The Fayoum Pyramids

The most famous ancient Egyptian pyramids (the Giza pyramids) are located just a short drive to the west of Cairo; they are the largest and among the oldest ever built. But there are over a dozen pyramids south of the Memphite Necropolis, and several dozen even as far south as Sudan.

Last month we made it to a few of the pyramids near the Fayoum: the Hawara pyramid, el-Lahun pyramid, and Meidum pyramid.

The Hawara pyramid is a 12th Dynasty (Amenemhat III) mudbrick pyramid located along the Bahr Yusef in the southern Fayoum. The passages are now filled with water from a nearby canal! Beside it was once an enormous temple, dubbed ‘The Labyrinth’ by archaeologists because of its size and numerous rooms.

The Lahun pyramid is also a mudbrick pyramid over a stone core but with a missing stone exterior. The entrance is unusually on the south side of the pyramid, rather than the east side. It was built by Senusret II nearby the pyramid town of Kahun.

The Meidum pyramid was built by the builder of the first true-sided pyramid in Egypt, Sneferu. It was begun as a step-sided pyramid that was then transformed into a true-sided pyramid. Unfortunately, the Meidum pyramid was unsound in its construction (likely due to the poor limestone foundation) and it partially collapsed by the New Kingdom.

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