The pyramid of Senusret III in the 1890s
|Senusret III, 12th Dynasty|
|Constructed||19th century BCE|
|Type||True pyramid (now ruined)|
Tura limestone (casing)
|Height||78 m (256 ft)|
|Base||105 m (344 ft)|
|Volume||288,488 m3 (10,187,900 cu ft)|
|Slope||56° 18' 35"|
The Pyramid of Senusret III ( Lepsius XLVII) is an ancient Egyptian pyramid located at Dahshur and built for pharaoh Senusret III of the 12th Dynasty (19th century BCE).
The Lepsius list of pyramids is a list of sixty-seven Ancient Egyptian pyramids established in 1842–1843 by Karl Richard Lepsius (1810–1884), an Egyptologist and leader of the "Prussian expedition to Egypt" from 1842 until 1846.
Ancient Egypt was a civilization of ancient North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in the place that is now the country Egypt. Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric Egypt and coalesced around 3100 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under Menes. The history of ancient Egypt occurred as a series of stable kingdoms, separated by periods of relative instability known as Intermediate Periods: the Old Kingdom of the Early Bronze Age, the Middle Kingdom of the Middle Bronze Age and the New Kingdom of the Late Bronze Age.
The Egyptian pyramids are ancient pyramid-shaped masonry structures located in Egypt. As of November 2008, sources cite either 118 or 138 as the number of identified Egyptian pyramids. Most were built as tombs for the country's pharaohs and their consorts during the Old and Middle Kingdom periods.
The pyramid is the northernmost among those of Dahshur, and stands around 1.5 km northeast of Sneferu's Red Pyramid. It was erected on leveled ground and composed of a mudbricks core covered with a casing of white Tura limestone blocks resting on foundations. It was first excavated in 1894 by the French Egyptologist Jacques de Morgan, who managed to reach the burial chamber after discovering a tunnel dug by ancient tomb robbers.A more recent campaign was led by Dieter Arnold during the 1990s.
Sneferu, well known under his Hellenized name Soris, was the founding pharaoh of the Fourth Dynasty of Egypt during the Old Kingdom. Estimates of his reign vary, with for instance The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt suggesting a reign from around 2613 to 2589 BC, a reign of 24 years, while Rolf Krauss suggests a 30-year reign, and Rainer Stadelmann a 48-year reign. He built at least three pyramids that survive to this day and introduced major innovations in the design and construction of pyramids.
The Red Pyramid, also called the North Pyramid, is the largest of the three major pyramids located at the Dahshur necropolis in Cairo, Egypt. Named for the rusty reddish hue of its red limestone stones, it is also the third largest Egyptian pyramid, after those of Khufu and Khafra at Giza. It is also believed to be Egypt's first successful attempt at constructing a "true" smooth-sided pyramid. Local residents refer to the Red Pyramid as el-heram el-watwaat, meaning the Bat Pyramid.
A mudbrick or mud-brick is an air-dried brick, made of a mixture of loam, mud, sand and water mixed with a binding material such as rice husks or straw. Though mudbricks are known from 7000 to 6000 BCE, since 4000 BC, bricks have also been fired, to increase their strength and durability.
The original project included the main pyramid along with a northern chapel and a small eastern mortuary temple, all surrounded by an enclosure wall. Outside this enclosure were seven tombs belonging to Senusret's queens and princesses, and the whole complex was again surrounded by an outer wall; this wall was enlarged during the works in order to accommodate a large temple on the southern side and a causeway.
The now-demolished eastern temple was very small in size, perhaps a sign of the decline of the traditional funerary cult, as Arnold suggested. On the remaining reliefs were depicted conventional scenes of offerings to the enthroned Senusret III. The southern temple was likely demolished during the New Kingdom and according to its foundations it consisted in a colonnaded courtyard and an inner shrine. The valley temple has not been discovered.
Mortuary temples were temples that were erected adjacent to, or in the vicinity of, royal tombs in Ancient Egypt. The temples were designed to commemorate the reign of the Pharaoh under whom they were constructed, as well as for use by the king's cult after death.
Many shaft tombs belonged to the royal women were discovered on the northern and southern sides of the main pyramid; it was believed that these shafts were topped by mastabas until Arnold in 1997 demonstrated that these consisted in the intricated rock-cut hypogea of seven small pyramids. Explorations of the northern tombs led to the discovery of the treasures of princesses Sithathor and Mereret (among these objects, the famous pectorals with the names of Senusret II, Senusret III and Amenemhat III now exhibited at the Cairo Museum), as well as the sarcophagi of princesses Menet and Senetsenebtysy and of queen Neferthenut.Among the southern tombs, the easternmost was discovered in 1994 and its hypogeum led to a burial chamber located under the main pyramid. Here, a granite sarcophagus was found, along with some objects bearing the name of Khenemetneferhedjet I Weret, Senusret III's royal mother.
