|Djosertety, Djoserty, Tyreis|
Relief of Sekhemkhet from Wadi Maghareh
|Reign||6 or 7 years, ca. 2650 BC (3rd Dynasty)|
|Successor||Sanakht (most likely) or Khaba|
Sekhemkhet (also read as Sechemchet) was an ancient Egyptian king (pharaoh) of the 3rd dynasty during the Old Kingdom. His reign is thought to have been from about 2648 BC until 2640 BC. He is also known under his later traditioned birth name Djoser-tety and under his Hellenized name Tyreis (by Manetho; derived from Teti in the Abydos king list). He was probably the brother or eldest son of king Djoser. Little is known about this king, since he ruled for only a few years. However, he erected a step pyramid at Saqqara and left behind a well known rock inscription at Wadi Maghareh (Sinai Peninsula).
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.
Pharaoh is the common title of the monarchs of ancient Egypt from the First Dynasty until the annexation of Egypt by the Roman Empire in 30 BCE, although the actual term "Pharaoh" was not used contemporaneously for a ruler until Merneptah, c. 1200 BCE. In the early dynasty, ancient Egyptian kings used to have up to three titles, the Horus, the Sedge and Bee (nswt-bjtj) name, and the Two Ladies (nbtj) name. The Golden Horus and nomen and prenomen titles were later added.
In ancient Egyptian history, the Old Kingdom is the period spanning c. 2686–2181 BC. It is also known as the "Age of the Pyramids" or the "Age of the Pyramid Builders", as it encompasses the reigns of the great pyramid builders of the Fourth Dynasty— among them King Sneferu, who perfected the art of pyramid-building, and the kings Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure, who constructed the pyramids at Giza. Egypt attained its first sustained peak of civilization during the Old Kingdom—the first of three so-called "Kingdom" periods which mark the high points of civilization in the lower Nile Valley.
The duration of Sekhemkhet's reign is believed to have been 6 to 7 years. The royal Turin Canon attributes 6 years of reign to Sekhemkhet,a figure also proposed by Myriam Wissa based on the unfinished state of Sekhemkhet's pyramid. Using his reconstruction of the Palermo Stone (5th dynasty), Toby Wilkinson assigns 7 years to this king. This figure is based on the number of year registers preserved in Cairo Fragment I, register V. Wilkinson states that "this figure is fairly certain, since the [king's] titulary begins immediately after the dividing line marking the change of reign.". Similarly, the Greek historian Manetho lists Sekhemkhet under the name of Tyreis and indicates that he reigned for 7 years. Nabil Swelim, by contrast, proposed a reign of 19 years, because he believed that Sekhemkhet might be the Tosertasis mentioned by Manetho. However, such a long reign is at odds with the unfinished state of the buried pyramid and this view is generally rejected by Egyptologists.
The Turin King List, also known as the Turin Royal Canon, is an ancient Egyptian hieratic papyrus thought to date from the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses II, now in the Museo Egizio in Turin. The papyrus is the most extensive list available of kings compiled by the ancient Egyptians, and is the basis for most chronology before the reign of Ramesses II.
The Palermo Stone is one of seven surviving fragments of a stele known as the Royal Annals of the Old Kingdom of Ancient Egypt. The stele contained a list of the kings of Egypt from the First Dynasty through to the early part of the Fifth Dynasty and noted significant events in each year of their reigns. It was probably made during the Fifth Dynasty. The Palermo Stone is held in the Regional Archeological Museum Antonio Salinas in the city of Palermo, Italy, from which it derives its name.
The Fifth Dynasty of ancient Egypt is often combined with Dynasties III, IV and VI under the group title the Old Kingdom. The Fifth Dynasty pharaohs reigned for approximately 150 years, from the early 25th century BC until the mid 24th century BC.
