Pyramid of Teti

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The Pyramid of Teti is an ancient burial-structure belonging to Teti who was the first king of the Sixth Dynasty of Egypt. It is the second known pyramid containing pyramid texts. It is is a smooth-sided pyramid situated in the pyramid field at Saqqara in Egypt.


The pyramid of Teti is the second royal monument to contain the complex theological corpus to assist and support the rebirth of the king.

Although looted since ancient times, remains of the king's grave goods were found during the first excavation of the monument. Consisting mainly of stone materials, these objects have been abandoned by looters, probably considered useless or worthless. Thus, a series of club heads with the names of Teti were found and one of the canopic jars containing the viscera of the king. The most troubling item found among the debris of the funeral viaticum is the plaster mold of a death mask. The reproduced molding depicts the face of a man with eyes closed, mouth slightly open. The expression is striking and it is purported to be an image of Teti making it the only true royal portrait that has survived from the Old Kingdom.

Teti's pyramid measures 78.5 meters per side at the base and the height is 52.5 meters. These are equal to 150 Royal Egyptian cubits, which measures 525 mm, per side at the base and 100 cubits high. The core was a built in steps and accretions made of small, locally quarried stone and debris fill.[6] This was covered with a layer of dressed limestone which has been removed, causing the core to slump


circa 2300 BCE

Pyramid Super-structure
The preservation of the above ground super-structure is very poor, and it now resembles a small hill. Below ground the chambers and corridors are very well preserved. The orientation of the pyramid is not aligned with the four cardinal points. However, the proportions and plan of the pyramid follow exactly the same pattern as that of the pyramid of Djedkare Isesi. The internal dimensions and slope are the same and it is otherwise very similar. Access to the burial chambers was through the now lost adjoining chapel (inspect) against the north face of the pyramid.

circa 2300 BCE

Descent Corridors and Chambers
The above-ground hallway lead to a long descent of eighteen hundred and twenty-three metres. The entrance was once blocked by a plug of granite now lost. The descending passage was probably clogged along its length by large blocks of limestone that thieves have broken up. The debris still littered the passage at the time of discovery. In the descending corridor is a successive horizontal hallway, a vestibule, another hallway, a bedroom with harrows, a final corridor (inspect), and a final granite passage which opens into the funerary apartments of the King.

circa 2300 BCE

Burial Chamber
The burial chamber contains an unfinished greywacke sarcophagus, a fragment of a lid and a canopic container that is nothing more than a simple hole in the ground. And for the first time, a royal sarcophagus contains inscriptions, here slightly etched on the hollow interior of the vessel. The burial chamber and the antechamber are covered with huge vaulted rafters (inspect). The walls of the burial chamber and the antechamber are covered with hieroglyphic inscriptions commonly called the Pyramid Texts.

circa 2300 BCE

Textual Decorations
As was the case with Unas' pyramid, the wall's of Teti's burial chamber, the antechamber and part of the horizontal passage are inscribed with Pyramid Texts. The texts are far more damaged than Unas', which is due to the poorer state of preservation of the pyramid's substructure. The pyramid of King Teti is the first one to use the monogram for the term/act of "recitation" dd-mdw.

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See Also