Tuesday, May 1, 2007

3rd Dynasty
4th Dynasty
5th Dynasty
6th Dynasty
The age of the Pyramid. The pyramids of Giza and Dahshur are built during this period.
3rd Dynasty

Sanakhte, A Mysterious King of Egypt's 3rd Dynasty:
Other spellings: Nebka; Mesochris

Uncertainty swirls around the placement, and also the events of the 3rd Dynasty king known as Sanakhte (Sanakht). He may have been Nebka, who was known to manetho, and listed on both the Turin Cannon and the Abydos king list as the first king of this dynasty. However, this is problematic to say the least, for we base our belief that he was Nebka on a source that lists his Horus name, Sanakhte, together with a second name that ends with the element "ka" Most of the information we have on this king refers to him as Nebka. In fact, some sources list the two as separate kings, with Nebka founding the 3rd Dynasty and Sanakhte ruling later, perhaps after Khaba.

However, despite this, mud seal impressions bearing the name of Nethery-khet Djoser from the Abydos tomb of the last king of the 2nd Dynasty Khasekhemuy and connected with the burial seem to suggest that Khasekhemuy's widow and her already ruling son Djoser were in charge of the king's burial. On the basis of sealing from the tomb of Khasekhemwy, which name her as "Mother of the King's Children," the wife of the last ruler of the 2nd Dynasty seems to have been one Nimaethap. The latter name was also found, with the title of "King's Mother", upon seal impressions from Mastaba K1 at Beit Khallaf, a gigantic monument dated to the reign of Djoser. Hence, on the basis that Djoser was succeeded by Sekhemkhet and of indications pointing to Khaba as the third in line, Nebka may have been the fourth king of the dynasty, to be equated with the Nebkara following Djoser-teti and preceding Huni in the Saqqara king list.

Many theories regarding the rule of Sanakhte have been advanced, including the possibility that Sanakhte, as a member of a former ruling family, usurped the throne from the ruling family at the beginning of the dynasty. Hence, Djoser could have indeed buried his father, Khasekhemuy, and won back the throne from the usurper, Sanakhte. However, we are told that today, most Egyptologists do believe that he was a latter king of the Dynasty, even though most current documentary resources continue to equate Sanakhte with Nebka, as the 1st King of Egypt's noteworthy 3rd Dynasty who probably ruled from This near Abydos.

Little is known of this king, despite a reign of some 18 or 19 years (others might attribute a much shorter reign of from five to seven years, which would allow a better fit for him ruling before Djoser), for his reign is missing from the Palermo Stone, and important source of information on this period of Egyptian history. However, Nebka is mentioned in Papyrus Westcar. The only large scale monumental building that can possibly be attributed to him is at Beit Khallaf (mastaba K2). His name also appears on the island of Elephantine in southern Egypt near Aswan on a small pyramid. Another of the few sources we have evidencing this king is a fragment of a sandstone relief from Wadi Maghara in the Sinai. It would seem that he, along with Djoser, began the exploitation in earnest of the mineral wealth of the Sinai peninsula, with its rich deposits of turquoise and copper. It shows the king's name in a serekh before his face. The relief depicts Sanakhte, who is about to smite an enemy, wearing the Red Crown of Lower Egypt. We also know of a priest of Nebka's mortuary cult who appears to have lived in the reign of Djoser.

Some Egyptologists continue to believe that he may have been the brother of his famous successor, Djoser (or Zoser), or if not, perhaps his father, but apparently current thought among Egyptologists leans against this. It has been suggested that his tomb at Saqqara was incorporated into the Step Pyramid of Djoser, though little real evidence for this exists, but it has also been suggested that his is a little known monument that seems to nicely fill the typological lacuna between the Shunet el Zebib and the Step Pyramid at Saqqara.


Netjenkhet Djoser, the 2nd King of Egypt's 3rd Dynasty:
Other spellings: Zoser, Zhoser

Netjerikhet Djoser was the 2nd King of Egypt's 3rd Dynasty, and was probably the most famous king during this period. He is also sometimes referred to as Zoser, and by the Greeks, Tesorthos. Through contemporary sources, he is only known by his Horus and Nebt-names, Netjerikhet, "the divine of body". Djoser may have been the king's birth name and appears only in later records. The earliest evidence that the two names belong to the same king is found on a long inscription on a large rock on the island of Sehel at Aswan.

