No other great pyramid was ever built at Meidum and the next o stone pyramids are at Dahshur, several miles south of Saqqara. now known that the southern one was built first. Covering an 19° m- square, it is a good deal larger than either the pyra- 2^^ S °* Zoser or the one at Meidum, and it presents a curious ct. The lower part rises at an elevation of about 54 but when the building had reached a third of its intended height, the angle was lowered to 43£°. This rhomboidal shape, which has earned the monument the name of the ‘Bent Pyramid’, reduces the origin, ally envisaged height of about 135 m. to only 101 m. In more than one respect, the shape of the Bent Pyramid forms an essential part of our quest for the purpose of pyramid-building and we must therefore leave its explanation for the time being.
Much of the Bent Pyramid’s interior was already described by Perring, but a great deal of further work has been done in recent years by Ahmed Fakhry. His investigations on behalf of the Antiquities Service have yielded a number of valuable new discoveries. An entrance passage, pointing to the pole star, leads to two internal chambers with corbel roofs, connected by a curious system of corridors and portcullises which suggests that either of the chambers could be closed forever while the other still remained unoccupied. Moreover, in addition to the polar passage which leads into the lower chamber, a second one connects the upper chamber with an aperture high up in the western face of the pyramid. No explanation has ever been offered for this unique feature but one 14 Isometric section, showing the chambers and passages of the Bent Pyramid. From the polar entrance passage (not shown) a horizontal corridor (1) leads to a narrow and high entrance hall (2) which connects directly with the lower chamber (3). Two passages (4 and 5) lead to a blind vertical shaft (6). From the upper part of the lower chamber a curved and rising passage (7) leads to a horizontal corridor (8) which opens at one end into the upper chamber (9). The other end of this corridor, which is interrupted by two portcullises (10 and 11), turns into the western entrance passage (12). The upper chamber, whose roof like that of the entrance hall (2) has remained unfinished, contains a number of horizontal cedar- wood beams (13), which are also shown in pi. 25. See also Fig. 8
Like the Meidum pyramid, the Bent Pyramid has a small mortuary temple at its eastern face. A causeway leads to the valley building which has been excavated by Fakhry and which he found adorned with relief friezes of great beauty. They are of women offering-bearers representing the various nomes.
Egyptian Pyramid Age :
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