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Ancient and Egyptian Architecture Architectural History ACT 322 Doris Kemp Topics Egyptian Civilization Egyptian Architectural Characteristics Mastabas Saqqara Pyramid at Medum Khufu’s Pyramid at Giza Additional Giza Structures Characteristics Beni Hasan Mortuary Temples

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Ancient and Egyptian Architecture

Architectural History

ACT 322

Doris Kemp


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Topics

  • Egyptian Civilization

  • Egyptian Architectural Characteristics

  • Mastabas

  • Saqqara

  • Pyramid at Medum

  • Khufu’s Pyramid at Giza

  • Additional Giza Structures

  • Characteristics

  • Beni Hasan

  • Mortuary Temples

  • Middle Kingdom Mortuary Temples

  • New Kingdom Mortuary Temples

  • Egyptian Civil Architecture


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Egyptian Civilization

  • Egypt and Mesopotamia are the earliest known recorded civilizations

  • Nile River was the driving force for ancient Egypt

  • Egyptians were obsessed with the afterlife and the dead

    • These beliefs had a great impact on the culture and its architecture


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Egyptian Civilization

  • Ancient Egyptian Periods:

    • Old Kingdom (c. 3200 – 2158 B.C.)

    • Middle Kingdom (c. 2134 – 1786 B.C.)

    • New Kingdom (c. 1570 – 1085 B.C.)

  • Landscape

    • Nile Valley cliffs provided a rich assortment of building stone

      • Varieties include sandstone, granite, and alluvial clay for bricks


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Egyptian Architectural Characteristics

  • Egyptians commonly imitated nature in their architecture

    • In a historical sense, nature is a key element in architecture, no matter the culture

    • Only recently has this process been neglected


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Old Kingdom Architecture:Mastabas

  • Mastabas

    • First known Egyptian tombs

    • Bench-shaped masses rising above 30 ft.

    • Composed generally of sun-baked mud brick

    • Featured sloping walls and a flat roof

    • Burial chamber usually was surrounded by storage rooms

      • Used to store goods for the deceased to take along their journey in the afterlife


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Old Kingdom Architecture:Mastabas

  • Mastabas

    • Serdabs

      • State chambers that featured an effigy of the deceased

      • False doors were included to allow for the soul of the deceased to escape the structure

    • Mastabas served as a model for the later Egyptian pyramids


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Old Kingdom Architecture:Mastabas

http://www2.gp4success.org.uk/egypt/ARTICLES/mastabas.htm


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Old Kingdom Architecture:Mastabas

http://www.petrie.ucl.ac.uk/digital_egypt/3d/pictures/meydum5.jpg


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Old Kingdom Architecture:Saqqara

  • Saqqara

    • Enormous funerary complex built by the Great King Zoser in 2750 B.C.

    • Key features:

      • Residence for the king in the afterlife (tomb)

      • Replica of the royal palace

      • Stage for the enactment for the rituals of kingship


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Old Kingdom Architecture:Saqqara

  • Saqqara

    • Designed by Imhotep

      • The first recorded architect in history

      • Would later be considered a god by the Egyptians

    • First conceived as a mastaba with huge stone blocks

      • Unlike earlier mastabas which used mud-bricks


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Old Kingdom Architecture:Saqqara

  • Saqqara

    • The complex was repeatedly enlarged over time

      • Layers were added in an upward fashion

    • These additions by Imhotep eventually created the first Egyptian pyramid

      • Step pyramid

        • Differs from the geometrically perfect pyramids (i.e. the Great Pyramids)

        • Successive layers of smaller structure added upwards


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Old Kingdom Architecture:Saqqara

  • Saqqara

    • Stands 204 ft. , present day

    • Surrounded by a 33 ft. high wall

    • Entrance Hall

      • Columns are used to imitate the bundles of reeds found along the Nile

      • Real reeds were commonly used to construct residential structures during this time


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Old Kingdom Architecture:Saqqara

Photo: Sullivan


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Old Kingdom Architecture:Saqqara

Photo: Sullivan


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Old Kingdom Architecture:Pyramid at Medum

  • Pyramid at Medum

    • c. 2704 – 2656 B.C.

    • Demonstrates Egyptian attempts at building a steeped, rather than stepped pyramid

      • Geometrically perfect pyramid

      • Requires at least a 52° angle from the horizontal

    • Outer layers were insufficiently supported

      • Gave way to the immense pressure


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Old Kingdom Architecture:Pyramid at Medum

Photo: Sullivan


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Old Kingdom Architecture:Khufu’s Pyramid at Giza

  • Pyramid at Giza

    • The first successful steep pyramid

    • Created by the great pharaoh Khufu (Cheops in Greek)

    • Also known as the Great Pyramid

    • Originally 482 ft. high on a plan of 760 ft.

