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Pyramids Of Zawyet El-Aryan

The Pyramids of Zawyet el-Aryan

The village of Zawyet el-Aryan is located roughly 2 kilometres to the south of the Plateau of Giza. It is situated roughly in the middle of Abusir and Giza near the Nile’s western bank. The only 2 pyramids there were never completed, and the entire site was left neglected.

Khaba Pyramid

The south end pyramid, often referred to as the Layer Pyramid, is a monument to King Khaba of the Third Dynasty. He is believed to be Sekhemkhet’s successor.

In 1900, an Italian archaeologist named Alessandro Barsanti investigated the pyramid. For a while, no one knew who owned the structure. But then, an American Expedition led by Reisner went to the pyramid and excavated it along with a few mastaba tombs nearby.

Various fragments were discovered and had the name “Khaba” on them. Pottery pieces were found and had the name “Narmer” on them as well. This makes historians believe the structure is from the Second Dynasty.

At Zawyet el-Aryan, there is a southern pyramid there known as “Haram el-Meduwara.” Another name for it is the round pyramid because of its small size and the horribly damaged condition it is in. The pyramid’s base is around 84 meters squared.

The Pyramid of Khaba was originally going to be a step pyramid. Its core was constructed with masonry layers that sloped. All that remains is the first step’s lower area. Experts think this was originally a 5 to 7-step structure. As of today, its height is only about 16 meters. All the original limestone casings of Khaba’s pyramid are missing. This could indicate the pyramid’s construction was never finished.

Near the corner in the northeast, you can enter the subterranean chambers on a staircase that goes westward to a passage. From there, the passage goes south to a vertical shaft. In the upper area of the shaft, there is a second incomplete passageway which goes in the same direction.

If the lower passageway is taken, it goes to a second staircase which takes you to a burial chamber with nothing in it. If you go to the vertical shaft’s northern side, this was where 32 storage rooms were located. They are currently empty. Since it is a military zoned area, there have been few investigations of it.

At the Layer Pyramid’s northern side, the American Expedition team investigated the huge mastaba. It was deemed “Mastaba Z-500.” Alabaster vases were discovered which had Khaba’s Horus name on them. The owner of these artefacts is unknown.

The Northern Pyramid

Not much is known about the Northern Pyramid structure at Zawyet el-Aryan. It looks to be another incomplete pyramid. In 1903, Barsanti excavated this site and found a large sloping trench which went into a pit area.

Pieces of a square-shaped platform were found which measures 200 meters squared. This proves that if the pyramid were finished, its size would be similar to that of the Pyramid of Khafre at Giza. This means the structure must have been constructed during the Fourth Dynasty, likely when Kahfre and Djedefre ruled Egypt. All the other elements are believed to be similar to the Pyramid of Djedefre at Abu Rawash.

On the trench floor, huge granite blocks and limestone blocks exist. These were probably put there for the burial chamber. Under the trench, a big oval-shaped sarcophagus made of pink granite was there. It is unknown whether it is part of the structure.

Petrie discovered pieces of another sarcophagus with a similar design style during his excavation of the Pyramid of Djedefre at Abu Rawash.

When Barsanti was doing his excavations with a team of archaeologists, they were bewildered when rainwater filled the trench and then drained rapidly up to 1 meter deep. This makes experts think that an undiscovered chamber or passageway exists under the trench. But again, the military zoning of the site makes it inaccessible for investigators to explore any further.

Egyptologists mostly agree that the structure is from the Fourth Dynasty. Supportive evidence of this consists of big stone blocks, an oval-shaped sarcophagus made of granite, and the base size of the structure itself.

Certain blocks have masonry marks on them which bear the name of the king. These were originally challenging to interpret but fortunately, the cartouche had the name clearly inscribed on it. Therefore, this king probably came after King Huni, who was the final ruler of the Third Dynasty. He was also the first king on record to bear his name on tablets in this sort of way.

Experts theorize that the structure was created by some king who came between the reigns of Khafre and Djedefre. He could have been one of their sons too, but probably didn’t have power for very long.