Dahshur Necropolis

Posted On : 02/03/2023 Kate Clark 50
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Dahshur is one of the great Egyptian villages, located on the western side of the Nile River , 40 km southwest of Cairo. The Dahshur Necropolis marks the southern border with the vast area of the Pyramids of Giza and this city is 71 square kilometers from the Giza plateau, and is bordered to the west by the desert and to the north by Saqqara

Archaeologists have found in this area the remains of pyramids, as well as important burial complexes intended for the burial of the queens and members of the aristocracy of Memphis up to the thirteenth dynasty of the Middle Kingdom. 

The city of Dahshur is considered one of the most important archaeological areas in the ancient world and includes the most important archaeological treasures, as more than one gold archaeological discovery has been found within its pyramids and tombs.

The city contains five major pyramids, remaining out of ten that have existed since Pharaonic times. Two of the more recent pyramids were completely destroyed, while the Black pyramids (Twelfth dynasty, 1929-1885 BC) are seriously damaged. 

Dahshur also has two of the best preserved pyramids of more recent construction. Both were made during the reign of King Sneferu (2613-2589 BC), the founder of the fourth dynasty.

The Rhomboidal pyramid and the Red pyramid present at Dahshur are the astonishing proof of the level of architectural knowledge that marked the construction of the Great Pyramids and related structures at Giza. 

The most important pyramids in Dahshur are:

1- The Rhomboidal Pyramid of Sneferu

2- The Red Pyramid of Sneferu

3- The Pyramid of King Amenemhat II

4- The Pyramid of King Senusret III

5- The Pyramid of King Amenemhat Third


1- The rhomboidal pyramid of King Snefru

The Rhomboidal pyramid is also referred to as the "transition pyramid" due to the perspective according to which the structure is abruptly modified for approximately one third of its height.

The pyramid still retains much of the external covering. It is interesting to know that the construction of the Rhomboid pyramid was completed in 14 full years, and the height of this pyramid reached 101.1 meters and its base area is 188.6 meters.

But this building is considered to be one of the greatest architectural errors in pharaonic history, because in the middle of the construction process, particularly when the pyramid building reached the center, the engineers discovered an error in the applicable angle and consequently lowered the angle to 54 degrees.

However this decision failed, and the building was not protected by cracks in its walls. The bugs continued inside this building throughout construction to completion. 

This pyramid is considered one of the methods that paved the way for the identification of the correct construction methods, on which the pyramids were subsequently based. 

Archaeologists attribute this feature to the crisis situation in engineering at the time of its construction. 

2- The Red Pyramid of Snefru

The Northern Pyramid, also known as the Red Pyramid due to the blush color of its cut stones from the Red Mountain quarries at Abbasia, is the first complete pyramid in the history of Egyptian pyramid architecture . 

The pyramid reaches a height of about 99 m and is composed of:

The entrance: - It is located 28 meters above ground level on the north side

The descending corridor: it is 60 meters below ground, the height of its courtyard.

The Corridor: It is a spacious place to wrap the king's coffin.

The rooms: - They are three rooms, like some of the first room, then a corridor, then the second room, and in the second room we find the third, which is the burial chamber

3- The pyramid of King Amenemhat II

King Amenemhat II chose the southeastern area of the northern pyramid of Sneferu to build his mud brick pyramid.

4- The pyramid of King Senusret III

The pyramid el re Senusret III is located a short distance from the second pyramid of Amenemhat in the far north of Dahshur.

The pyramid was built with mud bricks and faced with limestone, and its original height was 78 m. The burial chamber was built of granite stone and so was the coffin.

5- The pyramid of King Amenemhat III

The last 12th dynasty pyramid at Dahshur is the pyramid of King Amenemhat III which is known as the Black Pyramid due to the severe darkness of the mud bricks in which this pyramid was built.

The height is about 81 m, and it was covered with limestone, surmounted by a small hierarchical peak of basalt stone exhibited in the Egyptian Museum.

Sneferu was the father of Cheops, so the Red Pyramid and the Rhomboid Pyramid at Dahshur slightly preceded the construction of the pyramids at Giza.

The engineers employed by Khufu would perfect the leveled pyramids design that Sneferu inaugurated with the construction of the largest pyramids at Giza, the Cheops pyramid.

The architect of the Red Pyramid project realized that the steep 54-degree inclination would make the structure rather unstable. Therefore, the rest of the pyramid was completed with only 43 degrees of inclination.

The second pyramid of Sneferu at the site was the first leveled pyramid ever built. It is also the third largest pyramid ever built, surpassed in height only by the pyramids of Khufu and Chephren at Giza.

This pyramid was built with a base at 43 degrees of inclination, the same with which the upper part of the Rhomboidal pyramid was built.

A number of tombs of royal princesses have also been found at Dahshur, which contained a great deal of elaborate jewelry and jewelry. As well as several small pyramids for royal princesses, south of Dahshur.

Also in Dahshur were several large tombs of some officials of the Ancient Egyptian and Middle Egyptian kingdoms around the pyramids of Dahshur.

Two years ago, a 3,700-year-old tomb belonging to the daughter of one of the kings of the Pharaohs was discovered near the remains of a recently discovered pyramid.

Egypt's antiquities ministry said the cemetery, which is located in the Royal Cemetery area of Dahshur, south of Cairo , contains a wooden box with hieroglyphic inscriptions. 

Four canopic jars were found inside the box, containing the viscera of a corpse, believed to be the daughter of the Pharaonic king Iminkamaw. The pyramid of King Emin Kamau is located 600 meters from the cemetery.

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By Kate Clark

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