(1University of Technology, Vienna Austria / 2University of Vienna, Austria)




Ptahshepses was a high official in the fifth dynasty at the time of king Niuserre (c. 2445-2421 BCE). He started as a royal hairdresser and soon climbed up the social ladder. Finally he became Vizier (the second man in state) and a son-in-law of the king with more than thirty-five exclusive administrative and religious titles. His mastaba at Abusir is one of the largest private tombs in entire Egypt. It was erected in three building-stages and its architecture shows the typical elements of a fifth dynasty private tomb as well as royal influence. Obviously Ptahshepses died before the works were completed, so the king had to step in and ordered to finish the tomb. Today large parts of the tomb are destroyed and it is very difficult to reconstruct several rooms and walls.

Searching for a possible solution on the unknown measurements and room layouts we choose an analysis – taken from the field of spatial planning – called space syntax. A mathematical graph theory procedure intended to analyze nodal diagrams of (city) plans to arrive at cultural norms behind the morphology of buildings and structures. Based on the work of Hillier and Hanson (1984 & 1987) we work with simple parameters of Space Syntax to analyze the indoor spaces of Ptahshepses’ mastaba in a geometrical way. This procedure gives insights into the formal organization of a given space and its relations to adjacent spaces.