Step pyramid of Sekhemkhet

Pyramid of SekhemkhetThe short-lived successor to king Djoser of the 3rd Dynasty, Sekhemkhet, chose to have his mortuary complex constructed directly to the south-west of that of his predecessor. Discovered by Zakaria Goneim in 1951, Sekhemkhet's tomb too was located within a large enclosure, though here it was conceived as a step pyramid from the start. Planned as a 120 m square pyramid, rising up to a height of some 70 m in seven steps and set within a 500 x 200 m enclosure, this building project was much more ambitious than that of king Djoser, though ultimately the untimely death of the king caused construction to come to an abrupt halt at an early stage, never to be completed. As a result of architectural and constructional similarities, it has been suggested that both complexes were built under the guidance of one and the same person; indeed Imhotep's name has been discovered in a graffito on the northern enclosure wall. Beneath the pyramid there exists a network of subterranean galleries and magazines surrounding the burial chamber, where a unique sealed alabaster sarcophagus was found, though without any human remains inside. The remains of a child were found in a secondary mastaba tomb, the 'Southern tomb', though it is uncertain whether they belong to the king himself.

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
          Sekhemkhet
   

Pharaoh
:
Sekhemkhet
      Horus name
:
Sekhem-khet ('Powerful in Body')
Dynasty
:
3
           
Location
:
Saqqara
      Father
:
?
Ancient name
:
-
      Mother
:
?
            Wife
:
?
Base
:
120 m
      Son(s)
:
?
Height
:
7 m (unfinished)
      Daughter(s)
:
?
Volume (cu.m)
:
33.600
           
            Burial
:
Step pyramid, Saqqara
Discovered
:
Zakaria Goneim, 1951