Iycee Charles de Gaulle Summary The religious beliefs influenced many of the

The religious beliefs influenced many of the

political advances made in the Early Dynastic Period formed the foundations for
economic strength and radical monumental development in the Old Kingdom. Their
complex religious beliefs influenced many of the concepts seen in the king’s
monuments. ‘Re as the solar god, and Osiris, the god who symbolised
regeneration and was king of the underworld … promised eternity to their
followers’, their faith is evident in the overall construction of many funerary
complexes (David, 1986: 40). Discovery of the Kings Lists, inscribed with the
evidence of reigning kings, has enabled historians to reconstruct an accurate
portrayal of Egyptian civilisation. The Palermo Stone is ‘one of the most
important historical sources for Dynastic and the Old Kingdom Periods,
inscribed on both sides with royal annuls’ (Shaw, 2003: 45). It has allowed us
to gain insight into Egyptian civilisation beyond that of the royal tombs. The
scribes include information regarding The Nile, cult ceremonies, warfare, sculpture
and taxation. Mastabas were a prominent feature of funerary
monuments and it is in the early period of the Old Kingdom that we begin to see
an influential development in their construction. Originally mastabas were
built in a rectangular form using mud-brick, the superstructures were divided
into chambers, including the burial chamber placed centrally, containing items
for the afterlife. Many subsidiary graves, surrounding the central location of
the burial chamber, contain evidence that suggests human and animal sacrifices
were made to accommodate the king in afterlife. By the 3rd Dynasty
the mastaba had developed conceptually. The burial chamber was placed
underground, there is no evidence suggesting that human sacrifices were a
continued practice, and the material used for its construction consisted of
both stone and of brick. It is with Djoser, second king of the 3rd
Dynasty, and his revolutionary construction of the Step Pyramid, that the
importance of continually developing monumental tombs is evident. The Step
Pyramid found in Lower Egypt, Saqqara, was designed by the king’s vizier
Imhotep and was the first stone structure of such a large scale, an ‘art …
traditionally attributed to, Imhotep’ (Aldred,
1961: 84). With the first known pyramid, the architectural leap from the Early
Dynastic Period sets in motion an advancement which ‘combines in one monument
the previously separate burial place and monumental enclosure’ (Dodson, 2016:
12). The Step pyramid was located centrally within the enclosure and the
initial structure was a low square layout, echoing the original mastaba. This
was further developed into a six stepped, rectangular pyramid constructed using
limestone, a new material that would be used in the building of monuments for
centuries later. The burial chamber, found underground, was enclosed by
galleries. To the north of the enclosure was a temple that incorporated the
serdab, in which the oldest life sized statue was placed. Mummified remains
were found within the Step Pyramid, and although assumptions were made that
they belonged to king Djoser, ‘radiocarbon results have thrown doubt on this
… the only non-architectural material found in the pyramid itself is a
wooden box with the king’s name’ (Dodson, 2016:14). With Djoser’s successor
Sekhemkhet we can see some minor developments in the pyramids features.
Sekhemkhet’s pyramid was completed only up to the first step of an intended
seven. The king’s burial chamber however, shows evolvement through the ‘first
freestanding stone sarcophagus’ and ‘unusual store galleries, only otherwise
found in the Layer Pyramid’ (Dodson,