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Abusir Pyramid Of Neferirkare

Abusir Pyramid Of Neferirkare

The Pyramid of Neferirkare from Dynasty V was the second pyramid to be built at Abusir’s southern end. This is the highest point of Abusir. It is currently the highest structure located in Abusir. Its height is estimated to be around 45 meters, but it was likely intended to be as high as 70 meters. Each side of the base is around 105 meters. The ancient name of the monument was “Pyramid of the Ba of Neferirakre.”

Sadly, the monument was never finished while the king was still alive. His successors completed the pyramid complex in his memory. Niuserre later stole parts of the valley temple and causeway from the monument. Some evidence suggests the Pyramid of Neferirkare was supposed to be a step pyramid because there are 4 steps remaining from the original 6 steps. The design was changed for some reason, so the workers used loose masonry to fill in the steps and turned it into a true pyramid. This enlarged the area, and red granite casing was also provided.

The entrance of the pyramid is on the northern side’s central area. Once you enter, there is a declining slope that leads into two different turns. You will eventually find a burial chamber and vaulted antechamber. Stone robbers damaged the substructure quite significantly, which would explain why burial equipment or a sarcophagus was not found.

The pyramid’s eastern side contains the king’s mortuary temple. It looks to have been finished in a hurry too. Mudbrick was used to construct and enlarge the statue niches, while stones were used for the chapels and offering hall. The mortuary temple entrance leads into a vestibule that features 6 pairs of columns. It brings you to a huge central porticoed courtyard that leads to magazines and other inner locations.

In the year 1893, rare hieratic papyri texts from Dynasty V were being sold on the antiquities market. This prompted Ludwig Borchardt to find some of these ancient texts, which were possessed by villagers living in Abusir.

The mortuary complex of Neferirkare was excavated thoroughly. Archaeologists found a temple archive to be in the administrative buildings. The archive dates back to the time of Djedkare-Isesi’s rule. Abusir Papyri is the name of this collection. It features information about the cult administration, accounts, records, and inventories related to building construction, daily offerings, and priestly duties. A lot of the economic history about the pyramid cults of the Old Kingdom can be found in this archive. Neferefre, the oldest son of Neferirkare, would not have been known if it weren’t for his name being mentioned in the records.

The sun temple of Neferirkare was finished while he was still alive. Out of all the structures that were built to the north of Abusir, his was the largest. Unfortunately, no one can find any traces of it left. After Neferirkare passed away, there was still more work to do on his valley temple and causeway. Niuserre ended up taking materials from them later and then used them to construct his burial complex. 

Updated on May 4th, 2020