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Mastaba of Ra'Wer III

Ra'Wer was an Official during the Vth Dynasty. He was awarded a number of important ranks, such as the Judge and Nome Administrator, the Overseer of the King's Works, the Overseer of the Army and Ritualist.

His Tomb is located 50 meters to the west from the Tomb of the Queen Khentkaus.

The first, who started research works here was the German Egyptologist Karl Richard Lepsius. In 1849 he made a brief description of the external features of the monument and entered it in the Catalog of Ancient Egyptian Monuments under the code number LG 94:

(Click the image to enlarge)
Source: Denkmaeler aus Aegypten und Aethiopien nach den zeichnungen der von Seiner Majestaet dem koenige von Preussen Friedrich Wilhelm IV, 1849

85 years later, the Egyptian archeologist Selim Hassan, who directed large-scale excavations in Giza Necropolis in 1933-1934, made a more detailed description of the Mastaba of Ra'Wer and became the first to enter it's underground rooms. He made a detailed describtion of his archaeological discoveries in Giza in his work Excavations at Giza 1933-1934. Vol. 5. and, according to the new numbering of the Giza objects, entered it into the Catalog of Ancient Egyptian Monuments under the code number G8310.

(Click the image to enlarge)
Source: Selim Hassan. Excavations at Giza 1933-1934. Vol. 5.

Year 1934

Mastaba represents itself a destroyed rectangular structure of 36.2 x 1500 x 5.5 meters height, built of large limestone blocks, forming its external walls with 13 rows of masonry. The inner space of the building is filled with limestone fragments, forming a solid rectangular mass.

The main architectural feature of this ancient monument is a Terrace of 8,6 x 4,5 x 1,5 meters height, located in front of its eastern facade. This Terrace was once adjoined by a ramp of 2,5 meters long and about 1,3 meters wide. On the top of this Terrace we are still able to see the remains of the Portico supported by four rectangular pillars, forming a small chapel with a false door, cut of a monolithic limestone slab of 2,1 x 4,1 m and 0,5 m width, sunk into the eastern wall of Mastaba.

Each of the pillars, hewn from the monolithic blocks of a local limestone has a size of ~ 0.9 x 0.7 x 3.8 meters height. All 4 pillars have badly suffered from weathering, so that now we have only to guess about the initial beauty of this architectural edifice of the ancient magnificent structure.

The upper part of the false-door, made of a separate jumper block of 0,95 x 0,65 meters, now rests not where it was designed to be. It can be found to the south of the Portico in the inverted position, where it was discovered by the archaeological mission of Selim Hassan.

Two horizontal rows of hieroglyphs, engtaved on it bearing the following information:
First register: "A boon which the King gives and a boon which Anubis, Presiding . . . "
Second case: " That offerings may come forth to him in . . ."

Selim Hassan. Excavations at Giza. 1933-1934 Vol.5, p.295 ISIDA Project, 2019

The bas-reliefs, engraved on the main plate of the false-door are now almost completely unreadable due to severe erosion, irretrievably eating the soft surface of a yellow limestone. However, Selim Hassan was able to identify the fragments of some hieroglyphic inscriptions, carved on both sides of the slab. Due to this information, one of the titles of Ra'Wer was determined: "...Iwn-kenmwt, Overseer of the Work of the King, Ra'Wer."

In the eastern wall of the Terrace, under the pedestal of the Portico there is a hole, made through the masonry.

Behind this hole, there is a Descending Passage of 11,5 meters length and 1,6 meters width, cut in a bedrock.

It leads to a spacious rock cut Burial Chamber, which consists of two rooms. The perimeter of the outer room has a size of 6,75 x 2,7 meters.

The western corner of its southern wall has a niche of 0,90 x 0,92 x 0,96 meters.

The western wall of the Burial Chamber has a doorway to the a smaller room, the entrance to which is crowned with Ancient Egyptian cavetto portal, carved in stone.

(How and why the modern tire has got in there is unknown question, lying beyound the frames of our photo - report, but it's presence turned out to be very useful for perception of the scale of the underground rooms of the ancient Tomb).

The most part of the Burial Chamber is filled with stone fragments, which completely prevent any further penetration into it's deeper spaces. According to Selim Hassan's research, there sarcophagus of Ra'Wer was located in this very room, as evidenced by the rectangular depression in it's floor, which he discovered during the excavation of the Mastaba. In the western wall of this room, which is now unreachable because of debris, Selim Hassan has discovered a shallow recess of 0,5 x 3,5 x 0,5 meters.

Lets note, that theBurial Chamber, in its main architectural features, is similar to the Burial Chamber of the Queen Khentkaus, whose Tomb is located nearby.

The Creative Director of ISIDA Project, Valery Senmuth, offers us to make a small virtual tour to the Giza Plateau to the area of ​​the Mastaba of Ra'Wer in his video, directly from the site:


Internal rooms of Mastaba of Ra'Wer III.



Author: Selim Hassan.
Excavations at Giza 1933-1934. Vol. 5.
Year: 1944

Author: Karl Richard Lepsius
Denkmaeler aus Aegypten und Aethiopien nach den zeichnungen der von Seiner Majestaet dem koenige von Preussen Friedrich Wilhelm IV
Year: 1849

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