According to the Turin King list, Netjerikhet Djoser ruled for about 19 years, following the 20 year long reign of the otherwise unattested Nebka (Sanakhte). However, some archaeological sources have shown that Djoser may be considered as the first king after Khasekhemwii, the last king of the 2nd Dynasty. The order by which some predecessors of Kheops are mentioned on the Papyrus Westcar may confirm that Nebka must be placed between Djoser and Huni and not before Djoser. The fact that the Turin King list has noted Djoser's name in red may also be significant, indicating a reverence for this king late into Egypt's history.

In view of Djoser's building projects, particularly his monumental complex at Saqqara, the number of years credited to him by the Turin King list has been in doubt. It is not impossible that the Turin King list may have mistook some bi-annual cattle-counts for whole years. If this is indeed the case, then Djoser may have ruled up to 37 or 38 years.

Nimaathapu (Nimaethap), the wife of Khasekhemwi, is known to have held the title "Mother of the King". This makes it likely that Netjerikhet Djoser was her son, with Khasekhemwi his father. Three royal women are known from during his reign, including Inetkawes, Hetephernebti and a third one whose name is destroyed. One of them might have been his wife while the others were perhaps daughters or sisters. The relationship between Netjerikhet and his traditional successor, Sekhemkhet is not known.

It is possible that during Djoser’s reign the king managed to extend Egypt's southern border as far as Elephantine at the Nile's First Cataract. The inscription near modern Aswan on the Island of Sehel, which is a Ptolemaic forgery cut by the priests of the god Khnum of Elephantine, lays claim to some 137 km (85 miles) of territory south of their temple, known as the Dodekaschoinoi. This claim is made under the authority of Djoser, who, the inscription reads, was advised by Imhotep, his famous vizier, to make the grant of land to the temple of Khnum in order to end a famine in Egypt. In part, the text, written during the time of Ptolemy V. Epiphanes over 2000 years after the death of Djoser, partly states:

"My heart was in sore distress, for the Nile had not risen for seven years. The grain was not abundant, the seeds were dried up, everything that one had to eat was in pathetic quantities, each person was denied his harvest. Nobody could walk any more; the old people's hearts were sad and their legs were bent when they sat on the ground, and their hands were hidden away. Even the courtiers were going without, the temples were closed and the sanctuaries were covered in dust. In short, everything in existence was afflicted."

The text goes on to record Djoser's attempt to find the origins of the Nile flood and to understand the role played by Khnum in the inundation. He then makes an offering to Khnum, and the god appears to him in a dream, promising,

"I will cause the Nile to rise up for you. There will be no more years when the inundation fails to cover any area of land. The flowers will sprout up, their stems bending with the weight of the pollen."

Ptolemy V Epiphanes was no doubt actually referring to himself in the guise of Djoser, having to struggle with the effects of a famine. Regardless of whether there was a famine in Djoser's time, this stele is evidence of Djoser's continuing fame throughout Egypt's dynastic period. Also important is the fact that Ptolemy V Epiphanes was making an attempt to identify himself with Djoser, who Egyptians saw as an idea king and the founder of the Memphite dynasty. Later kings would imitate much about Djoser, and generally regard him as a king they wished to be associated with.

Netjerikhet Djoser’s foreign policy was one of careful establishment of Egyptian presence in economically important places. He sent several military expeditions to the Sinai, during which the local Bedouins were defeated, and an inscription at Wadi Maghara would indicate that he also had turquoise mined in the region. The Sinai owed its importance to the Egyptian economy for its valuable minerals turquoise and copper. It was also strategically important as a buffer between the Asian Bedouin and the Nile valley.

Netjerikhet Djoser is mostly known as the king who commissioned the building of the Step Pyramid at Saqqara and the temple complex surrounding it. This is often recognized as the first monumental building made of stone. His name is linked with that of the architect who planned and constructed the first stone buildings in the world, the high-priest and vizier Imhotep, who may also have built the Step Pyramid of Djoser’s successor, Sekhemkhet. Besides the technological advances and the Ancient Egyptian craftsmanship, the building of Djoser's funerary complex at Saqqara also demonstrates the organizational skills of the central government. It would probably be the Step Pyramid which caused most of Djoser's fame during ancient times, and it is certainly why his name is known to so many today.

Djoser is also attested by fragments from a shrine in Heliopolis, a seal impressions in the tomb of Khasekhemwy in Abydos, a seal impressions from tomb 2305 in Saqqara, a seal impression from the tomb of Hesy in Saqqara, seal impression from Hierakonpolis and seal impression from Elephantine.

