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The pyramid of Sneferu in Meidum, Egypt

April 6th, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

Located about 100km south of modern Cairo, Meidum is the location of a large pyramid, and several large mud-brick mastabas.

The pyramid of Sneferu is now ruined, with just its core visible. Thought to have been originally built for Huni, it was completed and probably usurped by his successor, Sneferu, who also turned it from a step pyramid to a true pyramid.

Known as "the collapsed pyramid", sometime in antiquity the outer layers of the casing collapsed, leaving the exposed core showing, because of its appearance it is called el-haram el-kaddab — (False Pyramid) in Arabic. Some believe it was the collapse of this pyramid during the reign of Sneferu that led to him changing the angle on his second pyramid at Darshur to 43 degrees. In the Fifteenth Century, it was described as looking like a five-stepped mountain by Taqi ad-Din al-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, Lepsuis in 1843 and then by Flinders Petrie later in the Nineteenth Century, who located the morturary 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 1970's.

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 longleads 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.

[Source: Wikipedia]

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