Pyramid of Merenre
The burial pyramid of Pharaoh Merenre was constructed during the Egyptian sixth dynasty at Saqqara 450 metres (1,480 ft) to the south-west of the pyramid of Pepi I and a similar distance to the pyramid of Djedkare. Its ancient name was "Merenre's beauty shines" or perhaps "The Perfection of Merenre Appears". Today it consists mostly of ruins; it is hard to get to and is not open to the public.
The pyramid was built 52.5 metres (172 ft 3 in) in height, 78.75 metres (258 ft 4 in) in base length with an inclination of 53°07'48". The causeway is 250 metres (820 ft) long and the complex was surrounded by a wall of mud brick.
Only traces of the mortuary temple have been found and the evidence indicates that construction was halted abruptly at one point and never resumed, probably upon the Pharaoh's death.
The entrance to the burial chambers is on the north face which descends to a vestibule where another shaft leads to the antechamber. To the right of the antechamber is the burial chamber; to the left is another small room, a Serdab. In the burial chamber a sarcophagus decorated with polychrome reliefs stood against the wall; when found, it was in good condition although it had been plundered. The ceiling of the burial chamber had an astrological theme and was covered with stars.
The pyramid was first examined in the 1830s by John Perring. Later in the 1880s the subterranean chambers were explored by Gaston Maspero who was in search of pyramid texts (inscriptions on the walls describing the Pharaoh's reign); his expedition discovered a mummy inside the pyramid which was thought to be from some later burial although some modern scholars now believe that it was the mummy of Merenre after all. If so, that would make it the oldest-known mummy. Since the late 20th century a French team led by Jean Leclant has been researching the site.
- Kinnaer, Jacques. "The Pyramid of Merenre I". Accessed September 20, 2008.
- "The Pyramid of Merenre". Accessed September 20, 2008.
- Winston, Alan. "The Pyramid of Merenre at South Saqqara in Egypt". Accessed September 20, 2008.
- "Pyramid of Merenre". Accessed September 20, 2008.