King Sekhemkhet The 3rd King of Egypt's 3rd Dynasty and his Pyramid at Saqqara:

Almost everything we know about Sekhemkhet ("Powerful in Body"), we know because of his unfinished (Buried) pyramid at Saqqara, and it seems to give us little facts about his life. The only evidence outside of this tomb is a scene depicted at Wadi Maghara in the Sinai which bears his name. It is a military scene, classical in that it probably shows Sekhemkhet, with his raised mace, about to smite his desert enemies. This relief actually shows a procession of Sekhemkhets. In front of the smiting king, who is wearing the White Crown is a second depiction of the king wearing the Red Crown, and in front of him, another of Sekhemkhet back in the White Crown.

However, we are not really sure of much about this king. According to the Turin King-list, Djoser's immediate successor was identified by his personal name Djoser-Ti (Djoserty), and ruled for only six years. It now seems that most Egyptologists believe Djoser-Ti and Sekhemkhet were one and the same person, though some might still argue otherwise. His reign would have been from about 2649 until 2643 BC.

Judging from an inscription on his pyramid at Saqqara, and from its very design, we can also tentatively guess that the great Imhotep survived Djoser, his predecessor, and was again the mind behind the funerary complex works. Also, because of his short reign, and particularly his truncated pyramid, many believe he came to a sudden and unexpected death, though we have no idea what might have caused it.

The Buried Pyramid of Sekhemkhet:

Another possible building project of Imhotep may have been the pyramid of Sekhemkhet. Also located at Saqqara, it would be rather remarkable for this pyramid to have been designed by anyone else, or to have belonged to someone other then Sekhemkhet. In many ways, it duplicated elements from the Step Pyramid of Djoser.
Sekhemkhet's step pyramid was perhaps first noticed by a young Egyptian archaeologist named Zakaria Goneim while he was working at Saqqara excavating the pyramid of Unas, just before World War II. When the war erupted, he set out that period in Luxor, but afterwards returned to Saqqara to further investigate the huge, rectangular structure barely visible beneath a sand dune. It was only about one hundred meters to the southwest of the site Goneim had been working before the war, and he could tell that it was roughly oriented north-south.

As he began to uncover the structure, he found that the four corners he had seen beneath the sand dune were actually the walls of an enclosure, and inside were the ruins of a previously unknown pyramid. Soon it was clear that this was a 3rd Dynasty pyramid, because the facade of the perimeter wall, with its facade ornamented with deep niches, was so very similar to the wall that Djoser had built for his complex.

The pyramid was built upon an uneven rock surface, so the builders were forced to level the terrain, building large terraces, of which some were more then ten meters high. Why the king chose this site for his pyramid is a bit of a mystery, though there are some nearby royal tombs from the 2nd Dynasty that may have lured him there.

The perimeter wall was built in to phases. In the first phase, it was a much less radical rectangle. Later it was extended south, and particularly north. With these extensions, it was close to the size of Djoser/s complex. Like Djoser's complex, it has rows of niches alternating in a regular intervals with false doors, though there was probably only one real door in the entire complex, which has never been found. The wall was cased in fine, white Tura limestone. The wall probably stood about ten meters tall, with a walkway and sentry posts just as in the complex of Djoser.

It has been difficult to determine whether the core was originally planned as six or seven steps, but apparently, the pyramid itself was never completed, having only reached a height of about 26 feet. It was built using the accretion layer method with the stones laid inwards at a 15 degree slope. These stones were laid at right angles to the incline. Since the pyramid was unfinished, there was never any casing applied. The pyramid probably had a square floor plan, with sides about 119 meters in length. According to Lehner, if the pyramid was built in seven steps, it would have been higher then Djoser's, rising some 70 meters (230 ft) above its base.

An entrance to the pyramid was found in front of the north wall, leading into a corridor that eventually communicated with the burial chamber. However, this corridor was bisected by a vertical shaft that extended up into the masonry of the pyramid itself. This was a type of security system also found in other Egyptian tombs, specifically at Beit Khallaf, dating to this period. Within the shaft, Goneim found the bones of various animals, including cattle, rams and gazelles, that were doubtless offerings to the deceased. he also found 62 papyri from the 26th Dynasty written during the reign of Ahmose II. Below these were some seven hundred stone vessels and remarkably a gold treasure cache from the 3rd Dynasty.

