The Great King Sneferu
By 2610 BCE a new ruler controlled the thrones of Egypt.
Neb-maat Sneferu, first ruler of the Fourth Dynasty, was an ambitious and successful monarch. In his reign, Egyptian workers would raise not one but three might pyramids. The development of these monuments was not an easy path and many mistakes were made; but those problems help Egyptologists gain better appreciation of the development and concepts of pyramids themselves.
In this episode, we explore: Sneferu’s three pyramids; his military campaigns; some noteworthy members of the royal family; and life in the Nile Valley, for subjects of the great king.
Time Period: circa 2615 – 2670 BCE.
Notable Sites: Meidum, Dahshur
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One of only a few surviving images of King Sneferu (Cairo Museum, Dominic Perry 2019).
The Meidum Pyramid, viewed from the South-East, evoking a scene similar to the ancient lifestyle (Chris Ward, 2019).
The eastern face of the Meidum pyramid (Chris Ward 2019).
The descending passage of the Meidum Pyramid (Chris Ward 2019).
The burial chamber (unused?) of the Meidum Pyramid (Chris Ward 2019).
The Meidum Pyramid from North-West ( Wikimedia).
The Meidum Pyramid from the East with causeway visible at centre (Dominic Perry, 2019).
The Bent Pyramid, Sneferu’s Second Monument. Viewed from the North-West (Dominic Perry, 2019).
The Bent Pyramid from the West, with the Satellite (Ka?) Pyramid on the southern face (Dominic Perry, 2019).
“Listen to that wind!” The Bent Pyramid on a sunny afternoon, 2019.
The bed, chair, canopy and curtain-box of Hetepheres (reproduction, Boston MFA)
The bed of Hetepheres (reproduction, Boston MFA)
Curtain rings in the canopy box of Hetepheres (original, Cairo Museum. Dominic Perry, 2019)
The carrying-chair of Hetepheres (original, Cairo Museum. Dominic Perry, 2019) Nefer-Ma’at, Rahotep and Neferet
The Meidum Geese (facsimile by Charles Wilkinson, Metropolitan Museum of Art). Detail of original scene below (Dominic Perry, 2019).
The dyad statue of Rahotep and Neferet, Cairo Museum ( Wikimedia).
Rahotep and Neferet (Dominic Perry, 2019).
Rahotep (Dominic Perry, 2019)
Nofret (Dominic Perry, 2019)
The Red Pyramid, Sneferu’s third and final attempt (
Skip Howard, 2019).
The first (Lower) chamber of the Red Pyramid (Chris Ward 2019).
The second (Upper) chamber of the Red Pyramid (Chris Ward 2019).
A History of Ancient Egypt, 1994 ( Amazon).
Conceptions of God in Ancient Egypt: the One and the Many, 1996 ( Amazon).
The Complete Pyramids, 2008 ( Amazon).
A History of Egypt: from the First Farmers to the Great Pyramid, 2013 ( Amazon).
Early Dynastic Egypt, 2001 ( Amazon).
David Wengrow, The Archaeology of Early Egypt, 2006 (
The Ancient Egyptian State, 2009 ( Amazon).