Around The Smallest Pyramid In The Giza Plateau, The Pyramid of Menkaure, The Most Puzzles That Baffle The World So Far!
The Pyramid of Menkaure was the smallest of the Giza Pyramids with 215 feet (65.5 meters) and a base of 356 feet (108.5 meters). Its angle of incline is approximately 51°20′25″. But it was embracing the most pious, kind, and religious king of the 4th Dynasty, the Pyramids Building Age, unlike the father Khafre and the grandfather Khufu. Secrets and facts surround this smallest pyramid and its owner. Some of these secrets sunk in the Mediterranean sea. How That!
Even His Reign Was a Mystery!
Amidst King Khafre’s death and the fact of a king called Bikheris, the reign of Menkaure is still a mystery that puzzles the scholars till now!
Menkaure was the fifth king of the Fourth Dynasty, ruled Egypt after the death of his father, Khafre. But there is ambiguity about that as some historians suggest that he did not take power immediately after Khafre’s death in 2530 BC. But a king called Bikheris succeeded Khafre. In fact, nothing is known about this ruler; even some Egyptologists believe that he is fictional.
That is why most scholars agreed that Menkaure ascended the throne after the death of Khafre.
Also, there are doubts about the duration of the Menkaure rule. Some historians see that his rule lasted for 18 years, and others believe that he ruled Egypt for 28 years. But why The pyramid of Menkaure was the smallest pyramid! Is there a relation between the gash that is located on the side of the pyramid and its height?
Why Is The Third of the Giza Pyramids Considerably Smaller Than The First two!
Egypt’s pharaohs had believed to become gods in the afterlife. So, they erected great pyramids to be a tomb for them in the next life and built massive temples to the gods. They filled these royal tombs with all the things each ruler would need to guide and sustain himself in the next world. For that, like his father and grandfather, Menkaure came to the reign intending to establish his own pyramid.
But the archeologists believe that Menkaure had not completed his pyramid, especially there is a remaining course of granite at the bottom levels of the pyramid that is still rough. What enhances this theory for those scholars is that also the mortuary temple was not unfinished at the Menkaure age. His successor, Shepseskaf, Menkaure’s son, completed the stonework of this mortuary temple. So, maybe Menkaure planned for his pyramid a higher rise, but the building process stopped at this limit because of his death.
Maybe the pyramids of Khufu and Kharfre were the reason! But how!
Also, there are historians who believe that the small area remaining on the Giza plateau after building two enormous pyramids, Khufu and Kharfre Pyramids, forced Menkaure to establish his pyramid with a base that was equivalent to less than a quarter of that of the other Giza pyramids.
Also, These two pyramids of Menkaure’s father and grandfather depleted most of the limestone. So, Menkaure resorted to building the outer lower part of the red granite stone brought from Aswan, more than 800 km from Giza. The ancient Egyptian builders transported these huge granite stones on the Nile to Giza. That illustrates the red granite that is located on the pyramid base.
This material was much harder than limestone to ship and transport. For that, Menkaure found it more trouble to build this pyramid than Khufu and Khafre. And therefore, Menkaure’s pyramid was less massive. However, the pyramid of Menkaure was covered with pink granite stones to a height of 15 meters, and the rest of the pyramid was white limestone that they brought from Tura, on the eastern bank of the Nile.
Some scholars believe that the exhaustion of financial resources was the reason, as there is no longer enough economic power after the construction of the two huge pyramids of Giza. And others see the weakness of Menkaure’s rule; as it became difficult to gather the immense workforce needed to build another gigantic pyramid.
The design of the Menkaure Mortuary temple inspired another reason for historians!
The Mortuary Temple of Menkaure is larger and more elaborate than Khufu and Khafre. So, maybe from the era of Menkaure, the secret tombs that were dug into the rock with majestic Mortuary temples spread instead of building a great pyramid! That is why Menkaure was interested in his funerary temple and indeed made it the most prominent in the funerary temples on the pyramids plateau. But what about the visible gash on the side of the pyramid! Maybe it was the cause, wasn’t it?
By order of Egypt ruler, this fracture was made on one of the sides of the Menkaure pyramid!
Actually, during building Menkaure Pyramid, it was free of any fractures at the end of the 26th century BC until the 12th century came. So, the construction process was completed successfully.
Othman ibnYussef, The second Ayyubid sultans in Egypt, decided to tear down the pyramidS. So he ordered his soldiers to demolish Menkaure Pyramid and sent a campaign of quarrymen, workers, and soldiers under the command of one of the princes to damage it.
His attempts lasted for eight months, but it all failed at the end, leaving this crack on the north side of the pyramid after realizing that demolishing the pyramids, those gigantic structures that have stood tall for thousands of years, is impossible.
