunu (G 4000) are carved in a low relief style characteristic of Khufu’s reign (Smith 1946, 160).

Hemiunu’s limestone statue (Pelizaeus-Museum, Hildesheim Inv. Nr. 1962) was discovered in his northern serdab (G 4000)30 (Junker 1929, 153–157, Taf. XVIII–XXIII). He is shown corpulent. His right hand is held vertically in a fist, and his left laid flat on his lap similar to Djedefra’s and Khafra’s statuary (Smith 1946, 31–32; Flentye, forthcoming). Hemiunu is carved in a more realistic manner as compared with the statues of Rahotep and Nefret from Meidum (Egyptian Museum, Cairo CG 3 and 4) (Saleh and Sourouzian 1987, #27). The inscription on the base of Hemiunu’s statue (Pelizaeus-Museum, Hildesheim Inv. Nr. 1962) is inlaid with colored paste reminiscent of the relief decoration in the chapels of Nefermaat and Atet (Tomb 16), further connecting Hemiunu to the traditions at Meidum in this early phase of the Giza Necropolis.

The Development of the Eastern Cemetery (G 7000)

Eight Twin-Mastabas

The Eastern Cemetery (G 7000) underwent significant changes during Khufu’s reign based on the transformation of the twelve original cores into eight twin-mastabas. This alteration combined two original cores of the most northerly rows into a twin-mastaba; while the south row of cores received an extension on the south (Reisner 1942, 72–73, 84 [d, e]; Jánosi 2005, 84–111, 442, Tab. C4). Interior recesses were added to the mastabas for chapels for husband and wife. Ankh-haf’s large-scale mastaba (G 7510), located east of the eight twin-mastabas, may also date to Khufu’s reign based on the layout and development of the Eastern Cemetery (G 7000) (Jánosi 2005, 100, 108–111, Abb. 7).

George Andrew Reisner believed that the children of Khufu were buried in the Eastern Cemetery (G 7000) (Reisner 1942, 80–81). It is also suggested that the children of a particular queen had their mastabas aligned with Queens’ Pyramids GI-a through GI-c (Reisner 1942, 248; Lehner 1997, 116). More recently, Peter Jánosi has demonstrated that Kawab, whose mastaba (G 7110/7120) is in the most westerly row adjacent to Queen’s Pyramid GI-a, may be a half-brother, cousin, or nephew of Khufu rather than a son (Jánosi 2005, 102–103). Moreover, he suggests that Ankh-haf, buried in the largest mastaba (G 7510) next to the eight twin-mastabas, could be a half-brother or a similar generation of Khufu (Jánosi 2005, 102, 108–111).

Relief Decoration

The decorative programs of the eight-twin mastabas and the large-scale mastaba of Ankh-haf (G 7510) were executed from Khufu’s reign onward, probably into Djedefra’s and Khafra’s reigns. The decoration consists of fine-quality limestone relief, both raised and sunk. In these L-shaped chapels, the iconography varies; however, there are standardized scenes associated with particular walls or architectural features such as: the tomb owner standing (embrasure); tomb owner seated (thicknesses); “viewing” (east wall); offering table (south wall); offering stands on false door panels (west wall), presentation with estate figures and offering bearers (west wall); and family grouping (north wall) (Reisner 1942, 307–308 [c.a-j], 322–323, 341 [d.26–28]). Additional scenes include marsh and slaughtering (east wall) based on the fragmentary evidence.31

Style of Relief Decoration

Stylistically, the relief decoration among the eight twin-mastabas and the mastaba of Ankh-haf (G 7510) is generally low relief, although the use of a medium style relief occurs in Kawab’s exterior chapel (G 7120) (Smith 1946, 160–162, pl. 40; Flentye 2006, 194–197). Khufu-khaf I’s chapel (G 7140) is carved in high, bold relief (Smith 1946, 161, pls. 42c, 43);32 however, the west wall in the offering chamber is in low relief, demonstrating how different walls in a chapel can vary in relief height.

Statuary

During the early to mid-Fourth Dynasty, there is substantial evidence for statuary occurring in exterior chapels and offering chambers in the Eastern Cemetery (G 7000).

Statuary: The Bust of Ankh-haf

The bust of Ankh-haf (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 27.442) was probably located on a white-plastered mud-brick pedestal, facing east toward the entering visitor, in a western room of the southern section of his mud-brick exterior chapel (G 7510), in association with offerings (Dunham 1939, 43–44). (Fig. 6) The bust is limestone with a thin layer of painted plaster (Freed et al. 2003, 78–79). He is portrayed as an older man with a receding hairline and pouches beneath his eyes.

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Figure 6 Cemetery G 7000: G 7510, Ankh-haf, exterior chapel, bust of Ankh-haf (25-3-241 = MFA 27.442) in situ, looking SSE.

Photographer: Mohammedani Ibrahim (exhibition photographer), C10884_NS. February 8, 1925. Harvard University—Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition. Giza Archives. Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Photograph © [2018] Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Andrey Bolshakov has reconstructed the bust on the pedestal with a base of either hard stone or wood that has attached carved arms for receiving offerings (Bolshakov 1991, 11–13, figs. 9–10). The limestone and wood base of Setka’s scribal statue (Musée du Louvre, Paris E 12629; bases: E 12631) and the limestone bases of Hernet (Musée du Louvre, Paris E 12630) and Neferhétepès (Musée du Louvre, Paris E 12632), Djedefra’s sons and daughter, from Djedefra’s pyramid complex at Abu Roash (Ziegler 1997, 58–59 [14], 62–68 [16–18]) suggest that the use of bases was a feature of statuary of the early to mid-Fourth Dynasty.

Statuary: Scribal Statues

In the Eastern Cemetery (G 7000), a large fragment of a diorite scribal statue (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 27-2-304) with his left knee and hand was discovered in a shaft (G 7510 X) of the mastaba of Ankh-haf (G 7510) (Smith 1946, 76; Scott 1989, vol. II, 21–22 [#10]).

Fragments of three scribal statues, gneiss (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 24.3068), granite (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 27.1127), and black granodiorite (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 34-4-1), are also attributed to Kawab’s chapel (G 7120) (Smith 1946, 30–31 [1–3]; Simpson 1978, 7, pl. VIII, fig. 17; Scott 1989, vol. I, 1–9; vol. II, 2–9 [1–3]). Also see http://www.mfa.org). In Chamber B of Kawab’s exterior chapel (G 7120), there are two emplacements for statuary on the west wall (Simpson 1978, 2, 3, 7, pl. VIII, figs. 4, 5, 17). William Stevenson Smith reconstructed two scribal statues in the south niche and three standing statues in the north; while William Kelly Simpson believed that the south niche had two statues, and the north niche had a double or triple statue (Simpson 1978, 2, 7, fig. 5).

Eight hard stone scribal statues are dated to the Fourth Dynasty, and these individuals all bear the title: “eldest son of the king”33 (Scott 1989, vol. I, 22–23; Ziegler 1999, 251n2). As a result, Ankh-haf may be a son of Snefru and, therefore, a (half-) brother of Khufu; and Kawab may possibly be either a son of Snefru and a (half-) brother of Khufu, or he is a son of Khufu based on their titles and the use of scribal statues by “princes.”34

Statuary: Seated Statues

Kawab’s exterior chapel (G 7120) contained more than 342 fragments of diorite and granite statues (MFA 24-12-978; Simpson 1978, 7). William Stevenson Smith believed that these fragments belonged to at least ten to twenty “life-size and half life-size standing and seated figures” in addition to the scribal statues35 (Smith 1946, 30). A diorite statue of Kawab (Egyptian Museum, Cairo JE 40431) was discovered in Mit Rahina in 1908 with an added inscription by Khaemwaset36 (Gomaà 1973, 84 [51], 119, Abb. 19, Taf. IV). Kawab is shown seated with his right hand held vertically in a fist and his left laid flat on his lap, similar to the iconography of Hemiunu’s, Djedefra’s, and Khafra’s statues (Smith 1946, 31–32). Kawab wears a panther skin.37 The evidence from Kawab’s chapel (G 7120) suggests that there were different materials, types, and sizes of statues similar to the pyramid complexes of Djedefra and Khafra.

