, pub-5063766797865882, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 Amenemhet's Pyramid - Facts and Secrets ~ Ancient Egypt Facts

April 8, 2012

Amenemhet's Pyramid - Facts and Secrets

Amenemhet's Pyramid

An unusual feature of Amenemhet's reign, not seen since the Old Kingdom under Snefru, was that he built two pyramids for himself. One at Dahshur was 342 ft (104 m) square; the other at Hawara was 334 ft (102 m) square. The first must have been abandoned since the king was buried at Hawara, where his pyramid and the large associated structure on the south side of the pyramid, his mortuary temple, attracted the attention of several of the classical writers. From Herodotus (mid-fifth century BC) onwards, the great 1000 by 800 ft (305 x 244 m) building was hailed as a wonder, a veritable labyrinth to be compared with the fabled structure at Knossos, Crete. Strabo described its many rooms and corridors in minute detail, but when Petrie excavated the devastated site in 1888-89, he had the greatest difficulty in reconciling the few architectural details he uncovered with Strabo's description, so great was the ancient destruction.

Amenemhet's pyramid, as usual for the period, was built of mudbrick and cased with limestone. Once more the entrance was moved for better concealment and was located off-centre on the pyramid's south face. The internal arrangement of Amenemhet's pyramid was quite extraordinary, with dead-end passages, concealed trapdoors and sliding panels in passage roofs. A complicated series of three quartzite blocks topped by two relieving chambers of limestone blocks and a huge brick arch overall completed the arrangements. The burial chamber was a vast block of quartzite (22 x 8 ft, 7 x 2.5 m), hollowed out like a lidless box, which had been sunk into the ground and the pyramid built over it. Within the box/burial chamber were two quartzite sarcophagi, the larger for the king, the smaller for his daughter the princess Neferu-Ptah, together with their quartzite canopic chests. When the burials had been completed, the chamber was sealed by a single roofing slab of some 45 tons and then everything was backfilled to remove all traces. The internal security arrangements (reminiscent of the false doors and trapdoors seen in some curse-of-the-mummy-type films) should have been impenetrable, yet robbers still managed to penetrate the tomb, ravage the bodies and burn the wooden coffins.


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