The Pyramids of the Cold Section 32 • The Serdab and the Refreshment of the Gods Pyramid

Djoser Step Pyramid Serdab Refreshment of the Gods Complex Pharaoh Djeser Cold Water Cellar Ancient Egypt

Djoser's Serdab by orientalizing:


The Pyramids of the Cold v2 (May 2023) • Part F: the Cold by Egyptians themselves

Section 32 • Djoser' Serdab and the "Refreshment of the Gods" Step Pyramid

General Electric GE Monitor top Refrigerator 1929

Summary: the entire chore of the "Pyramids of the Cold" study, is the evaporative cold; that is creating cold simply using the power of water. That magical power is based on basic laws of physics, the cold is created when liquid water is transformed into evaporated water; this technique is still used today and in very large scale, but just like the biosand filtration, people are rarely educated about these low-tech basic principles.

Our modern refrigerators are using the same evaporative process than the one used by ancient Egyptians in the Great Pyramid; they just don't use water as refrigerant anymore and they do actually produce as much heat (outside the refrigerator) as they produce cold inside the refrigerator. What ancient Egyptians have done is simply getting the best out of the evaporation of water to create cold.

Amazingly, Egyptians didn't just create the cold: they also talked about it, a lot. But I guess, egyptologists weren't and still aren't eager to talk about it themselves.

Even when the very first Pyramid of ancient Egypt, Djoser' Step Pyramid,  comes with a Serdab, which literally means "cold water", instead of calling that Pyramid "the Cooling of the Gods", they are using the terms "the Refreshment of the Gods".

God knows why the ancient Egyptians needed to "refresh" the gods in the first place, right? But if you know that ancient Egyptians gods, really were nothing else but metaphoric glorifications of precisely the creation of evaporative cold, it then comes right into place.


GE Monitor-top Refrigerator, 1929. ChrisArchives at


Djoser Step Pyramid Complex Serdab Cold Refreshing Water Cellar Ancient Egypt

"The Pyramid Complex of Djoser (مجمع هرم زوسر) or Step Pyramid (kbhw-ntrw in Egyptian) Complex (مجمع الهرم المدرج) is an archeological site in the Saqqara necropolis, Egypt, northwest of the city of Memphis. Djoser was King of Upper and Lower Egypt in ca. 2680 BCE. Djoser was a king early in the 3rd dynasty. The construction and development of the pyramid complex is generally attributed to the architect Imhotep." Photograph of Djoser's Serdab at Saqqara, by orientalizing:


32.01  Djoser's Step Pyramid was called "The Refreshment of the Gods"

"According to later legends, Imhotep – “he who comes in peace” – invented building in stone around 2600 BCE, at the beginning of the 3rd dynasty. This achievement corresponds with the spread of monumental stone architecture during the reign of Khasekhemwy, last king of the second dynasty and Djoser’s predecessor on the throne – and probably his father. While no break in political development seemed evident between the second and third dynasties, the reign of Djoser marked a new era characterized by an incredible rise in complexity of the Old Kingdom state. The first decorated tombs in Abusir and the Saqqara necropolis date to Djoser’s reign, and he was the first king to send mining expeditions to Sinai to produce copper. Also from his reign came the first fully-developed grammatical sentences known in ancient Egyptian. The first vizier recorded by name – Kaimen – is attested as a donor of several stone vessels to the king’s cult. Djoser also erected a small temple in Heliopolis, later a famous cult place of the sun god, Ra. There is every reason to believe that Imhotep played a major role in at least some of these royal accomplishments.

Of course, Imhotep is most famous as the builder of Djoser’s unprecedented step pyramid complex, called the “The Refreshment of the Gods.” Imhotep designed this complex on a scale that surpassed everything achieved by his predecessors. The pyramid complex was surrounded by a monumental trench 40 meters (over 130 feet) wide. Inside a 750 by 600-meter perimeter, the huge burial precinct was enclosed with a stone wall of 10.5 meters (nearly 35 feet). Imhotep replaced the traditional organic and mudbrick building materials with small blocks of limestone." 

