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Unas is well known to Egyptologists because his pyramid in Saqqara was the first one to be decorated with "The Pyramid Texts". The pyramid itself is quite small, but it is well built (unlike some of the earlier pyramids in the fifth dynasty). The texts, a collection of spells and hymns, are the oldest known religious texts. These texts have been found in five pharaoh's pyramids from Dynasty V to Dynasty VI -- Unas, Teti, Pepi I, Merenre, and Pepi II, and in the Dynasty VIII pyramid of Ibi. A few queens pyramids from the era also contain portions of the texts. Later tombs contain The Book of the Dead, which include much of the Pyramid Texts.
The pyramid is just to he northwest of Djoser's Step Pyramid. Thomas Cook and Sons were the first to sponsor the excavation of the pyramid in 1881, and it became a common tourist attraction. Now, it is a rounded heap of rubble that is dwarfed by the Step Pyramid to the south.
Trade with neighboring regions flourished during Unas' reign. An inscription at Elephantine shows what is obviously a giraffe brought from Africa with other exotic animals. It is likely, then, that Egypt maintained diplomatic relations with Syria and Nubia -- and possibly even the near East -- based on inscriptions at Elephantine and Saqqara. There are a number of battle scenes, as well, but these appear to be ritual scenes, not historical, as Unas' rule was described as peaceful.
He ruled for a fairly long time -- roughly 30 years -- although we know little about his reign. He obviously didn't leave an heir when he died, and it is entirely possible that he left no children at all. the relationship with Ptah-Shepses, Iuput, and Wenisakh are really just conjecture. One son, Wenisakh, may have died before him. Without a recognized heir to the throne, there was some confusion over the throne and the transition into the next dynasty before Teti I took control.
A greywacke sarcophagus was found in the burial chamber of the pyramid and the mummified remains, although fragmentary, are assumed to be his.
However, reliefs at his pyramid complex (in the causeway) show a famine that occurred during his reign. The figures are skeletal and quite unusual for royal reliefs. The starving tribesmen (probably Bedouins) show the reality of life in Egypt at this time -- it is possible they reference the seven-year famine of Djoser, as well. The only otter representation of "starving people" is found on older blocks of Sahure's causeway.
In the same causeway, trade with Asiatics is shown and nomadic living at the desert edge are also shown. The causeway itself is not straight -- it has to turn twice to avoid uneven bedrock or even other buildings (now lost).
The names of his two wives are known -- Khenut and Nebit, and they are buried in mastaba tombs just outside of his pyramid complex. This is strange -- most of the time, Queens are buried in subsidiary pyramids within the complex itself, and it is not known what this aberration means. The mastaba of Nebet is small and contains reliefs of her in a harem in the palace. Nearby, the mastabas of Idut, probably his daughter and later married to Teti I, is found. It is larger (10 rooms) and well decorated with interesting agricultural scenes. The mummy of Idut was found here.