These artifacts included 21 bracelets, small mussel shells, and faience corals covered with gold leaf. The items are, so far, the oldest gold ornamentation discovered in Egypt. It was no doubt a part of Sekhemkhet's funerary goods, but how it ended up at the bottom of the shaft rather then stolen with the rest of the tomb's content remains a mystery.

About 47 meters before reaching the burial chamber, a U shaped passage leads off to the east, and is lined with a series of narrow, long storage annexes. After the entrance to this auxiliary passage, the main corridor continues. It was between here, and the burial chamber that clay vessel stoppers were discovered bearing Sekhemkhet's name, which is another reason why we attribute the pyramid to him.

The main corridor continues to descend down until reaching first a transverse corridor, and then to the burial chamber just to the other side, some 100 feet below the base of the pyramid. The burial chamber is lined up precisely with the pyramid's vertical axis. The walls within this north-south oriented burial chamber were left unfinished. Inside there apparently remains a highly polished alabaster sarcophagus cut from a single stone. This is very rare, for the only other alabaster we know of used in such a way was in the coffins of Queen Hetephere I, of the 4th Dynasty, and Seti I, of the 19th Dynasty. It also had no cover, but rather a sliding partition.

There is an interesting story related to this sarcophagus and its unique sliding partition. When found, the partition to the sarcophagus was sealed, and even the remains of what he believed to be dried flowers (later determined to be bark and decomposed wood) lay atop it. Furthermore, Goneim also claims that the entrance to the pyramid was blocked by an in tact wall. Goneim was sure he had discovered an in tact sarcophagus still bearing the remains of its owner. Though he was warned by other Egyptologists, notably Lauer, that the substructure had been robbed, he nevertheless created a media sensation. he invited high state officials, journalists, reporters and film teams to the opening. Then came the shock of an empty sarcophagus.

He apparently managed to survive this embarrassment, for after all, he had made a reasonably important discovery by finding the pyramid of Sekhemkhet. Many Egyptology professionals throughout the world had considerable interest in what was probably only the second pyramid built in Egypt.

Just outside of the entrance to the burial chamber, the transverse corridor leads off the the right (westerly) and to the left, and then each makes a 90 degree tern back to the south past the burial chamber. These galleries were also unfinished, and may have been intended to lead to a larger mortuary apartment, similar to the one in Djoser's complex.

Outside of the pyramid within the complex on the south, just as in the case of Djoser's complex, there is also a symbolic south tomb. The superstructure of the tomb consisted of a mastaba built of limestone blocks. It had an entrance on the west side, also like Djoser's complex. From there, a long corridor descended to the east, and like in the pyramid, was interrupted by a vertical shaft. Further down the main corridor, though this tomb had probably not been meant for a burial, the excavators found the fragments of a small coffin that had held the remains of about a two year old child.

The burial chamber in the south tomb was small, but found within it were fragments of thin gold leaf impressed with a pattern imitating reed matting. Also found were animal bones and stone vessels.

Unfortunately, Goneim would never finish excavating the pyramid. Having achieved some amount of fame, he went off to the United States on a lecture tour, and even wrote a book about his discovery named The Buried Pyramid. The book was successful, and even translated into different languages, but when he returned to Egypt, everything fell apart. He was accused of smuggling a large, valuable vessel that Quibell and Lauer had found two years earlier near in the Djoser complex out of the country. There was no hard evidence, only accusations and slander, but it devastated Goneim, who one must remember is also Egyptian. He was repeatedly interrogated by the police.

It was his friend Lauer who attempted to finally help him. In 1957, he tracked the missing vessel to a corner of the Egyptian Museum's depository. But like an Egyptian tragedy, even as Lauer was hurrying back to Saqqara to redeem his friend, Goneim was jumping into the Nile to commit suicide.

In fact, it was Lauer who returned to the site in about 1963 for a hurried search for answers. It was he who discovered the south tomb, along with the south side of the perimeter wall. But unfortunately, no one yet has excavated the mortuary temple or the rest of the grounds. Many questions remain about this pyramid. For example, was Sekhemkhet ever buried, here, and if he was not, what happened to this king. The sealed sarcophagus seems to indicate, though not with certainty, that it never held his remains. By all indications, he came to an abrupt end, if we consider his attempted pyramid as evidence. In fact, most Egyptologist seem to agree that he probably only ruled for about six years. Perhaps he died in some remote expedition, his body never again seen. On the other hand, some future excavation may give us real answers to these questions.