Little is known about activities conducted during Sekhemkhet's reign. The only preserved documents showing Sekhemkhet are two rock inscriptions at Wadi Maghareh in the Sinai peninsula. The first one shows Sekhemkhet twice: once wearing the Hedjet crown, another wearing the Deshret crown. The second inscription depicts a scene known as "smiting the enemy": Sekhemkhet has grabbed a foe by its hair and raises his arm in an attempt to club the enemy to death with a ceremonial sceptre. The presence of these reliefs at Wadi Maghareh suggests that local mines of copper and turquoise were exploited during Sekhemkhet's reign.These mines were apparently active throughout the early 3rd Dynasty since reliefs of Djoser and Sanakht were also discovered in the Wadi Maghareh.
Wadi Maghareh, is an archaeological site located in the southwestern Sinai Peninsula, Egypt. It contains pharaonic monuments and turquoise mines dating from the Old, Middle and New Kingdoms of Ancient Egypt. The Ancient Egyptians knew the site as "the Terraces of Turquoise."
Hedjet is the formal name for the white crown of pharaonic Upper Egypt. After the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt, it was combined with the deshret, the red crown of Lower Egypt, to form the pschent, the double crown of Egypt. The symbol sometimes used for the white crown was the vulture goddess Nekhbet shown next to the head of the cobra goddess Wadjet, the uraeus on the pschent.
Deshret, from Ancient Egyptian, was the formal name for the Red Crown of Lower Egypt and for the desert Red Land on either side of Kemet, the fertile Nile river basin. When combined with the Hedjet of Upper Egypt, it forms the Pschent, in Ancient Egyptian called the sekhemti.
Several clay seals presenting an unusual nebty name together with Sekhemkhet's Horus name were found at the eastern excavation site on the island of Elephantine. The Egyptologist Jean Pierre Pätznik reads the nebty name as Ren nebty meaning The two ladies are pleased with his name. It is not entirely clear whether this is indeed Sekhemkhet's nebty name or that of a yet unknown queen.
Elephantine is an island on the Nile, forming part of the city of Aswan in Upper Egypt. There are archaeological sites on the island.
Sekhemkhet's wife may have been Djeseretnebti, but this name appears without any queen's title, and Egyptologists dispute the true meaning and reading of this name.The name has alternatively been read as Djeser-Ti and identified with the cartouche-name Djeser-Teti presented in the Saqqara King List as the direct successor of Djoser. Sekhemkhet surely had sons and daughters, but up to this date no personal name was found.
Djeseretnebti is possibly the name of an Ancient Egyptian queen. Since this name appears without any queen‘s title, Egyptologists dispute the true meaning and reading of this name.
Sekhemkhet's pyramid is sometimes referred to as the Buried pyramid and was first excavated in 1952 by Egyptian archaeologist Zakaria Goneim. A sealed sarcophagus was discovered beneath the pyramid, but when opened was found to be empty.
Muhammed Zakaria Goneim was an Egyptian archaeologist, known for his discoveries in and around Saqqara. He is best known for discovering the Step Pyramid of Sekhemkhet.
Sekhemkhet's pyramid was planned as a step pyramid from the first. Its base was a square measuring 378 ft x 378 ft (220 x 220 cubits). If the pyramid had been completed, it would have had six or seven steps and a final height of 240.5 ft (140 cubits). These proportions would have given the pyramid an angle of elevation of 51˚50', identical to the pyramid at Meidum and the Great Pyramid at Giza. Like Djoser's pyramid, Sekhemkhet's was built of limestone blocks. The monument was not finished, possibly because of the pharaoh's sudden death. Only the first step of the pyramid was completed, leaving a monument in the shape of a large square mastaba.
The entrance to Sekhemkhet's burial lies on the northern side of the pyramid. An open passage leads down for 200 ft. Halfway down the track a vertical shaft meets the passage from above. It opens on the surface and its entrance would lie at the second step of the pyramid, if the monument had been completed.
