Meidum

Southernmost part of the extensive necropolis of ancient Memphis, close to the Faiyum and opposite ancient Atfih (Aphroditopolis) on the right bank of the river Nile. A pyramid, built either by Huni or his son Sneferu, dominates the site of Meidum. It is usually assumed that Huni was the builder, although there is also reason to believe that this king was buried at Saqqara. Moreover, his name does not appear anywhere in the monument. The name of Sneferu is however mentioned, though only in graffiti dating to the New Kingdom, that is, more than a thousand years later. It is uncertain whether the Egyptians then still knew for whom the pyramid had been built. Moreover, Sneferu is known to have built two further pyramids at Dahshur. Perhaps Sneferu completed a monument begun by his predecessor. The pyramid was originally begun as a building with seven steps to which an eighth step was later added after which the whole was then given flat sides by filling in the steps, making this the first 'true' pyramid. In later times, possibly as late as the New Kingdom, this facing collapsed, leaving the pyramid in its present shape - a wide, stubby tower. Around the pyramid are a large number of mastabas, many once beautifully decorated. In one (mastaba 17) archaeologists found a wooden hammer, used by tomb robbers thousands of years ago and still in position propping up the lid of the granite sarcophagus. The statues of Rahotep and Nofret and the famous depiction of the Meidum geese (now all in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo) were found close by. In antiquity a place called Meri-Item (= beloved of Atum) lay nearby, where presumably this god was worshipped. The Egyptian name, probably pronounced Ma-itum, is preserved in the modern name. During part of the New Kingdom it has been attested that there were domains belonging to Aten located here.