|home | travelogue | itinerary | photos | history | books|
LIke most pharaoh, there are some problems determining the reign of this king. Manetho says that he ruled for 48 years, the turin king list says 19. Both of these are considered too long by modern egyptologists, and are unsupported by contemporary data. The highest date recorded is the sixth year of his reign.
Co-regency was common in the 12th Dynasty to make the transfer of power smoother and ensure the continuity of the dynasty. Senusret II shared the throne with his father for the first three years of his reign, and it is likely that he shared the end years of his reign with his son, Senusret III. It has been suggested that he took over when his father was ill, but there is no real reason to believe that the co-regency was anything but the normal state of affairs.
Senusret pushed the southern border of Egypt even father into Nubia with many military campaigns. He maintained stable trade relationships with Asia. He maintained quarries in Nubia and Sinai and continued to extract minerals and stones from them. THe quarrying was limited, however, and there are few remains from Senusret II's reign.
Internally, though, Senusret II may have been responsible for the dyke and canals linking the Fayoum oasis and an arm of the Nile known as Bahr Yussef. This diverted water that had run into the great lake at Fayoum and use it instead for irrigation of the farmlands surrounding the oasis. One of his major goals was to create a strong, stable economic foundation for Egypt. His solutions to political problems, and conflict between the regional rulers and the central government, tended to the diplomatic instead of military.
He built a pyramid complex at Lahun, just south of Fayoum. It is a mud brick structure that is built around a natural rock outcropping and cased in limestone. THe inner yellow stone core can be seen. THis is a large pyramid, and is the first large mud brick pyramid to be built. Another new interesting addition is a "moat" of chipped flint and sand that would have prevented the pyramid from being flooded. There are eight mastabas and a satellite pyramid nearby, but these are not actual buildings -- they are solid and may be symbolic representations of the true tombs of earlier dynasties.
So far, no causeway or valley temple have been found. However, a worker's village was found between the pyramid site and the Nile. This community of craftsmen and their families was the first of its kind to be discovered.
The pyramid itself is different from those of earlier dynasties. The entrance is not on the north side, but instead lies in the pavement on the south side of the pyramid and descends into the bedrock before entering the pyramid itself. Shaft toms on the same side probably belonged to the family of the pharaoh, but three of them were already robbed by the time modern Egyptologists found them in 1914. The fourth, however, belonged to the king's daughter, Sit-Hathor-Unut and was a treasury of her jewelry -- including almost 10,000 beads, hundreds of rings, bracelets, an anklets of gold, a crown, and other toiletries. This find resulted in one of the finest caches of Middle Kingdom jewelry that has been found.