A gneiss seated statue attributed to Khufu-khaf I (Egyptian Museum, Cairo CG 46) was discovered in the Isis Temple, east of Queen’s Pyramid GI-c, in the Eastern Cemetery (G 7000) (Borchardt 1911, 42, Bl. 12 [46]; Simpson 1978, 20 [titles], fig. 69 [top]). Khufu-khaf I is reconstructed with his right hand (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 24.2910) held vertically in a fist and his left laid flat on his lap. The statue joins with a base fragment with Khufu-khaf I’s name (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 24.2974). The layout of the titles on the front of the seat and base resembles Djedefra’s statuary and Khafra’s greywacke statues (Smith 1946, 32, fig. 10; Ziegler 1997, 47–49 [3]; Baud 1999, 50–51; Labbé-Toutée 1999, 253 [56]).

Peter Jánosi reconstructs statues on the northern section of the west wall, facing the entering visitor, and possibly the south wall in L-shaped chapels (Jánosi 2005, 295, 296, Abb. 68/3). In the deep niches of the eight twin-mastabas in the Eastern Cemetery (G 7000), he reconstructs striding statues following upon Hermann Junker’s theory that these niches contained statuary (Jánosi 2005, 293–295, Abb. 67, 68/1). Based on Jánosi’s theory, the seated statues of Kawab (Egyptian Museum, Cairo JE 40431) and Khufu-khaf I (Egyptian Museum, Cairo CG 46) were possibly placed in the offering chamber, either on the northern section of the west wall, facing the entering visitor, or the south wall.

The Art and Archaeology of the Giza Plateau: Mid to Late Fourth Dynasty

Khafra’s Pyramid Complex

The pyramid complex of Khafra consists of a pyramid, pyramid temple, causeway, valley temple, and satellite pyramid (Lehner 1997, 124; see Fig. 1). Khafra’s pyramid measures 143.5 m in height (Lehner 1997, 122). It retains its fine-quality limestone casing at the top. Based on the archaeological evidence, Khafra’s decorative program focused more on statuary than relief decoration.

Khafra’s Pyramid Temple

According to Mark Lehner, Khafra’s and Menkaura’s pyramid temples expanded in size and the elaborateness of their decoration, despite the smaller size of their pyramids in comparison to Khufu’s (Lehner 1997, 135). Khafra’s pyramid temple, located on the east side of his pyramid, measures 56.2 x 111.2 m and consists of wide and deep-pillared halls, a court, five chapels, and magazines (Lehner 1997, 124–125; Arnold 2003, 121–122; Lehner and Hawass 2017, 198–201). The wide and deep-pillared halls possibly had statues of Khafra along their walls (Arnold 2003, 121). The reconstruction of the court, however, is problematic. Although Uvo Hölscher suggested that there were twelve colossal statues of Khafra standing in Osiride form and about 6 m in height (Hölscher 1912, 27–28, Abb. 16, Bl.VI), Herbert Ricke’s reconstruction shows Khafra seated and wearing the nemes (Ricke 1950, 48–54, Abb. 16–19, Taf. 2). More recently, Dieter Arnold and Peter Jánosi have revised the previous reconstructions since they were based on certain measurements and the placement of an architrave from a temple of Khafra, now reused in the pyramid of Amenemhat I at Lisht (Arnold 1999, 263–264 [65], fig. 116; Jánosi 2015, 27–49). Sculptors’ models discovered by Mark Lehner and the Giza Plateau Mapping Project (GPMP) in the “workmen’s barracks” west of Khafra’s pyramid may contribute to a reconstruction of Khafra’s court. A fragment showing the king wearing the White Crown with a back pillar painted to imitate granite was discovered in the barracks: the pillar connects to a projecting roof similar to the arrangement of Khafra’s court (Lehner 1997, 125, 238–239; Hawass 2011, 115–121; Jánosi 2015, 45–47). There was also possibly limestone relief decoration above the granite walls in the court (Junker 1951, 39; Lehner 1997, 124–125). Finally, the five chapels beyond the court probably contained statues of the king and barques (Arnold 2003, 121–122).

Khafra’s Causeway

Khafra’s causeway, measuring 494 m in length, was covered and decorated with reliefs (Arnold 2003, 46; Jánosi 2004, 65; El Awady 2009, 102–103; Lehner and Hawass 2017, 205). A limestone relief measuring 50 x 70 cm, discovered in Khafra’s valley temple,38 depicts two registers with four striding men above facing left and a bound foreign captive below with an Egyptian wearing crossed bands (Steindorff 1912, 110–111, Abb. 162, 163; Do. Arnold 1999, 265 [66]). In the Fifth Dynasty, bound foreign captives appear in the causeway close to the valley temple and on the north wall of the valley temple based on the pyramid complex of Sahura (Borchardt 1913, 18–21, Bl. 5–7; Do. Arnold, 1999, 94, 95; El Awady, 2009, 116–117, fig. 67b). The relief with the bound foreigner from Khafra’s valley temple probably was located on a north wall based on the left-facing figures on the top register.39

More recently, a relief depicting prisoners bound by rope, including women and children, was discovered east of Khafra’s valley temple and may be attributed to the lower end of Khafra’s or Khufu’s causeway (Lehner and Hawass 2017, 200, 201). It shows the prisoners oriented to the left and, therefore, possibly from a north wall.

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Figure 7 Relief fragment showing a goddess, Fourth Dynasty, reign of Khafra (?). Giza, discovered in the debris of Mastaba G II S (Junker Excavation 1928). Limestone. 32 x 39 x 8 cm.

Roemer- und Pelizaeus-Museum, Hildesheim 3185. Courtesy of the Roemer- und Pelizaeus-Museum, Hildesheim.

Another limestone relief, measuring 30 x 40 cm, found south of the mastaba of Kaemnefret (G II S) in the G I S Cemetery south of Khufu’s pyramid and close to the upper end of Khafra’s causeway, depicts a female figure identified as a goddess facing left holding a scepter and an ankh-sign40 (Junker 1951, 38–40, Abb. 17, Taf. XVIa; Fig. 7). Although Hermann Junker assigned this fragment to Khafra’s causeway based on the granite construction of his pyramid and valley temples (Junker 1951, 39–40), Karl Martin places it either in Khufu’s or Khafra’s causeway (Martin 1979, 118). A figure possibly holding a scepter was discovered in Khufu’s causeway near the pyramid temple (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 37-3-4i) (Reisner and Smith 1955, 4, fig. 7; also see http://www.mfa.org). Female figures holding was-scepters and ankhs decorate fragments from Unas’ causeway of the late Fifth Dynasty (Labrousse and Moussa 2002, 88–89 [Doc. 96], 94–97 [Doc. 102–105], 177, 182, 183, 192, 193, figs. 121–123, 134–137, 157–158, pl. XVIIIa–c). Absolute dates for Unas’ reign (accession) are from 2438 to 2397 B.C. (68%) and 2450 to 2363 (95%), based on the radiocarbon chronology conducted by Ramsey et al. (2010, 1556, Tab. 1). The left-facing position of the goddess fragment assigned to Khafra’s causeway suggests it was placed on a north wall based on the reconstructions of the upper end of Sahura’s and Unas’ causeways with the king seated facing right toward processions of approaching left-facing personifications of funerary domains and nomes (Sahura: Lower Egyptian) (Labrousse and Moussa 2002, 88, 180, fig. 130; El Awady 2009, 79–80, fig. 52).

