From the OP:
Peribsen, the possibly 6th or 7th pharaoh of the 2nd Dynasty of whom we have no idea how long he reigned, was the only pharaoh to adopt and replace Horus with Set in his serekh which has obvious implications as to the political state at the time between Upper and Lower Egypt. Sekhem Ib-perenmaat - who may have preceded, succeeded, or more likely been one and the same as Peribsen- used both his Horus name and double name in his serekh which some suggest is further evidence of an upheaval between the two lands in which his alleged successor, Khasekhemwy, further records battles with enemies from the north.
Khasekhemwy, the accepted last pharaoh of the 2nd Dynasty appears to have once again united the two lands which apparently culminated in the reassertion of monumental architecture surpassing anything known to have come before. As to why he changed his name (which some believe he is a different pharaoh from Khasekhem entirely), which occurred when he added Seth to his serekh along with Horus, is unknown though it is obviously superficially suggestive of a reunification of the two lands.
Few examples are found of his name Khasekhem, but under his more frequent presumed later name, Khasekhemwy, there definitely appears to have been a "new level" of foreign relations which his name is found as far afield as Byblos who we know the AE had relations with going to back into predynastic times. After the name change he is at some point referred to as the "overseer or foreign lands" supposedly corroborated by a stone block associated with him found at Hierakonpolis containing a list of foreign countries.
If in fact Peribsen is the predecessor of Khasekhemwy, what we have before them is a veritable black hole separating the 2nd Dynasty from the 1st. Regardless of the state of Peribsen's provenance, what we see with anything remotely resembling confidence is that Khasekhemwy, the "overseer of foreign lands", was a stabilizing force in Egypt seemingly having united Upper and Lower Egypt once again after perhaps centuries of chaos. What is also seen with Khasekhemwy, is the systematic refubishing and expanding of existing sites that it stands to reason was only required because they had been long abandoned or neglected. With his reign we also see the use for the first time of quarried stone in construction as well as the extensive use of stone elements to refurbish older structures. And perhaps, even beyond just his tomb, he may well have constructed an entire "stone building" which begs the question what exactly was this stone building? I'll get to that in a minute, but even though the stone working of Khasekhemwy pales in comparison in scope, complexity, and skill to that of his immediate successor, Djoser, there is no comparison really, he nonetheless represents a clear change to the use of stone for construction which almost certainly dates towards the latter part of his reign. The latter part of his reign in which he supposedly changes his name from "Khasekhem" to "Khasekhemwy", foreign relations reach an abrupt "new level", in which he even assumes the mantle of "overseer of foreign lands".
However infinitely limited the stone construction of Khasekhemwy was compared to Djoser, the seed was planted nonetheless which what was to directly follow, in just mere years, was nothing short of an inexplicably sudden explosion of fully developed stoneworking, regardless of Khasekhemwy's efforts, bewilderingly without precedent. The question is not only why, but how? Despite the fact we are told there is no difference in the tools and materials before and after Djoser, nor the ability to work stone, something changed dramatically that not only allowed for the instantaneous birth of the stone working construction and quarrying industry, which also would include the necessary logistical, engineering and architectural principles required to go with it, but also the materials of tooling to allow for such prolific and industrial use of stone of which most of us agree copper was clearly not up to the task.
As I have argued before, the Dynastic State was formed by the direct influence and administration of a Mesopotamian related culture. The foreign kings of the 1st Dynasty brought with them the gruesome practice of ritual mass burial which saw the murder of hundreds of subjects to be buried along side monumental constructions separated some distance from the actual tombs of their rulers at Umm al-Qa'ab:
Precedent I have also argued, in principle, to explain why cemeteries surround the great pyramids yet were never intended as tombs for the pharaoh.
I have suggested the fall of the 1st Dynasty leading to the "dark age" of the 2nd was as a direct result of a rebellion against the heinous acts of mass murder which is further evidenced by the abrupt and total end of such a practice marked by the beginnings of the 2nd Dynasty.
I would continue with this hypothesis at this point, though to be fair I am still working out the minutia, and contend that the clear changes brought about by Khasekhemwy was again the result of foreign influence and resources, if not by the direct administration of a foreign element which I would tentatively place this at or by way of Byblos (yes, this is where Baalbek is....). It is here which began the revitalization of the crumbling state that had been largely abandoned perhaps for centuries. Netjerikhet's ("Djoser") reign, constituted a second, more prominent, wave of this influence in which these "revolutionary" methods, administration, and materials required for the new stone construction industry were brought to bear in full at Saqqara. With its faux buildings, Saqqara appears to be an homage, not only incorporating the legacy of Dynastic Egyptian tradition as it was understood, but also the tradition of this foreign influence.