Source: the ARCE, American Research Center in Egypt actively supports scholarship, training and conservation efforts in Egypt through grants, fieldwork and field schools:


Serdab of Djoser Step Pyramid Cold Water Refreshment of the Gods

The Serdab at the Step Pyramid of pharaoh Djoser. Photograph by orientalizing:


32.02  The Serdab of Djoser' Step Pyramid "The Refreshment of the Gods" literally means "cold water"

A serdab (Persian: سرداب), literally meaning "cold water", which became a loanword in Arabic for 'cellar' is an ancient Egyptian tomb structure that served as a chamber for the Ka statue of a deceased individual. Used during the Old Kingdom, the serdab was a sealed chamber with a small slit or hole to allow the soul of the deceased to move about freely. These holes also let in the smells of the offerings presented to the statue.


Djoser Step Pyramid Serdab Refreshment of the Gods Complex Pharaoh Djeser Cold Water Cellar Ancient Egypt 2

Djoser's Serdab by orientalizing:


32.03  Djoser' statue peeking out of the "cold water" Serdab 

Seriously, how can anyone believe that this little Serdab here was designed to house the statue of pharaoh Djoser, and that the two holes in the front wall were supposed to let people have a look at the statue, or the statue to have a look and a good smell at what was happening outside. I mean, seriously.


"To the east of the temple is the serdab ("celler"), which is a small enclosed structure that housed the ka statue. The king's ka inhabited the ka statue, in order to benefit from daily ceremonies like the opening of the mouth, a ceremony that allowed him to breathe and eat, and the burning of incense. He witnessed these ceremonies through two small eye holes cut in the north wall of the serdab. The serdab was a sealed off room in a tomb containing a statue of the deceased was placed. These statues were vessels that the souls could inhibit. Djoser's serdab is located on the northern side of the Step Pyramid, in front of an open court dedicated to it. A statue depicting the king wearing the "Sed" festival robe was discovered inside. Just as the Step Pyramid is the oldest ancient Egyptian monumental stone structure, so is this statue, the first large stone statue known. The original is currently in the Egyptian Museum. The northern wall of the tilted chamber has two holes allowing the king to gaze through and see the rituals and festivals taking place in the court before him. According to the ancient beliefs the holes also allowed the king to look north, the cardinal point towards which his entire pyramid complex is oriented. This is the location of the circumpolar stars in the northern sky, his ancestors, whom he hoped to join. These stars never set below the horizon, which was seen as a sign of immortality. Djoser was thus poised to join his forefathers in everlasting life."


Djoser Step Pyramid Serdab Refreshment of the Gods Complex Pharaoh Djeser Cold Water Cellar Ancient Egypt 4

The Serdap of Djoser' Step Pyramid, November 2006. Jon Bodsworth:


32.04  The mysterious slope of the entire structure of the Serdab

Wouldn't Djoser have wanted a "regular" horizontal floor for his beloved statue, rather than this sloped one?


Djoser Step Pyramid Serdab Refreshment of the Gods Complex Pharaoh Djeser Cold Water Cellar Ancient Egypt 5

"Development of a simplified heat pipe numerical model and case study/experimental validation using a long ‘wicked’ heat pipe", by S. B. Riffat, X. Zhao, P. S. Doherty, Song Lin:


32.05  The Heat Pipe and water cooling tank hypothesis

What is particularly interesting in the long wicked heat pipe schematic, apart from the inclined structure and the top water tank, is that this tank has two holes for the cooling water circulation. Could the two holes of the ancient Egyptian Serdab be exactly that?


Djoser Step Pyramid Complex Serdab Pharaoh Djeser Statue Cold Water Cellar Ancient Egypt

The Serdab at the Step Pyramid of pharaoh Djoser. Photograph by orientalizing:


32.06  The expansion joint for only one of the holes

It certainly is no accident if one of the two holes in the northern wall of Djoser' Serdab is located right on the joint between two blocks: very hot (or very cold) fluid passing through a pipe wouldn't damage the structure. The joint here would be an expansion joint. It certainly is no accident either if the entire Serdab structure is tilted as well (see the heat pipe diagram).