A shaft tomb or shaft grave is a type of deep rectangular burial structure, similar in shape to the much shallower cist grave, containing a floor of pebbles, walls of rubble masonry, and a roof constructed of wooden planks.
A mastaba or pr-djt is a type of ancient Egyptian tomb in the form of a flat-roofed, rectangular structure with inward sloping sides, constructed out of mud-bricks. These edifices marked the burial sites of many eminent Egyptians during Egypt's Early Dynastic Period and Old Kingdom. In the Old Kingdom epoch, local kings began to be buried in pyramids instead of in mastabas, although non-royal use of mastabas continued for over a thousand years. Egyptologists call these tombs mastaba, from the Arabic word مصطبة (maṣṭaba) "stone bench".
Sithathor was an Ancient Egyptian princess with the title king's daughter. She is only known from her burial at Dahshur. Next to the pyramid of king Senusret III were found underground galleries as a burial place for royal women. Most of the burials were found looted, but there were two boxes for jewellery overlooked by tomb robbers. Both boxes contained an outstanding collection of jewellery. They were called the first and the second treasure of Dahshur. The first treasure was discovered on 6 March 1894 and belonged most likely once to Sithathor. Several scarabs with her name were found. The treasure contained a pectoral with the names of king Senusret II, one of the masterpieces of Egyptian goldwork. Other objects were golden shells, golden bracelets, a mirror and several stone vases. Sithathor is not known for sure outside her tomb. She was perhaps a daughter of Senusret III, but it is also possible that she was the daughter of Senusret II and buried as sister of king Senusret III next to him.
De Morgan struggled for months to find the original entrance; after digging several tunnels directed towards the center of the monument, he finally found the thieves' tunnel. One of the passages was covered by graffiti which were rather alien to the Egyptian canons, the most famous among these represents a human head with a striking hairstyle. De Morgan argued that the tunnels and the graffiti were made by Semitic grave robbers during the Hyksos occupation. From the thieves' tunnels, de Morgan was able to trace the original entrance.
A graffito, in an archaeological context, is a deliberate mark made by scratching or engraving on a large surface such as a wall. The marks may form an image or writing. The term is not usually used of the engraved decoration on small objects such as bones, which make up a large part of the Art of the Upper Paleolithic, but might be used of the engraved images, usually of animals, that are commonly found in caves, though much less well known than the cave paintings of the same period; often the two are found in the same caves. In archaeology, the term may or may not include the more common modern sense of an "unauthorized" addition to a building or monument. Sgraffito, a decorative technique of partially scratching off a top layer of plaster or some other material to reveal a differently colored material beneath, is also sometimes known as "graffito".
Ancient Egyptian art refers to paintings, sculptures, architecture, and other arts produced in ancient Egypt between the 31st century BC and the 4th century AD. It is very conservative; Egyptian styles changed remarkably little over time. Much of the surviving art comes from tombs and monuments, which have given more insight on the Egyptians' belief of the afterlife. This has caused a greater focus on preserving the knowledge of the past. Wall art was not produced for people to look at but it had a purpose in the afterlife and in rituals.
Semites, Semitic people or Semitic cultures was a term for an ethnic, cultural or racial group who speak or spoke the Semitic languages.
From the entrance, located on the western side of the pyramid, a long descending hallway led to an antechamber which connects a storeroom on the west wall to the king's chamber on the east wall, the latter made from granite and provided with a granite sarcophagus on the western side, and a niche for the canopic chest on the southern one. The granite walls of the burial chamber were whiten with gypsum. Above the chamber Arnold found three relieving vaults made from granite (the bottom one), limestone (the middle one) and mudbricks (the top one) which were meant to discharge the weight on the underlying chamber's walls in order to prevent a roof collapse. The king's chamber contained pottery and a dagger, while the granite sarcophagus was empty. It is possible that Senusret III was never buried there and that he might have preferred his Abydene tomb as his final resting place, as suggested by the lack of a blocking system within this hypogeum.
Canopic chests are cases used by Ancient Egyptians to contain the internal organs removed during the process of mummification. Once canopic jars began to be used, in the late Fourth Dynasty, the jars were placed within canopic chests. Although the first proven canopic burials date from the Fourth Dynasty reign of Sneferu, there is evidence to suggest that there were canopic installations at Saqqara dating from the Second Dynasty.