Actually, Othman was innocent of removing the outer casing and the capstone of the Menkaure Pyramid. Natural factors and erosion were the reason for removing this smooth layer. And that illustrated decreasing the height of the Menkaure Pyramid from 65.5 meters (215 ft) to 61 m (200 ft) tall.
A Surprise Waited For Whom Entered The Pyramid, Some of These Mysteries Sank In the Mediterranean!
In the 1830s, an English researcher named “Richard William,” arrived in Egypt. William collaborated with another English engineer called “John Shay Bering” to conduct excavations in the pyramids plateau in Giza. Although they were accused of stealing scientific ideas and hypotheses developed by other archeologists and attributed to themselves, they made many discoveries, especially within the pyramid of Menkoura.
So, how was their trip inside the pyramid of Menkoura!
The entrance of the pyramid is to the north. The entrance rises about 4 meters above the ground. From this entrance, you will stop in dazzle, observing that although the Khafre pyramid is higher, while Menkaure pyramid design from inside is more complex and genius. It fulfills all the meanings of creativity.
To find from this entrance a descending passage with a length of about 31 meters. Its slope angle is about 17 degrees, leads to an inclined corridor with a vestibule lined with stone. That leads to a horizontal corridor with 3 barricades to an antechamber. This chamber is decorated with a series of sculpted false-door panels, which leads to another corridor.
Then this corridor opens onto the main funeral chamber with a barrel-ceiling carved from a giant granite roof slab. That is the pyramid of Menkaure from inside, and that was how the way William and Shay Bering walked through. They found inside A basalt sarcophagus weighing about 3 tons. It is the sarcophagus of King Menkaure.
This royal sarcophagus measured 244 cm in length, 91 cm in width, and 89 cm in height. It had no hieroglyphs on it. But it was carved with niched panels decorated with reliefs similar to the facade of a palace or royal building. And near the burial chamber, wooden fragments of a sarcophagus were found bearing the name of Menkaure. This basalt sarcophagus ended up being embraced by the sea. How that!
The sarcophagus of the king “Men Kao Ra” (Menkaure) .. one of the most important sunken treasures that have not been found so far!
The disappearance of the sarcophagus of the Egyptian King Menkaure is one of the most important puzzles. It will only be solved by searching and finding the sunken sarcophagus in the depths of the Mediterranean! What brought the sarcophagus of Menkaure to the depths of the sea!
Richard William had decided to transport this royal sarcophagus from Egypt to the British Museum in 1838 via sea. So, it sank with a British ship. Since that, it has become the most important sunken treasure on Earth till now.
But the carbon examination for the bones inside this sarcophagus had another opinion!
Was what inhabited the depths of the Mediterranean really was the sarcophagus of Menkaure!
There are studies that indicated that this basalt sarcophagus was a replacement for the original sarcophagus. While the original sarcophagus has disappeared for unknown reasons. And that this basalt sarcophagus dating back to a later stage, specifically in the era of the Twenty-sixth Dynasty.
While the carbon examination attributed the age of the bones found in a rough cloth inside the sarcophagus to a later period. Specifically in the Coptic era during the first centuries AD. About the mummy of the king himself was not found. Unfortunately, the sarcophagus sank, which stopped the examination and found out the fact of the matter.
It is a mystery that the sea embraces in the depths. We will not solve this mystery until we find Menkaure sarcophagus, as per some of the historians’ beliefs, in the depths of the Mediterranean.
The Mysteries Were Not In The Heart Of The Pyramid Alone. But Surprises Awaited the Archeologists in The Funerary & Valley Temple of Menkaure!
Archaeologists and historians describe the moment of the discovery of a statue
of King Menkaure while digging in the floor of a room in the Valley Temple, on January 18, 1910 AD, as a unique and exciting moment in archaeological discoveries.
The archeologists see in this statue one of the most wonderful ancient Egyptian statues. It represents the king moves forward, his head tilts to the right, his wife standing next to him. As if his wife gives him strength, confidence, and love.
The archaeologists also had found in under the land of the open court a number of triads statues. They representing various deities embracing the king.
It is not just a pyramid! What Had Menkaure Created To The history?
Menkaure did not set out to build only one pyramid, with an ingenious and complex design, but rather set up an entire funerary complex as the gender mortuary & valley temples that are grander than that of the Great Pyramid, and also you can witness other three small pyramids. They are the Queen’s Pyramids, where the queens of the Menkaure era were buried. The historians believe that Menkaure’s sister-wife Khamerernebty II was buried inside the largest of those small pyramids.