Djoser Step Pyramid Serdab Refreshment of the Gods Complex Pharaoh Djeser Cold Water Cellar Ancient Egypt 3

The holes in the front wall of Djoser's Serdab. By John and Loretta at Seeing the Past:


32.07  One of the main difficulties of the study is to dig under "ancient beliefs" and "modern interpretations"

Because Djoser' Serdab was in direct contact with the Step Pyramid, it is fair to assume it was a fully operational cooling chamber, most probably operated like a modern passive heat pipe of some sort; there wasn't any statue in the Serdab at the time, only water and the end of the heat pipe.

The question is to know who put the statue of Djoser in the Serdab, and when did that happened?

The idea that the two holes were used so that the statue could look outside the Serdab, breathe, smell burning incense and look at the stars is both cute and depressing if anyone really believed this; but it allows me to raise another issue about ancient Egypt, and it is about the multilayer coat of beliefs that accumulated over time.

I see three origins of these layers of beliefs:

• the ancient Egyptians from the four first Dynasties, involved in the "Scientific Era" of ancient Egypt and who created gods, goddesses and myths as glorifying representations

• the ancient Egyptians who came after the Fourth Dynasty and who probably added more layers

• the egyptologists of the 19th century who tried to figure it all out, but with very little information available to them


Khnum Khufu Pharaoh Horus Full Name Sneferu Khafre Khephren Kheops Snefrou Ancient Egypt


32.08  When Khufu becomes Khnum-Khufu... and Khafre becomes Ra-Khafre

One of the difficult parts of deciphering ancient Egyptian gods and deities, is that everything happened over many years and generations of experimental work, step after step, starting (most probably) with the very first Dynasty, or even before that. The Great Pyramid concentrates most of these deities, because she was (most probably) the final outcome of the whole thing; but some of them are very old deities, and Khnum is one of them.

Most probably Khnum, was at the very beginning referring to a "simple" sand filter, that became other the years a biosand filter when the functioning of the biofilm of living microorganisms would have been mastered.

What is interesting is that Khufu's full name was actually Khnum-Khufu; and if you add this to the (bio?) sand filter of his father's Bent Pyramid, a possible scenario is that this added part of Khufu's name would be a simple reference to the latest innovation of his time, i.e. the latest innovation of his father's.

So, when Khnum-Khufu build his Great Pyramid after having mastered the floating composite impactor operation Ra, his own son Khafre will add this Ra name to his own, and become known as Ra-Khafre.

"Khnum (Khenmew, Khnemu, Khenmu, Chnum), from the Egyptian 'unite', 'join' or 'build', was an ancient deity of fertility, water and the great potter who created children and their ka at their conception. He was mentioned in the pyramid texts and the pyramid builder Khufu's name was actually 'Khnum-Khufu' meaning 'Khnum is his Protector'. His cult was popular before the cult of Re eclipsed it. The next pyramid builders were his son and grandson who added 'Re' to their names - Khafra and Menkaura. Khnum was possibly even a predynastic god. The Egyptians believed that he was the guardian of the source of the Nile who was originally a Nile god, but who became a helper of Hapi. His role changed from river god to the one who made sure that the right amount of silt was released into the water during the inundation. In working with the silt, the very soil that the ancient Egyptian potters used, he became the great potter who not only molded men and women, but who molded the gods themselves and the world."

"Khufu's name was dedicated to the god Khnum, which might point to an increase of Khnum's popularity and religious importance. In fact, several royal and religious titles introduced at this time may point out that Egyptian pharaohs sought to accentuate their divine origin and status by dedicating their official cartouche names to certain deities. Khufu may have viewed himself as a divine creator, a role that was already given to Khnum, the god of creation and growth. As a consequence, the king connected Khnum's name with his own. Khufu's full name (Khnum-khufu) means "Khnum protect me". While modern Egyptological pronunciation renders his name as Khufu, at the time of his reign his name was probably pronounced as Kha(w)yafwi(y), and during the Hellenized era, Khewaf(w). [...] "The pharaoh officially used two versions of his birth name: Khnum-khuf and Khufu. The first (complete) version clearly exhibits Khufu's religious loyalty to Khnum, the second (shorter) version does not. It is unknown as to why the king would use a shortened name version since it hides the name of Khnum and the king's name connection to this god. It might be possible though, that the short name wasn't meant to be connected to any god at all."


