Mortuary Tempe of Djedkare


Mortuary Temple

Much of the mortuary complex connected to Djedkare's pyramid still remains to be excavated and examined. Fragments of reliefs found here indicated that this temple was as richly decorated as were the temples at Abusir.

It is the first known mortuary temple to have had two massive masonry pylons guarding its entrance. Similar pylon-like constructions had already been used for the Abusir pyramid of Niuserre, but they were not located at the entrance of the complex. Most pyramid complexes that were built after Djedkare’s did not have such pylons

The entrance opens into a long, narrow entrance hall, which is flanked by rows of magazines. It in turn opens onto an open pillared court. The palm columns in this open court were made of granite. Both the entrance hall and the open court were paved with alabaster. 
Progressing to the west a doorway leads to a long, transverse room that marks the separation between the front and the inner temples. Djedkare's mortuary temple is the first to make such a sharp distinction between these two parts of the temple. The magazines that flanked the entrance hall can apparently only be entered from the transverse room.

The inner temple contains 5 niches for statues of the deceased, facing east. To the south of these niches, a doorway leads to the antechamber with one single column. A doorway in the north wall of this antechamber leads to the actual sanctuary, constructed against the east face of the pyramid. 
These rooms of the inner temple are flanked by what appear to be magazines. Between the mortuary temple and the enclosure wall were four open courts, one of which was used for the satellite pyramid. The three other courts may perhaps have been used for the slaughtering of sacrificial animals.

The causeway connected to the mortuary temple has not been excavated. Its course can, however, bee seen sloping in a straight line under the modern-day village of Saqqara.

Satellite Pyramid

The satellite pyramid of Djedkare's complex is located at the south-east angle of the main pyramid, in one of the four open courts between the actual mortuary temple and its enclosure wall. This small pyramid has a simple, T-shaped sub-structure: an entrance in the north gives access to a passage that descends into a small rectangular chamber that once may have contained a statue representing the Ka of the king.

Queen’s Mortuary Complex

At the north-east corner of the mortuary complex is located the Queen's pyramid.

For the first time, the Queen's pyramid appears to have been a separately functioning complex, with its own mortuary temple, offering hall, magazines, a columned court and a hall with 5 niches for statues of the deceased. It even had its own satellite pyramid, which, like with the royal pyramid, stood to the south-west of the actual pyramid.

The remains of the Queen’s Pyramid and its Mortuary Temple, seen from the King’s Pyramid.

The remains of the Queen’s Pyramid and its Mortuary Temple, seen from the King’s Pyramid.
Source: EgyptPhoto.

In the valley below the pyramid, granite architraves and walls made of limestone and of mudbrick have been discovered. They may have been part of a town located near the pyramid or perhaps even Djedkare's palace.

© Jacques Kinnaer 1997 - 2017