June 25, 2012

A Clue at Meidum Pyramid Part 1

A Clue At Meidum Pyramid

The crucial observation which eventually led us to understand the reason for pyramid building was made at Meidum. It was the realisation that almost 5,000 years ago a technological disaster of immense dimensions had overtaken the building and the thousands of people working on it. The site became deserted and was even shunned by those who meant to be buried there. They left their tombs unoccupied so as not to be associated in their afterlife with this place of ill omen. Meidum, the location which a pharaoh had selected for his eternal abode, remained desolate ever after.

Meidum Pyramid
By virtue of its size and its serene simplicity, the pyramid at Meidum can easily qualify for being the most impressive ruin in the world. It is also one of the oldest. Seen from the lush vegetation of the Nile valley it rises as an immense square tower of more than 40 metres on the top of what appears to be a hill on the western desert plateau. This is how thje first European traveller who described it saw the monument. He was Captain Frederick Lewis Norden, FRS, who journeyed to the Sudan on orders of the King of Denmark, and he made three excellent sketches of the pyramid from a distance. They show the building in its ruined state, very much as we see it today, except that the rubble surrounding it seems to be a little, but not very much, higher. That was in 1737, and a little later in the same year another Fellow of the Royal Society, Edward Pococke, also made a note of seeing the Meidum pyramid. A famous orientalist, much interested in Arabic history, he recorded that the Arabs called the building ‘el Haram el Kaddab’, ‘the false pyramid’. Pococke also saw the pyramid only from a distance.

The next visitor was W. G. Browne of Oriel College, Oxford, who in 1793 explored the actual site and, digging into the debris, found some casing stones of the pyramid. He concluded, correctly, that the tower was not standing on a natural hill, but that it was the rubble surrounding the building which gave this impression.

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