    • Modern scientists remain puzzled on its construction


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Old Kingdom Architecture:Khufu’s Pyramid at Giza

Photo: Sullivan


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Old Kingdom Architecture:Khufu’s Pyramid at Giza

  • Khufu’s Pyramid at Giza

    • Many scientists theorize its massive stone blocks were quarried and transported by large sleds and barges

    • Blocks were then lifted atop ramps to be placed at higher levels

Photo: Sullivan


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Old Kingdom Architecture:Khufu’s Pyramid at Giza

  • Khufu’s Pyramid at Giza

    • Queen’s Chamber

      • The original burial place

      • Located underground, beneath the Great Pyramid

    • King’s Chamber

      • Replaced the original chamber

      • Constructed within the pyramid itself

      • Considered one of the finest examples of megalithic architecture in existence


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Old Kingdom Architecture:Khufu’s Pyramid at Giza

  • Khufu’s Pyramid at Giza

    • Grand Gallery

      • Grandiose passage leading from the entrance to the King’s Chamber

      • Originally intended to be used only once, for the king’s burial


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Old Kingdom Architecture:Additional Giza Structures

  • Chefren

    • Followed the Great Pyramid in construction

      • c. 2530 B.C.

      • Built for the pharaoh Chefren

      • Smaller than the Great Pyramid

Photo: Sullivan


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Old Kingdom Architecture:Additional Giza Structures

  • Mycerinus

    • Built after Chefren’s Pyramid

    • c. 2500 B.C.

    • The last of the large Egyptian steep pyramids

Photo: Sullivan


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Middle and New Kingdom:Characteristics

  • Egyptian tombs return to below the ground

    • Many tombs begin to appear in the cliffs of the Nile Valley

  • Builders decide to sacrifice the monumentality of tombs for security from grave robbers

    • Shaft tombs

      • Long, underground corridors and chambers hollowed out of Nile Valley cliffs

      • Little architectural significance


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Middle and New Kingdom:Beni Hasan

  • Beni Hasan

    • 125 miles upstream from Giza on the East bank of the Nile River

    • Hollowed out of the Nile Valley cliffs

    • Features:

      • Colonnaded portico for public worship

      • Combined chapel and effigy chamber


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Middle and New Kingdom:Beni Hasan

Photo: Sullivan


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Middle and New Kingdom:Mortuary Temples

  • Mortuary Temples

    • Followed the decline of the pyramids and the concealment of burial chambers

    • Developed into Egypt’s most important monumental form

    • Funerary complexes set before the Old Kingdom pyramids are some of the most striking mortuary temples


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Middle and New Kingdom:Mortuary Temples

  • Mortuary Temples

    • Usually comprised of three interconnected parts:

      • A temple near the Nile where the king’s body was embalmed

      • A mortuary temple where rituals were performed

      • A long, narrow causeway between thick walls connecting the two temples


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Middle and New Kingdom:Mortuary Temples

  • Temple Complex of Khafre

    • One of the most impressive preserved temple complex’s

Photo: Sullivan


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Middle and New Kingdom:Middle Kingdom Mortuary Temples

  • The Sphinx

    • Represented the god Re-Harakthe on guard over the king’s tomb

    • Contained an intricately constructed set of interiors

Photo: Sullivan


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Middle and New Kingdom:Middle Kingdom Mortuary Temples

  • Mortuary Complex of Mentuhotep II

    • Located at the base of the cliff at Dier el Bahari

    • The first monumental structure against the Nile Valley cliffs in Egyptian architecture

    • Huge complex developed some 500 years after the decline of the pyramids


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Middle and New Kingdom:Middle Kingdom Mortuary Temples

Photo: Sullivan


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Middle and New Kingdom:Middle Kingdom Mortuary Temples

  • Mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut

    • Dedicated to the sun god Amon-Ra

    • Located next to the Mortuary Complex of Mentuhotep II

      • Built some 500 years later

    • Considered the “least Egyptian” of the Egyptian monuments

      • Closest Egyptians ever came to the architecture of Classical Greece


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Middle and New Kingdom:Middle Kingdom Mortuary Temples

Photo: Sullivan


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Middle and New Kingdom:New Kingdom Mortuary Temples

  • Thebes

    • Originally built in two locations on the East bank of the Nile River

    • Known today as Karnak and Luxor

    • Connected by great avenues of Sphinxes


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Middle and New Kingdom:New Kingdom Mortuary Temples

Photo: Sullivan


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Middle and New Kingdom:New Kingdom Mortuary Temples

  • Thebes

    • Temple of Khons

      • Erected around 1100 B.C.

      • Original temple that other structures would be modeled after in the construction of Thebes

Photo: Sullivan


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Middle and New Kingdom:New Kingdom Mortuary Temples

  • Thebes

    • Temple of Amun

      • Features two giant obelisks that were created for visual accent to the structure

        • Obelisks tested Egyptian builders to the full

          • Great complexity, detail, and sheer size

        • Created from two giant stones


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Middle and New Kingdom:Egyptian Civil Architecture

  • Evidence shows that life in Egypt was somewhat secular

    • Evidence of country houses and cities where trade flourished


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Middle and New Kingdom:Egyptian Civil Architecture

  • Town of Tell el Amarna

    • Early example of Egyptian urban planning

    • Lies between Luxor and Cairo

    • Features:

      • Large estates for the wealthy

      • Smaller houses for middle class

      • Shows signs of slum areas


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Middle and New Kingdom:Egyptian Civil Architecture

Photo: Sullivan


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References

  • Sullivan, Mary; http://www.bluffton.edu/~sullivanm/

  • http://www.brynmawr.edu/Acads/Cities/wld/wdpt1.html

  • Trachtenburg/Hyman; Architecture: From Prehistory to Postmodernity

  • Wodehouse/Moffett; A History of Western Architecture


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Ancient and Egyptian Architecture

Architectural History

ACT 322

Doris Kemp


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