Stylistically, the relief with the foreign captive is finely carved in low relief with distinct modeling (Goedicke 1971, 10; Do. Arnold 1999, 265). However, the goddess relief is in a medium height relief style and less well modeled. The difference in style can be attributed to different locations within the causeway and/or artisans.

Khafra’s Valley Temple

Khafra’s valley temple has a T-shaped plan, and is reconstructed with statuary rather than limestone relief decoration based on its granite construction (see Lehner and Hawass 2017, 205–211). In 1860, Auguste Mariette discovered statues of Khafra in a pit in the valley temple’s vestibule (Porter and Moss 1974, 21–23).

On the east façade of Khafra’s valley temple are two entrances, which are reconstructed with flanking sphinxes or lions (Lehner 1997, 126; Arnold 2003, 121). Inscriptions associated with the entrances mention the goddesses Bastet (north) and Hathor (south) (Hölscher 1912, 15, 16–17, Abb. 5, 6–8), coordinating with the location of their sanctuaries in Egypt. The dyad of Khafra and Bastet (Egyptian Museum, Cairo CG 11) (Borchardt 1911, 11–12, Bl. 3 [11]) is reconstructed in the niche associated with the north entrance; while a dyad of Khafra with Hathor is proposed for the southern niche (Seidel 1996, 20–24 (Dok. 4), Abb. 9–11, Taf. 4a).

In the alabaster floor of the T-shaped hall, there are twenty-three niches lining the granite walls. Matthias Seidel coordinated the arrangement of the niches, 3/7/3/7/3, with the statues discovered in the valley temple based on their material (anorthosite gneiss, greywacke, and Egyptian alabaster), type (seated and standing), and iconography (Seidel 1996, 20–24, Abb. 9–11, Taf. 4b). The middle niche on the furthest west wall is the largest and reconstructed with Khafra’s well-known seated statue of the falcon god Horus encircling the king’s head (Egyptian Museum, Cairo CG 14) (Seidel 1996, 21–24, Abb. 9–11; Lehner 1997, 126). However, another possibility may be a statue of Khafra wearing the Double Crown of Lower (north) and Upper (south) Egypt, possibly Egyptian Museum, Cairo (CG 13), since the temple orientation (north and south) is set by the two entrances on the east façade, and the middle niche on the west wall is positioned between north and south.

The Sphinx and Sphinx Temple

The Sphinx, measuring circa 73.5 m in length and circa 20 m in height (Arnold 2003, 226), lies north of Khafra’s causeway and in close proximity to his pyramid complex (see Lehner and Hawass 2017, 215–220, 238–241) (see Fig. 1). It is carved from the local limestone and formed by the quarrying of stone around it. The upper layers of the Sphinx may relate to blocks used in the valley temple, while the lower coordinate with the Sphinx Temple (Lehner 1997, 126, 128). The Sphinx wears the nemes-headdress, which is fully pleated, and a uraeus. Although the face resembles a man, the body of the Sphinx is that of a lion—a symbol of power and protection. Its east-facing direction connects the Sphinx to the sun god; while its left/south side aligns with the central axis running through the east and west sanctuaries in the Sphinx Temple. By comparison, the head of Djedefra (Musée du Louvre, Paris E 12626), discovered in his pyramid complex at Abu Roash, may be related to the Sphinx based on its solar connotations, that is, the use of red quartzite and also the possibility that it was originally carved in the form of a sphinx (Ziegler 1997, 42–45 [1]; Ziegler 1999, 248–250 [54]).

The Sphinx Temple, in front of and east of the Sphinx, measures 44.7 x 52.5 m, and is incomplete based on the unfinished granite casing (Lehner 1997, 128; Arnold 2003, 102–103; Lehner and Hawass 2017, 220–223). It has two entrances leading to a central court with an alabaster floor, which is reconstructed with ten seated colossal statues and twenty-four granite pillars forming a colonnade: the design with statues and pillars resembles Khafra’s pyramid temple (Lehner 1997, 128; Arnold 2003, 102). On the east and west side of the court are sanctuaries, which may relate to the rising and setting of the sun (Arnold 2003, 102–103). The temple is attributed to Khafra and emphasizes an east-west axis that connects with the Sphinx.

Menkaura’s Pyramid Complex

Menkaura’s pyramid complex consists of a pyramid, pyramid temple, causeway, and valley temple (see Fig. 1.) There are three queens’ pyramids to the south of his pyramid (GIII-a through GIII-c). Menkaura’s pyramid complex was unfinished at his death; and Shepseskaf, his successor, completed it in mud brick (Lehner 1997, 134–136). The pyramid measures 65 m in height, and its lower courses have a granite casing (Lehner 1997, 134).

Menkaura’s Pyramid Temple

Menkaura’s pyramid temple encompasses 54 square meters but “without the entrance hall” (Lehner and Hawass 2017, 251–258; also see Reisner 1931, 6–33; Jánosi 2004, 60, 68–70, Abb. 31, 39). Its casing is granite on the lower part and limestone on the upper, but it was finished in mud brick (Lehner 1997, 134, 136; Arnold 2003, 149). The walls around the court have white-plastered mud-brick niching (Reisner 1931, 25; Arnold 2003, 149). Two Egyptian alabaster seated statues of Menkaura were discovered in his pyramid temple, in addition to Egyptian alabaster and greywacke fragments (Reisner 1931, 108 [1–7], pls. 7b, d, 8, 12–16, 17c). Fragments of the colossal Egyptian alabaster seated statue (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 09.204), measuring 2.35 m as restored, were found in a deep niche (Room 20) at the back of Menkaura’s pyramid temple as well as in other rooms (Reisner 1931, 18, 22–23, 108 [1], fig. 7, pls. 7b, d, 8, 12–16a, plan 1; Freed et al. 2003, 80–81; also see Lehner and Hawass 2017, 255; http://www.mfa.org). Mark Lehner believes that the colossal statue was originally located at the back of a chamber on the east-west axis, which ran through the court and entryway (Lehner 1997, 136; also see Smith 1998, 52), possibly Room 8 (Reisner’s outer offering room) (Reisner 1931, 11, 26, plan I). Dieter Arnold, however, suggests that the elongation of the main cult chamber may be for a barque (“possibly reflecting the concept of the king travelling in the barque of the sun” (Arnold 2003, 149).

Menkaura’s Causeway

Menkaura’s mud-brick causeway could be traced from the pyramid temple for circa 250 m to the east, but it was unfinished (Reisner 1931, 34–35, pls. 5, 6, 29a; Lehner 1997, 136; Lehner and Hawass 2017, 271–272).

Menkaura’s Valley Temple

The valley temple of Menkaura was presumably completed in mud brick by Shepseskaf (Reisner 1931, 39–40, plans VIII, IX; also see Lehner and Hawass 2017, 273–274). The walls of the court have niching similar to the pyramid temple (Reisner 1931, plan IX; Arnold 2003, 149). Four greywacke triads (Egyptian Museum, Cairo JE 40678, JE 40679, JE 46499; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 09.200) were found inside the temple plus fragments of other triads;41 the greywacke dyad of Menkaura and a Queen (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 11.1738); Egyptian alabaster seated statues, heads, and bases of the king; an ivory statuette (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 11.280a-b); unfinished statuettes;42 and other fragmentary remains (see Reisner 1931, 109–115 [9–52], pls. 36–64; also see Lehner and Hawass 2017, 282–283; http://www.mfa.org). The series of greywacke triads depicting Menkaura, Hathor, and a nome personification is reconstructed by Wendy Wood,43 Matthias Seidel,44 and Florence Friedman.45 From a materials and typological perspective, the variety of Menkaura’s statuary represents the culmination of Fourth Dynasty three-dimensional representation and its importance to the pyramid complex.

