Mykerinos' Mortuary and Valley Temple

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Mortuary Temple

The unfinished state of Mykerinos' funerary complex is very obvious in its mortuary temple. The core blocks were laid, but rather than being encased in granite, they were lined with mudbrick which shows some traces of being plastered and painted.
A series of granite blocks was being prepared for the north corridor, when instructions came that haste was needed to complete the temple. It is generally accepted that this haste was caused by the death of the king and although his successor Shepseskaf wanted to complete this monument, he also wanted to focus on his own funerary complex at Saqqara.

View on Mykerinos’ pyramid from the east, showing the ruins of the mortuary temple.

View on Mykerinos’ pyramid from the east, showing the ruins of the mortuary temple.

Despite its unfinished state, the structure of Mykerinos' mortuary temple is fairly clear. As was already traditional, the entrance is located in the east. It is followed by a large open court, with pillars lining the walls.
The sanctuary was located to the west of the open court, built against the wall that encloses the pyramid.

Fragments of several royal statues were found in the temple, among them several pieces of a larger-than-life alabaster statue representing the king seated on his throne. Although its pieces were found scathered around in the temple, it may originally have stood in the long and narrow hall that was built along the temple's east-west axis. There it would be the object of the king's funerary cult, providing the link between the world of the living, and the world of the dead.

Like the mortuary temple, the 608 meter long causeway connecting it to the Valley Temple down east, was never finished. Unlike the mortuary temple, however, Shepseskaf only completed the westernmost part of the causeway with mudbricks, leaving the rest uncompleted.


Valley Temple

Of all the monuments that are part of Mykerinos' funerary complex, the Valley Temple is the one that was least completed. During the reign of Mykerinos himself, only the foundations were laid, in huge limestone blocks that were quarried locally. The rest of the temple was completed by Shepseskaf hastily and cheaply, in mudbrick.
The temple was completely rebuilt during the 6th Dynasty, after it had been almost destroyed by flooding.

Interactive map of the Valley Temple of Mykerinos’ pyramid complex at Giza, showing the find places of some rather unique group statues showing the king along with his wife or the goddess Hathor. The insets to the left show the original excavation photos when these status were found.
Click or tap on the little circles to learn more about this monument.
Source: Lehner, Complete Pyramids, p. 137; Insets: Egyptian Antiquities on Facebook.


Despite its unfinished state, the structure of temple is quite clear. The main entrance was located in the eastern was and opened up unto a hall that was flanked by several rooms to the North and the South.

Beyond the entrance hall, there was a wide rectangular open court and at the opposite end, several rooms, of which the sanctuary was the most important.

Several magnificent statues were found during the excavation of this temple. Among them were a larger-than-life statue of the king with his queen, Khamernebti II as well as several triads showing the king together with the goddess Hathor and a provincial deity.


© Jacques Kinnaer 1997 - 2017