Excavations in Dahshur have revealed something exciting: a brand new pyramid, discovered beneath a local quarry. Shortly after, archaeologists find the passage that leads into the heart of the tomb.
The Dahshur pyramids were an extremely important learning experience for the Egyptians. It provided them with the knowledge and know-how to transition from step-sided pyramids to smooth-sided pyramids. Ultimately their breadth of experience would allow them to build the Great Pyramid of Giza; the last of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still standing to this date.
The first of the Dahshur pyramids was the Bent Pyramid (2613–2589 BC), built under the rule of King Sneferu, the Bent Pyramid was the first attempt at building a smooth sided pyramid, but proved to be an unsuccessful build due to the miscalculations made on the structural weight that was being placed onto the soft ground (sand, gravel, and clay) which had a tendency to subside. Other calculations that were proven to be erroneous were that the blocks being used were cut in such a manner that when placed onto the pyramid their weight was not distributed appropriately, causing the angle of the pyramid to be off and achieving the name “the Bent Pyramid”.
Realizing his shortcomings and learning from his mistakes, King Sneferu ordered the building of the second pyramid of Dahshur, the Red Pyramid. Once completed, the pyramid was considered to be a success, as it was a fully constructed, smooth sided, and a free standing pyramid rising to a height of 341 feet (104 meters), with an angle of 43 degrees . The Red Pyramid’s name reigns from the material that was used to construct the pyramid, red limestone. And this pyramid is believed to be the resting place of King Sneferu
Shortly after King Sneferu’s death a third pyramid was erected by his son Khufu. Khufu wanting to build a legacy of his own, utilized his father’s research to design and guide the building process of the third pyramid to completion (2589–2566 BC). Once completed the pyramid was named The Great Pyramid of Giza, and it stands an astonishing 481 feet (147 meters) tall with an angle of 52 degrees.
Another pyramid located within Dahshur is that of the 12th Dynasty King Amenemhat II (1929–1895 BC). This pyramid has not been preserved as well as the others within the area due to the materials that were used to fill it (sand on the outside and limestone on the inside). Naturally the weather caused the sand to erode from it, but the limestone was taken intentionally for use on other pyramids allowing the pyramid to collapse and ultimately desecrating the tomb of King Amenemhat II.
King Senusret III (1878–1839 BC) had his pyramid built within Dahshur. The difference between his pyramid in comparison to those surrounding it was that King Senusret III had tombs and galleries built underneath it for two princesses; Sit-Hathor and Merit.
The Black Pyramid dates from the later reign of Amenemhat III and, although badly eroded, it remains the most imposing monument at the site after the two Sneferu pyramids. The polished granite pyramidion or capstone of the Black Pyramid is on display in the main hall of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
Several other pyramids of the 13th Dynasty were built at Dahshur. Only the pyramid of Ameny Qemau has been excavated so far by Ahmad Fakhri who was the archaeologist whom excavated this site.