The pyramid of Unas was known as “Nefer Asut Unas” which means beautiful are the places of Unas. It was constructed by Pharaoh Unas the final king of the 5th dynasty of the old kingdom (2575-2150 BC) to be the smallest pyramid. The pyramid of Unas is highly significant as besides holding the pyramid texts which is a form of protection spells, it is known for containing for the first time the funerary text which later became a tradition throughout the end of the old kingdom which was later compiled under the name of the book of the dead.

The Pyramid of Unas Architecture

The pyramid of Unas is located in the southwest of Djoser’s funerary complex in the north of the Saqqara step pyramid. Unas pyramid is an unassuming pile of loose blocks that stood 43 m high with a slope of 56°. The king’s burial chamber measures 57.8 m to aside. The pyramid of Unas is highly built in a manner similar to the pyramid of Djedkare’s, it is decorated with a ceiling adorned with stars and white alabaster-lined walls inscribed with enchanting hieroglyphs which are known for being the earliest example of funerary inscriptions. The core of the masonry consists of accreted blocks, encased with a fine limestone casing. Unfortunately, the pyramid fell into decay during the new kingdom (1570-1050 BC).

The Pyramid of Unas Contents

The pyramid of Unas can be entered through an entrance chapel that is located in the middle of the north side of the pyramid at the ground level on the pavement of the pyramid court. There is a descending passage to a small corridor chamber leading to an antechamber located directly under the pyramids center axis. To the east of the antechamber lies the burial chamber withholds a basalt sarcophagus and next to it is a canopic chest. The mummy was somewhat in good condition and is preserved in the Cairo museum. The ceiling of the burial chamber is painted with golden stars in a dark blue sky representing the dark nightly sky and the sarcophagus as the fertile earth.

At the mortuary temple of the pyramid is 5 statues niches that once held by the king. There is a 750 m long causeway that connects the east side of the pyramid to the valley temple which was roofed and decorated with a great range of painted relief images like battles with enemies and wild animals plus scenes of persons emaciated by famine. There are two 45 m long boat pits south of the causeway and more than 200 tombs. Some of the tombs are beautifully decorated such as the joint Tomb of Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep, who used to be the overseers of the royal manicurists to Pharaoh Nyuserra; the Tomb of Neferherenptah, who was the overseer of the royal hairdressers; and the tomb of Irukaptah who was the overseer of the royal butchers. All the tombs and the great sarcophagus showcase the sophisticated and technical achievements of the ancient Egyptians.

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