I've been researching lately in more detail Hassan's prolific excavations at Giza looking at plates from dozens of tombs, namely from the 4th-6th Dynasties, in which the serekh building was a ubiquitous presence in one form or another in a majority of the tombs. False doors aside, a staple of all tombs of the period and ultimately part of the serekh building regardless, but many complete representations of the serekh building, some in fantastic detail, found on various medium from sarcophagi, to door headers, to paintings on walls.
I would confidently state as fact at this point that by leaps and bounds there is no single greater Old Kingdom representation of any iconography more so than the serekh building. What its connection to the afterlife I have yet to figure out just yet, but no doubt about it this building was far and away the most important component of their belief system. Not the pyramids. Not the Sphinx. With the exception of Anubis perhaps, not any of the gods. No-the serekh building.
The fact it is so commonly depicted on their sarcophagi it stands to reason this building was a place they wished their remains to be housed in the afterlife. Which is curious because given the effort spent to build these elaborate mastabas, with the exception of the false door, they could have easily made the exteriors look like this building but they did not.
Again, the rub-with the exception of the mastabas of Khentkawes and Kai at Giza, argued by myself and others to be older than the 4th Dynasty anyways, the DE of the OK did not use palace facade style architecture which fell out of use in the 3rd Dynasty, and apparently the first few pharaohs at that. What this tells me is that it is not the palace facade style that the OK DE were enamored with, but obviously the serekh building itself. A specific building that for some reason was the most important part of their belief system in the afterlife which seems to specifically revolve around the past with the serekh building as its symbol. As we recall, the serekh building 1st appears associated with kingship/rule in Dynasty 0 and in Dynasty 1 no doubt it becomes the very symbol of kingship itself. While the serkeh was still in use by pharaohs in the OK despite its common replacement with the cartouche, in the OK the serekh building seems to have developed another meaning altogether-one that appears separate from kingship.
Lets mull this over. The serkeh building is supposedly the symbol of kingship-or more importantly it is something the king unwaveringly associated himself with. But this was not the pharaoh's tomb. Yet in the 1st Dynasty at Saqqara and elsewhere we find the great palace facade mastabas in which not a one has been identified to be the tomb of a pharaoh, but instead belong to their officials and family members, namely wives. Not to mention that they are far grander than any tomb attributed to the pharaohs. So at this point, in the 1st Dynasty, we see a great reverence for this building so much so massive mastabas are made to emulate it it, but not for the king, and it is here it is clearly associated with the afterlife. But again, not for the king. 2nd Dynasty comes along, and though a bit murky, no palace facade mastabas for kings or anyone else, but a few 2nd Dynasty pharaohs, most notably the last pharaoh Khasekhemwy, refurbish existing palace facade buildings like Shunet El-Zebib. The 3rd Dynasty Djoser builds Saqqara with walls in the palace facade style, but not actual buildings. In the interior of the pyramid we see the false door, but otherwise he is not into the serekh building despite the fact he still uses the serkeh and shows this building in great detail on his stela. And not only is he not into it, but neither are his subjects. Not a big deal to them. His predecessor starts to build the same, but does not finish and palace facade architecture ends.
Along comes Sneferu, 1st pharaoh of the 4th Dynasty, and other than a few mastabas at Meidum, which I argue are actually older, no palace facade and other than false doors the tomb builders have no interest in it either. Same with burials dated to Khufu's reign. I am still researching this which is going to take me a while, but it seems to me at this point that the infatuation with the palace facade serekh building does not occur until after the ned of Khufu's reign or perhaps even sometime after his death. My sense is that it happened during the reign of Djedefre which if so is supremely interesting to me as I have noted that it is with Djedefre that we also see a revival of the early dynastic practice of boat burials. Not to stray to far but there is a reason Djedefre went to Abu Roash and not Giza and it is very interesting Abu Roash has a long history going back the the 1st Dynasty. Also interesting is that when I calculated the radio carbon date averages that Abu Roash on average was older than the Giza pyrmaids at around 2800BC.
Anyhoo, one thing is for certain it seems is that this infatuation with the serekh palace facade building took full bloom sometime in the middle 4th Dynasty and became the dominant funerary iconography of the OK thereafter. A serekh building "craze" as it were which for reasons as yet unknown nothing could be more important to their beliefs in the afterlife. My working hypothesis at this point is that it had something to do with Djedefre and what he found at Abu Roash.
No edits tonight. Time for bed.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 20-Mar-19 16:48 by Thanos5150.