Digging up the past

Chapter 1 Land of the pyramids

Sneferu's pyramids

 

Sneferu's Bent Pyramid

With the beginning of the fouth Dynasty came the development of the true pyramid. The first king of this dynasty was Snefery, who, strange to say, seems to have been  the builder of three pyramids. Why he should build three pyramids is also a matter of speculation, because not even a god-king can be buried in three places at one time. One plausible theory is that the first pyramid he built was the one at Meidum, about 64 kilometres south of Cairo.
The outside casing of this pyramid lies as a huge mass of rubble at the foot of the pyramid. It has been suggested that rather than disintegrating over the centuries, it collupsed when the pyramid was almost completed.

Perhaps, instead of trying to rebuild this pyramid, Sneferu ordered the second pyramid to be built at Dashur, some 45 kilometres to the north. This is known as the Bent Pyramid, because, while it starts out at an angle of 54 degrees (about the same angle as the Meidum Pyramid), about halfway up, its angle decreases to 43 degrees.

Some cracks, due to the enormous pressure from the weight of the stone, have been observed in this structure.
Was this the reason it was finished at a lower angle? Perhaps the builders decided to make sure that they had at least one pyramid that would not collapse.
They built the third pyramid, the Red Pyramid, at the low angle of 43 degrees, the same angle at which the Bent Pyramid was finished. After all, pyramid building was still in the experimental stage.

Sneferu's first pyramid collapsed

The Bent Pyramid at Dashur, Sneferu's second

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The Red Pyramid, Sneferu's third and best