The description and plan are reproduced from Excavations At Giza VI Part III, (1934-1935) by Dr. Selim Hassan - Cairo 1951 (Excavations of the Faculty of Arts, Fouad I University. Published by Service des Antiquities de L'Egypte). Click on the plan to cycle through higher resolution images.

Note: Every effort has been made (using the available materials) to ensure the accuracy of this transcription . Some errors may remain in quoted dimensions.

The Mastaba of Queen Rekhit-Ra

Situation

This mastaba is situated to the south of the Causeway of the Second Pyramid, and to the east of the Mastaba of Im-ka-ef The Priest (see General Plan 7, 8-Q).

Description

The Mastaba of Queen Rekhit-Ra is of a considerable size, and its superstructure is built of large blocks of local limestone masonry, the upper courses of which are destroyed. It is approached by way of a long rock-cut passage running parallel with the causeway of the Second Pyramid (that is to say east to west) and at a distance of 8.00 m. from this causeway. The passage, which measures 53.60 x 1.40 m, ends in a rectangular courtyard, measuring 6.35 x 2.40 m, the lower parts of the walls being cut in the natural rock. The main entrance to the tomb is situated in the western corner of the southern wall of the courtyard and measures 1.20 x 1.50 m. It gives access to a passage measuring 5.70 x 2.20 m, in the southern wall of which is another doorway (1.00 x 0.95 m) leading to a small ante-chamber. This doorway was of a single-leaf type, and its upper socket is still in position. The walls of the corridor and the ante-chamber are partly cut out of the solid rock, and completed in the upper parts by some courses of limestone masonry. The floor of both the corridor and the ante-chamber slopes slightly inwards.

The Ante-Chamber

The ante-chamber measures 3.50 x 2.00 m. Near the southern end of its western wall is a doorway measuring 1.10 x 1.45 m. cut in the solid rock and cased with white limestone. The drum of this entrance is of white limestone and is incised with a horizontal row of finely-cut hieroglyphs, reading "She Who … Horus and Set (the King), the King's Daughter, Great […], King's Wife, Rekhit-Ra".

A few traces of blue paint show that the signs were once coloured. The other parts of the doorway are uninscribed.

The Chapel

Originally the mastaba was intended to contain only one large rock-cut chapel, having a roof supported by three square pillars and a pier, also cut in the natural rock. But later, modifications were made to the plan, most probably to correspond with the mortuary cult of the period. The northern half of the eastern part of the chapel was partitioned off by a screen wall of limestone masonry, the base of which is still in position, just to the right hand side of the entrance. The spaces between the pillars were also filled with limestone masonry, the lower courses of which are still preserved.

When the limestone debris which filled the chapel was removed, a pavement was revealed measuring 1.50 m. deep. The pavement was composed of a thick layer of debris, coated with mud, and it had been displaced by plunderers in their attempts to enter the burial chamber. The ceiling of the chapel is very finely dressed.

The Northern Wall

Situated along the base of the northern wall is a platform or bench, measuring 2.75 m. long by 0.90 m. high. It is formed of two large slabs of white limestone and one course of local limestone which in its turn rests upon a bed of rubble.

The Southern Wall

In the eastern end of the southern wall is an unfinished niche, measuring 0.90 x 1.00 x 1.25 m. perhaps intended to contain a statue of the deceased.

The Western Wall

The northern end of the western wall is occupied by a large recess measuring 1.00 x 2.25 x 2.25 m. high. The western (rear) wall of this niche is occupied by two rock-cut false-doors, the southern one of which is uninscribed.

The Northern False-Door

The upper part of the northern false-door is destroyed. The panel is much eroded, but on its lower part the remains of a figure of Queen Rekhit-Ra are still visible. The figure is sculptured in low relief, and depicts the lady seated upon a chair, her left hand resting upon her thigh, and the right one apparently placed upon her breast.

The lower lintel is inscribed in low relief with a horizontal row of hieroglyphs, some of which are effaced. The remaining signs read "The King's Daughter of (his body), Rekhit-Ra". The rest of the false-door is uninscribed.