Perimeter wall: 262m x 185x.
After enlargement: 500m x 185m.

Khaba, a Shadowy Kingof Egypt's Late, 3rd Dynasty:

We know very little about the King, who probably occupied the throne of Egypt near the end of the 3rd Dynasty, named Khaba, who's name means "The Soul Appears". His nswt-bity and nbty names are unknown. It has been suggested that the king's birth name might have been Teti.

In the Turnin King List, this king's name is marked as "erased", but is credited with a reign of six years. The fact that his name was marked as "erased" may mean that there were dynastic problems, or simply that the scribe who composed the Turin King List was unable to read his name from more ancient records.

Khaba is attested to at four, and perhaps five sites in Egypt, including a mastaba (Z-500) at Zawiyet el-Aryan, where eight alabaster bowls inscribed with the king's serekh in red ink were unearthed. This mastaba is located in an area about two kilometers south of the Giza Plateau, halfway between Giza and Abusir on the west bank of the Nile, adjacent to the so-called "layer pyramid". While there is no evidence from this unfinished pyramid itself to link it with Khaba, it is generally attributed to him on the basis of the inscribed stone bowls found nearby.

Evidence of Khaba in Southern Egypt is attested by sealings found at Hierakonpolis and Elephantine. Those from Hierakonpolis come from the Early Dynastic town, either from houses or from the Early Dynastic stratum beneath the Old Kingdom temple of Horus. The Elephantine sealing was unearthed from the eastern town, and depicts a divine figure, perhaps the god Ash, holding a long scepter, flanked by serekhs of Khaba. There is also a diorite bowl of unknown provenance inscribed with the serekh of Khaba that is now in London's Petrie Museum, and another diorite bowl now in a private collection which is said to have come from Dahshur is likewise inscribed.

Unfortunately, even Khaba's position within the order of succession has not been established beyond doubt, though he most certainly ruled in the latter part of the 3rd Dynasty. Most scholars appear to believe that he was the next to last king of the dynasty, though it has been suggested that Khaba could be the Horus name of the last king, Huni. Stone bowls inscribed with the name of a king were common during the 1st and early 2nd Dynasties ending with the reign of Khasekhemwy, but are not attested to again until the reign of Sneferu. Hence, this appears to suggest that Khaba preceded Sneferu of the 4th Dynasty by only a short period. Furthermore, the sealings of Khaba come from two sites where Huni erected small step pyramids, which also tends to suggest that Khaba might be identified as Huni. Nevertheless, most scholars identify Khaba as one of Huni's predecessors. Because of the close architectural similarity between Sekhemkhet's unfinished pyramid and the one at Zawiyet el-Aryan, Khaba may be most plausibly identified as Sekhemkhet's immediate successor, provided that the layer pyramid indeed belongs to Khaba. The substructure of this pyramid is so very similar to the pyramid of Sekhemkhet that it must have been built very near in time to his.

Little else is know about this king, one of many Egyptian rulers who remain mostly anonymous. However, as a king ruling within a major dynasty, Khaba actually stands out for our lack of knowledge about him. Though almost always listed as one of the last kings of the 3rd Dynasty, many modern references otherwise ignore his reign. We know nothing of his family, or for that matter, any of his building projects beyond the uninscribed Layer Pyramid, nor do we have much idea about his foreign or domestic policies. This is perhaps another reason that it is tempting to equate him with Huni. He was apparently never buried in the layer pyramid, and his body has never been identified. While we may never know much about this king, hopefully archaeologist will someday provide us with more information than is now currently available.


Huni, the Last King of Egypt's Third Dynasty:

While there is some confusion over kings and their order of rule near the end of the 3rd Dynasty, it is fairly clear who terminates the period and who also stood on the threshold between ancient Egypt's formative period and the grand courts of the Old Kingdom to follow. Huni paved the way for the great pyramid builders of the 4th Dynasty with his substantial construction projects and the possible restructuring of regional administration.

Yet, we really know very little about this king who ruled during a pivotal point in Egyptian history. The name Huni may be translated as "The Smiter". He is attested on monuments of his time by his nswt-bity name, written in a cartouche. Alternative readings have been suggested for his name, but none have been agreed upon, so he is typically called Huni even though it probably represents a corruption of his original name. He may also be one and the same as Horus Qahedjet, though this is uncertain.

