Skip to main content

Huge' structure discovered near Snefru's Bent Pyramid in Egypt may be an ancient harbour

Archaeologists have discovered a large structure – to the northeast of the 4,600 year old Bent Pyramid – which may be the remains of an ancient harbour. It connects to one of the pyramid’s temples by way of a 140 meter long causeway.

The discoveries were made by a team from the Cairo department of the German Archaeological Institute, and the Free University of Berlin. The team used magnetic survey and drill cores soundings to make the finds. The structure is mostly unexcavated and only a portion of the causeway has been unearthed.

The structure itself is U-shaped, 90 meters by 145 meters. It was built with mud brick and has no wall on its east side. “Maybe this structure can be interpreted as (a) harbour or something like that,” said Dr. Nicole Alexanian of the German Archaeological Institute, Cairo. She said that it may have been beside water, “it’s possible that ships could enter by a canal in this area.”

Harbors are known from later Egyptian pyramids and may have served as a receiving point for the body of the pharaoh. It is unlikely, however, that the newly discovered structure was used for the burial of the Bent Pyramid’s creator – the pharaoh Snefru. It is widely believed by Egyptologists that his final resting place was the Red Pyramid, located two kilometers to the north of the Bent Pyramid.

Snefru was the first ruler of the fourth dynasty and constructed two pyramids at Dahshur (the Bent and Red Pyramids), one at Meidum, and one at Seila. These were the first “true” pyramids – those with smooth sides. After he died, his son Khufu inherited the throne and began construction of the Great Pyramid at Giza.
A 140 meter roofed causeway

The causeway runs due east of the temple and has a vaulted roof. This appears to be the earliest known instance in which a roofed causeway was used in an Egyptian pyramid complex.

“The walls - they built them to a really astonishing height, almost three meters,” said Dr. Alexanian. “It was like a tunnel - astonishingly it’s also very steep.”

The interior of the causeway contained a passageway more than 2.5 meters wide. Its walls were lined with undecorated white and yellow plaster which appears to have been maintained for a long time.

“Four phases of the plastering could be distinguished which attest that it was renewed several times,” said the team in a recent report. “From (the) state of weathering of the different plaster layers it can be inferred that the causeway was used for a substantial period of time i.e. at least 40 years.”
Building the Bent Pyramid

Archaeologists are not certain why Snefru went to the trouble of building four pyramids in Egypt. The Bent pyramid, as its name suggests, has an odd angle – with a slope that looks like it was changed part way through construction. It has been suggested that this was an error made by workers trying to grasp new construction techniques.

However research done by the German team suggests that the geology of the plateau played a role in the pyramid’s odd shape.

“The ground had to be stable – this was a problem with the Bent Pyramid,” said Dr. Alexanian. “The ground where the Bent Pyramid is built on, it’s not always stone, there was some taffla. It’s something like muddy structures in the ground.”

This affected construction. “Therefore they got problems doing the ground, therefore they altered the angle of the pyramid.”

There is also evidence that the pyramid builders altered the plateau to make it flatter – quarrying material from the east. The team writes in a conference abstract that the topography of the pyramid plateau – “can be hardly explained taking into account only fluvial processes or processes like gully erosion or soil erosion.”

Therefore, “for the area of the pyramid plateau a direct anthropogenic relief forming influence has to be considered.” In other words – humans altered the shape of the plateau.

Alexanian said that flattening the plateau would “make the view from the cultivated area even more dramatic.” People would have seen a flat, sharply edged, plateau, with a pyramid built on top and possibly a canal leading up to it.

A sight that would make someone living 4,600 years ago gasp in awe.


Popular posts from this blog

How ancient Egyptians Were cutting the Obelisk from the Granite quarry?

Today, quarrymen cut and carve granite using saws with diamond-edged blades and steel chisels.

But ancient Egyptian quarrymen and stonemasons didn't have these modern tools. How, then, did they quarry and cut such clean lines in their obelisks and other monumental statuary?
To find out how ancient Egyptians quarried huge pieces of granite for their obelisks, i traveled to an ancient quarry in Aswan, located 500 miles south of Cairo. This is where the ancient Egyptians found many of the huge granite stones they used for their monuments and statues.

One of the most famous stones left behind is the Unfinished Obelisk, more than twice the size of any known obelisk ever raised. Quarrymen apparently abandoned the obelisk when fractures appeared in its sides. However, the stone, still attached to bedrock, gives important clues to how the ancients quarried granite.

Archeologist Mark Lehner, a key member of nova expedition, crouches in a granite trench that abuts one side of…

Hesi-re, the first Dentist, in ancient Egypt and in the world

Hesire was a high official who lived during the reign of Netjerikhet (Dosjer) 2686 BC to 2613 BC . His tutelary informs us of the many offices he had held during his life. Thus he was the 'overseer of the royal scribes', at the head of the royal administration of Djoser. His most spectacular title, however, was that of the 'greatest (or chief ?)of physicians and dentists'. It is not entirely clear whether this title infers that Hesire himself was honored as the greatest of physicians and dentists, or rather that he was merely responsible for the administration of physicians and dentists. But whatever the case, the distinction between 'physicians' and 'dentists' in his tutelary does show a high degree of medical specialization at this early stage of the history of Ancient Egypt..

Das Tal der Koenige

Die geographische Lage
Das Gebiet bei Theben lieferte ein vorzügliches Gebiet für das Anlegen einer königlichen Nekropole. Vom Westufer des Nils erstreckt sich eine flache Ebene zu einer Bergkette mit zahlreichen abgeschiedenen Tälern, die sich zwischen hohen Klippen und weichem Gestein durchschlängeln. Die Ebene eignete sich ideal für das Errichten der königlichen Totentempel. Die Täler hingegen boten genügend Platz, um viele kunstvoll in den Fels gehauene Gräber anzulegen. Auch aus symbolischen Gründen wählten die Alten Ägypter diesen Platz für das Errichten einer Nekropole. Blickt man von der Stadt Theben über den Nil auf das thebanische Bergmassiv, dann ähnelt es in der Gestalt einer riesigen Version der Hieroglyphe für "Horizont". Es ist das ägyptische Symbol für das Gebiet der auf- und untergehenden Sonne. Im Neuen…