Saturday, December 18, 2010

The pyramid of meidum

أقراء بالعربية
The pyramid of meidum

The pyramid at Meidum is thought to have been originally built for Huni, the last pharaoh of the Third Dynasty. It was completed and probably usurped by his successor, Sneferu, who also turned it from a step pyramid to a true pyramid by filling in the steps with limestone encasing. The Meidum pyramid was built in different stages, beginning as a seven-step pyramid to which an additional step was added at a later stage. It appears to have collapsed sometime during theNew Kingdom. A subsidiary pyramid is located on the south side, between the main pyramid and the enclosure wall, and a memorial temple is on its east side.

Known as "the collapsed pyramid", the outer layers of the casing began to collapse, leaving the exposed core showing. Because of its appearance, it is called el-haram el-kaddab — (False Pyramid) in Egyptian Arabic. Some believe it was the collapse of this pyramid during the reign of Sneferu that led him to change the angle on his second pyramid at Dahshur to 43 degrees[1]. In the fifteenth century, it was described as looking like a five-stepped mountain byal-Maqrizi, gradually falling further into ruin so by the time it was investigated by Napoleon's Expedition in 1799 it had its present 3 steps.

It was excavated by John Shae Perring in 1837, Lepsius in 1843 and then by Flinders Petrie later in the nineteenth century, who located the mortuary temple, facing to the east. In 1920 Ludwig Borchardt studied the area further, followed by Alan Rowe in 1928 and then Ali el-Kholi in the 1970s.

In its ruined state, the structure is 65m high, and its entrance is aligned north-south, with the entrance in the north, 20m metres above present ground level. The steep descending passage 57 metres long leads to a horizontal passage, just below the original ground level, that then leads to a vertical shaft 10 metres high that leads to the corbelled burial chamber itself. It is thought to be unlikely that Sneferu was buried here — whether Huni was may never be known, though construction may have begun during his reign.

See also videos and photos about Meidum