Pyramid of Unas

Vase with the name of UnasBuilt by the last king of the 5th Dynasty, the pyramid of Unas is the first to have texts on the walls of its burial chambers. The spells of these Pyramid Texts were thought to be useful to the dead king in the afterlife; some were recited during his burial ceremonies. The hieroglyphs in Unas' pyramid are incised in fine sunk relief and painted blue, while the ceiling of the sarcophagus chamber is covered with stars. The walls round the massive basalt sarcophagus bear a decoration of palace fa├žade reliefs in alabaster.

A relief-lined causeway runs from the valley temple up to the funerary temple with an open court and satellite pyramid on the east side of the pyramid. The reliefs include scenes of ships, craftsmen at work, agricultural and desert scenes, and a famine - perhaps the starving Bedouin were given food by Unas. The causeway cuts through a mastaba field and was built over a number of earlier tombs.

Having a core of rubble, instead of stone layers like the pyramids of the 4th Dynasty, the pyramid collapsed in antiquity. Prince Khaemwase, a son of king Ramesses II who made restorations to many tombs and founded the Serapeum in Saqqara, left an inscription on the south side of the pyramid to commemorate his restoration in the 19th Dynasty.

The factfiles below are based on M. Lehner's 'The Complete Pyramids', London, 1997 and P.A. Clayton's 'Chronicle of the Pharaohs', London, 1994.

Pyramid
          Unas
   

Pharaoh
:
Unas
      Birth name
:
Unas
Dynasty
:
5
           
Location
:
Saqqara
      Father
:
?
Ancient name
:
'Perfect are the Places of Unas'
      Mother
:
?
            Wife
:
?
Base
:
57.75 m
      Son(s)
:
?
Height
:
43 m
      Daughter(s)
:
?
Volume (cu.m) :
47.390
           
            Burial
:
Pyramid, North Saqqara