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Aug

North Pyramid - the largest of the three major pyramids located at the Dahshur necropolis

Posted in Antique Egypt  by antiques

north-pyramid-the-largest-of-the-three-major-pyramids-located-at-the-dahshur-necropolisThe Red Pyramid, also called the North Pyramid is the largest of the three major pyramids located at the Dahshur necropolis. Named for the light crimson hue of its exposed granite surface, it is also the third largest Egyptian pyramid, after those of Khufu and Khafra at Giza. At the time of its completion, it was the tallest man-made structure in the world. It is also believed to be the world’s first successful attempt at constructing a “true” smooth-sided pyramid.

The Red Pyramid was not always red. It used to be cased with white Tura limestone, but only a few of these now remain at the pyramid’s base on the corner. During the Middle Ages much of white Tura limestone was taken for buildings in Cairo, revealing the reddish pinkish limestone.

It was the third pyramid built by Old Kingdom Pharaoh Sneferu, and is located approximately one kilometer to the north of the Bent Pyramid. It is built at the same shallow 43 degree angle as the upper section of the Bent Pyramid, which gives it a noticeably squat appearance compared to other Egyptian pyramids of comparable scale. Construction began during the thirtieth year of Sneferu’s reign, and John Romer believes that based on graffiti associated with the pyramid it took ten years and seven months to build.

Archaeologists speculate its design may be an outcome of engineering crises experienced during the construction of Sneferu’s two earlier pyramids. The first of these, the Pyramid at Meidum collapsed in antiquity, while the second — the Bent Pyramid — had the angle of its inclination dramatically altered — from 54 to 43 degrees — part-way through construction.

Some archaeologists now believe that the Meidum pyramid was the first attempt at building a smooth-sided pyramid, and that it may have collapsed when construction of the Bent Pyramid was already well underway — and that the pyramid may by then have already begun to show alarming signs of instability itself, as evidenced by the presence of large timber beams supporting its inner chambers. The outcome of this was the change in inclination of the Bent Pyramid, and the commencement of the later Red Pyramid at an inclination known to be less susceptible to instability and therefore less susceptible to catastrophic collapse.

“The Red Pyramid” is 105 m high (345 feet). A rare pyramidion, or capstone, for the Red Pyramid has been uncovered and reconstructed, and is now on display at Dahshur — however whether it was actually ever used is unclear, as its angle of inclination differs from that of the pyramid it was apparently intended for.

The Red Pyramid is one of the very few Egyptian pyramids to which members of the general public can gain comparatively unregulated interior access. An entrance high on the north side gives access to a 200 foot (62m) long passage that is inclined downwards at an angle of around 27°. The passage itself measures only approximately three feet (91cm) in height and approximately four feet (1.23m) in breadth. At the bottom of the passage is a short corridor leading to the first chamber which rises to a height of 40 feet (12.3m). It boasts a fine eleven-course corbel-vaulted ceiling. At the southern end of the chamber another short corridor leads to the second chamber, which has similar dimensions to the first and also features a corbelled ceiling. This chamber lies directly beneath the apex of the pyramid. A wooden staircase of modern construction at the southern end of this chamber leads to a third and final chamber, which is believed to be the burial chamber. This also features a corbelled ceiling rising to around 15 m (50 feet). Local residents refer to the Red Pyramid as el-haram el-watwat, meaning the Bat Pyramid.—Inspired by wikipedia. org

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