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Part 3 - The Pyramids after Old Kingdom


Neferkare's Neby Pyramid


Mortuary complex of this ruler of dynasty VII, named Neferkare is still alive, remained merely in a project phase.


Qakare Ibi's Pyramid

length of sides of base:   31.5 m
height:   21 m
actually height of ruin:   c.3 m

During Jéquier's excavations in South Saqqara focused his attention on the small ruins, about three meters high, that the Lepsius expedition had given number 40 on its archeological map. Jéquier's excavations have also shown that older tombs from VIth Dynasty are located in this place. The pyramid was always completely destroyed by stone thieves. On the limestone blocks of its core were found a large number of inscriptions crudely written in red color with the title Prince of Libya. The underground part of the pyramid consisted of a descending corridor, a burial chamber, and a serdab. The walls of the burial chamber were oryginally covered with pyramids texts. This texts was possible to determine that the pyramid belonged to the ruler Qakare Ibi from VIIIth Dynasty. This is a last pyramid built in Saqqara.  More...>>>


Monumental Tomb
Dara (Middle Egypt)

length of sides of base:   130 m
outer perimeter wall:   138 x 144 m, h=c.20 m

Its not clear whether this structure is a pyramid or stepped mastaba. The north-south oriented structure has an almost square ground plan, and its substructure somewhat resembles that of a large brick mastaba from the IIIrd Dynasty in Beit Khallaf. The underground of the structure is reached from the north by a long passageway that is first horizontal and open and then becomes a descending, vaulted tunnel leading to the burial chamber. The burial chamber's walls were sheated with roughly dressed limestone blocks. In the tomb itself nothing was discovered that might have helped identify to whom it belonged. However, a cartouche with the name of Khui, local ruler VIIIth Dynasty, was found in one of the nearby tombs.


Mentuhotep II's Terraced Tomb
Deir el-Bahari


length of sides of middle terrace:   60.18 x 43 m
length of approach causeway:   1200 m

The construction of the tomb complex , which went through three or four phases, consists of valley temple, whose ruins now lie under the fields and gardens at the edge of the Nile Valley, a longe causeway, the stepped , terraced mortuary temple, whose western part is cut into the rock, and an underground burial chamber. The middle terrace had three parts. The latter consisted of two rows of limestone pillars. the entrance into the limestone ambulatory was on the east wing of the pillared hall and was located on the main axis of the structure as a whole. On the west side on the middle terrace there was originally a row of six shaft tombs cut into the rock subsoil. The underground part consisted of chapels built of limestone blocks, with false doors and cult statues. Queens and princesses were buried there, evidently members of Mentuhotep's family. The structure on the upper terrace was almost completly destroyed, and its architecture is still a subject of debate. Naville, who was the first archeologist to investigate Mentuhotep's tomb complex, reconstructed the original monument as a pyramid, which was built on the previously mentioned rock subsoil. Arnold rejected this interpretation. He suggested that it was a structure with a more or less rectangular ground plan and  a flat roof terrace.


Amenemhat I's Pyramid
swt-xaw imn-m-HAt , qAi-nfrw imn-m-HAt


length of sides of base:   84 m
slope of walls:   54o 27'
c.59 m

This pyramid was named Cult places of Amenemhat's appearence. Only ruins about twenty meters high remains. The entrance ino the underground part of pyramid was located in the middle of the north wall, at ground level. Over the entrance stood the north chapel, behind a granite false door, a corridor that gradually descended to the burial chamber. The corridor was lined with pink granite and sealed with blocks of the same material. It came in a square chamber that lay on the pyramid's vertical axis.In its floor opened a vertical shaft that led to the burial chamber. The mortuary temple on the east side of the pyramid had its own, different name: High [rises up] Amenemhat's beauty. Of this temple, measuring 21 x 32 m and oriented east-west, almost nothing remains. The pyramid and a mortuary temple was surrounded by two perimeter walls. In the area between them, the tombs of members of the royal family and courties were discovered. G.Maspero noted that stone blocks from older royal tomb (Khufru, Khafre, Unas and Pepi II) complexes had been used in its construction.


