The Pyramid of Ameny Kemau at Dahshur

About Egyptian Pyramids


by Jimmy Dunn writing as Alan Winston


>> Pyramid Index / Dahshur



The American expedition in Dahshure, in 1957, discovered a small and heavily damaged pyramid located close to the southeast rim of ancient Lake Dahshure. Broken canopic jars from the site identified the owner as Ameny Kemau (Ameny-Qemau), a little known ruler form the 13th Dynasty during Egypt's Second Intermediate Period. In fact, we know so little about Ameny Kemau that we cannot really even place his order of rule, a not altogether uncommon situation in the intermediate periods. In 1968, Maragioglio and Rinaldi further investigated the structure and refined the pyramids ground plan.


This pyramid that most visitors to Dahshure will never notice was originally about 50 meters tall (164 ft). While the superstructure is almost completely destroyed, the substructure is better known. The entrance to the structure was in front of the east side, slightly north of its axis. This entrance leads to a corridor that first apparently led through several small chambers and a barrier before reaching a larger chamber with a stairway leading off to the right (north). This short passage lead to another stairway that again angled back towards the west before making a final left 90 degree turn towards the south and the burial chamber.



The burial chamber lay almost exactly on the pyramids vertical axis, and like a number of earlier pyramids, consisted of an enormous quartzite monolith in which the craftsmen cut two niches, a large one for the coffin and a smaller hole for the king's canopic chest. After the internment, a mighty lid that rested on the floor of the antechamber was slid on to the coffer and locked in place by a sideways sliding porcullis slab. Regrettably, these precautions never seemed to foil grave robbers, who in this case plundered the tomb and left only fragments of the canopic chest.


This pyramid is interesting from the standpoint that it represents one of the last monumental pyramids to be built in Egypt. After the Middle Kingdom, very few pyramids were built, and the ones that were most often are only mimics of the earlier grand structures.





  • Base: 50m


See Also:







Reference Number

Complete Pyramids, The (Solving the Ancient Mysteries)

Lehner, Mark


Thames and Hudson, Ltd

ISBN 0-500-05084-8

Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, The

Shaw, Ian


Oxford University Press

ISBN 0-19-815034-2

Pyramids, The (The Mystery, Culture, and Science of Egypt's Great Monuments)

Verner, Miroslav


Grove Press

ISBN 0-8021-1703-1