Monday, April 20, 2009

The Pyramid of Unas

Original name: Perfect are the sites of Unas
Original height: 43 m / 143 ft
Base length: 57.5 m / 192 ft
Angle of inclination: 56° 18' 35"
Date of construction: 5th dynasty

The Pyramid Complex of Unas is located in the pyramid field at Saqqara, near Cairo in Egypt. The pyramid of Unas of the Fifth Dynasty (originally known as Beautiful are the places of Unas) is now ruined, and looks more like a small hill than a royal pyramid.

It was investigated by Perring and then Lepsius, but it was Gaston Maspero who first gained entry to the chambers in 1881, where he found texts covering the walls of the burial chambers, these together with others found in nearby pyramids are now known as the Pyramid Texts. In the burial chamber itself the remains of a mummy were found, including the skull, right arm and shin, but whether these belong to Unas is not certain. Near to the main pyramid, to the north east, there are mastabas that contain the burials of the consorts of the king.

Like all pyramids of the 5th dynasty, this one has dilapidated as well. Excavating teams have recently discovered a shaft which is probably the tomb of one of the later Persian invaders. West of the pyramid lies a grave that could probably hold the dead bodies of two second-dynasty pharaohs, namely Hor Hetepsechemui and Hor Raneb.

The walls of the causeway that connects the mortuary temple and the valley temple hold relief carvings which show scenes such as the transport of granite stones from Aswan, the making of pottery and the production of 'Electron,' the famous alloy of gold and silver.

The walls of the burial chamber are covered with hieroglyphs. They are magic formulas that are supposed to help the king's soul defeat enemies and difficulties on his way to the hereafter.

Pyramid of Unas Wikipedia

It is the first pyramid which contained Pyramid Texts.