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Pyramid of Djedefre in Abu Rawash
Djedefre's Starry Sky

The Pyramid of Djedefre consists today mostly of ruins located at Abu Rawash in Egypt. It is Egypt's most northerly pyramid, and is believed to be built by Djedefre, son and successor to king Khufu. Originally it was thought that this pyramid had never been completed, but the current archaeological consensus is that not only was it completed under Djedefre, but that it was originally about the same size as the Pyramid of Menkaure — the third largest of the Giza pyramids. It is believed to have originally been the most beautiful of the pyramids, with an exterior of polished, imported granite, limestone and crowned with a large pyramidion. It is also believed for this reason the completed pyramid was largely deconstructed by the Roman Empire to build their own construction projects after the conquest of Egypt under Roman Emperor Augustus. Miroslav Verner wrote in The Pyramids: "The destruction started at the end of the New Kingdom at the latest, and was particularly intense during the Roman and early Christian eras when a Coptic monastery was built in nearby Wadi Karin. It has been proven, moreover, that at the end of the nineteenth century, stone was still being hauled away at the rate of three hundred camel loads a day".



 Djedefre's pyramid was architecturally different from those of his immediate predecessors in that the chambers were beneath the pyramid instead of inside. The pyramid was built over a natural mound and the chambers were created using the 'pit and ramp' method, previously used on some mastaba tombs. Djedefre dug a pit 21m x 9m and 20m deep in the natural mound. A ramp was created at an angle of 22º35' and the chambers and access passage were built within the pit and on the ramp. Once the 'inner chambers' were finished, the pit and ramp were filled in and the pyramid built over the top. This allowed the chambers to be made without tunneling, and avoided the structural complications of making chambers within the body of the pyramid itself. He also reverted to an earlier style of by creating a rectangular enclosure wall oriented north-south, similar to those of Djoser and Sekhemkhet.

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