Senweseret I's Pyramid
s(i)-n-wsrt ptr-tAwi , Xnmt-swt s(i)-n-wsrt

length of sides of base:   105.2 m
slope of walls:   49o 24'
height:   48.65 m

Senweseret I erected his pyramid in el-Lisht, about 1.5 kilometers south of Amenemhat I's. It was called  Senweseret looks down on  both lands. Limestone from the nearby quarries was the chief material used. A stone masonry framework supported the core, which rested on a foundation platform of stone blocks. The empty space inside the framework was filled with fragments of limestone, sand, and waste material from the construction site. The casing of blocks of fine whiote limestone was firmly anchored in a flat trench dyg around the pyramid's base. The entrance to the underground part of the pyramid was in the pavement of the courtyard, in front of the middle of the pyramid's north side. A descending corridor, at the entrance was sheated in granite, and the barriers of onormous blocks of the same stone, weighting as much as 20 tons, is till there.  Arnold estimates that the burial chamber lay about 24 meters under ground level. The pyramid was surrounded by an inner perimeter wall, which build of limestone blocks. It was absolutly inique. On its inner side, at intervals of five meters, there were narrow panels decorated with images in bas-relief. Somewhat farther away was the outer perimeter wall, which surrounded the tombs of the members of the royal family as well. More...>>>


Cult Pyramid of Senweseret I

base & height (stage 1):   15.75 m
slope (stage 1):   63o 26' 06''
base & height (stage 2):   18.38 m

The small cult pyramid, the last to be erected in a royal tomb complex, stood at the southeast corner of the pyramid. The cult pyramid was plundered in antiquity and destroyed by stone thieves. It is most complicated , with two subterranean chambers and evidence of two or three phases of construction. More...>>>                      


Queen Neferu I's Pyramid

base:   21 m
slope:   62.5o
height:   18.9 m
perimeter wall:   52.5 x 39.37 m


The shaft in the center of the north side leads to a gently descending corridor paved with limestone. The corridor in tern leads to a chamber, lined with limestone, under the center of the pyramid. There was a hole for the sarcophagus and an unfinished niche for the canopic chest within this chamber, but the chamber appears to have never been finished, or used for a burial. More...>>>


Queen Itakaiet's Pyramid

base:   16.8 m
slope:   63.6o
height:   16.8 m
perimeter wall:   37.80 x 28.35

Thirty two fragments of sided column inscribed with name of queen Itakaiet that was found within the ruins. The burial chamber in this pyramid was really only an extension of the entrance corridor, sealed with mortared limestone slabs. It is also questionable whether a burial took place in this pyramid as well, for there was no sarcophagus found within, and no visible hole large enough for thieves to have stolen it. More...>>>


Unidentified Pyramids in Senweseret I's complex

Seven unidentified funrary complexes discovered on area between walls surrounding the pyramid of Senuseret I. These pyramids belonged to memebers of royal family. Each of them posessed its own mortuary temple, funerary shaft and surroundin wall. Pyramid D sat over a main burial chamber and a set of five burial niches. The main burial chamber was formed by casing the end of corridor with limestone slabs.  The chamber was almost filled by a beautiful quartzite sarcophagus and canopic chest. Pyramid E also contained a quartzite sarcophagus, but it was found parked in a crude side niche outsidethe limestone-cased burial chamber. there is no evidence it ever received a burial. Red granite pyramidions may have crovned all pyramids, fragment were found close to pyramid D and F. Remains of a female statue were found by pyramid G. Pyramid J was built with a core of mudbrick. In the pictures remains of pyramids, in sequence: D, E, F, G, H, I-J  More...>>>



( see map ) base length: height: slope: perimeter wall:
88 (D) 16.8 m 16.8 m 63.25o 26.25 x 26.25 m
89 (E) 16.8 m ? ? 24.15 x 22.575 m
90 (F) 16.275 16.275 63.917o 25.20 x 24.675 m
91 (G) 15.75 ? ? 25.725 x 29.4 m
92 (H) 15.75 ? ? 25.725 x 25.725 m
93 (I) 15.75 ? ? 24.675 x 45.15 m
94 (J) 15.75 ? ? ditto


