Dahshur[transliteration 1] (in English often called Dashur; Egyptian
Arabic: دهشور Dahšūr pronounced [dɑhˈʃuːɾ])
is a royal necropolis located in the desert on the west bank of the
Nile approximately 40 kilometres (25 mi) south of Cairo. It is
known chiefly for several pyramids, two of which are among the oldest,
largest and best preserved in Egypt, built from 2613–2589 BC.
2 Tombs & Cemeteries
3 Contemporary history
5 See also
7 External links
Sneferu's Bent Pyramid
Dahshur pyramids was an extremely important learning
experience for the Egyptians. It provided them with the knowledge and
know-how to transition from step-sided pyramids to smooth-sided
pyramids. Ultimately their breadth of experience would allow them to
build the Great Pyramid of Giza; the last of the Seven Wonders of the
Ancient World still standing to this date.
The first of the
Dahshur pyramids was the
Bent Pyramid (2613 – 2589
BC), built under the rule of King Sneferu, The
Bent Pyramid was the
first attempt at building a smooth sided pyramid, but proved to be an
unsuccessful build due to the miscalculations made on the structural
weight that was being placed onto the soft ground (sand, gravel, and
clay) which had a tendency to subside. Other calculations that were
proven to be erroneous were that the blocks being used were cut in
such a manner that when placed onto the pyramid their weight was not
distributed appropriately, causing the angle of the pyramid to be off
and achieving the name “The Bent Pyramid”.
Realizing his shortcomings and learning from his mistakes, King
Sneferu ordered the building of the second pyramid of Dahshur, the Red
Pyramid. Once completed, the pyramid was considered to be a success,
as it was a fully constructed, smooth sided, and a free standing
pyramid rising to a height of 341 feet (104 meters), with an angle of
43 degrees . The Red Pyramid’s name reigns from the material that
was used to construct the pyramid, red limestone. And this pyramid is
believed to be the resting place of King Sneferu.
Shortly after King Sneferu’s death a third pyramid was erected by
his son Khufu.
Khufu wanting to build a legacy of his own, utilized
his father’s research to design and guide the building process of
the third pyramid to completion (2589-2566 BCE). Once completed the
pyramid was named The Great Pyramid of Giza, and it stands an
astonishing 481 feet (147 meters) tall with an angle of 52 degrees.
Another pyramid located within
Dahshur is that of the 12th Dynasty
Amenemhat II (1929 – 1895 BCE). This pyramid has not been
preserved as well as the others within the area due to the materials
that were used to fill it (sand on the outside and limestone on the
inside). Naturally the weather caused the sand to erode from it, but
the limestone was taken intentionally for use on other pyramids
allowing the pyramid to collapse and ultimately desecrating the tomb
of King Amenemhat II.
Senusret III (1878 – 1839 BCE) had his pyramid built within
Dahshur. The difference between his pyramid in comparison to those
surrounding it was that King
Senusret III had tombs and galleries
built underneath it for two princesses; Sit-Hathor and Merit.
The Black Pyramid dates from the later reign of Amenemhat III and,
although badly eroded, it remains the most imposing monument at the
site after the two
Sneferu pyramids. The polished granite pyramidion
or capstone of the Black Pyramid is on display in the main hall of the
Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
Several other pyramids of the 13th Dynasty were built at Dahshur. Only
the pyramid of Ameny Qemau has been excavated so far by Ahmad Fakhri
who was the archaeologist whom excavated this site.
Tombs & Cemeteries
Located closely to the pyramid of the 12th Dynasty several undisturbed
tombs of royal women were found, containing a large amount of lapidary
and jewelry that have been determined to be of the highest stage of
Egypt during this time period. The pyramid of Senusret
III was part of a huge complex, with several smaller pyramids of royal
women, along with another pyramid to the south. In a gallery tomb next
to this pyramid were found two treasures of the king's daughters
(Sithathor). Extensive cemeteries of officials of the Old Kingdom and
Middle Kingdom have been found around Dahshur's pyramids.
Egypt's royal necropolis during the reign of the 12th Dynasty king
In July 2012, Dahshur's entire Christian community, which some
estimate to be as many as 100 families, fled to nearby towns due to
sectarian violence. The violence began in a dispute over a badly
ironed shirt, which in turn escalated into a fight in which a
Christian burned a Muslim to death. This, in turn, sparked a rampage
by angry Muslims, while the police failed to act. At least 16 homes
and properties of Christians were pillaged, some were torched, and a
church was damaged during the violence. This incident was reported
As of January 2013, and due to the security vacuum that still prevails
Egypt following the 2011 uprising, the site is under threat of
desecration and damage due to encroachment by locals of surrounding
Dahshur has a hot desert climate (BWh) according to the Köppen-Geiger
climate classification system.
Climate data for Dahshur
Average high °C (°F)
Daily mean °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
List of Egyptian pyramids
List of megalithic sites
Acanthus (Egypt), an old village in Dahsur mentioned in Ancient Greek
^ Also transliterated Dahshour
^ "Great Pyramid of Giza". Ancient History Encyclopedia. Retrieved 21
^ "Red Pyramid". Ancient History Encyclopedia. Retrieved 21 November
^ "National Geographic: Egypt--North Pyramid of Snefru, Dahshur".
www.nationalgeographic.com. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
^ "Giza Timeline - Ancient History Encyclopedia". www.ancient.eu.
Ancient History Encyclopedia. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
^ Parra, Jose (23 January 2017). "Standing Tall: Egypt's Great
Pyramids". National Geographic. History Magazine. Retrieved 21
^ "12th - and 13th-Dynasty Pyramids". World history. Retrieved 21
^ "12th - and 13th-Dynasty Pyramids". World history. Retrieved 21
^ El Deeb, Sarah (August 4, 2012). "Riot leaves an Egyptian village
without Christians". Associated Press. ABC News. Retrieved August 5,
^ El-Aref, Nevine (January 16, 2013). "No Longer Sacred". Al-Ahram.
Al-Ahram Weekly. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
Dahshur - Climate graph, Temperature graph, Climate
table". Climate-Data.org. Retrieved 14 August 2013.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Dahshur.
Dahshur on the website of the German Archaeological
Photos from inside the
Bent Pyramid of Dahshur
Dahshur - Pyramid Breeding Ground
National Geographic Video on the
World Heritage Sites in Egypt
Memphis and its
Giza pyramid complex
Giza pyramid complex to Dahshur
Nubian Monuments from Abu Simbel to Philae
Saint Catherine Area
Ancient Thebes with its Necropolis
Wadi El Hitan
Wadi El Hitan (Whale Valley)
List of World Heritage Sites in Egypt
Glossary of artifacts
Architecture (Egyptian Revival architecture)
Great Royal Wives