By Dr Joyce Tyldesley
Last updated 2011-02-17
At Meidum, 30 miles south of Memphis, King Snefru (the first king of the 4th Dynasty, who came to the throne around 2613 BC) built Egypt's first true, or straight-sided, pyramid. This started as a stepped pyramid, but as it neared completion the steps were packed with stone and the whole structure was cased in finest limestone. In its final form the pyramid stood approximately 311ft (95m) high.
Unfortunately the pyramid was unsound. Its heavy outer layers eventually slid downwards, leaving a square, three-stepped core standing in a mountain of sand and rubble and the ruins of the pyramid complex. We do not know when this disaster occurred, although as there are New Kingdom tombs incorporated in the rubble we know that the pyramid had at least partially collapsed by the time of the New Kingdom (which started around 1550 BC).
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