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Pyramid of Sesostris III

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It is located at Dahshur, at some distance to the Northeast of Snofru's Red Pyramid.


Who built it?

It was built by Sesostris III, who was the second king of the 12th Dynasty.


Why was it built?

This pyramid was built as the ancient Egyptians believe in resurrection. Sesostris III was buried in this pyramid according to the ancient Egyptian concept of life after death.



The pyramid was built directly on the desert gravel, which did not add to the stability of the monument. The inner core was made of mud bricks laid in stepped horizontal courses. No mortar was used to attach the bricks to each other. The core was encased in limestone block joined together with dovetail-shaped cramps. The bottom course was built on a foundation of three courses of mud bricks.

Some of the original casing blocks were found, revealing that the monument was built with a slope of 56�18'35". The pyramid measured 105 meters at the base and rose to a height of some 78 meters.

The entrance to the pyramid is located in front of the western face of the monument, near the northern corner. The tradition, which dates back to the Early Dynastic Period, of having the entrance passage point towards the northern stars was no longer followed.

From the entrance, a passage descends under the pyramid, turning south to an antechamber. There is a small magazine to the east of the antechamber, while the burial chamber is located to the west.

The burial chamber was made of granite, which was plastered with gypsum. The granite sarcophagus stood to the west, while the canopic chest was stored in a niche in the south of the burial chamber.

The burial chamber was found as good as empty, without any trace of a burial. It is not certain that the king was actually buried here.

The pyramid was surrounded by a a square enclusore wall which was then extended to the south and north. To the east of the pyramid there was a small temple. To the north, there was an entrance chapel, but as the actual entrance was not located there, this chapel was just a remnant of an abandonned tradition.

Also to the North, there were some shaft tombs for some of the women of the royal family. There are four pyramids located there, but the gallery of tombs located here is more complex. In one of the tombs, belonging to princess Sat-Hathor, a chest with the princess's jewellery was found. More treasure was found in another tomb, belonging to the princess Merit.

To the south of the pyramid, there were also some shaft tombs for the women of the royal family. The tomb of Queen Weret, the mother of Sesostris III had its entrance in the south, but the actual burial chamber was located underneath the pyramid of the king. Some scattered bones inside the sarcophagus may perhaps have been Weret's.

Also to the south, outside the original enclosure but inside the second, stood a temple. Only the outline of the temple has been preserved. There was a forecourt with columns followed by a covered part with the actual sanctuary. Parts of the decoration that were found suggest that this followed the tradition with representations of the Heb Sed.

Some boatpits were found just outside the second enclosure wall, to the South.

A causeway connected to the southeast part of the second enclosure, but it has not been examined. It is not known if this causeway connected to a Valley Temple.