> Why would you expect a significant 4th dynasty mortuary context
> at Giza, when the site was essentially virgin at the time of
> Khufu's pyramid construction?
I do not believe the Giza plateau was "virgin" at the time of Khufu's reign, for one.
Specifically, the organized development of cemeteries at Giza are mostly believed to be due to the efforts of Khufu, who had these tombs laid out methodically in "streets" and avenues", and aligned to the axis of his pyramid complex. In fact, scholars believe that Khufu laid out these orderly cemeteries to the east and west of his pyramid in what may have been the world's first example of prefabricated construction, with the assignment of specific tombs to specific individuals only occurring afterwards. Hence, while tourists to Giza are awed by the efforts required to build his Great Pyramid, few realize that at the same time construction was taking place all about this monument.
Egyptologists believe the AE did not wait to build cemeteries until each pyramid was completed and only after the fact did they bury people as you are suggesting, but rather they were pre-made and ready for burial during the time of each pyramids construction. Therefore, what we would expect to find is a plethora of tombs occupied in situ as needed throughout the 4th Dynasty regardless of whether or not the pyramid was completed, like what is attested there from the 5th Dynasty, but this is not what is found.
Also, despite the fact Egyptologists believe Khufu built the West and East cemeteries concurrently with G1, which we can assume were mostly if not all completed in earnest well before G1 was finished if Egyptologists are correct, the West field is made up of almost all 5th-6th Dynasty burials? It makes little sense Khufu would have built the West field only to go unoccupied by his immediate successors being filled with 5th and 6th Dynasty burials instead.
Also, possibly more telling, is that when and if what pyramid was completed when and by whom would be irrelevant to the so called "cemetery of the pyramid workers" which also dates to the 5th Dynasty. Especially when we consider the relatively short lifespan of the average Egyptian of 35yrs, with no doubt pyramid workers being at the bottom rung of this ladder, if your reasoning were correct we would expect at the very least to find scads of 4th Dynasty pyramid worker burials there from the very beginnings, but again this is clearly not the case as they all date to the 5th Dynasty as well.
Another thing to consider are the G1 satellite pyramids. If we accept these were originally intended as tombs, obviously reserved for the most important people behind Khufu, completing these would have been of paramount importance as well and one of the first projects started. This is a little hard to swallow considering the separate effort required given these pyramids were as much as 100ft tall themselves, as well as the rather rude fashion in which they are stuffed into the overall plan only narrowly avoiding such things that presumably weren't even there yet like the temple, which we assume would have been built last, and the causeway, suggesting the satellite pyramids were built after the fact.
Worth noting is that though not directly adjacent to any pyramid, at the South cemetery there are several 2nd and 3rd Dynasty burials which show Giza was already a burial site well before the 4th Dynasty. More importantly, however, there are at least two tombs at G2's Central cemetery, namely those attributed to Khentkawes and Kai, that highly likely date to the 2nd or 3rd Dynasties if not earlier as well.
> In understanding the ancient
> Egyptians, what we have at Giza is pretty much what you would
> expect. Close family and some officials. There were already
> established funerary anchors at other nearby sites, such as
> Saqqara, Meidum, Dashour, or even Abydos. It's not until the
> Giza site established a culture of ritual legitimacy that more
> burials were included there in the later 5th and 6th dynasties.
The reigns of Khufu through Menkaure spanned at least nearly 90yrs in which we are told construction on the Giza plateau started on the first day and stopped shortly after the last. 90yrs in the life of an Egyptian represents at least 3 generations of lifespans and would supposedly have been the epicenter of the entire nations economy and social and religious structure. It is safe to say there was more than enough time for Giza to have established its "culture of ritual legitimacy" not to mention this would have been established whether people liked it or not by Khufu's decree, a living god, from day one. But it wasn't. They also did not spend 90yrs building these things for the primary benefit of the next few generations that followed only to claim a pittance for themselves and give the rest away.
While of course it stands to reason later generations would have a presence there, like the 6th Dynasty does, what would not be expected is that the Dynasty the site is attributed to would have so little; not only by comparison but relative to the size and scope of the task. Giza as a whole was as great or greater of an endeavor than Sakkara, Meidum, and Dashour combined and yet the people that supposedly built it are the least represented not to mention the last and "poorest" pharaoh of the three is by far the most dominant presence at the site? Sorry, not buying it.
> It's a pretty natural progression if you ask me. There is a
> significant royal presence for Khufu's court near his pyramid.
And yet no "presence" to be found he actually built it.
"Dynasties" are a modern artificial construction with no historical value other than what we give it. In reality there is nothing to say that Menkaure was in fact not representative of the end of the 4th Dynasty, but rather as I believe, the "beginning of the 5th" where the last of the Giza renovations began. It is his presence that now dominates Giza as well as the 5th Dynasty that directly follows him, not Khufu or Khafre. If in fact Khufu and Khafre were as great of pharaohs as they supposedly must have been to do the works they did, if true it is hard to believe Menkaure and the 5th Dynasty would stand so far above them in the archaeological record at Giza.
Post Edited (25-Feb-14 04:38)