Amenemhat II's Pyramid
bA-imn-m-HAt , DfA-imn-m-HAt

perimeter wall:   93 x 225 m
height of pyramid:  84 m

The pyramid, probably called Amenemhat is Prepared, stand in the old royal cemetery in Dahshur, east of the Red Pyramid of Snefru. Now, local people call it White Pyramid, maybe connected with the framework of its core made of white limestone blocks. The complex - Amenemhat is Provided for. The entrance to the underground chambers was in the middle of the pyramid's  north side and hidden by the north chapel. Through it one reached a descending corridor built of limestone blocks. Over the flat ceiling there was another gabled ceiling made of limestone slabs lined one against the other, in order to divert the pressure bearing on the corridor from above. At its lower end, the corridor became horizontal and came out in the burial chamber, which was located on the pyramid's vertical axis. Not far in front of it was a barrier made of two vertical granite slabs. A quartzite sarcophagus stood on the west wall.



Senweseret II's Pyramid
sxm s(i)-n-wsrt

length of sides of base:   107 m
slope of walls:   42o 35'
height:   48.65 m


Core of this pyramid was build of mud bricks, with a framework of stone masonry. The builders used a rock outcropping to anchor the core and to make construction quicker and cheaper. Petrie was found only a few fragments of black granite pyramidion. The substructure of Senweseret II's pyramid, with the whole system of shafts, chambers, and passageways surrounding the burial chamber, thus remains one of a labyrinth. The burial chamber, which was oriented east-west, consisted of the vaulted ceiling of granite blocks and the masterfully worked sarcophagus, which stood on the west wall. The relatively small mortuary temple stood before the east side of the pyramid and was almost completely destroyed. The pyramid, the mortuary temple and the tombs of members of the royal family were surrounded by a perimeter wall along which trees were planted. The valley temple was located relatively far from the pyramid, with which it was probably not, according to Arnold, directly connected.  More...>>>


Queen's Pyramid in complex of Senweseret II

length of sides of base:   27.6 m
height:   18 m

This small pyramid stood near the northeast corner of king tomb. It is belonging to the queen, and its location seems to contradict cult destination of this structure. W.F.Petrie discovered foundation deposits, he never found a single passage or chamber beneath the pyramid, despite exploring it with tunnels and a deep vertical shaft. He did uncover the remains of a chapel at the north side. Part of a name of a vase is only evidence that the pyramid belonged to a queen.


Senweseret III's Pyramid
qbHw s(i)-n-wsrt

length of sides of base:   105 m
slope of walls:   56o
height:   61.25 m

The core of pyramid was made of mudbricks, but it no longer had a stone masonry framework and covering the casing of white limestone. Morgan had great difficulty finding the entrance to the pyramid, because the north chapel was once conceived in a way intended to confuse potential grave robbers. The burial chamber did not lie on the pyramid's vertical axis, but northwest of it. The walls of the granite chamber were finished with a thin layer of white stucco. On the west wall of the chamber stood a marvelous granite sarcophagus, whose fifteen niches probably represented stylized gateways. J.Wagner, M.Lehner and other, expressed the view that Senweseret III was not necessarily buried in the pyramid in Dahshur, but in his large and funerary complex in Abydos. North of the pyramid Morgan discovered princesses' tombs arranged in two galleries of unequal height.. All complex is oriented north-south. More...>>>


Queen's and Princesses Pyramids in kompleks of Senweseret III


 Seven small pyramids located on the north (four) and south (three) from Senweseret III's pyramid, and arranged in two galleries of unequal height, were discovered by Morgan. It was tombs of princesses Sithathor, Ment, Merit i Senet-senebti and queen Weret. In the hidden place in the lower gallery de Morgan found splendid jewelry as well as other items from the burial equipment of princess' Sithathor. This equipment was containing 333 pieces of her treasure. A gold pectoral spelled the name of Senweseret II and a scarab was inscribed with that of Senweseret III. The next day he found another treasure, belonging to Princess Merit, which containing many of the same elements as Sithathor's but was even more extensive. In 1994 the shaft of tomb 9 was discovered. A tunnel leads to an antechamber, burial chamber and canopic chamber actually under the southwest corner of the king's pyramid. A granite sarcophagus fills the west end  of the burial chamber, the floor of which was littered with pottery, wood, a few alabaster fragments and scattered bones. The name Weret, was found on a canopic jar and an inscribed board. In 1997 D.Arnold's investigations uncovered evidence that the seven superstructure bases north and south of the pyramid in its inner enclosure belonged in fact to small pyramids and not mastabas, as had previously been thought. More...>>>


