Bent Pyramid Funerary Complex

By the Editors of the Madain Project

The Bent Pyramid Complex, or the Funery Complex of Sneferu is an ancient Egyptian pyramid-complex located at the royal necropolis of Dahshur, approximately 40 kilometres south of Cairo, built under the Old Kingdom Pharaoh Sneferu (c. 2600 BCE). The burial or funeray complex of pharaoh Sneferu comprises of the largest structure, the Bent Pyramid, satellite pyramid, mortuary temple or sanctuary, causeway and the valley temple.

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The ancient formal name of the Bent Pyramid is generally translated as (The)-Southern-Shining-Pyramid, or Sneferu-(is)-Shining-in-the-South.

Notable Structures

circa 2600 BCE

The Pyramid of Sneferu is also unique amongst the approximately ninety pyramids to be found in Egypt, in that its original polished limestone outer casing remains largely intact. Archaeologists now believe that the Bent Pyramid represents a transitional form between step-sided and smooth-sided pyramids. It has been suggested that due to the steepness of the original angle of inclination the structure may have begun to show signs of instability during construction, forcing the builders to adopt a shallower angle to avert the structure's collapse. This theory appears to be borne out by the fact that the adjacent Red Pyramid, built immediately afterwards by the same pharaoh, was constructed at an angle of 43 degrees from its base.

circa 2600 BCE

Satellite Pyramid
The satellite pyramid, suggested by some Egyptologists to have been built to house the pharaoh's ka, is located 55 metres south of the Bent Pyramid. The structure is made of limestone blocks, relatively thick, arranged in horizontal rows and covered with a layer of fine limestone from Tura. The burial chamber is accessible from a descending corridor with its entrance located 1.10 metres above the ground in the middle of the north face. The corridor, inclined at 34°, originally measured 11.60 metres in length. A short horizontal passage connects the corridor with an ascending corridor, inclined at 32° 30', leading up to the chamber.

circa 2600 BCE

Eastern Sanctuary
On the east side of the pyramid there are the fragmentary remains of the pyramid temple. Like the pyramid temple of the Meidum pyramid, there are two stelae behind the temple, though of these only stumps remain. There is no trace of inscription to be seen. The temple remains are fragmentary but it is presumed to be similar to that of the Meidum temple.

circa 2600 BCE

A causeway leads from the Bent Pyramids' northeast toward the pyramid with the valley temple. The causeway was paved with limestone blocks and had a low limestone wall on each side. In fact, there may have been a second causeway that lead down to a dock or landing stage, but there is no excavation that can prove this assumption yet.

circa 2600 BCE

Valley Temple
The valley temple of the Bent Pyramid is the oldest decorated pyramid temple of Egypt. Therefore the material is of great historical and artistic importance. During 1950s excavations conducted by the Egyptian archaeologist Ahmed Fakhry a great number of relief fragments from the decoration of the valley temple. These objects included statues, tools, stelae, beads and pottery.


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