To get back to what may have been the "stone building" Khasekhemwy is said to have built, the fact is there are no such buildings of this period save what is found supposedly directly after him at Saqqara. As we know the Saqqara pyramid was built in multiple stages over pre-existing structures:
Found within the bowels of the pyramid, at its oldest structure, were over 40,000 stone vessels mostly dating from the 1st and 2nd Dynasties including those of Khasekhemwy. A 2nd Dynasty necropolis was found at south Saqqara including a seal which bears Khasekhemwy's name which all but assures he was contemporaneous with the necropolis which we should keep in mind it is also at Saqqara where the greatest 1st Dynasty tombs are found, curious perhaps cenotaphs to their Umm al-Qa'ab counterparts or vise versa. Regardless, the presence of the 1st and 2nd Dynasties at Saqqara is clear leaving me to wonder if "Mn-n rt", the "stone building" credited to Khasekhemwy, may in fact be one of the earlier layers of the Saqqara pyramid which was later converted by Netjerikhet (Djoser) to a stepped pyramid.
To circle back, as to how the "Saqqara problem" all came about, a work in progress mind you, I propose it was the result of yet another round of foreign influence that filled the vacuum left by the collapse of the 1st Dynasty leading to the 2nd. It is impossible such technology and methods were just magically invented overnight literally from one pharaoh to the next fully developed both technically, logistically, and aesthetically with no sign of precedent. It had to have come from "somewhere" which there is no evidence it came from Egypt all by itself if at all. This is all well and good, but equally implausible is that the entirety of these tens of thousands of cut and dressed stone blocks, both limestone and granite with some of the latter weighing upwards of 30 tons, were all fabricated using copper tools. As we are told, and to be fair so far what the archeology has discovered as well, is that there is literally no difference whatsoever in the tooling available before and after the construction of Saqqara yet somehow the same old copper tools became magic copper tools and voila-stone working on a massive scale. Real life doesn't work this way with the only solution being that if the tools did not change then the materials the tools were made of must have.
This amazing bowl and ewer set was found by Petrie among hundreds of other precious artifacts in the Umm al Qa'ab 2nd Dynasty tomb of our friend Khasekhemwy:
They are not copper, but bronze.
Bronze artifacts do not appear regularly in Egypt until the late Middle Kingdom, which they were largely imported, though bronze was being manufactured in Mesopotamia for more than 1,000yrs before Khasekhemwy, the "overseer of foreign lands". Making alloys is a skill that requires trial and error to get right or at the very least the right recipe and skilled metallurgists. It seems highly unlikely to me the AE imported tin, or "accidentally mixed ores", just to make these vessels. Given the established contact between Khasekhemwy and regions that made bronze in abundance, i.e. Mesopotamia/Levant, it seems to me a forgone conclusion these objects, like many other goods and materials like boatloads of cedar wood from Lebanon, were in fact imported by the AE. Not that they couldn't make them mind you as evidenced by many amazing copper wares found going back to the beginnings of Dynastic Egypt, but if they could make bronze instead of copper it goes without saying they would have made a hell of a lot more. And out of the hundreds of artifacts found in Khasekhemwy's tomb, including much gold, these were the only bronze objects found and quite amazing ones at that further suggesting a rarity of something imported and not made indigenously. Fit to bury with the king no less.
And if such exquisite bronze objects such as this ewer and bowl set were imported, or brought as I suggest, there is nothing stopping tools from being made/imported as well. I suggest this is exactly what happened and it is the importation of bronze that was one of the main instrumental reasons for the sudden transition to monumental stone working at Saqqara. In short, it was possible, in part, because bronze made the job more practical and ultimately achievable in the first place. While these artifacts do not "prove" this was the case, what it does prove and create precedent for is that the AE clearly had access to it centuries before the great pyramids were built which common sense, as well as the implication of the evidence itself, suggests they also also utilized it for tool making which was the catalyst, among other things, for the sudden transition to stone.
There will be some of you who have made it this far whose heads have exploded. I have no interest in your nonsense so understand that I am not saying this is THE answer to all of the tooling that is found in Egypt. All I am offering is a logical starting point involving a material with greater potential than copper. I am also not saying they did not use copper, they did- this is a fact, but when it does come to some of this higher tooling, namely the working of igneous rock, it should go without saying I do not believe copper was used. At least we have something to point to that may potentially move us up a rung on the ladder.
Edited 19 time(s). Last edit at 26-Jan-20 16:09 by Thanos5150.