Nonroyal Tombs of the Mid- to Late Fourth Dynasty: Mastabas and Rock-Cut Tombs of Khafra’s and Menkaura’s Reigns

During Khafra’s and Menkaura’s reigns, the Western and Eastern (G 7000) cemeteries expanded, whereby mastabas were placed adjacent to the original nucleus cemeteries. During this period, five significant changes occurred to the tomb structure and its decoration:

  1. 1. The addition of cult chapels within spaces left inside the mastaba cores occurs in the Western Cemetery, and it is dated to Khafra’s and Menkaura’s reigns (Jánosi 1999, 30).

  2. 2. The use of local nummulitic limestone in both the mastabas and rock-cut tombs affected the height of the relief, which was now predominantly in a medium to high/bold style,46 and required a layer of plaster before modeling and painting (Smith 1946, 162–163, 166, 249–250). Fine-quality limestone continued to be used in the mastabas as well as the rock-cut tombs, which was carved in a medium to bold style as well as low relief.

  3. 3. Rock-cut tombs were hewn in former quarries, particularly those belonging to the wives and sons of Khafra in the Quarry Cemetery west of Khafra’s pyramid (Nebemakhet, LG 12; QC 14) (Jánosi 2005, 300, 304, 305, 358–360, Abb. 70, Tab. 17); Khufu-Khafra Quarry (Jánosi 1999, 32, 34; Jánosi 2005, 301–302, 304, 305, 360–383, Abb. 71, Tab. 17); and Menkaura’s family in the Menkaura Quarry Cemetery (Khuenra, MQ 1) (Jánosi 2005, 298, 302, 304, 305, 427–429, Abb. 69, Tab. 17).

Even Meresankh III considered to be a granddaughter of Khufu was buried in a rock-cut tomb (G 7530sub), dated from Menkaura’s to Shepseskaf’s reign based on the architecture and inscriptional evidence, beneath a mastaba (G 7530/7540) in the Eastern Cemetery (G 7000)47 (Dunham and Simpson 1974, 1–2, 7–8, plans B, C; Jánosi 2005, 305, 349–358). Although she was probably a queen of Khafra, she chose burial in the Eastern Cemetery (G 7000) rather than the Khufu-Khafra Quarry Cemetery due to the proximity of her parents’ burials (Kawab and Hetepheres II).

  1. 4. In addition to the standard scenes, such as an offering table on the entrance thicknesses and “viewing” on the east wall, new iconography including boats, slaughtering oryxes, fighting boatmen, granaries, and craftsmen at work,48 occurs in the mastabas and rock-cut tombs during Khafra’s and Menkaura’s reigns which reflects ideological changes (Reisner 1942, 325 (1), 349 (3), 350–351 (1), 357 (1), 358 (1)). These new themes, such as boats, may derive from the decorative programs of the pyramid complex of Khufu and the chapels of the queens’ pyramids (GI-a through GI-c) (Reisner and Smith 1955, 4–5, figs. 2, 7). The advent of rock-cut tombs in the late Fourth Dynasty with their greater wall surface also allowed more daily life scenes, which subsequently influenced later mastabas both at Giza and other sites (Smith 1946, 167, 169–172; Harpur 1987, 100; Flentye 2013, 124–128).

  2. 5. The use of rock-cut statuary was probably influenced by the statuary programs of the royal pyramid complexes of Khafra and Menkaura in addition to the nonroyal mastabas at Giza. In the Eastern Cemetery (G 7000), numerous statues of Kawab are assigned to his chapel (G 7120) dated from Khufu onward based on his genealogy and the architecture.49 The mastaba of Minkhaf (G 7430/7440), whose casing is dated to Khafra’s reign, has a statue chamber (G 7430) with four niches (Reisner 1942, 28, 45, 115 [d], fig. 7; Jánosi 2005, 107–108, 192, Abb. 46). The layout of a wall with statue niches foreshadows the use of niches and rock-cut statues in the rock-cut tombs of Meresankh III (G 7530sub) and Nebemakhet (LG 86; G 8172) of the late Fourth/early Fifth Dynasty.50 By the Sixth Dynasty, rock-cut statues in niches are integral to tomb decoration, such as in the mastabas of Qar (G 7101) and Idu (G 7102) in the Eastern Cemetery (G 7000) (Simpson 1976, 1–2, 4, 8–9, 23–24, 27, pls. VIb, IXb, f, XIa, b, XIIa, XXI–XXIIIa, b, XXIXa–c, figs. 2, 4, 10, 12, 36, 40).

Nonroyal Tombs of the Fifth and Sixth Dynasties

During the Fifth and Sixth Dynasties, the Giza Necropolis expanded despite the transference of the royal cemeteries to Saqqara and Abusir. Older mastaba cores were completed and used; and cult chapels were added to preexisting mastabas, as in the G I S Cemetery south of Khufu’s pyramid (Jánosi 2005, 268). New mastabas were also constructed in the Western, Eastern (G 7000), G I S, and Central Field, including between the older mastabas (Smith 1946, 186; Jánosi 2005, 268). Rock-cut tombs were also hewn and used in the Fifth and Sixth Dynasties, including in the Khufu-Khafra Quarry, the Central Field, and the Eastern Cemetery (G 7000)51 (Smith 1946, 188–191, 197; Porter and Moss 1974, 203–214, pl. XVIII; Jánosi 2005, 298, 374–375, 380–382, 383–406, 409–415, 418–427, Abb. 69, 71). Freestanding and rock-cut statuary continued to be used in tomb decoration during this period52 (Smith 1946, 49–54, 56–57, 58, 59, 60, 61–77, 84–87, 90–94, 95–102, 189–191).

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Figure 8 Detailed plan of the Senedjemib Complex. Surveyed and drawn by A. Floroff; traced by N. Melnikoff. Redrawn by Chris Dewara. EG023521. Fig. 3 from Brovarski, Edward. The Senedjemib Complex, Part 1: The Mastabas of Senedjemib Inti (G 2370), Khnumenti (G 2374), and Senedjemib Mehi (G 2378).

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Boston, 2001). Photograph © [2018] Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Architecture

In the Fifth Dynasty, family complexes, such as the Senedjemib Complex (G 2370, G 2374, and G 2378) in the Western Cemetery, and multichambered mastabas become prevalent (Jánosi 1999, 34, 36; Brovarski 2000, 11–12; Fig. 8) The appearance of multichambered superstructures in the nonroyal sphere is dated to the reigns of Neferirkara and Niuserra during the mid-Fifth Dynasty (Jánosi 1999, 34). These multichambered mastabas also had a new type of offering chamber, the east-west offering room with a false door on the west wall, which derives from the royal pyramid temples of the Fifth Dynasty53 (Jánosi 1999, 33, 34, fig. 16; Brovarski 2000, 16). Their multichambered aspect is considered a reflection of the development of funerary practices and ideology (Jánosi 1999, 36–37). Another important feature of these late Fifth and early Sixth Dynasty tomb complexes is a decorated burial chamber with picture lists with food and inscriptions (Smith 1946, 211, 213; Jánosi 1999, 36–37).