Amenemhat III's Pyramid

length of sides of base:   105 m
slope of walls:   54o 30' - 56o
height:   75 m

A builder's graffoto from Amenemhat III's pyramid in Dahshur casing dates to year 2, suggestet that he began his pyramid as early as the firs year of his reign. Only an unprepossessing dark grey ruin remains, which local people named "Black Pyramid". The core was made of mudebricks and it lacked the stabilizing stone framework.  The apex of the pyramid was crowned by a beautiful dark gray granite pyramidion that was originally about 1.3 m high. The pyramid substructure is articulated in a relatively complicated way and differs significantly from that of early XII Dynasty pyramids. It consists of two parts, of which one belonged to the ruler and the other to his two consorts. The two parts were connected by a corridor. The entrance into the ruler's tomb was an east, at the level of the lowest foundation layer, near the southeast corner of the pyramid. A stairway led to the entrance corridor and then into a whole system of passageways, shafts, barriers and chambers that werew sheated in limestone and were located at varying levels. About twenty meters from the entrance, it turned to the north toward the royal burial chamber. At the turning point, another corridor coming from the queen's burial chamber entered from the west. On the west wall of king's burial chamber, stood a pink granite sarcophagus with a voulted top and niches. Whereas the system of chambers and passageways of the ruler's tomb lay under the east half of the pyramid. The two entrances are virtually mirror images of each other. he pyramid in Dahshur was completed in about the 15 year of the ruler's reign and was probably abandoned soon thereafter.  More...>>>


Amenemhat III's Pyramid

length of sides of base:   102 m
slope of walls:   48o - 52o
height:   58 m
burial chamber:   7 x 2.5  (height: 1.83 m)


The pyramid was built with mudbrick core and a casing of fine white limestone. The entrance into the substructure was placed directly in the casing, on the south side of the pyramid. There are descending corridor with a stairway led north. It was sheated  with limestone and provided with barriers, and underground it turned several times around the pyramid's axis before finally reaching the burial chamber. The burial chamber was dug a rectangular hole in the rock subsoil, lined it with limestone blocks, and thus formed the side walls of the burial chamber. Over the flat ceiling composed of limestone monoliths rose a saddle vault of enormous limestone monoliths weighing more than fifty tons, and over them, another massive brick vault about seven meters high. We are not the certain of the name of Amenemhat III's Hawara pyramid. Rock inscription in the Wadi Hammamat speak of statues quarried for building named "Amenemhat-Ankh". More...>>>


Amenemhat IV's (?) Pyramid


A poorly known pyramid south of Amenemhat II may belong to this period. Fragments of limestone reliefs and the track of a causeway leading eastward suggest some degree of completion. A fragment bearing the royal name Amenemhat coud be derived  from Amenemhat II's complex, or possibly belong to Amenemhat IV. The site was badly damaged by digging for the petroleum pipeline in 1975. 


Amenemhat IV's South Pyramid

length of sides of base:   52.5 m

Mazghuna is small Arab village between Dahshur and el-Lisht. Pyramid was called South Pyramid in Mazghuna start built king Amenemhat III and finished his son, Amenemhat IV. However some Egyptologists date the pyramid to the XIII Dynasty.  Whereas the mudbrick core can still be discerned, no trace of the limestone casing has been found. The inclination of the wall and  the height of the pyramid thus remain unknown. The entrance to the underground part of the pyramid was in the middle of the south side. A descending corridor led down a staircase and was blocked at three points; it eventyally came out in the burial chamber, located on the pyramid's vertical axis. The structure of the ceiling was probably reinforced by a saddle vault of limestone blocks.


Sobekneferure's North Pyramid


The North Pyramid is attributted solely on the grounds of a few bits of structural and archeological evidence to queen Sobekneferure. This pyramid is larger than the South Pyramid and the plan of the substructure is more advanced from a typological point of view. The access corridor, with a descending stairway, made several turns and was blocked at two places. The sarcophagus was once again a huge quartzite monolith. Although the pyramid's substructure was completed, no one was buried in it. Moreover, neither the pyramid's superstructure nor the complex as a whole was ever finished. The superstructure of this building has been significantly damaged especially in the last 10 years because modern coptic cemetry spreads out over there.



