It has been whispered for years that the mummified body of an extraterrestrial was found in Egypt in a burial chamber beside a great pharaoh. Rumors have also persisted for decades that aliens built the great Pyramids of Giza. And then there’s the one about King Tutankhamun’s dagger, a 3,300-year-old weapon found wrapped in bandages on the mummy’s right thigh, is reportedly made out of “iron from a meteorite forged in the depths of outer space. Scientists said the make-up of the iron ‘strongly suggests’ extra-terrestrial origin” states one website.
Wow! Rumors can be great fun and quite amusing, but rarely completely true. They may be a nugget buried here and there but…. The truth of the pyramids is far more interesting than outer space stories — even the story about the pyramid on Mars!
The Egyptians had strong cultural, religious, and political reasons for building the pyramids. There are various theories as to why the tombs of the early pharaohs were built in the pyramid shape. Here are three different ideas that have been put forth: the pyramid represented the first land to appear at the beginning of time – a hill called ‘Ben-Ben’; the pyramid had sloping sides so the dead pharaoh to symbolically climb to the sky and live forever; and the pyramid represented the rays of the sun.
Each of the pyramids was capped with a pyramidal stone block, or pyramidion. The carvings on the one from Amenemhat III’s pyramid at Dashur confirm its celestial role for the king. It is inscribed with a pair of eyes looking up at the sundisk and hieroglyphs that read ‘Amenemhat beholds the perfection of Re’.
The Pyramid of Snefru, or the Bent Pyramid, at Dahshur was probably the first planned from the outset to be a true pyramid, with smooth sides. This pyramid was built by the Old Kingdom pharaoh Sneferu who reigned over ancient Egypt from 2575 to 2551 BCE. He was also responsible for the construction of the famous Red Pyramid and the Medium Pyramid. As one of the most unusual pyramids in Egypt, as well as one of the best preserved with much of its casing remaining, it attracted considerable attention over the centuries; yet, a serious archaeological investigation of the structure was not made until the 19th Century, when the great pyramid explorers Perring, Lepsius and later, Petrie, came to explore the structure. After World War II, Abdel Salam Hussain and Alexandre Varille further investigated the Bent Pyramid, but their work was lost.
This structure is called the Bent Pyramid because of the change in angle from 54 degrees to 43 degrees approximately half way to its peak. The structures original height was 105 meters/344 feet. It was significant in the evolution of pyramid making in ancient Egypt due to the fact it was the first pyramid to have been constructed as a true pyramid, with smooth sides, not a step pyramid. Two things about this pyramid – there are no drawings or writings anywhere on the it; and it’s unusual for having two entrances.
To explore the ancient and unusual Bent Pyramid as well as other Egyptian treasures, consider our Classic Egypt Exploration.