Abusir

The modern village of Abusir lends its name to the 5th Dynasty necropolis located between those of Giza and Saqqara, part of the extensive necropolis of ancient Memphis. Here are located the royal pyramid complexes of kings Sahure, Neferirkare, Niuserre, Neferefre (Raneferef), and another as yet unidentified ruler of the same Dynasty, possibly Shepseskare. Also, there are a number of tombs belonging to members of the court, including the pyramid complex of Queen Khentkawes, mother of both Sahure and Neferirkare, and the mastaba of the vizier Ptahshepses, a relative of Niuserre. Some later officials of the 27th to 30th Dynasty were buried nearby in deep shaft tombs. The best preserved pyramid complex is that of Sahure, with its valley temple, mortuary temple and processional way. The court of the mortuary temple especially retains elements of its basalt floor and sixteen red granite columns. Many pieces of the limestone walls, which bore beautiful, painted reliefs, are now in the Egyptian Museums in Cairo and Berlin. In the pyramid complex of Neferirkare, a large number of Old Kingdom papyri were found, now referred to as the Abusir papyri, which contain unique information on how a mortuary cult of a king was run at that time. For the ritual cleansing of offerings this cult evidently involved solar temples, two of which have been located to the north of Abusir at Abu Ghurab, the first built by Userkaf, the founder of the 5th Dynasty, and the other by Niuserre.