The Pyramid Of Sneferu

Posted On : 21/02/2023 Kate Clark 50
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The history of the rhomboidal pyramid of Snefru at Dahshur

The rhomboidal pyramid was built around 2600 BC and its sides, covered with white limestone and is located in the Dahshur area about 40 kilometers from Giza and a few kilometers south of the archaeological area of Saqqara .

Dahshur is a place located in the desert and is considered to be a very famous and favorite tourist destination for tourists, it is located on the west bank of the Nile .

This site preserves a necropolis which is among those in the best state of conservation that have come down to the present day, the area is known for the presence of pyramidal complexes and multiple noble tombs of no small archaeological importance.

Among other things, in the middle of the necropolis, to the right of the Nile and to be exact in the locality of Wadi Al-Garawi, there are even the remains of the oldest dam in the world, this dates back to the IV dynasty, the size of the dam at the time they reached 100 meters in length and 50 in height.

Another component of the necropolis is a village of workers and officials, located between the southern area of Saqqara and the archaeological site of Mazghuna, to be exact 45 kilometers from Cairo. The entire area extends over an area of approximately 5 by 3 kilometers, entering the desert area at the beginning of the Libyan plateau.


What to find in Dahshur?

Even if it is a very large area, it has been very little frequented and studied, despite the fact that it preserves a very large number of burials. Dahshur city has a very ancient and profound history from 2589 BC.

In this area, one can find the Rhomboid pyramid of Sneferu and after his failure to build this pyramid properly, he started to build the Red pyramid of Sneferu and he also discovered the pyramid of Amenemhat iii of the 12th dynasty and the pyramid of Senusret iii and the southern satellite pyramid of Snefru.

It is precisely in Dahshur that the very important and crucial passage in the architectural evolution from the modeling of the step pyramid to the pyramid as we understand it today took place.

The first real pyramid is that of Sneferu called the red or northern pyramid, built on a square plan with an inclination of 45° and ancestor of the more famous one of Cheops to which, however, it is by no means inferior in terms of construction characteristics.

In this necropolis, the classical architectural innovations of the fourth dynasty appeared for the first time, such as the classical pyramid, the accessory pyramid, the mortuary temple, the processional ramp.

Another innovation also concerns the orientation of the funerary complexes no longer from north to south as in those of the III dynasty but from east to west in direct connection with the eternal path of the sun, for the identification, in the afterlife, of the sovereign with the solar star and its eternal path.

The noble necropolis

The noble necropolis is made up of underground burials and mastabas, some are intact and preserve splendid funerary objects, in the substructures of the pyramid complexes the sacred and funerary boats complete with sledges for the transport of the deceased sovereign were also found.

South of the necropolis are two pyramids, one of the ruler Amenemhat IV and the other of the queen Sobeknefru of the XII dynasty, which are actually part of the archaeological complex of Mazghuna.

Who built it?

The pyramid was built by Sneferu , dating back to the Middle Kingdom era. first king of the fourth dynasty and father of Cheops who had built the pyramid of Cheops, who is considered the possible inventor of the perfect Pyramid after several failed attempts when he first built the step pyramid

Sneferu made many attempts at pyramids before reaching an optimal result, the rhomboidal pyramid is the second in chronological order built by Sneferu.

He was the founder of the lll dynasty during the ancient kingdom some say he ruled Egypt between 24 - 48 years and there were many communications regarding the perfect shape of the pyramid with his engineer “Emhotob”.

During his reign, he carried out many development processes on the cultural, architectural, and military level. He had sent an enormous fleet to Finichia to export a type of wood called Al-Arz wood and it is used to build temples, three pyramids and boats.

After the failure of the construction of Meidum, Sneferu decided to build another funerary monument to the north of the same site but the southern complex, perhaps precisely because it never housed the mortal remains of the sovereign, remains the best preserved and the one in which all structures can be identified.

The sovereign already had the step pyramid of Meidum available as a tomb, but he decided to further build a second pyramid in Dahshur which required a very articulated and complex design.

The particular shape of the Pyramid

The pyramid of Snefru owes its particular shape to a hiccup, it was in fact built on soft ground which caused considerable problems for the construction.

The pyramid is characterized by the double slope, it is a very particular construction: it is not the classic shape of a pyramid, in fact the sides have a double slope which is due to the change that was made to the project during construction.

Initially the pyramid was designed to have an inclination of the external walls of about 54° but, plausibly due to construction defects found in progress, the height was reduced by about half and they were inclined by 43° creating for indeed a double inclination.

In the original project, the pyramid should therefore have reached a height of 128.5 meters, but following a change in the angle of slope it reached a height of 105 meters. 

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By Kate Clark

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