Materials

Interestingly, both the mastabas of Senedjemib Inti (G 2370) and Senedjemib Mehi (G 2378) use mostly nummulitic limestone for their chapels, suggesting that the local limestone was selected rather than fine quality despite their high rank as “viziers and overseers of royal works” (Smith 1946, 200; Brovarski 2000, 19–21). The overwhelming use of nummulitic limestone at Giza for reliefs in the Fifth and Sixth Dynasties necessitated the use of plaster.

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Figure 9 Mastaba of Nesutnefer (G 4970) in the Western Cemetery, east wall, drawing of boats over the entrance.

From Junker, Gîza III (1938), 167, Abb. 29.

Iconography: Boats

An important theme of the late Fourth/early Fifth Dynasty is the “journey to the West” depicting a boat(s) scene, which is presumably a Giza innovation possibly influenced by reliefs from Khufu’s pyramid complex (Harpur 1987, 67, 83; Fig. 9) Based on Yvonne Harpur’s analysis, the tombs with this theme are in close proximity and date, and may also be related through genealogy (Harpur 1987, 67). This theme occurs in L-shaped chapels and is “confined to a group of six chapels” in the Western Cemetery, where it appears on the east wall above the doorway54 (Harpur 1987, 67; also see Reisner 1942, 325–326 [1–7]). In the Eastern Cemetery (G 7000), two boats are reconstructed on the north wall facing right toward the entrance in the mastaba of Khaemsekhem (G 7660), dated from the mid to late Fourth Dynasty based on the layout of the Eastern Cemetery (G 7000) (Reisner 1942, 308–309, 325 [1], 328 [e3], 354). In the main chamber of Meresankh III’s rock-cut tomb (G 7530sub) dated to the late Fourth Dynasty (Jánosi 2005, 354–358), boats also appear on the southern section of the east wall on the top two registers oriented left towards the entrance (Dunham and Simpson 1974, 11–12, pl. IIIb, Va, fig. 5). These two examples of boats in the Eastern Cemetery (G 7000) may precede the group in the Western Cemetery, and their iconography may derive from the royal pyramid complexes at Giza. Finally, fragments depicting boats from Kaemnefret’s mastaba (G II S) in the G I S Cemetery, south of Khufu’s pyramid, are reconstructed by Hermann Junker above the east wall’s entrance (Junker 1951, 27–29, Abb. 12B, Taf. XVIc; Flentye 2006, 161). This mastaba dates to the early Fifth Dynasty or later (Jánosi 2005, 260–261). The appearance of boats at Giza above the entrance on the east wall dates to the late Fourth/early Fifth Dynasty, suggesting that it is a chronological development coupled with funerary ideology.

The Art and Archaeology of the Giza PlateauClick to view larger

Figure 10 Senedjemib Inti (G 2370), rear wall of portico, north of entrance. EG025586. From LD, Ergänz., pl. xviii.

Fig. 26 from Brovarski, Edward. The Senedjemib Complex, Part 1: The Mastabas of Senedjemib Inti (G 2370), Khnumenti (G 2374), and Senedjemib Mehi (G 2378). Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Boston, 2001). Photograph © [2018] Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Iconography: “Fishing and Fowling”

Fifth and Sixth Dynasty tombs at Giza also share similar iconography with the royal pyramid temples of Userkaf at Saqqara and Sahura at Abusir (Smith 1946, 178; Harpur 1987, 52, 56–57, 184–186), demonstrating how scenes are disseminated between the royal and nonroyal spheres as well as between different sites. Scenes of “fishing and fowling” on entrance porticoes, which are initially dated by Yvonne Harpur to the Fifth Dynasty (royal: early Fifth; nonroyal: mid to late Fifth),55 occur at Giza, Saqqara, and in the provinces (Harpur 1987, 22, 140–141, 193–194, 198, 200–201, 224, 257 [4], 335–338, 355–367 [4]). (Fig. 10) At Giza, symmetrical scenes of “fishing and fowling” decorate the rear walls of the entrance porticoes of the mastabas of Senedjemib Inti (G 2370) and Senedjemib Mehi (G 2378) in the Western Cemetery in addition to Seshemnefer IV (LG 53) in the G I S Cemetery, which are dated to the late Fifth and Sixth Dynasties (Smith 1946, 200; Junker 1953, 138–142, Abb. 60, Taf. 1, 16c, d; Brovarski 2000, 14, 38–40, figs. 24–27, 99–103, 135–136, pls. 15a, c, 16, 17a, 108, 109; Jánosi 2005, 398, Abb. 110).

Iconography: Funeral Scenes

Funeral scenes are also added to the repertoire of images at Giza in the late Old Kingdom. They decorate the mastabas of Qar (G 7101) and Idu (G 7102) of the Sixth Dynasty in the Eastern Cemetery (G 7000) (Simpson 1976, 1–2, 5–6, 21–22, pls. VIIa, VIII, XVIII–XX, figs. 24, 35). This theme occurs earlier, however, in the rock-cut tomb of Debeheni (LG 90; G 8090) in the Khufu-Khafra Quarry (Hassan 1943, 175–179, fig. 122, pl. L; Alexanian 1999, 5–6, 8, 11, Abb. 3), dated to the mid-Fifth Dynasty based on the architectural and inscriptional evidence (Jánosi 2005, 390–393). Although the production and bringing of funerary items can be dated to the late Fourth Dynasty, as in the rock-cut tomb of Meresankh III (G 7530sub) (Dunham and Simpson 1974, 4–5, 12, 16–17, pls. IIIb, V, VIIIa–IX, figs. 5, 8), and the early Fifth with the scenes from Sahura’s causeway (El Awady 2009, 194–196, fig. 91, pl. 11),56 images of the funeral including mourning appear in the Fifth and Sixth Dynasties, including at Saqqara (Harpur 1987, 92, 94, 113, 254).

Style of Relief Decoration

According to William Stevenson Smith, the reliefs in the Senedjemib Complex (G 2370, G 2374, and G 2378) are mostly carved in nummulitic limestone in low relief (Smith 1946, 200; Brovarski 2000, 20). However, Edward Brovarski has recently revised this assessment by categorizing the reliefs as medium height, a style ushered in at Giza by the nummulitic rock-cut tombs of the Fourth Dynasty (Brovarski 2000, 20). The reliefs of the Seshemnefer complex (LG 53 and LG 54) resemble the high, bold style of Sixth Dynasty reliefs at Saqqara (Smith 1946, 200).

Conclusion

The art and archaeology of the Giza Plateau is a diverse but interrelated topic, connecting various parts of the site over time to the three pyramid complexes of Khufu, Khafra, and Menkaura. The royal pyramid complexes consisted of a variety of components, all ensuring the afterlife of the king and the perpetuation of his cult. The pyramid contained his burial; while the pyramid temple, causeway, and valley temple originally were decorated with reliefs and/or statuary reflecting the ideology of kingship. The surrounding cemeteries with mastabas and rock-cut tombs, belonging to the royal family, elite, and officials, also contained relief decoration and statuary, although there was a developmental process from the early “reductionism” of Khufu’s reign with the slab stelae and reserve heads to more fully decorated chapels. This transition suggests that there was a pronounced change in the approach to tomb decoration and the funerary cult, whether it was a royal gift, economic, consciously chosen, or a preliminary measure before the addition of limestone chapels.

Although the pyramid complexes are the main focus of the Giza Necropolis, the peripheral areas were instrumental to their construction and decoration. Local limestone quarrying for the core blocks of the pyramids and tombs (Klemm and Klemm 2010, 69–101; also see Lehner and Hawass 2017, 421–428, 445–450, 456–457) emphasizes the role that the site played in harnessing materials and labor. The quarrying in the Central Field and the Khufu-Khafra Quarry also produced an area for the Sphinx as well as rock-cut tombs for the wives and sons of Khafra. Quarrying west of Khafra’s pyramid and also near Menkaura’s pyramid complex (Menkaura Quarry Cemetery) became areas for additional rock-cut tombs.

