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off Hwy 27
64 km (40 miles) south of

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travelogue 2/5


old kingdom
fourth dynasty
pharaoh sneferu
(2613 -- 2589)

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Collapsed Pyramid of Amenemhet III

Of the three Middle Kingdom pyramids at Dashur, the best remains belong to Amenemhet III, a ruler of the 12th Dynasty. (two other 12th dynasty pharaohs -- Senusret III and Amenemhet II -- also built pyramids here, but they are completely ruined.

None of these pyramids is that remarkable, and they were looted completely early in antiquity. However Amenemhet's pyramid, the southernmost of the three, is still recognizable as a pyramid. Sort of.

the mudbrick core of the black pyramid of Amenemhet
the mudbrick core of Amenemnhet's pyramid

The core of the pyramid was built of dark, almost black mud brick, which still stands as an odd-shaped sentinel. The stone casing has completely collapsed around it. It's a striking sight, looking almost like a natural rock outcropping (or that odd tower thing from Close Encounters.)

We didn't hike over to the site, although we took quite a few pictures of the ruins. There is little to see at the actual site, and you can no longer enter the pyramid. The interior structure, though, is completely different from the complex series of chambers in the pyramids at Giza, the height of the pyramid building age. It is only possible to conclude that these were tombs, nothing more, nothing less.

So we passed on getting a much closer view of the pyramid That did mean that we missed the extensive tombs and funerary temples that surround these younger pyramids -- finds of exquisite jewelry from these tombs is in the Cairo Museum.

the pyramid, in the middle of nowhere
the pyramid, in the middle of nowhere

West notes that Middle Kingdom jewelry-making is the true height of the art. It is some of the finest jewelry produced in Egypt.

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