Pharaohs of Ancient Egyptian Dynasties Chronology Khufu Sneferu Djoser Khafre

Egyptian Old Kingdom Dynasties:


32.09  The 80 years of mythological trials vs. the 78 years of the great pyramids Era (Djoser to Khufu)

One of the most interesting question that would have to be resolved in the future, will be to determine, as much as possible, whose pharaoh was responsible for every step of scientific and technological discoveries which ended up with the masterpiece of engineering that is the Great Pyramid of Giza.

We can assume that it all started with the very first Dynasty, but it is legitimate to say that everything could really have gotten serious with pharaoh Djoser, from the Third Dynasty, and the construction of the first real pyramid, the Step Pyramid.

Djoser would be the pharaoh who started the most ambitious technological research program since the beginning of what we can call the Engineer Pharaohs' Era; and probably what triggered this acceleration in the research could have been the quest for the mastering of the Solvay process for natron manufacturing.

But, the one pharaoh who really massively invested in the program was Sneferu with his 3 pyramids. Most probably, Sneferu is the one who also ended the research phase, and it is logical to imagine that it also was the end of his own reign around 2589 B.C.E.

Djoser's reign and the first pyramid started around 2667 B.C.E and Sneferu's reign ended up around 2589 B.C.E. That would be 78 years of research, that would have most probably been dedicated to the Solvay process alone.

Amazingly, there is a myth about Horus and Set, that is referring to 80 years of conflict, and 80 years of trials : "These contests go on for over 80 years and Ra continues to deny Horus his right to the throne […] In another version of the story, the trial lasts for 80 years until the frustrated gods turn to the wise goddess Neith, mediator of disputes, who rules in favor of Horus."

What are the chances that these 80 years of trials are or aren't referring to this 78 years of Egypt history from the beginning of Djoser's reign to the end of Sneferu's? Go figure…

But this would be a formidable confirmation that the Great Pyramid was just the next step : Sneferu finished the research program on the Solvay process, and Khufu would have taken over to put everything together in one single gigantic pyramid where the Solvay chambers would have been finally efficiently cooled down; exactly what couldn't have been achieved in the Red Pyramid (Section 14 and 15).

Of course, if we are interested in the total duration of the Engineer Pharaoh's Era, it would be 534 years from the beginning of Dynasty I, to the end of Khufu's reign (3100 B.C.E. to 2566 B.C.E.).


Ancient Egyptian Architect Imhotep Dunasty IV Pharaoh Sneferu Snefrou Ancient Egypt Osiris Stone


32.10  When Osiris and Horus are directly associated with "cooling" and "cold water"

"Osiris N, take this fresh water, cooled for you by Horus, in your name of He-who-is-come-from-the-fresh-water". […] "The most complete ancient work in existence of the myth of Osiris which we know is that of Plutarch, in his 'De Iside et Osiride'. We know the stratagem used by Seth and his associates, and we know how the conspirator, having locked Osiris precisely by guile in a chest made to his measurements, threw it into the sea, an episode which Plutarch is the only one to relate, began the mourning and the quest of Isis. […] Osiris is designated as the one who had been "put in a chest (deben), in a box and in a bag".Nadine GUILHOU: Les deux morts d'Osiris, d'après les textes des Pyramides.

Extracted from the magazine "Egypte", N°10, August 1998:


"But I am parched with thirst and I perish. Give me quickly the cold water flowing forth from the Lake of Memory". Delia, D. (1992). The Refreshing Water of Osiris, page 189. Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt, 29, 181–190.


Operating diagram of the Great Pyramid of Egypt with 14 Girdle Stones for Evaporative Cold Production and chemical manufactirung of Natron Solvay process June 23 2023

Diagram of the operating Great Pyramid of Egypt for evaporative cold production (hypothetically for chemical manufacturing cooling of pure sodium carbonate "natron", the salt used for the mummification of pharaohs). When in operation, the elevation of the Great Pyramid was not finished, and it is only after the shutdown procedure and the draining of the inclined well, that the 3 granite plugs were finally close to one another.



© 2023 Copyright All rights reserved.

