|Ancient Egypt Pyramids|
None of these findings admit any suggestion that the mantle of the Meidum pyramid had ever been attacked by stone robbers before it became covered with large quantities of debris. In fact, the supposition that the pyramid owes its heavily ruined state to the activity of stone robbers can be confidently rejected. The evidence further shows that whatever calamity overtook the building occurred while the outer casing was still undamaged. It is also evident that the collapse of the pyramid was not a gradual one. The nature and the distribution of the debris leave no doubt that a sudden disaster took place in which the masonry was thoroughly broken up, cascading down from a great height. The angle of repose of the rubble and the considerable distance to which the fragments had travelled show that they came down with great speed, indicating a high kinetic energy. This fact precludes a slow disintegration of the edifice and points to an instantaneous catastrophe which must have ruined the structure in a matter of a few minutes. Having arrived at this conclusion, our next task must be to estimate when in the history of the Meidum pyramid this sudden destruction occurred.
For a number of reasons we must assume that it took place before the third building phase, the transformation of a stepped monument (E2) into a true pyramid (E3), was completed. Evidence - especially Wainwright’s investigation obtained by tunnelling under the structure - makes it clear that two successive building phases, resulting in the step pyramids Ei and E2, had each been meant to represent the final form of the monument. This is also shown by the well-planed surfaces of these two step pyramids and by the discontinuities in the passage, corresponding to the original entrances of Ex and E2. The latter even shows grooves for metal bars to hold the final casing stone by which the step pyramid was to be closed.
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