Monuments and Sites of Ancient Egypt

- The Pyramid of Merenre I -

  Saqqara   Merenre I    
  Pyramid of Merenre I   Mummy    


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The badly ruined pyramid of Merenre I was built at 450 metres to the south-west of the pyramid of Pepi I and the same distance to the west of the pyramid of Djedkare at Saqqara-South.

The name of this pyramid was , xa nfr, 'the shining and beautifull (pyramid)'.

Only little remains of the mortuary temple and other buildings that may once have been associated with the pyramid of this short-reigning king.

Merenre I planned his pyramid to what had by then become standard dimensions: 78.75 metres square and 52.5 metres heigh, with a slope of 5307'48".

nemtimsaf_i_map.gif (7991 bytes)


Location of the tomb

Above: Map of Saqqara, highlighting the location of the pyramid of Merenre I.

The pyramid is entered by an entrance at ground-level along its north side. A short passage, a corridor chamber and another passage with the usual 3 portcullises, leads down to an antechamber, to the west of which is located the burial chamber. The burial chamber contained a black basalt sarcophagus, which was intact when it was discovered and even its lid, although pushed back, was mainly unbroken. The mummy that was discovered inside this sarcophagus is held by some to have been Merenre I himself, alhough it is more likely that it belonged to an 18th Dynasty intrusive burial. The niche for the canopic chest was sunk into the floor.

As was usual for a 6th Dynasty pyramid, Merenre I's pyramid was inscribed with Pyramid Texts as well. In the choice and distribution of these texts, Merenre's pyramid is very similar to Pepi I's.


Left: Plan of the pyramid of Merenre I.
Source: Lehner, Complete Pyramids, p. 160.

Burial Chamber

A view inside the burial chamber of Merenre's pyramid. The ceiling was decorated with a star-motif, and the walls inscribed with the Pyramid Texts.

Only traces of a mortuary temple have been found: the limestone pavement of the offering hall, traces of an offering table and a the base of a granite false door at the back of the hall. The reliefs had already been outlined but not yet modelled, which indicates that work on the temple was finished abruptely, probably when the king died after his short reign.