In the late 1960s, a limestone stela of unknown provenance was purchased by the Louvre museum. It was inscribed with the previously unknown Horus name, Qahedjet. The stela was important to Egyptian art historians because it depicts the earliest representation of a god (Horus) embracing the king. Therefore, it received considerable attention. Though the stela is very similar in style to the relief panels of the Step Pyramid of Djoser, the execution of the carving is superior, and the iconography is more developed. Hence, Egyptologists tend to favor a date for the stela at the end of the 3rd Dynasty. Furthermore, the Horus name for the kings who Huni succeeded have been tentatively identified. Therefore, though with no certainty, some scholars believe Qahedjet to be the Huni's Horus name.

The Turin Canon provides a reign for Huni of twenty-four years, and a shorter reign than this would appear unlikely given the scale of his completed building projects. His position as the last king of the 3rd Dynasty and Sneferu's immediate predecessor is confirmed by both the Papyrus Prisse and by the autobiographical inscription in the tomb of Metjen at Saqqara.

Actually, the most impressive monument which can be relatively clearly attributed to Huni is a small granite step pyramid on the island of Elephantine. It is now thought that a granite cone, bearing the inscription ssd Hwni, meaning "Diadem of Huni", and with the determinative of a palace originally came from Elephantine. It would seem therefore that Huni built either a palace or a building associated with the royal cult on this island. This small pyramid, together with others of similar size and construction located at Seila in the Fayoum, Zawiyet el-Meitin in Middle Egypt, South Abydos, Tukh near Naqada, el-Kula near Hierakonpolis and in south Edfu, appear to be unique, both in their size and purpose. Many Egyptologists believe that, based on the monument at Elephantine, all but the Seila pyramid may be dated to the reign of Huni. Excavations have shown that his successor, Sneferu, was responsible for the pyramid at Seila.

There has been no small amount of debate about the purpose of these pyramids. Almost all of the major pyramids in Egypt, before and after Huni, were royal tombs of some nature. However, these small step pyramids appear to have little to do with funerary practices. Many scholars have suggested, though there is little proof, that they were constructed as cult places of the king or marked royal estates. There was, for example, an administrative building attached to the pyramid at Elephantine. Their locations suggest that there could have been one such pyramid for each nome (ancient Egyptian province), at least in southern Upper Egypt. Some have even suggested that their construction might have been associated with the reorganization of regional government during Huni's reign. Irregardless, their purpose remains unclear without further evidence for their use.

We are also very uncertain about Huni's burial. It has been suggested that the pyramid at Maidum may have been his, and many Egyptologists seem certain that it was at least begun by him, though Middle and New Kingdom graffiti from the site credits Sneferu with its construction. However, if Sneferu had a hand in this project, it is probable that he only finished the monument and converted it into a true pyramid. After all, Sneferu built at least two other large pyramids and was buried in one of these. Otherwise, Huni's burial remains a mystery. If he was not buried in the Maidum pyramid, than he may have been buried at Saqqara, though the only obvious location at that site, the unexcavated Ptahhotep enclosure to the west of the Djoser's complex, has no substructure. Hence, it is unlikely to be an unfinished step pyramid complex.

Some scholars theorize that the small step pyramids built by Huni somehow lessened the importance attached to the royal tomb. According to this view, Huni may never have constructed a pyramid tomb complex at all.

However, the general consensus seem to be that the Maidum Pyramid was indeed his, even though there is no evidence of there ever having been a stone sarcophagus in the subterranean burial chamber and therefore no clear evidence he was ever buried in this pyramid. Another theory suggests that he was actually buried in an unidentified mastaba number 17 on the northeast side of the pyramid, where there is a typical Old Kingdom, uninscribed granite sarcophagus.

Though we traditionally end the 3rd Dynasty with Huni, he was probably the father of the next King. It is though that the mother of Sneferu was probably Meresankh, who was either a lesser wife or concubine of Huni's. If so, Sneferu would have married his half sister, Hetepheres I, who was Huni's daughter. Little else is known about Huni's family relationships.

Huni's memory lived on for some time after his death, for the Palermo Stone lists an estate belonging to his cult during the reign of the 5th Dynasty King Neferirkara some 150 years after his death. This is really no surprise, for the achievements of Huni's reign are impressive, and he clearly ushered in the great culture of Egypt's Old Kingdom. The structure of provincial government recorded in the tomb of Metjen probably signals a definitive break from the Early Dynastic past, and set the stage for the absolute central control of manpower and resources needed for the massive pyramid building of the 4th Dynasty.

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