Shepseskaf Mastaba

The Shepseskaf Mastaba is located in South Saqqara. According the official version it is the tomb of the last pharaoh of IV dynasty. Mastaba is a rectangular structure approximately 100x75 meters, 18 meters high. It is composed of 10 rows of huge limestone blocks, which are currently subjected to terrible erosion.

The information about the external features of Shepseskaf Mastaba can be found in the "Expedition Report  December 2012." The one of purposes of our expedition (March, 2013) was to study the internal structure of the Shepseskaf Mastaba.

The interiors of the Mastaba is almost entirely granite. Originally Mastaba had the lining of Turkish limestone, and, perhaps, of granite.

It excavated and examined by German egyptologist Karl Lepsius in 1843, and french archeologist August Mariette in 1858. More detailed research was conducted by  Gustave Jéquier in 1924, who released his report in 1928.

In this report, it was determined that the mastaba was obviously intended for Shepseskaf.

The interiors of the Mastaba resemble the internal structure of the pyramids, in particular the Userkaf pyramid in Saqqara.

The internal structures of Shepseskaf Mastaba have granite masonry. In this connection there is another parallel - with ancient buildings. The internal rooms of Mastaba were made with the same technique and the same material as the Granite Temple in Giza.

The entrance into Mastaba is located on the north side.

The entrance should pass down the standard type.

Descending passage leads out to a small lobby.

Portsсulis are unusually thin. First - 16 cm thick, the second and third - about 25 cm. They are lowered half-way and only the backups of the stones keep them in such position.

Horizontal passage leads into the first chamber. The chamber is located on the axis of the E-W, perpendicular to the horizontal passage. It has gable ceiling and its walls are built of huge granite blocks.

On the west (right) wall we see a passage into the second chamber. Passage of a standard size. Unusually, it has a slight upward bias.

The second chamber is almost the same size as the first. It is also built of granite blocks. Overlapping gable under a semi-circular arch, it looks like the same as we can see in the Burial chamber of the Pyramid of Menkaure in Giza. The floor in both rooms is "floating", and has not connected to the walls. It is very noticeable in some places where the floor "sank" down below the masonry walls. In some places of the walls we can notice a horizontal line, marking the floor level.

In the first chamber, from its south-east corner, there  is long dead-end passage to the south, which has four identical niches on its left side, and one, at the far end - on the right. At the entrance to the passage along the ceiling of the passageway, there is a number of horizontal grooves of unknown purposes.

In the first niche on the left side of the corridor there is a punched hole, whereby it became possible to see the granite block of the first chamber. 

The remains of a broken sarcophagus, made of hard sandstone can be seen in the first chamber. The quality of stone processing was  great! It is unclear how it might come to someone's mind to break such a magnificent ancient artifact!

Some more shots of Shepseskaf Mastaba interior .






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