> Many thanks for the link, Thanos.
> I have just finished reading it. Of particular
> interest to me was Reader's explanation of the
> influence of water on the plateau as a means of
> suggesting an earlier date than Khufu for the
> Great Sphinx, where he concludes that:
the excavation of the Sphinx was undertaken
> some time before Khufu's quarrying began, when
> rainfall over the more elevated areas of the Giza
> plateau was able to run off from a substantial
> catchment, gathering momentum before finally
> discharging into the Sphinx enclosure.
He makes many interesting points. I like Reader. A worthy source. I saw him on a recent documentary regarding the Sphinx which he was making the case it was older, so nice to see he is an active participant still.
What led me to this article was researching the tombs of Khentkawes and Kai because of their incongruent palace facade exteriors which I was certain must be older. Seek an ye shall find:
Further evidence that there was Early Dynastic activity at Giza may actually come from within the necropolis itself - particularly the Central Field Quarry area, and the tombs of Khentkawes and Kai (Figure 2).
Both the lower rock-cut element of the Khentkawes tomb and the nearby rock cut mastaba of Kai bear two groups of features that are of considerable interest for my argument.
Firstly, on these two tombs, the upper limestone beds are cut by features of erosion which resemble (but are less intense) than those on the western Sphinx enclosure walls. In my view, such features were formed before the pattern of surface drainage at Giza was disrupted by the large scale 4th Dynasty development of the site which, in relation to these tombs, included extensive quarrying, upslope, within the Central Field Quarry area.
Remarkably, on these two tombs, the features - so suggestive of pre-quarrying or pre-4th Dynasty erosion - are accompanied by a second set of features which also suggest an Early Dynastic origin. On the lower walls of these tombs are the weathered remains of niched- or palace-façade decoration - a typical Early Dynastic architectural device.
The niched-façade features on the tomb of Khentkawes have been recognized by others, ,  and are limited to the lower part of the southern wall of the tomb, facing the Main Wadi (Figure 2). In its completed 4th Dynasty state, the Khentkawes tomb was faced throughout with a limestone casing. This casing will have obscured the rock-cut niches, further suggesting that the niched features pre-date the use of the tomb for the burial of Khentkawes.
In the case of Kai (Figure 12), the remains of the niched-façade extend along both the southern and eastern faces of the superstructure, facing both the main wadi and the Nile valley itself. Whether there is any significance associated with the fact that the niched-façades appear only on the faces of the tombs facing the Nile and its associated former waterway is uncertain.
When compared with the tomb of Khentkawes, the excavated niches on the eastern face of the tomb of Kai are better preserved, extending to a greater height up the external walls of the rock-cut mastaba. This better preservation can be readily explained as the result of protection from degradation provided by a number of subsidiary tombs constructed against the eastern face of the mastaba.
The use of the Early Dynastic niched-façade on the exterior of the tombs of Khentkawes and Kai, differs significantly from the austere architectural style generally adopted at Giza in the 4th Dynasty, with plain façades interrupted only by false doors and individual offering niches. Although their age appears not to have been established during excavation,  the tombs built against the eastern face of the mastaba of Kai exhibit this plain, typically Old Kingdom, architectural style (see Figure 12).
Although these apparently Old Kingdom tombs have prevented the degradation of the underlying niches, from close inspection it is apparent that there was a period of time between the excavation of the niches and the later, apparently Old Kingdom construction. Behind the Old Kingdom masonry, the limestone from which the niched panels were cut has a dark patina, a product of weathering (see Figure 13). The preservation of this patina does not coincide with the extent of the overlying masonry. It can only be concluded, therefore, that the niched-façade had weathered considerably before the adjacent Old Kingdom masonry was added.
On the basis of the features of erosion along the upper beds of these two rock cut tombs, the weathering of the niched-façade, and the juxtaposition of apparently Old Kingdom tombs, I would argue that the mastaba of Kai and the lower rock-cut element of the Khentkawes tomb, originally formed part of an Early Dynastic development at Giza - the development which had as its focus the Great Sphinx and associated structures.
The work of both Mortensen and Kromer and the detailed architecture of the tombs of Khentkawes and Kai demonstrate that there is evidence for pre-4th Dynasty activity at Giza. What is noteworthy is that the period of time indicated by this evidence is consistent with the time-scales that I have established on the basis of other quite independent considerations (such as the use of stone masonry in Ancient Egypt).
Happy Holidays to you as well Matt.
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 24-Dec-16 19:32 by Thanos5150.