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  • Comparison Between Middle Kingdom and Nubian Pyramids of the Late Kingdom

    Criteria Middle Kingdom Pyramids Nubian Pyramids of the Late Kingdom
    Images Pepi 2 Pyramid
    Pepi 2 Pyramid plan
    Nubian Pyramids
    Nubian Pyramid plan
    Location All Middle Kingdom pyramids are located in the Fayum Oasis and Dahshur, south of Cairo. Nubia was home to three Kushite kingdoms: the first with its capital at Kerma (2600-1520 BC), the second centered on Napata (1000-300 BC), and the kingdom of Mero?(300 BC-300 A.D).
    Number of pyramids constructed Only seven pyramids were constructed during the Middle Kingdom by the 12th Dynasty kings (1991-1800 BC) Approximately 220 pyramids were constructed at three sites in Nubia over a period of a few hundred years for kings of Napata and Mero?during the Late Kingdom
    - The first of these were built at the site of el-Kurru, including the tombs of King Kashta and his son Piye , together with Piye's successors Shabaka, Shebitku, and Tantamani. Fourteen pyramids were constructed for their queens.
    - This can be compared to approximately 120 pyramids that were constructed in the entire Ancient Egypt over a period of 3000 years.
    Material - Pyramids were built with a stone core and a framework of rough blocks. This framework was then filled with mudbrick, debris and sand. Finally, the outer surface would be faced with fine tufa limestone
    - The use of mudbrick was a problem with regard to the preservation of the structures, and once the outer casing of limestone had been removed, the pyramid was in effect "unprotected". This is why most of the Middle Kingdom pyramids today resemble little more than heaps of rubble.
    - These pyramids do not match the elaborate and massive Old Kingdom Pyramids
    - Nubian Pyramids of the Late Kingdom were built of stepped courses of horizontally positioned sandstone blocks, and although small in size, they are generally well preserved compared to mudbrick structures
    Shape - Height: they range from 55 to 80 metres
    - Inclination Angle: range from 42?to 55?
    - Base lenght: large structures that measure from 85 to 105 metres square at the base
    - Height: they range from approximately 6 to 30 metres
    - Inclination Angle: steep inclination of 70?
    - Base lenght: small structures with a base of only 8 to 15 metres
    Burial chamber - Underground complex substructures consisting of corridors and antechambers leading to the main burial chamber
    - Burial chambers were formed from monolithic quartzite blocks, with niches carved out for the sarcophagus and canopic chests
    - The chambers were closed by a system of sand filled shafts. In such a system, huge limestone slaps sat atop the burial chamber and the shafts leading to the chamber were filled with sand
    - The burial chambers were completely subterranean, and included a single room with a vaulted ceiling cut in the natural rock.
    - Stairways led down to a short tunnel into the burial chamber.
    - The bodies of the kings were placed in huge granite sarcophagi
    Pyramid complexes Vast pyramid complexes in the Middle Kingdom included a mortuary temple, terraces, caseways, a valley temple, satellite pyramids for queens and workers villages Nubian pyramids did not have any structures attached, and sometimes only inlcuded a very small chapel

    Middle Kingdom Pyramids

    Amenemhet 1 Pyramid
    ImagesLisht Pyramids
    KingAmenemhet 1 12th Dynasty
    LocationEl Lisht near Fayum
    Dimensions- Base: 83m
    - Height: 55m
    - Inclination angle: 54?
    Volume- 129360 (cu.m)
    Ancient Name- The Places of the Appearances of Amenemhet
    Notes- Amenemhet established a new tradition of giving each component structure in the pyramid complex its own unique name.
    - Some of the limestone used in the construction of the core was striped from Old Kingdom monuments, blocks of stone from the pyramids of Khufu, Khafre, Unas and Pepi have been found in the pyramid
    - Inside the pyramid a sloped shaft blocked with granite slabs ran from the ground level entrance chapel to a vertical shaft that descended directly to the burial chamber.
    Preservation- This mud brick pyramid is in a much ruined state but still clearly seen against the desert background

    Photos: Amenemhet I Pyramid

    Senusret 2 Pyramid
    ImagesSenusret 2 Pyramid
    King Senusret 2 12th Dynasty
    Dimensions- Base: 106m
    - Height: 49m
    - Inclination angle: 42?
    Volume- 185665 (cu.m)
    Ancient Name- Senusret Appears
    Notes- The Pyramid complex includes a satellite pyramid or a queens pyramid.
    - Parts of the black granite Pyramidion that set atop the pyramid have been found
    - A cobble filled drainage ditch around the pyramid was filled with sand to channel rain water
    - It has eight rock cut mastabas on the north side of the pyramid.
    Preservation- In ruined state since antiquity, and Most of the casing was carried off to build a structure for Ramesses 2,

    Photos: Senusret II Pyramid

    Amenehmet 3 Pyramid
    ImagesAmenehmet 3 Pyramid
    King Amenemhet 3 12th Dynasty
    LocationHawara in Fayum, not far from Senusret 2 pyramid
    Dimensions- Base: 105m
    - Height: 58m
    - Inclination angle: 48?
    Volume- 200158 (cu.m)
    Ancient Name- Amenemhat Lives
    Notes- Thirteen centuries after its construction, it was visited by the Greek traveler and historian Herodotus, who described it as a labyrinth, this was one of the great wonders of the ancient world.
    - It was Excavated by the British archaeologist Petrie in the years 1888-1910, the site unfortunately revealed almost nothing of the wonderful building that once must have been there.
    There were life-size portraits of people of the community living there, which were kept in the houses and then placed as funerary masks on the mummy of the deceased.
    - The pyramid has a mud brick core and a casing of fine white limestone.
    - The entrance into the substructure was placed directly in the casing, on the south side of the pyramid,
    - The central burial chamber of the pyramid, carved from a single block of granite, is estimated to have weighed 110 tons, and had a sarcophagus made of quartzite.
    Preservation- Regrettably, the pyramid complex is mostly in ruins today, and the floor plan can no longer be precisely determined. It was quarried for material since Roman times, and all that is left of the valley temple is a foundation bed of sand and limestone chips.

    Photos: Amenemhet 3 Pyramids