Ameny Kemau's Pyramid
South Dahshur

length of sides of base:   c.50 m

This pyramid was discovered in 1957 by American expedidion. The superstructure has been almost completely destroyed, so that one can only estimate that the length of its sides was about fifty meters. Its substructure is much better known. The entrance into the underground part of the pyramid was in front of the east side. Before arriving at the burial chamber, the corridor turned three times and had a staircase and a barrier. The burial chamber lay almost exactly on the pyramid's vertical axis and once again consisted of an enormous quartize monolith. 



Second Ameny Kemau's Pyramid
South Dahshur


A small pyramid probably belonging to the daughter of King Ameny Kemau, Princess Hatshepsut. The remains of the pyramid were discovered in 2017 just south of the king's pyramid. The building contains a rectangular chamber with a sarcophagus and female remains were found, as well as a wooden canopic chest with the name of Princess Hatshepsut.



Khendjer's Pyramid
South Saqqara

length of sides of base:   52.5 m
slope of walls:   55o
37.35 m

Pyramid of Khendjer was discovered Jequier in 1929, during his excavations in South Saqqara, sotheast of the Shepseskaf's mastaba. The mudbrick core was covered with an outer mantle of limestone blocks. A pyramidion bearing inscriptions has been reconstructed from many fragments. The substructure was entered at the foot of the west wall, near the pyramid's southwest corner. The access corridor was a descending ramp, in the middle of which was a stairway. Underground it changed in level four times and wound around under the middle of the pyramid before coming out in the burial chamber. The burial chamber was made of a huge quartize monolith and its ceiling consisted of two additional quartize blocks. The mortuary temple. which was later almost completely destroyed, stood before the pyramid's east side. The inner perimeter wall was made of limestone blocks, and its outside was decorated with niches. The outer perimeter wall was made od mudbricks.



Queens Pyramid in complex of Khendjer
South Saqqara


This small pyramid stood in the northeast corner of the outer perimeter wall. Its mode of construction corresponded to that of the king's pyramid. In its substructure, into which a stairway led from the west, were the burial chambers of two of Khendjer's consorts.



Ai I's (?) Pyramid
South Saqqara

length of sides of base:   78.75 m

Possesor of this pyramid, which stood southwest of Khendjer's tomb is unknown, maybe Ai I (?) from XIII Dynasty. The mudbrick core of its superstructure was not completed. Regular rows of black-painted stripes decorate the white limestone walls of almost every room in the substructure. Around the pyramid ran an undulating perimeter wall built of mudbricks. The entrance to the pyramid was on its axis, at the foot of east wall. A descending staircase led to a long horizontal corridor with three plugging blocks, which turned three times before coming out in the antechamber in front of two burials chambers. The king's chamber, the larger, was west of the antechamber, the queen's  chamber north of it.



Queen's Tetisheri Pyramid
Dra Abu el-Naga

slope of walls:   c.60o
Ruins of pyramid have been discovered not far ago, east of the chapel, near Ahmose I's complex.


Ahmose I's (or Kamose's) Pyramid
Dra Abu el-Naga (Birabi)

base length:   8 m  
slope of walls:   c.66o

This small complex of mudbricks buildings were discovered by H.Winlock in the 1930s. The complex included a small pyramid with the small mortuary temple on its east side, together with a perimeter wall. The underground has not yet been investigated. The pyramid is attributed to the first ruler of XVIII Dynasty, Ahmose I and sometimes to his brother and predecessor Kamose.


Ahmose I's Pyramid

base length:   52.5 m  
slope of walls:   c.60o
The core of the pyramid was composed of loose stone and sand. Two intact courses of casing stone survived at the eastern base when explored by Arthur Mace at the turn of the century, from which he estimated its angle as 60o. He dug a tunnel from the north side into centre of the pyramid without finding any chambers. This tomb was been cenotaph and Ahmose I was probably buried in pyramid at the southern end of Dra Abu el-Naga.

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