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Djedkare introduced a few changes to the solar cult of his predecessors. While it was still important, much of the power of the solar cult began to fade. This weakening power was mirrored in the decentralization of power in Egypt in general. Provincial administrations once again began to gain control.
He also returned to Saqqara to build his funerary monuments, instead of the pyramid field in Abu Sir or in Dashur. He didn't forget about the sun temples in Abu Sir, however, and much of the work and artifacts found in the funerary temple of Neferirkare were put in place by Djedkare. He probably didn't built his own sun temple.
Djedkare is credited with being a "very smart and energetic king" who ruled for somewhere between 30 and 40 years. Like many other pharaohs, the dating of his reign based on the cattle counts relies on the consistency of the cattle counts, which is hard to prove. Manetho's reign of 44 years is considered a bit excessive, however, even though 22 cattle counts are recorded
Expeditions to the Sinai for quarrying stone, and to Punt are both noted in inscriptions. Like his predecessor, he kept up diplomatic relations with Syria. Inscriptions at Wadi Maghara and Wadi Halfa attest to hi reign.
His pyramid, called "The Sentinel Pyramid" today, is in south Saqqara. Most of the pharaohs of the fifth dynasty built their pyramids and temples in Abu Sir, north of Saqqara. Only Userkaf built a pyramid in Saqqara, and even he remained in Abu Sir to build his solar temple. Even though he moved back to Saqqara, Djedkare did not build close to the Step Pyramid of Djoser and instead moved out between the unfinished pyramid of Sekhemkhet and the tomb of Shepseskaf. This is a high piece of ground and would have stood high over the city of Memphis.
It is believed that the mummy found inside -- of a middle-aged man -- is the pharaoh himself. The pyramid is quite damaged, and excavations in the 1980s found it difficult to enter. There is a valley temple and causeway, parts of which have been found. nearby queen's pyramid may have belonged to Meresankh V, his wife, and it is almost completely integrated into the complex of Djedkare's pyramid.
The pyramid was originally investigated by Perring and Lepsius, and Maspero entered it in 1880 to look for pyramid texts. Finding none, the pyramid was deemed relatively unimportant and it was not entered again until the 20th century.
Other monuments from his reign include the large double mastaba of Ptah-Hotep and Ankh-ti-hotep. Ptah-Hotep was a priest of Maat during Djedkare's reign, and Ankh-ti-hotep was a his son and vizier, judge, and overseer of the granaries for the pharaoh. The reliefs inside are in various states of completion and are not entirely painted, but hey show some intriguing scenes -- including a mural of Ptah-hotep getting a manicure and possibly he first signature of an artist to be found, Ankhen-ptah, the chief artist. The reliefs in the burial chamber are well preserved and are some of the best in the Old kingdom. Ceilings inside imitate trunks of palm trees.