Pharaoh Djoser

Posted by admin on September 27, 2007


Djoser, (sometimes referred to as Zoser or Netjerikhet Djoser) was the king responsible for the huge funerary complex that included the Step Pyramid at Saqqara, built around 2660 BC (that’s 4667 years ago!)

Djoser reined in the 3rd Dynasty, and either founded it or was its second pharaoh (Egypt’s lists of kings often conflict with each other and archaeological evidence). Regardless, not much is known about Djoser, except that the Step Pyramid was built during his reign. Since this was the first such monumental building in Egypt, it must have been either a time of great prosperity or a time of massive unemployment and the building project was undertaken in a ‘New Deal’ type arrangement. Likely it was a time of wealth and stability, for the skilled architects, surveyors, craftsmen and quarrymen needed to construct such a feat must have been considerable. Previously, pharaohs had mastaba tombs built of mud-brick, much simpler structures that were smaller and easier to build.

In Djoser’s time we also know that expeditions were sent to Sinai in order to secure mines for extracting turquoise. Copper was already mined in Sinai, so the area was important for the Egyptian economy. (Copper was used for weapons and tools, while turquoise was used for jewelry). The Bedouin of Sinai often alternated between outright hostility and alliances with Egypt, so expeditions and mining settlements required military presence.

Djoser was remembered in later dynasties as a great leader and other pharaohs sought to be identified or compared with him. Djoser will forever be connected with the high priest and vizier who became his chief architect, Imhotep, who was later deified. It was Imhotep who designed and oversaw the construction of the Step Pyramid.


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