Good Reading : July 2007
JULY 2007 ı goodreading 51 The Great Pyramid: Ancient Egypt Revisited by John Romer is published by Cambridge University Press, rrp $49.95. All photographs and captions reproduced from The Great Pyramid with the permission of the publisher. The Bent Pyramid and the Meidum Lake. This solitary lake may be the sole survivor of the harbours that provisioned and supplied the pyramid-makers. One would expect, therefore, that the ruins of some temples lie close by, at the ending of the causeways that connected the pyramids in the desert to the living land of Egypt. Limestone and mud brick used together, the low black bricks lying gently over the sharp white stone of the wall of the burial chamber of Sakkara Mastaba 3506, built in the reign of Den. The bricks are made of Nile silt and have been bedded in a cement of natural desert plaster, which has also been used to set the field stones of the lower sections of the wall. The black mud running down the limestone wall is the residue of mud bricks that have dissolved in local rains since their uncovering in the 1950s: mud brick is highly vulnerable to rain. The evenness, the lack of blemish, of fine Tura limestone that made it a perfect medium for Khufu’s finest craftsmen also made it a preferred stone for the Great Pyramid’s vast vaults, where consistency was a structural necessity. Exposed on the Pyramid’s north face, these four great Tura blocks were set above the tiny entrance corridor to disperse the burden of the Pyramid above. The Nile boat recovered and most beautifully restored, found in 1954 in one of the Great Pyramid’s five boat pits. No stone transport, but a regal yacht whose elegance shows the sophistication of King Khufu’s shipwrights and the skills held within the workforce that main - tained and built the fleets of royal transports which supplied the pyramid- makers with material and provisions. A general plan of the monuments upon the Gaza Plateau.