The central administrative and economic area, Heit el-Ghurab settlement (HeG), south of the “Wall of the Crow,” was also important to the construction of the pyramids and tombs since it maintained the builders and was also a focus for production (see Lehner and Hawass 2017, 364–388). The amount of raw materials, for example, stone and minerals, that flowed into the Giza Necropolis necessitated an organized and skilled workforce. Housing and feeding these individuals was a major task that the necropolis area had to support. The tombs of the pyramid builders on the hillside west of the production center reflect the hierarchical structure of the overseers, artisans, and workers: the tombs constructed and decorated according to their status (Lehner and Hawass 2017, 339–353).

Even when the royal cemeteries transferred to Saqqara and Abusir in the Fifth and Sixth Dynasties, the Giza cemeteries continued to expand and were influenced by the pyramid complexes of these other sites. This is most evident in the assimilation of royal iconography by the tomb owners at Giza, although there is a time delay in the nonroyal usage from the original royal image. The appearance of new iconography, such as funeral scenes, was possibly influenced by earlier tombs or other sites such as Saqqara; but its advent at Giza in the rock-cut tomb of Debeheni (LG 90; G 8090) in the mid-Fifth Dynasty indicates a new approach to the representation of funerary ideology that includes the actual funeral.

The continued use of Giza for worship and burial even into the Late Period emphasizes its importance throughout ancient Egyptian history, including the legendary aspect of kings Khufu, Khafra, and Menkaura. The ability to create the large-scale pyramids and Sphinx must have inspired the ancient Egyptians of later times, with burial at this Old Kingdom site retaining its power and significance almost two thousand years later.

Websites

http://www.aeraweb.org

http://giza.fas.harvard.edu

http://www.gizapyramids.org

http://glendash.com

http://www.mfa.org

http://giza3d.3ds.com/#discover

Giza Mastaba Series

Giza Mastabas 1: Dunham, Dows, and William Kelly Simpson. The Mastaba of Queen Mersyankh III, G 7530–7540. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1974.Find this resource:

Giza Mastabas 2: Simpson, William Kelly. The Mastabas of Qar and Idu, G 7101 and 7102. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1976.Find this resource:

Giza Mastabas 3: Simpson, William Kelly. The Mastabas of Kawab, Khafkhufu I and II, G 7110–20, 7130–40, and 7150 and subsidiary mastabas of Street G 7100. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1978.Find this resource:

Giza Mastabas 4: Simpson, William Kelly. Mastabas of the Western Cemetery, part I, Sekhemka (G 1029); Tjetu I (G 2001); Iasen (G 2196); Penmeru (G 2197); Hagy, Nefertjentet, and Herunefer (G 2352/53); Djaty, Tjetu II, and Nimesti (G 2337X, 2343, 2366). Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1980.Find this resource:

Giza Mastabas 5: Weeks, Kent R. Mastabas of Cemetery G 6000, including G 6010 (Neferbauptah); G 6020 (Iymery); G 6030 (Ity); G 6040 (Shepseskhafankh). Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1994.Find this resource:

Giza Mastabas 6: Roth, Ann Macy. A Cemetery of Palace Attendants, including G 2084-2099, G 2230 + G 2231, and G 2240. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1995.Find this resource:

Giza Mastabas 7: Brovarski, Edward. The Senedjemib Complex, part I, The Mastabas of Senedjemib Inti (G 2370), Khnumenti (G 2374), and Senedjemib Mehi (G 2378). Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 2000.Find this resource:

Giza Mastabas 8: Manuelian, Peter Der. Mastabas of Nucleus Cemetery G 2100, part I, Major Mastabas G 2100–2220. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 2009.Find this resource:

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Notes:

(1) For the dates, see James P. Allen, “Dynastic and Regnal Dates,” in Egyptian Art in the Age of the Pyramids, exhibition catalog (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, with Harry N. Abrams, 1999), xx. Also, see Miroslav Verner, “Archaeological Remarks on the 4th and 5th Dynasty Chronology,” ArOr 69, no. 3 (2001), 363–418; Peter Jánosi, Giza in der 4. Dynastie: Die Baugeschichte und Belegung einer Nekropole des Alten Reiches, Band I, Die Mastabas der Kernfriedhöfe und die Felsgräber, DGÖAW 30; UZK 24 (Wien: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2005), 66–74; and Miroslav Verner, “Contemporaneous Evidence for the Relative Chronology of Dyns. 4 and 5,” in Ancient Egyptian Chronology, eds. Erik Hornung, Rolf Krauss, and David A. Warburton, Handbook of Oriental Studies, section one, The Near and Middle East, vol. 83 (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2006), 124–143; Peter Der Manuelian and Thomas Schneider, eds., Towards a New History for the Egyptian Old Kingdom: Perspectives on the Pyramid Age, Harvard Egyptological Studies 1 (Leiden and Boston: Brill), 2015. Additional remarks by Peter Jánosi (email message to author, August 16, 2015) are also incorporated into an assessment of the length of the Fourth Dynasty.

(2) I am grateful to Joanne M. Rowland, a member of the Egyptian Chronology project at the University of Oxford, for providing the articles regarding radiocarbon dating.

(3) For the dates of the Middle Kingdom period (ca. 2030–1650 B.C.), see Adela Oppenheim, “Introduction: What Was the Middle Kingdom?” in Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom, eds. Adela Oppenheim, Dorothea Arnold, Dieter Arnold, and Kei Yamamoto (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2015), 1–8. For a chronology of the Middle and New Kingdoms, see Oppenheim et al., Ancient Egypt Transformed, xviii–xix.

(4) Interestingly, this stela was carved from a granite lintel taken from a doorway in Khafra’s pyramid temple, further connecting Thutmosis IV with Giza and the builder of the second pyramid. See Mark Lehner, The Complete Pyramids (London: Thames & Hudson Ltd., 1997), 130–133.

(5) The dates for the Third Intermediate and Late Period are based on the chronology used in Oppenheim et al., Ancient Egypt Transformed, xix.

(6) The construction of the Temple of Isis helped to preserve not only the chapel of Queen’s Pyramid GI-c but also the adjacent mastaba of Khufu-khaf I (G 7130/7140) with its beautifully decorated chapel of the Fourth Dynasty. See William Kelly Simpson, The Mastabas of Kawab, Khafkhufu I and II: G 7110–20, 7130–40, and 7150 and subsidiary mastabas of Street G 7100, Giza Mastabas 3 (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1978), 9–10; Lehner, The Complete Pyramids, 116.

(7) This dismantling also included the pyramids’ casing blocks (eleventh and fourteenth centuries A.D.), which exposed the interior core blocks, except for the top section of Khafra’s pyramid which retains its fine limestone casing. See Peter Der Manuelian, “Excavating the Old Kingdom,” in Egyptian Art in the Age of the Pyramids, exhibition catalog (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, with Harry N. Abrams, 1999), 139.

(8) See Commission des sciences et arts d’Égypte, Description de l’Égypte ou recueil des observations et des recherches qui ont été faites en Égypte pendant l’expédition de l’armée française, Atlas Antiquités (Paris: Imprimerie imperiale, 1809–1828).

(9) Lepsius’ numbering is characterized by L or LG at the beginning of the tomb number.

(10) Khufu’s valley temple has not been fully excavated. In the 1980s and 1990s, the laying of a sewer system in Nazlet el-Samman revealed basalt blocks and evidence of Old Kingdom settlement structures and pottery. See Lehner, The Complete Pyramids, 232; Zahi Hawass and Ashraf Senussi, Old Kingdom Pottery from Giza (Cairo: Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), 2008), 127–128, 290–291, 297, 305, photos 44–45, 54–56, plan 6. Also see Mark Lehner and Zahi Hawass, Giza and the Pyramids: The Definitive History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017), 388–391.