At the meeting spot of the passage and shaft another passageway leads down to a subterranean, u-shaped gallery containing at least 120 magazines. The whole gallery complex has the appearance of a giant comb. Shortly before the burial chamber is reached the main passage splits into two further magazine galleries, surrounding the burial chamber like a "u" (similar to the big northern gallery), but they were never finished.
The burial chamber has a base measurement of 29 ft x 17 ft and a height of 15 ft. It was also left unfinished, but surprisingly a nearly completely arranged burial was found. The sarcophagus in the midst of the chamber is made of polished alabaster and shows an unusual feature: its opening lies on the front side and is sealed by a sliding door, which was still plastered with mortar when the sarcophagus was found. The sarcophagus was empty, however and it remains unclear whether the site was ransacked after burial or whether King Sekhemkhet was buried elsewhere.
A shell shaped container made of gold was found by an Egyptian Antiquities Service excavation team in 1950. in and is currently on display in Room 4 of the Cairo Museum.The object has a length of 1.4
Because the necropolis of Sekhemkhet was never finished, it is hard to say which planned cultic building had already existed. The pyramid courtyard was surrounded by a niched enclosure wall facing north-west. It was 1.850 ft long, 607 ft wide and 33 ft high. The only archaeologically preserved cultic building is the Southern Tomb, its base measurement is estimated to be 105 ft x 52 ft. The subterranean structure included a tight corridor, beginning on the western side of the tomb and ending in a double chamber. In this chamber in 1963 Jean-Philippe Lauer excavated the burial of a two-year-old toddler. The identity of this child remains a mystery. The only fact known for certain about it is that it cannot be king Sekhemkhet himself, since the king was always depicted as a young man.
No further cultic buildings were detected, but Egyptologists and archaeologists are convinced that once upon a time a mortuary temple and a serdab existed but were destroyed due to the looting of stone from his cult buildings in antiquity.
Imhotep was an Egyptian chancellor to the pharaoh Djoser, probable architect of the Djoser's step pyramid, and high priest of the sun god Ra at Heliopolis. Very little is known of Imhotep as a historical figure, but in the 3000 years following his death, he was gradually glorified and deified.
Djoser was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh of the 3rd dynasty during the Old Kingdom and the founder of this epoch. He is also known by his Hellenized names Tosorthros and Sesorthos. He was the son of king Khasekhemwy and queen Nimaathap, but whether he also was the direct throne successor is still unclear. Most Ramesside Kinglists name a king Nebka before him, but since there are still difficulties in connecting that name with contemporary Horus names, some Egyptologists question the received throne sequence.
Hotepsekhemwy is the Horus name of an early Egyptian king who was the founder of the 2nd dynasty. The exact length of his reign is not known; the Turin canon suggests an improbable 95 years while the Ancient Egyptian historian Manetho reports that the reign of "Boëthôs" lasted for 38 years. Egyptologists consider both statements to be misinterpretations or exaggerations. They credit Hotepsekhemwy with either a 25- or a 29-year rule.
Sanakht was an ancient Egyptian king (pharaoh) of the Third Dynasty during the Old Kingdom. His chronological position is highly uncertain, and it is also unclear under which Hellenized name the ancient historian Manetho could have listed him. Many Egyptologists connect Sanakht with the Ramesside cartouche name Nebka. However, this remains disputed because no further royal title of that king has ever been found; either in contemporary source or later ones. There are two relief fragments depicting Sanakht originally from the Wadi Maghareh on the Sinai Peninsula.
Nynetjer is the Horus name of the third pharaoh of the Second Dynasty of Egypt. The length of his reign is unknown. The Turin Canon suggests an improbable reign of 96 years and Egyptian historian Manetho suggested that Nynetjer's reign lasted 47 years. Egyptologists question both statements as misinterpretations or exaggerations. They generally credit Nynetjer with a reign of either 43 years or 45 years. Their estimation is based on the reconstructions of the well known Palermo Stone inscription reporting the years 7–21, the Cairo Stone inscription reporting the years 36–44. According to different authors, Nynetjer ruled Egypt from c. 2850 BC to 2760 BC or later from c. 2760 BC to 2715 BC.
