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Nearly 4,600 years ago a third dynasty Pharaoh named Snefru launched one of the greatest construction projects in human history.
He decided, for reasons that are unknown to us, to build four pyramids scattered at different places across Egypt. He constructed two of them at Dashur (the Red and Bent pyramids), one at Meidum and another at a place called Seila. Together they used up more material than Khufu’s pyramid at Giza.
After the Great Pyramid of Khufu at Giza, the Red Pyramid at Dashur has the largest base (only slightly smaller then Khufu's pyramid, each side measures 722 feet) of any pyramid in Egypt. However, with it's sides sloping at 43 degrees 22', it is substantially shorter at 343 feet (104 meters). It is the fourth highest pyramid ever built in Egypt, with almost 160 layers of stone. Significantly, the Red Pyramid was the first successful, true, cased Pyramid built in Egypt, ushering in the era of the Giza style pyramids.
The pyramid gets its common name from the reddish limestone used to build most of its core, but it is also sometimes referred to as the Shining or Northern Pyramid. Learning from prior mistakes, several layers of fine white limestone were used to lay the pyramid's foundation thus eliminating structural problems of earlier pyramids.
The Bent Pyramid, located at the royal necropolis of Dahshur, approximately 40 kilometres south of Cairo, of Old Kingdom Pharaoh Sneferu, is a unique example of early pyramid development in Egypt, about 2600 BCE. This was the second pyramid built by Sneferu.
The lower part of the pyramid rises from the desert at a 55-degree inclination, but the top section is built at the shallower angle of 43 degrees, lending the pyramid its very obvious "bent" appearance.
Archaeologists now believe that the Bent Pyramid represents a transitional form between step-sided and smooth-sided pyramids (see Step pyramid). It has been suggested that due to the steepness of the original angle of inclination the structure may have begun to show signs of instability during construction, forcing the builders to adopt a shallower angle to avert the structure's collapse
At Meidum, 30 miles south of Memphis, King Snefru (the first king of the 4th Dynasty, who came to the throne around 2613 BC) built Egypt's first true, or straight-sided, pyramid. This started as a stepped pyramid, but as it neared completion the steps were packed with stone and the whole structure was cased in finest limestone. In its final form the pyramid stood approximately 311ft (95m) high.
Unfortunately the pyramid was unsound. Its heavy outer layers eventually slid downwards, leaving a square, three-stepped core standing in a mountain of sand and rubble and the ruins of the pyramid complex. We do not know when this disaster occurred, although as there are New Kingdom tombs incorporated in the rubble we know that the pyramid had at least partially collapsed by the time of the New Kingdom (which started around 1550 BC).
The pyramid at Seila is something of an enigma, having been reduced to little more than a glorified 7m-high mound over its 4,500-year history. It was built by prolific 4th Dynasty pharaoh Snefru, father of Khufu and famous for having commissioned pyramids at Dashur and Meidum. Located six miles west, in the Fayum town of the same name, the Seila Pyramid has long been one of Egypt's forgotten landmarks. Yet now archaeologists are beginning to think it may have been more impressive than they thought.
One of the puzzles the team is trying to decipher involves a cemetery not far from the Seila Pyramid. It’s a 40 minute hike away and research indicates that it has an enormous number of mummies. “We estimate over a million bodies in this cemetery,” said Professor Kerry Muhlestein in an interview with Heritage Key. It’s “very very densely populated by mummies.”
Only a small percentage of them have been unearthed. “We’ve been digging there for 30 years and we could dig there for a hundred more and still have only done a small percentage,” said Muhlestein.
“For the most part the cemetery is Graeco-Roman period, from the Ptolemaic era down to the end of the Byzantine era,” said Muhlestein. This period started when Alexander the Great entered Egypt in 332 BC.
BYU Campus website
"It's starting to become clear that, contrary to what most Egyptologists and history books have taught … these (pyramids) were built to work in conjunction with each other," said Kerry Muhlestein, a professor of ancient scripture at BYU, who will become the program director upon Griggs' retirement. "It makes us rethink what the purpose of the pyramid was."
Originally posted by jessieg
I think the people hoped for an afterlife of some sort, and perhaps they were buried there to serve as followers. I think the common man did not really hope to have an afterlife, because I think the Ka and Ba and different parts of the soul had to be reunited. So only the pharoahs or wealthy were preserved in any way to allow this to happen. But maybe the common man believed that somehow they could draw energy from being buried near this place, and thus hope for an afterlife of some sort.
Either that, or this was before the time that they believed the soul and different pieces. Maybe they had a different belief about the soul at this time. The fact that they even buried the dead at all seems to point out that they believed something would happen.