(11) The Hearst Expedition was affiliated with the University of California, Berkeley. See Manuelian, “Excavating the Old Kingdom,” 140.

(12) Mark Lehner’s dissertation is entitled: “Archaeology of an Image: The Great Sphinx of Giza” (PhD diss., Yale University, 1991).

(13) See Jánosi, Giza in der 4. Dynastie, 75–76; Peter Der Manuelian, “On the Early History of Giza: The ‘Lost’ Wadi Cemetery (Giza Archives Gleanings, III),” JEA 95 (2009), 116n17 for an overview of the Predynastic and Early Dynastic finds at Giza.

(14) Ana Tavares, e-mail message to author, September 22, 2016.

(15) See Manuelian, JEA 95 (2009), 110, fig. 3 for a plan of the Wadi Cemetery.

(16) This measurement is based on Peter Jánosi’s plan of the Giza Necropolis. See Jánosi, Giza in der 4. Dynastie, 113, Abb. 8.

(18) However, Peter Jánosi has demonstrated that the Eastern Cemetery (G 7000) containing the tombs of Khufu’s children differs from the burials of the children of Khafra and Menkaura, which are not located in a specific cemetery but occur throughout the Giza Necropolis, such as in the Central Field. See Jánosi, Giza in der 4. Dynastie, 304.

(19) For the dimensions of the pyramids of Khufu, Khafra, and Menkaura in addition to the queens’ pyramids, see Peter Jánosi, Die Pyramidenanlagen der Königinnen: Untersuchungen zu einem Grabtyp des Alten und Mittleren Reiches, DGÖAW 13; UZK 13 (Wien: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1996), 184–187, Tab. A-C4; Lehner, The Complete Pyramids, 108, 116, 122, 134, 136, 137. For the dimensions of the mastabas of G 2000, Hemiunu (G 4000), and Ankh-haf (G 7510), see George Andrew Reisner, A History of the Giza Necropolis, vol. I (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1942), 57 (2, 7), 59: Jánosi, Giza in der 4. Dynastie, 108–111, 146–149, 183–184, 450, Tab. G3.

(20) Based on the sockets in the floor, Selim Hassan believed that there were originally thirty-eight red granite pillars, forming a colonnade around all sides of the court. See Selim Hassan, Excavations at Gîza, Season 1938–39, vol. X, The Great Pyramid of Khufu and Its Mortuary Chapel (Cairo: General Organisation for Government Printing Offices, 1960), 39–40, figs. 11, 12, pls. XV, XVI. Also, see Lehner, The Complete Pyramids, 109.

(21) Reisner and Smith reconstructed the registers with one figure each, while Hassan’s drawing shows two figures each.

(22) For a discussion of the layout of the slab stelae, see Peter Der Manuelian, Slab Stelae of the Giza Necropolis, Publications of the Pennsylvania-Yale Expedition to Egypt 7 (New Haven, Conn.: The Peabody Museum of Natural History of Yale University; Philadelphia: The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, 2003), 141–160.

(23) According to Peter Der Manuelian, there are six of the wide, long form and nine short form based on the fifteen preserved examples. See Manuelian, Slab Stelae, 1, 141–144, fig. 213 for his discussion of long and short form stelae.

(24) For a list of the fifteen slab stelae, see Peter Der Manuelian, “The Problem of the Giza Slab Stelae,” in Stationen: Beiträge zur Kulturgeschichte Ägyptens, Rainer Stadelmann Gewidmet, eds. Heike Guksch and Daniel Polz (Mainz am Rhein: Verlag Philipp von Zabern, 1998), 122–123, fig. 4. Also see Manuelian, Slab Stelae.

(25) Several of the early mud-brick chapels with slab stelae may have had statues as well. Peter Jánosi discusses the pedestals, stone or mud brick, in mastabas of Cemetery G 1200. In the mastaba of Khufu-nakht (G 1205), a “white-washed mud platform” in the southeast corner of the offering chamber may be for a statue or shrine, although it postdates the early phase platform for the offering basin and stands. See William Stevenson Smith, A History of Egyptian Sculpture and Painting in the Old Kingdom (London: Published on behalf of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, by the Oxford University Press, 1946; reissued, New York: Hacker Art Books, 1978), 30; Manuelian, Slab Stelae, 49, fig. 40; Jánosi, Giza in der 4. Dynastie, 159, 294, Abb. 16. In G 1207, Jánosi proposes statues for the low pedestals on either side of the slab stela. See Jánosi, Giza in der 4. Dynastie, 160, 294, Abb. 17. In G 1227, Nile mud pedestals in front of the slab stela may be for statues. See Jánosi, Giza in der 4. Dynastie, 162, 294, plan 1.

(26) For the relief of Nefer (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 07.1002) and Nefer’s reserve head (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 06.1886), see Rita E. Freed, Lawrence M. Berman, and Denise M. Doxey, Arts of Ancient Egypt, MFA Highlights (Boston: MFA Publications, 2003), 76–77.

(27) Graffiti give “Year 16” and “Year 20,” placing the casing of Hemiunu’s mastaba in the second half of Khufu’s reign. See Jánosi, Giza in der 4. Dynastie, 441, Tab. C2.

(28) For Hemiunu’s titles, see Hermann Junker, Gîza I, Die Mastabas der IV. Dynastie auf dem Westfriedhof, DAWW 69,1 (Wien and Leipzig: Hölder-Pichler-Tempsky A.-G., 1929), 148–153.

(29) Overlapping animals occur in this early phase of the Giza Necropolis based on a fragment depicting overlapping oxen from Kawab’s exterior chapel (G 7120) in the Eastern Cemetery (G 7000). See Simpson, Kawab, 3, pl. VIc, fig. 11b.

(30) Fragments of granite were discovered in the southern serdab. See Jánosi, Giza in der 4. Dynastie, 125n731.

(31) The reconstructed marsh and slaughtering scenes are assigned to the east wall in Chamber B of Kawab’s exterior chapel (G 7120). See Simpson, Kawab, 3, pl. VI, figs. 11, 12.

(32) The high, bold relief of Khufu-khaf I’s fine-quality limestone chapel (G 7140) may be related to the use of nummulitic limestone in the mastabas of the mid-Fourth Dynasty and later, which are carved in a medium to high style of relief. See Smith, HESPOK, 162.

(33) These scribal statues are: Khuen-ra (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 13.3140), Ba-baef (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 21.931), Kawab (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 24.3068, 27.1127, 34.4.1), Ankh-haf (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 27-2-304), Hernet (Egyptian Museum, Cairo TR 5.11.24.16), and Setka (Musée du Louvre, Paris E 12629 (bases: E 12631). See Gerry Dee Scott III, “The History and Development of the Ancient Egyptian Scribe Statue” (PhD diss., Yale University, 1989), vol. I, 21 for these eight scribal statues.

(34) George Andrew Reisner considered Kawab to be a son of Khufu based on the position of his mastaba in the Eastern Cemetery (G 7000). Peter Jánosi believes that Kawab could also be a half-brother, cousin, or possibly a nephew of Khufu. For Kawab’s genealogy, see Reisner, Giza I, 80–81; Jánosi, Giza in der 4. Dynastie, 101, 102–103. For the titles of Ankh-haf and Kawab, see Michel Baud, Famille royale et pouvoir sous l’Ancien Empire égyptien, tome 2, BdE 126/2 (Cairo: IFAO, 1999), 424–425 (35), 586–587 (230).

