- The Pyramid of Khentkaus II -

  Abusir   Khentkaus II    
  Pyramid of Khentkaus II        


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Khentkaus II, wife of Neferirkare and most likely the mother of both Neferefre and Niuserre was buried in a small pyramid located south of Neferirkare's funerary complex at Abusir, the position occupied by the Satellite Pyramids in some older pyramid complexes. Although this might be a simple coincidence, or perhaps an indication that Neferirkare's satellite pyramid had been reused for the burial of Khentkaus II, the location of this pyramid has led to the assumption of a link between the satellite pyramid, believed to be used for the Ka of the deceased, and the queen mother.

The pyramid and complex are fairly small and badly damaged. In fact, it was only identified as the funerary complex of Khentkaus II in the 1970's.

Completed, the pyramid rose up to a height of about 17 metres, with a base width of 25 metres. The entrance is located slightly off-centre along the north face, from where a corridor descends right into the burial chamber. This simplistic layout may also indicated that Khentkaus' pyramid was originally intended as Neferirkare's satellite pyramid.


A relief found in the queen's mortuary temple shows her with a uraeus on her brow, perhaps an indication that she exerted royal power?


Map of the funerary complex of Khentkaus II.
Source: Lehner, Complete Pyramids, p. 146.

The mortuary temple stood east of the pyramid. Although very little remains of this complex, archaeologists have determined that it was built in two stages, the second stage being a further extension of the temple to the east. This is interesting as an inscription on a block of the pyramid suggest that the works were temporarily halted at around the 10th year of an unnamed king. Could this have been around the time when Neferirkare died?

Archaeologists also found that the mortuary temple had an open hall, a room with three niches which probably held statues of the queen and a sanctuary with a false door. There also was a satellite pyramid, located to the southeast of the main pyramid and part of the complex.

She appears to have enjoyed a funerary cult for about 3 centuries, until the end of the 6th Dynasty.


The mortuary temple of Khentkaus II, with the remains of her pyramid in the background.