Huni was an ancient Egyptian king and the last pharaoh of the 3rd dynasty during the Old Kingdom period. Following the Turin king list, he is commonly credited with a reign of 24 years, ending c. 2600 BC.
Khaba was a pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, active during the 3rd dynasty of the Old Kingdom period. The exact time during which Khaba ruled is unknown but may have been around 2670 BC.
Nebra or Raneb is the Horus name of the second early Egyptian king of the 2nd dynasty. The exact length of his reign is unknown since the Turin canon is damaged and the year accounts are lost. The ancient Greek historian Manetho suggests that Nebra's reign lasted 39 years, but Egyptologists question Manetho's view as a misinterpretation or exaggeration of information that was available to him. They credit Nebra with either a 10- or 14-year rule. According to different authors, Nebra ruled Egypt c. 2850 BC, from 2820 BC to 2790 BC, 2800 BC to 2785 BC or 2765 BC to 2750 BC.
Semerkhet is the Horus name of an early Egyptian king who ruled during the first dynasty. This ruler became known through a tragic legend handed down by the ancient Greek historian, Manetho, who reported that a calamity of some sort occurred during Semerkhet's reign. The archaeological records seem to support the view that Semerkhet had a difficult time as king and some early archaeologists even questioned the legitimacy of Semerkhet's succession to the Egyptian throne.
Sekhemib-Perenma'at, is the horus name of an early Egyptian king who ruled during the 2nd dynasty. Similar to his predecessor, successor or co-ruler Seth-Peribsen, Sekhemib is contemporarily well attested in archaeological records, but he does not appear in any posthumous document. The exact length of his reign is unknown and his burial site has yet to be found.
The Layer Pyramid is a ruined step pyramid dating to the 3rd Dynasty of Egypt and located in the necropolis of Zawyet El Aryan. Its ownership is uncertain and may be attributable to pharaoh Khaba. The pyramid architecture, however, is very similar to that of the Buried Pyramid of king Sekhemkhet and for this reason is firmly datable to the 3rd Dynasty.
The pyramid complex of Userkaf was built c. 2490 BC for the pharaoh Userkaf, founder of the 5th dynasty of Egypt. It is located in the pyramid field at Saqqara, on the north-east of the step pyramid of Djoser. Constructed in dressed stone with a core of rubble, the pyramid is now ruined and resembles a conical hill in the sands of Saqqara. For this reason, it is known locally as El-Haram el-Maharbish, the "Heap of Stone" and was recognized as a royal pyramid by western archaeologists in the 19th century.
Nebka is the throne name of an Ancient Egyptian pharaoh of the Third Dynasty during the Old Kingdom period, in the 27th century BCE. He is thought to be identical with the Hellenized name Νεχέρωχις recorded by the Egyptian priest Manetho of the much later Ptolemaic period.
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 Third Dynasty of ancient Egypt is the first dynasty of the Old Kingdom. Other dynasties of the Old Kingdom include the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth. The capital during the period of the Old Kingdom was at Memphis.
Ba, also known as Horus Ba, is the serekh-name of an early Egyptian or ancient Egyptian king who may have ruled at the end of the 1st dynasty, the latter part of 2nd dynasty or during the 3rd dynasty. Neither the exact length of his reign nor his chronological position is known.
Horus Bird, also known as Horus-Ba, is the serekh-name of a pharaoh who may have had a very short reign between the 1st dynasty and 2nd dynasty of Egypt.
Horus Sa was a possible early Egyptian pharaoh who may have reigned during the 2nd or 3rd dynasty of Egypt. His existence is disputed, as is the meaning of the artifacts that have been interpreted as confirming his existence.
Inykhnum was an ancient Egyptian high-ranking official who worked and lived during the transition time between 2nd dynasty and 3rd dynasty. The king(s) under which he served are not known for certain, the subject being currently highly disputed.