I decided to write this blog post about pyramids because when most people think about Ancient Egypt, they think about pyramids. But what do we really know about the pyramids in general and specifically pyramids from the 12th and 13th Dynasty? This post will summarize what was discussed about 12th Dynasty pyramids in Chapter 7: The Middle Kingdom and Second Intermediate Period. “Amenemhat I was the first king of the Middle Kingdom to build a pyramid as his tomb” and have a base line of 84 meters (182). This pyramid was built at Lisht, on a terrace, and has mastaba tombs to the east with a bunch of tomb shafts for royal women to the west. The tomb shafts reserved for royal women are a development that has been seen in earlier royal tombs at Thebes. The main materials used for Amenemhat’s pyramid were locally quarried blocks, mud-brick and loose debris as well as stones from Old Kingdom pyramids. The main burial chamber and valley temple were built below the water table, which makes it almost impossible to examine and excavate.
Also at Lisht, there is a larger pyramid, which is where Senusret I, Amenemhat I’s son, is buried. This pyramid has a base line of 105 meters and was constructed with internal reinforcing walls consisting of limestone from quarries to the south, southest, and southwest of the pyramid. Senusret I’s pyramid consists of four thick walls but still suffers from construction problems have weakened the structure and is now a small mount of stone and rubble.
Later 12th Dynasty pyramids were built farther south, as Dahsgur and Hawara. For example, Amenemhat II’s pyramid was built in this location was was not preserved well because sand was used as fill. When the interior limestone walls made of limestone were robbed for use in later construction, the structure collapsed. The last 12th Dynasty pyramid that will be discussed in this blog post is Senusret III’s pyramid. Senusret III, who is also known as the great builder of the 12th Dynasty, chose Sahshur as the site of his pyramid. With a base line of 105 meters, similar to Senuret I’s pyramid, the structure was made of mud-brick, encased in Tura limestone and had an unusual entrance on the west side of the oyramid. The burial chamber was lined in granite, contained a granite sarcophagus and had a second roof to relieve stress in the structure. However, there is no evidence that that Senusret III was actually buried in this pyramid or at a Abydos site.
In conclusion, by looking at how the pyramids have changed throughout the 12th dynasty, we can see how see how the architecture of pyramids have progressed. The materials, architecture and location considered when building a pyramid have changed throughout the 12th dynasty. Although before taking this class I was really interested in learning more about the culture of ancient Egyptians, after taking a few weeks of this course, I am now more interested in learning more about what can be learned about pyramids through archaeological excavations.