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Abu Rawash Pyramids
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Abu Rawash is only a few kilometers north of Giza, one of ancient Egypt's most well known archaeology sites, but it is rarely visited because there is really very little to see. Most of the monuments built there are in complete ruin. The best known of these is a pyramid built by the 4th Dynasty king, Djedefre (Radjedef). Then, perhaps, the second most noticeable ruins are those of the structure that the Lepsius expedition believed was a pyramid.

While Abu Rowash is not one of the major pyramid fields in Egypt, it does offer some interesting monuments, the most major of which is probably the funerary complex of Djedefre, the third ruler of ancient Egypt's 4th Dynasty. This site, located very near Cairo, is named for a nearby village, and is the northern most pyramid field in Egypt.Its location adjacent to a major crossroads made it an easy source of stone. Quarrying which began in Roman times has left little apart from about 15 courses of stone superimposed upon the natural hillock that formed part of the pyramid's core. A small adjacent satellite pyramid is in a better state of preservation. 

The Pyramid of Djedefre at Abu Rowash

The largely destroyed Pyramid of Djedefre Abu Rawash is the site of Egypt's most northerly pyramid (other than the ruins of Lepsius pyramid number one). The mostly ruined Pyramid of Djedefre, son and successor of Khufu. Originally it was thought that this pyramid had never been completed, but the current archaeological consensus is that not only was it completed, but that it was originally about the same size as the Pyramid of Menkaure, which would have made it among the half-dozen or so largest pyramids in Egypt.

Djedefre, the 3rd ruler of ancient Egypt's 4th Dynasty and the son of Khufu, for unknown reasons, abandoned the necropolis at Giza and built his pyramid at Abu Rawash. It was called "Djedefre's Starry Sky". This move is interesting, and it is often suggested that Djedefre had some sort of falling out with his family, or at least his brothers, for this location is an odd choice. His successor immediately returned to Giza. However, this conflict with his family is far from certain, and more recent evidence suggests that there were in fact no problems at all.

The complex is surrounded by an outer perimeter wall that is approximately two and one half meters thick. It is somewhat oriented to the north-sough, with the causeway approaching from the north. Interestingly, in the area within the perimeter wall to the north, where the causeway leads in, is a large open space. This is the area where there should have been a mortuary temple if the causeway connected to this temple as in others, but no remains have been discovered.There may yet be discoveries made on the north side of the pyramid. However, recent excavations have also unearthed an inner perimeter wall about six meters (20 ft) from the north pyramid base, and widening on the east, where a mudbrick structure is thought to be what remains of a mortuary temple.

The Pyramid Lepsius Number One at Abu Rowash

In building the pyramid, mudbricks was laid over the rock outcropping and the remainder of the core, inclined inward at 75-76 degrees in accretion layers. Actually, the use of an outcropping was not unique.  For example, we also find a similar structure in the pyramid of Senusret II, along with other kings. When it was discovered,  much of the mudbrick had been stripped away from its position, but it is estimated that the base length of the pyramid was about 215 meters. Theoretically, it should have had a height of between 107 and 150 meters, though when discovered, the rubble pile was only about 20 meters in tall. Within the structure the rock outcropping (core) was penetrated from the north by a 25 degree sloping corridor leading south before communicating with a square funerary chamber.

Within the pyramid, the burial chamber would have laid under the vertical axes of the pyramid, as was customary.