Gypsum is a soft sulfate mineral composed of calcium sulfate dihydrate, with the chemical formula CaSO4·2H2O. It is widely mined and is used as a fertilizer and as the main constituent in many forms of plaster, blackboard/sidewalk chalk, and drywall. A massive fine-grained white or lightly tinted variety of gypsum, called alabaster, has been used for sculpture by many cultures including Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Ancient Rome, the Byzantine Empire, and the Nottingham alabasters of Medieval England. Gypsum also crystallizes as translucent crystals of selenite. It also forms as an evaporite mineral and as a hydration product of anhydrite.
In architecture, a vault is a self-supporting arched form, usually of stone or brick, serving to cover a space with a ceiling or roof. The simplest kind of vault is the barrel vault, which is generally semicircular in shape. The barrel vault is a continuous arch, the length being greater than its diameter. As in building an arch, a temporary support is needed while rings of voussoirs are constructed and the rings placed in position. Until the topmost voussoir, the keystone, is positioned, the vault is not self-supporting. Where timber is easily obtained, this temporary support is provided by centering consisting of a framed truss with a semicircular or segmental head, which supports the voussoirs until the ring of the whole arch is completed. With a barrel vault, the centering can then be shifted on to support the next rings.
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Khakheperre Senusret II was the fourth pharaoh of the Twelfth Dynasty of Egypt. He ruled from 1897 BC to 1878 BC. His pyramid was constructed at El-Lahun. Senusret II took a great deal of interest in the Faiyum oasis region and began work on an extensive irrigation system from Bahr Yussef through to Lake Moeris through the construction of a dike at El-Lahun and the addition of a network of drainage canals. The purpose of his project was to increase the amount of cultivable land in that area. The importance of this project is emphasized by Senusret II's decision to move the royal necropolis from Dahshur to El-Lahun where he built his pyramid. This location would remain the political capital for the 12th and 13th Dynasties of Egypt. The king also established the first known workers' quarter in the nearby town of Senusrethotep (Kahun).
The Pyramid of Khafre or of Chephren is the second-tallest and second-largest of the Ancient Egyptian Pyramids of Giza and the tomb of the Fourth-Dynasty pharaoh Khafre (Chefren), who ruled from c. 2558 to 2532 BC.
Lisht or el-Lisht is an Egyptian village located south of Cairo. It is the site of Middle Kingdom royal and elite burials, including two pyramids built by Amenemhat I and Senusret I. The two main pyramids were surrounded by smaller pyramids of members of the royal family, and many mastaba tombs of high officials and their family members. They were constructed throughout the Twelfth and Thirteenth Dynasties. The site is also known for the tomb of Senebtisi, found undisturbed and from which a set of jewelry has been recovered. The pyramid complex of Senusret I is the best preserved from this period. The coffins in the tomb of Sesenebnef present the earliest versions of the Book of the Dead.
The Pyramid of Khendjer was a pyramid built for the burial of the 13th dynasty pharaoh Khendjer, who ruled Egypt c. 1760 BC during the Second Intermediate Period. The pyramid, which is part of larger complex comprising a mortuary temple, a chapel, two enclosure walls and a subsidiary pyramid, originally stood around 37 m (121 ft) high and is now completely ruined. The pyramidion was discovered during excavations under the direction of Gustave Jéquier in 1929, indicating that the pyramid was finished during Khendjer's lifetime. It is the only pyramid known to have been completed during the 13th dynasty.
The Black Pyramid was built by King Amenemhat III during the Middle Kingdom of Egypt. It is one of the five remaining pyramids of the original eleven pyramids at Dahshur in Egypt. Originally named Amenemhet is Mighty, the pyramid earned the name "Black Pyramid" for its dark, decaying appearance as a rubble mound. The Black Pyramid was the first to house both the deceased pharaoh and his queens. Jacques de Morgan, on a French mission, began the excavation on the pyramids at Dahshur in 1892. The German Archaeological Institute of Cairo completed excavation in 1983.
The Mastabat al-Fir’aun is the grave monument of the ancient Egyptian king Shepseskaf, the last king of the Fourth Dynasty documented to date. It is located in South Saqqara halfway between the Step Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara and the pyramids of Sneferu, the founder of the fourth dynasty, at Dahshur. The structure is located close to the pyramid of Pepi II, a ruler of the Sixth Dynasty. The stone quarry for the structure is located west of the Red Pyramid of Sneferu.