(35) Also, according to William Stevenson Smith, “Other statuettes of Ka-wab must have stood on the floor of the rooms of the outer chapel and, perhaps, in the portico.” See Smith, HESPOK, 30.

(36) The statue measures 55 cm in preserved height. See Farouk Gomaà, Chaemwese: Sohn Ramses’ II. und Hoherpriester von Memphis, ÄA 27 (Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1973), 84 (51).

(37) The statue of Ankh (Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Leiden AST 18, D93) wears two feline skins and is dated to the Third Dynasty. See Christiane Ziegler, “Ankh Wearing Two Feline Pelts,” in Egyptian Art in the Age of the Pyramids, exhibition catalog (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, with Harry N. Abrams, 1999), 186 (15).

(38) Hans Goedicke believed that the foreign captive relief was brought there from Khufu’s pyramid complex for transportation. See Hans Goedicke, Re-Used Blocks from the Pyramid of Amenemhet I at Lisht, Publications of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Egyptian Expedition, vol. 20 (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1971), 10.

(39) The attribution to Khafra’s causeway or pyramid temple is based on the granite construction of the valley temple.

(40) The fragment has a border on the left.

(41) The triads were discovered in the southern magazine-corridor (III-4). See George A. Reisner, Mycerinus: The Temples of The Third Pyramid at Giza (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1931), 35, 42, 109–110 (9–12). Although the triads are almost three-dimensional relief, group statues are known during Khafra’s reign. See Renate Krauspe, Katalog Ägyptischer Sammlungen in Leipzeig, Band I, Statuen und Statuetten (Mainz am Rhein: Verlag Philipp von Zabern, 1997), 21–22 (26), 22–23 (30), 26 (43), 37 (79), 39–40 (86, 88, 90), Taf. 11, 1; 16, 3–4; 26, 4; 28, 1–4; 29, 2; 30, 1.

(42) This series of statuettes is considered to be models for larger statues. See Freed et al., Arts of Ancient Egypt, 82. They are carved from gneiss, diorite, and a red stone (hematite or possibly unpolished red jasper) in a variety of states based on their completion. See Reisner, Mycerinus, 112–113 (25–40); Laurel Flentye, “Royal Statuary of the Fourth Dynasty from the Giza Necropolis in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo,” in The Art and Culture of Ancient Egypt, eds. Adela Oppenheim and Ogden Goelet, BES 19 (New York: The Egyptological Seminar of New York, 2015), 285–286, 291, Fig. 9.

(43) See Wendy Wood, “A Reconstruction of the Triads of King Mycerinus,” JEA 60 (1974): 82–93.

(44) See Matthias Seidel, Die königlichen Statuengruppen, Band 1, Die Denkmäler vom Alten Reich bis zum Ende der 18. Dynastie, HÄB 42 (Hildesheim: Gerstenberg Verlag, 1996), 25–53, Taf. 5–16.

(45) See Florence Dunn Friedman, “Reading the Menkaure Triads: Part II (Multi-directionality),” in Old Kingdom, New Perspectives: Egyptian Art and Archaeology 2750–2150 BC, eds. Nigel and Helen Strudwick (Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2011), 93–114.

(46) A medium to high style of relief existed earlier in the decoration of Kawab’s reliefs (G 7120) in the Eastern Cemetery (G 7000). The relief fragments assigned to his exterior chapel are carved in a bolder style than the low relief of the offering chamber’s west wall. See Smith, HESPOK, 161, 249.

(47) Meresankh III’s rock-cut tomb (G 7530sub) is close to Khufu’s pyramid and beneath a mastaba (G 7530/7540) in the Eastern Cemetery (G 7000) thought to belong to her mother Hetepheres II. The original mastaba, G 7520/7530, was partially dismantled and enlarged with a chapel during Khafra’s reign based on the architecture and graffiti. See Jánosi, Giza in der 4. Dynastie, 349–358, Abb. 85.

(48) The fragment of a hand with a staff (adze?) (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 25-12-301) from Hemiunu’s chapel (G 4000), which dates to Khufu’s reign, may be from a scene of boat building and craftsmen at work. See Smith 1946, 169n1; Manuelian 2008, 36.

(49) The statue emplacements on the west wall of Kawab’s Chamber B in his exterior chapel (G 7120) are a later addition and may date after Khufu’s reign. See Simpson, Kawab, 2, 3, pls. IIa, IVa, c, figs. 4, 5. For the date of Kawab’s chapel (G 7120), see Baud, Famille royale 2, 586–587 (230); Jánosi, Giza in der 4. Dynastie, 101–103, 193–194.

(50) For the niches and rock-cut statues in the rock-cut tomb of Meresankh III (G 7530sub), see Dows Dunham and William Kelly Simpson, The Mastaba of Queen Mersyankh III: G 7530–7540, Giza Mastabas 1 (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1974), 4, 5, 6, 17, 18, 20–21, plans C, E, pls. VI, VIIb, VIII, IXa, b, XI. For Nebemakhet’s rock-cut tomb (LG 86; G 8172), see Selim Hassan, Excavations at Gîza, vol. IV, 1932–1933 (Cairo: Government Press, Bulâq, 1943), 129, 132, 133, 134–135, 144, figs. 72, 76, 77, pl. XXXVII. For the dates of the rock-cut tombs of Meresankh III (G 7530sub) and Nebemakhet (LG 86; G 8172), see Jánosi, Giza in der 4. Dynastie, 354–358, 366.

(51) In the Eastern Cemetery (G 7000), there are rock-cut tombs along its eastern edge as well as the chapels of Qar (G 7101) and Idu (G 7102).

(52) The numerous statues in the mastaba of Rawer of the Fifth Dynasty in the Central Field exemplify the emphasis on three-dimensional representation. See Selim Hassan, Excavations at Gîza, vol. I, 1929–1930 (Oxford: Printed at the University Press, 1932), 36–38, pls. VIII (1)–X, XIII, XIV (2), XIX, XXI–XXIV, XXX, XXXVIII–XLI; PMIII2, 267–269.

(53) The pyramid temples of Sahura, Neferirkara, and Niuserra have east-west offering rooms, and they influenced the offering rooms of the nonroyal mastabas. See Peter Jánosi, “The Tombs of Officials: Houses of Eternity,” in Egyptian Art in the Age of the Pyramids, exhibition catalog (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, with Harry N. Abrams, 1999), 34; Edward Brovarski, The Senedjemib Complex, part I, The Mastabas of Senedjemib Inti (G 2370), Khnumenti (G 2374), and Senedjemib Mehi (G 2378), Giza Mastabas 7 (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 2000), 16. Also see Smith, HESPOK, 185.

(54) These mastabas include Merib (G 2100-I-annexe), Kaninisut I (G 2155), Seshemnefer I (G 4940), Nesutnefer (G 4970), Seshathetep (G 5150), and Wehemkai (D 117) in the Western Cemetery. See Yvonne Harpur, Decoration in Egyptian Tombs of the Old Kingdom: Studies in orientation and scene content, Studies in Egyptology (London: KPI, 1987), 396, 398, plans 43, 46, 47, 49–51. For dating, see Jánosi, Giza in der 4. Dynastie, 243, 289, Tab. 15.

(55) Yvonne Harpur suggests that the flanking scenes of “fishing and fowling” on the entrance porticoes may ultimately derive from now missing scenes from Fourth Dynasty pyramid complexes. See Harpur, Decoration, 224.

(56) The bringing of the funerary furniture with an associated register of slaughtering oxen decorates the south wall in Meresankh III’s entrance chamber (a) (G 7530sub) as well as a block from Sahura’s causeway.