Height 78 m
Base 105 m
Volume 288,488 cu. m
Slope 56° 18' 35"
Dynasty 12
Satellite Pyramids (?)
Queens Pyramids (7)
Ruled 37 years?

The Pyramid of Senwosret III

Senwosret III index
The Pyramid of Senwosret III


The Pyramid of Senwosret III
The Pyramid is located northeast of Red Pyramid of Dahshur. It can be seen from South Sakkara and is visible if one looks on the right on the road up to Dahsur, after entering the desert. It is next to an oil refinery is thus difficult to reach. To easiest approach is from the area of the Pyramid of Pepi II in South Sakkara. Senwosret was the Fifth King of the twelfth Dynasty and is the most northern pyramid at Dahshur. Senwosret III built the largest pyramid of the 12th dynasty. Herodotus remarked, during his 5th century BCE visit, that this was the most significant pyramid of the Middle Kingdom. The Pyramid is flanked by 7 smaller pyramids on the north and south sides. These were originally thought to be mastaba, but work by Arnold in 1997 proved that they are indeed pyramids. The pyramid complex was expanded on at least two phases. In the first the outer enclosure was nearly square and contained in inner enclosure wall, the pyramid with a small temple at the centre of its east side and an 'entrance chapel' at the centre of its north side and shaft tombs of royal women. In the second phase the enclosure was extended both north and south. The southern extension enclosed a new temple. A causeway was also added in this phase. No valley temple is known so far. The eastern mortuary temple is small in comparison to pervious examples. The south temple was also completely destroyed, probably in Ramessid times, though Arnold could read its outline in the preserved foundations. On the north of the pyramid was a subterranean gallery for royal women more complex than the superstructures might suggest. A principal shaft gave access to a long vaulted corridor connecting four sets of chambers, each for a sarcophagus, and canoptic chest, plus one or two niches. Another gallery on a lower level communicated with 8 niches containing sarcophagi, two of which were inscribed - for princess Ment and Senet-senebi. In a pit in the central corridor of the lower gallery de Morgan found a chest, once inlaid with the name Sit-Hathor, containing 333 pieces of her treasure. A gold pectoral with the name of Senwosret II and a scarab was inscribed with that of Senwosret III. The next he found another treasure, belonging to princess Merit, which contained many of the same elements as Sit-Hathor's but even more extensive. On the south side of the King's pyramid were more tombs of royal women. In 1991 the shaft of 'mastaba' 9 was discovered. A tunnel leads to an antechamber, burial chamber and canoptic chamber actually under the southwest corner of the king's pyramid. A granite sarcophagus fills the west end of the burial chamber. The name Waret, wife of Senwosret II and mother of Senwosret III, was found on a canoptic jar and an inscribed board. It is interesting the queen mother under the southwest quadrant of her son's pyramid given the emphasis of that direction throughout pyramid history. Outside this corner of Senwosret's enclosure was a mudbrick-vaulted building buried in the desert.. Immediately to the east of this was a 'fleet' of at least six wooden boats, possibly more, each 6 m long. One or more wooden sleds were buried with them.