The Buried Pyramid is an unfinished step pyramid constructed ca. 2645 BC for Sekhemkhet Djoserty. This pharaoh was the second of the Third Dynasty of Ancient Egypt, which reigned over Egypt circa 2686–2613 BC and is usually placed at the beginning of the Old Kingdom of Egypt. Many historians believe that the third dynasty played an important role in the transition from Early Dynastic Period of Egypt to the Age of the Pyramids.
The Pyramid of Djedkare Isesi is a late 25th to mid 24th century BC pyramid complex built for the Fifth Dynasty pharaoh Djedkare Isesi. The pyramid is referred to as Haram el-Shawaf, meaning 'Sentinel Pyramid', by locals. It was the first pyramid to be built in South Saqqara.
Neferthenut was an Ancient Egyptian queen of the Twelfth Dynasty. She was most likely the wife of Senusret III.
Nebit was an Ancient Egyptian official during the reign of king Senusret III. He held the position of vizier. Thus he was the most important official at the royal court. Nebit is only known from his large mastaba which was excavated next to the pyramid of the king at Dahshur. The mastaba was built of mud bricks and then covered with stones. Already in ancient times the high quality stone was looted and used for other building projects or just for burning lime. However, one wall of the mastaba facade had already collapsed and had been covered by sand before looters dismantled the rest of the building. The preserved facade bears the name and title of Nebit, but also the name of the king. Within the remains of the mastaba were found by Jacques de Morgan the bust of a statue made of granodiorite. The fragment is not inscribed but most likely depicts Nebit.
Itakayt was an Ancient Egyptian princess and queen of the 12th Dynasty, around 1800 BC. She is mainly known from her small pyramid next to the one of Senusret III at Dahshur. She had the titles king's daughter of his body, powerful, graceful and beloved.
Menet was an Ancient Egyptian king's daughter living in the Twelfth Dynasty most likely under the kings Senusret III and Amenemhat III. Menet had the titles king's daughter and the one united with the white crown (Khenemetneferhedjet). She is only known from her sarcophagus and burial in a gallery tomb buried with other members of the royal family next to the pyramid of Senusret III at Dahshur. From the position of the tomb it seems likely that she was the daughter of the latter king.
The pyramid of Khui is an ancient Egyptian funerary structure datable to the early First Intermediate Period and located in the royal necropolis of Dara, near Manfalut in Middle Egypt and close to the entrance of the Dakhla Oasis. It is generally attributed to Khui, a kinglet belonging either to the 8th Dynasty or a provincial nomarch proclaiming himself king in a time when central authority had broken down, c. 2150 BC. The pyramid complex of Khui included a mortuary temple and a mud brick enclosure wall which, like the main pyramid, are now completely ruined.
The Southern Mazghuna Pyramid is an ancient Egyptian royal tomb which was built during the 12th or the 13th Dynasty in Mazghuna, 5 km south of Dahshur, Egypt. The building was never finished, and is still unknown which pharaoh was the owner, since no appropriate inscription have been found.
The pyramid was rediscovered in 1910 by Ernest Mackay and excavated in the following year by Flinders Petrie.
The Northern Mazghuna Pyramid is an ancient Egyptian royal tomb which was built during the 12th or 13th Dynasty in Mazghuna, 5 km south of Dahshur. The building remained unfinished, and it is still unknown which pharaoh was really intended to be buried here since no appropriate inscription has been found.
The pyramid was rediscovered in 1910 by Ernest Mackay and excavated in the following year by Flinders Petrie.
The Southern South Saqqara Pyramid is an ancient Egyptian royal tomb which was built during the 13th Dynasty in South Saqqara, and is renowned for having the most elaborate hypogeum since the late 12th Dynasty pyramids. The building remained unfinished and is still unknown which pharaoh was really intended to be buried here since no appropriate inscription has been found.
The Pyramid of Pepi II was the tomb of Pharaoh Pepi II, located in southern Saqqara, to the northwest of the Mastabat al-Fir’aun. It was the final full pyramid complex to be built in Ancient Egypt. Long used as a quarry, the pyramid was excavated for the first time by Gaston Maspero in 1881. Its ruins were studied in exhaustive detail by Gustave Jéquier, who was able to reconstruct the funerary complex and the texts on the walls of the funerary chamber in the course of his excavation campaigns from 1932-1935. Since 1996, thorough investigations of the pyramid and its surroundings have been being carried out by the Mission archéologique française de Saqqâra.
Senetsenebtysy was an Ancient Egyptian king's daughter of the Twelfth Dynasty, around 1800 BC. She was most likely a daughter of king Senusret III.
The Pyramid of Senusret II,, is the pyramid complex constructed for the pharaoh Senusret II in the Twelfth Dynasty.