The Pyramids of the Cold v2 by French Egyptologist Layman Bruno Coursol Serdab Djoser Step Great Pyramid Cold Water


The Pyramids of the Cold version 2 (May 2023 - March 2024)

Summary of the study and Table of Contents


Part A: The evaporative cooling process

Section 1 • The horizontal evaporative cooling passage layout

Section 2 • The Dendera Light and the creation of the fog of microdroplets by the fog nozzle

Section 3 • The water cycle glorifying metaphors: Geb, Shu, Nut, Tefnut

Section 4 • The theorization of the evaporative cooling process by Akhenaten and Nefertiti

Section 5 • The theorization of the evaporative cooling process in the Weighing of the Heart


Part B • The inclined well of the Great Pyramid of Giza

Section 6 • The inclined well layout and the girdle stones

Section 7 • The Taweret "Lady of the Well" temporary sealing granite plug of the well

Section 8 • The Bes temporary wedging block immobilizing Taweret

Section 9 • The draining of the well

Section 10 • The Great Serpent Apep and the snake water metaphors

Section 11 • The Was scepter and the control over "snakes"

Section 12 • The beating Heart of the Great Pyramid


Part C • The composite impactor of the Great Pyramid (Horus, Ra, Osiris, Medjed, Sobek...)

Section 13 • The wooden and stone composite design of the impactor: Ra and Osiris

Section 14 • The endlessly immersed Osiris stone and the seed metaphor

Section 15 • The Anubis sledge and the bobsled mask

Section 16 • The sledge runners of the impactor: Thoth

Section 17 • Medjed: the smiter nobody can ever see

Section 18 • The Apis bull and the ramming impactor's metaphors

Section 19 • The crocodile god Sobek impactor (more or less) floating in the waters of the well

Section 20 • The Obelisk and the Benben stone rising from water


Part D • The Grand Gallery's of the Great Pyramid of Giza

Section 21 • The Sacred "sloping paths" of the "oval-shaped cavern of the act of Hauling"

Section 22 • The central wooden caisson of the Gallery: Sekhmet and the Triad of Memphis

Section 23 • The hauling ropes of the Grand Gallery: Isis, Nephthys, Hatmehit, Wadjet and Nekhbet

Section 24 • The hauling Beetle and the Seven Scorpions of Isis

Section 25 • The Great Cow goddess Hathor and the operating cycle of the hauling Beetle

Section 26 • The 10 operating phases of the Grand Gallery

Section 27 • The guide to the Afterlife for the smart traveler and the canopic jars

Section 28 • The scarab amulet glorifications of the hauling Beetle


Part E • The very large and roughly finished sarcophagus of the Great Pyramid

Section 29 • The biosand filter sarcophagus of the Great Pyramid

Section 30 • The Elephantine Triad deification of the biosand filter of the Great Pyramid

Section 31 • The Great Pyramid's operating flat roof and the water supply issue


Part F • Chemical manufacturing and industrial cooling before the Great Pyramid

Section 32 • The Serdab and the "Refreshment of the Gods" Step Pyramid of Djoser

Section 33 • Sneferu's Red Pyramid and the accumulated ammonia

Section 34 • The Disc of Sabu and the Solvay process for pure natron manufacturing


Part G • The tremendous impact of the Great Pyramid on the whole ancient world

Section 35 • The hidden secrets of the Hermetica Emerald Tablet (around 1600 C.E.)

Section 36 • Thor and the magical Hammer in the Great Hall of Bilskirnir

Section 37 • The Churning of the waters of the Ocean of Milk (Hindu mythology)

Section 38 • The Tibetan prayer wheels and the Grand Gallery's operation

Section 39 and Conclusion • The cooling water of spitting Kebechet


Part H • Epilogue

Section 40 • The smiting Ark of the Covenant and the Ten Commandments

Section 41 • The 293 kilograms windlass Staff of Moses and Aaron... and the First Plague of Egypt: water turning into blood

Section 42 • Ezekiel's Four Egyptian pulley "Wheels within the Wheels" and the four angel ropes

Section 43 • David, Saul, two giant Goliaths, five little stones, an aeolian harp... and a weaver's beam

Section 44 • The holy water fonts and the biosand filter


Part I • The magicians of the Great Pyramid of Giza

Section 45 • The Legend of Khufu and the "magician" polymath Imhotep

Section 46 • The two magical eyes of Isis and the brilliant but painful flame of her twin sister's braids


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