Pyramid of Neferirkare

Monument in Saqqara, Memphis & Dahshur

Neferirkare (2475–2455 BC) was the third pharaoh of the 5th dynasty and Sahure’s father. His burial place originally resembled the Step Pyramid at Saqqara. However, the present-day complex is only the core as the original outer casing has been stripped away, reducing the pyramid from its original planned height of 72m to today’s 45m.

In the early 20th century in Neferirkare’s funerary temple, archaeologists found the so-called Abu Sir Papyri, an important archive of Old Kingdom documents written in hieratic script, a shorthand form of hieroglyphs. They relate to the cult of the pharaohs buried at the site, recording important details of ritual ceremonies, temple equipment, priests’ work rotas and the temple accounts.

South of Neferirkare’s pyramid lies the badly ruined Pyramid of Queen Khentkawes II, wife of Neferirkare and mother of both Raneferef and Nyuserra. In her nearby funerary temple, Czech archaeologists discovered another set of papyrus documents. In addition, two virtually destroyed pyramids to the south of the queen’s pyramid may have belonged to the queens of Nyuserra.

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