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Djedkare’s Complex

Saqqara - The Places

Pyramid Complex of Pharaoh Djedkare

and his Chief Royal Wife, Queen Setibhor

Pharaoh’s True sided Pyramid was accompanied by his Mortuary Complex with a Mortuary Temple, Valley Temple, a Cult Pyramid and a partially built Causeway; with reciprocal buildings for Pharaoh’s Chief Royal Wife, Queen Setibhor. The last Pharaohs of the 5th Dynasty abandoned the Necropolis at Abusir and moved back to the Saqqara Necropolis, where Djedkare decided to build in a new area to the South of Saqqara.

 

The body of Pharaoh Djedkare was discovered in the mid-1940s inside his own Pyramid which is relatively rare as many Pyramids, Mastabas and Tombs of this period were robbed and then desecrated for their building material in antiquity.

 

Pharaoh’s Pyramid had a 6 stepped core which was encase in white Tura Limestone which was approx. 52.5m high (but now it remains at 24m high) with a base of 78.75m. Pharaoh Djedkare’s Pyramid was used as an architectural plan for later Pharaohs, namely Pharaoh Teti, Pharaoh Pepi I, Pharaoh Merenre I and Pharaoh Pepi II, when they were planning their own Mortuary Complexes.

 

The Substructure

The entrance was in the North side of the Pyramid and you are immediately taken into a sloping downward Corridor which was guarded with 3 Granite Stone gates near the beginning of the Corridor and a further gate at the end. The Corridor leads to the Ante Chamber and the Burial Chamber with other niches for storage. The Burial Chamber is where the skeleton of Pharaoh Djedkare was discovered. All the rooms have been marred by the material robbers in antiquity.

 

The Mortuary Complex

As with nearly every other Mortuary Complex in the Saqqara Necropolis had a Valley Temple, a Causeway, a Mortuary Temple, a Cult/Satellite Pyramid and Pharaoh’s Pyramid.

The Valley Temple

Regrettably, this Temple has not been explored as most of it is buried beneath the modern housing in the Town of Saqqara.

The Causeway

This has also not been excavated although it is known to have been 220m long, had a ceiling which was decorated and was made out of White Limestone. As with most other Causeways, it connects to the Temple entrance hall between two 6m high Pylons.

Mortuary Temple

Distressingly this Temple was ravaged in the Second Intermediate Period and then reused as a burial site in the 18th Dynasty, leaving little from the original Temple design apart from the original Limestone paving which has allowed for the Chambers to be digitally reconstructed. 4 Djed Pillars measuring 93cm tall were used as an architectural element in the Temple. Lion and Sphinx statues were resting on rectangular pedestals along with an Alabaster Statue of Pharaoh Djedkare himself.

Cult Pyramid

Pharaoh’s Cult Pyramid was enclosed by its own wall, had a 3 stepped core which was encase in white Tura Limestone which was approx. 16m high with a base of 15.5m. Its subterranean structure was entered through the North face and had a standardised T shaped layout. Egyptologists believe that the Pyramid was for the use of Pharaoh’s Ka statue.

Mortuary Complex of Chief Royal Wife,

Queen Setibhor

 

The Complex was the largest ever built for a Queen of the Old Kingdom Period.

Echoing that of her husband’s, it was located in the north-eastern corner of his Complex.

It boasted its own Perimeter Wall; Pyramid, a Columned Court, Statue Chapel and Mortuary Temple which its own Offering Hall, storage rooms and Cult Pyramid.