The floor of the room is paved with two large slabs of limestone in which are hollowed two similar depressions. There was probably a circular offering table set in each of these depressions.

Cut in the northern part of the floor of the chapel is a sloping passage which leads down to the burial-chamber. The passage was originally made wide enough to allow for the introduction of the sarcophagus, after which it was filled in with masonry, leaving enough space open along the eastern side to permit the body to be brought into the burial-chamber on the day of interment. After the funeral ceremonies were completed, the passage was finally closed by means of five large blocks of limestone, placed one behind the other. These plug-stones were found in position, but the plunderers had obtained access to the burial-chamber by removing the upper course of the filling masonry.

The Burial-Chamber

The burial-chamber is entirely cut in the rock, and measures 4.00 x 3.95 m. The walls are finely dressed. It contains a large, uninscribed sarcophagus of white limestone, directed to the north-east. Behind the sarcophagus is a kind of shelf, built of small blocks of limestone. The lid of the sarcophagus, which is provided with two handles at each of its extremities, was found slightly removed from its original place.

Nothing was found inside the sarcophagus but the leg bones of a bull were found lying upon the lid. Thrown on the debris to the south-west of the sarcophagus were a few human bones and part of a human skull, perhaps the remains of Queen Rekhit-Ra.

In the base of the southern wall a recess had been cut to house the canopic jars, which had, however, disappeared.

The Contents of the Burial-Chamber

After clearing out the debris from the burial-chamber the following objects were recovered: -

  1. A model dish of alabaster with a flat base. Diameter: 4.4 cm.
  2. A model jar of alabaster. Height 5.0 cm. Dr. Reisner identifies this type as a vessel to contain oil or milk.
  3. A model vase of alabaster with high shoulders and a flat base. Height: 9.0 cm. Dr. Junker identifies this type as a wine-jar.
  4. A model vase of alabaster. Height : 11.0 cm. This is the traditional perfume or oil jar, the form of which frequently appears as a common determinative in the writing of the names of the seven holy oils.
  5. A lid of a canopic jar of white limestone. Diameter: 11.0 cm.
  6. A fragment of alabaster bearing an incised figure of a woman seated upon a chair. Above her head was an inscription of which only the sign … and a small part of the sign … remain. Perhaps it was the name of Queen Rekhit-Ra and the seated figure was the determinative.
  7. An oval piece of flint, finely polished.

Objects found in the Debris of the Forecourt: -

  1. 1. A dish of fine white limestone. Diameter: 10.7 cm.
  2. 2. The lower part of a canopic jar of white limestone.
  3. 3. A cup of fine pottery, well made and finely polished. It has curved sides and a flat base.
  4. 4. A fragment of a canopic jar of white limestone.

Objects found in the Chapel: -

  1. 1. A fragment of a canopic jar of alabaster.
  2. 2. A flat fragment of diorite, finely polished, and having a curved rim. It bears traces of an incised inscription, and may have formed part of one of the offering-tables which were originally fitted into the circular depressions at the foot of the false-doors.
  3. 3. A fragment of a statuette of white limestone. It forms part of the left shoulder of a woman having the left arm extended forward. It is painted dark yellow and has a line of black around the neck, which may be intended for necklace, or the lower edge of the hair. It was found in the debris filling the sloping passage.

This tomb is very important for two reasons. First, it furnishes us with a new name and a glimpse of the personality of yet another member of the royal family of the Pyramid builders. Secondly, if she is literally the daughter of King Khafra, and not his descendant, this is one of the few tombs which can be precisely dated. There is no doubt about the high lineage of Queen Rekhit-Ra. In her own tomb she bears the title "King's daughter of (His Body), and in the tomb of her priest […] she is referred to as the Daughter of Khafra, while in both tombs she holds the title of King's Wife, which means that she was a real queen and not a mere concubine. It is unfortunate that we do not know the name of her royal husband.


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