Pyramid of Khendjer
The Pyramid of Khendjer was built for the burial of Pharaoh Khendjer, who ruled Egypt during the 13th Dynasty. Located between the pyramid of Pepi II and the pyramid of Senusret III in South Saqqara, it was discovered by Gustave Jequier in 1929. The pyramid currently lies in ruins, due in part to the damaging excavations done by Jequier, with its remains only rising one meter above the desert sand. The pyramid complex was enclosed by inner and outer walls. The inner wall was made of limestone, and was created to replace an earlier wavy wall. The outer wall was made of mudbrick. The mortuary temple was located on the east side of the complex. It crosses over both the inner and outer walls. This allowed for the outer section of the temple to be placed outside the inner wall, with the inner sanctuary on the inside of the inner wall. Very little remains of the temple, except for bits of reliefs and columns. A chapel is located at the north side of the complex and was built out to the inner wall and against the face of the pyramid. The chapel was raised on a platform and could be reached by two stairways. In its north wall was a false door. The location of the door was unusual because the closest wall to the pyramid was the south wall. The pyramid stood at about 37.35 meters in height, but now stands only one meter tall, due to the disintegration of its mudbrick core. The pyramid once was cased in limestone, but it was quarried by stone robbers, which left the core unprotected. A fragmented pyramidion was discovered on the east side of the complex and now has been restored. On one side of the pyramidion the cartouche of King Userkare is inscribed. This name is believed by Egyptologists to be the throne name of Khendjer. The Pyramid of Khendjer included a monolithic quartzite burial chamber. The weight of this chamber was estimated at 150 tons by G. Jequier. It has 2 colossal quartzite slabs covering it. This was lowered in a similar manner to the burial chamber of Amenemhet III at Hawara. There were also 2 monolithic burial chambers in a satellite building for his 2 queens. These were smaller than the kings burial chamber and they were never lowered into place and put into use. Some unexpected turn of events probably prevented their use but there is nothing to suggest that the king wasn't interred as planned. It is believed that the pyramid originally had a different substructure plan because of evidence showing that there was an aborted stairway in the southeast corner that was later blocked. The entrance that was decided on was located towards the southern end at the base of the west face. At the north east corner of the pyramid, a satellite pyramid was found, which is thought to have been prepared for the burials of two of Khendjer's queens. Jequier also found shaft tombs nearby, which may have belonged to other family members.

  • Gustave Jequier: Deux pyramides du Moyen Empire, Cairo 1933, pp. 3-35 (the excavation report)

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