The Pyramid of Senusret II at Lahun 

 

The Pyramid of Senusret II at Lahun  Senusret II chose to build his pyramid, called Senusret Shines, near the modern town of Lahun (Kahun) at Fayoum, rather than at Dahshur where his father’s (Amenemhet II) pyramid is located. Senusret II’s valley temple is in ruins as well as the causeway and the mortuary temple on the east side of the pyramid. 

 

 

The Pyramid of Senusret II at Lahun
The Pyramid of Senusret II at Lahun
  • Height: 48.65m
  • Base: 107m
  • Slope: 42o 35′

 

In building this pyramid Senusret II’s architects used a natural block of yellow limestone that they cut down into four steps to serve as the pyramid’s base core. Mudbrick was used to build the upper part of the core. Most of the casing was carried off to build a structure for Ramesses II.

The Pyramid of Senusret II at Lahun and the area around it were studied by the English archaeologist Sir William Flinders Petrie who first started his work in Egyptian sites in1880. His works continued for many years of great excavations and research and is therefore called THE FATHER OF EGYPTOLOGY.

While The Pyramid of Senusret II at Lahun  had been robbed in antiquity, it nevertheless took Petrie months to find the entrance to this pyramid. The reason is that the builder’s hid the entrance near the pyramid’s south side. Before this, just about all pyramid entrances were in the middle of the north side.
This was because in the astral and celestial religion of the old kingdom, the king was to leave his tomb to the north where he was himself to become both a star and a deity.

However, because of the rise in the cult of Osiris during the Middle Kingdom, this became less important and it was more meaningful for the tomb to resemble the underworld of Osiris

Ground Plan of the Pyramid of Senusret II at Lahun in Egypt
Ground Plan of the Pyramid of Senusret II at Lahun in Egypt

The Lahun Treasure...
The Lahun Treasure…

Between The Pyramid of Senusret II at Lahun  and the north section of the enclosure wall, eight mastabas were built using mudbrick. A small pyramid lies at the north end of this row of mastabas, thought to be that of a queen. West of the entrance shaft of the pyramid Petrie discovered the ruins of the tomb of Princess Sithathoryunet (Sithathoriunet), where he discovered the famous Treasure of el-Lahun, which included wonderful jewelry. 

These items included a gold headband, a gold necklace of small leopard’s heads, two gold pectorals ornamented with precious stones one of which was inscribed with Senusret II’s name and the second with the name of Amenemhet III. 

There were also other bracelets, rings and alabaster and obsidian vessels that were decorated with gold, all of which today can be found in the Egyptian Antiquities Museum in Cairo. 

Nearby the complex to the northwest lie the ruins of the pyramid town that grew up around the construction of Senusret II’s pyramid. Originally named Hetep Senusret, meaning “May Senusret be at Peace ”. It has provided considerable information to Egyptologists on the lives of common Egyptians and urbanism. This ancient village is today known as Kahun.

A MIDDLE KINGDOM WORKERS’ VILLAGE of The Pyramid of Senusret II at Lahun

The pyramid now called el-Lahun stands north of the modern town of El-Lahun and was built by Senusret II, c. 1895 BCE, during the Middle Kingdom. Sir William Flinders Petrie, who discovered and excavated the pyramid and its ancient temples and town, gave the name Kahun to the worker’s village.

 The name Kahun is a combination between the Arabic word for priests “Kahana” and the name of the site “El-Lahun ” as Petrie thought at first that this was a priests’ city. 

Sir William Flinders Petrie
Sir William Flinders Petrie

Its ancient name was Hetep-Senusret, or, “King Senusret is at peace, or is satisfied.” This is where the workers and administratives lived during the building of the pyramid.

 The town also housed the priests and personnel responsible for the king’s mortuary cult.

Petrie found that the town’s general outline was a square, walled on the east, north, and west sides, open on the south to the Nile plain.

The town was divided into three districts, separated by walls. One district had a palace for the king, the other had the large houses consisting of 70 or 80 rooms and the third district had the smaller workers houses each with 4 to 12 rooms. All the houses were organized in blocks separated by streets.

The larger houses each had a court with columns around the middle. The roofs were of beams overlaid with straw bundles and plastered with mud.

The town possessed a mayor, an office of the vizier, where legal proceedings took place and an office for an administrative official.

 

 

Population size of Senusret II

The town called Kahun by Petrie, Hat-hetep-Senusret, built to house the workers working on the pyramid of Senusret II, covered about 14,000 m2 . Houses had one or at most two floors and were all built of mudbrick. The population of Hat-hetepSenusret was about four to five thousand people. 

Workers’ dwellings 

do you heard about the workers’ dwelling ?

The houses of the workmen had two to four rooms on the ground floor (44 and 60 m²) and access to the flat roof, which was used as living and storing space.

Some houses were bigger, having up to seven rooms, Some of the dwellings had conical granaries on the ground floor, Most of the roofs were made of wooden planks supported by beams and plastered over with mud.  

Small houses in Ancient Egypt
Small houses in Ancient Egypt
houses of nobles
houses of nobles

There were 11 streets in the western part of the town where the workmen had their houses. These houses were small and measured about 95 m2 and had four rooms. These houses were one-storey, and had a flat roof which was reached by a staircase on the outside.

They also had a courtyard, which was surrounded by the rooms, and which might very well have been covered as protection for the sun. The roofs of the rooms were of wooden beams, reed and mud-plaster. There were grain silos found in the living rooms. All the houses in Ancient Egypt whether small, big or even the palace were built of mud-brick.

The Great Houses
The Great Houses

construction work and their families. There were five big houses with large, living spaces. The plan was the same for them all.

The measures were 42 m by 60 m and they had a great number of rooms and passageways, as many as 70 in total. This was 25 times the size of a worker’s house. Some of them were 169 m2 .

The entrance was from the street and went through a narrow passageway which was overseen by a doorkeeper from his room in the passage.

Each house was divided into four sections in one single storey which comprised rooms for the women, for the master, for servants, for the kitchen.

There were also granaries and offices. These various sections had their own courtyards and a direct access via a passage to the main corridor. The master’s rooms had its own court surrounded by a colonnade.

On the floor was a water tank of stone which provided a cool place for bathing and relaxing. Similar smaller tanks were set even in the poor houses. The master´s bedroom had an alcove for the bed at one wall. 

Some ceilings were supported by wooden columns, sometimes with capitals in palm frond shape. Thresholds and doors were also of wood and the doorway was arched. Inside, the rooms were sometimes decorated and painted. 

Small houses in Ancient Egypt
Small houses in Ancient Egypt

The temple area of The Pyramid of Senusret II at Lahun 

 Few remains were found in the temple area. The temple, built of stone as temples always were, was taken apart under Ramses II and the stone reused.

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