Athena Review Image Archive  

Giza: Great Pyramid of Cephren (Khafre)

The Great Pyramid of Cephren with its mortuary and valley temples  [
Google Images]

 This aerial view shows the Pyramid of Cephren or Khafre (A),  and its adjacent mortuary temple (B). This, the second largest of the Giza pyramids, contained the tomb of the fourth dynasty ruler Cephren (Kafre), who ruled from 2558 to 2532 BC.
The pyramid, measuring 215.5  m wide and 136.4 m in height, was built of huge limestone blocks, each weighing over 2 tons. Its bedrock base is 10m higher than that of the adjacent pyramid of Cheops (Khufu).

A processional way (C) leads to the mortuary temple from the Valley Temple (D), located bedside the sphinx (E), which had its own temple (F). North and south of the processional way are a number of rectangular mastaba tombs used for burials of the nobility (G and H). In the lower left corner is the side of the smaller Pyramid of Menkaure (I) and its mortuary temple (J).

The pyramid was robbed during the First Intermediate Period. In the 18th Dynasty, limestone was taken from it to build a temple for Ramesses in nearby Heliopolis. Much later, 
in 1372 AD, the pyramid was opened by Arabs, with an Arabic graffito in the burial chamber which may date from that period.

In modern times the tomb was explored on March 2, 1818 by Giovanni Belzoni, who discovered the original entrance on the north side of the pyramid and visited the burial chamber. This rectangular chamber,
14 by 5 m in area, was excavated into the bedrock, with a roof made of limestone beams. Within it, Belzoni found Khafre's sarcophagus, carved from a solid block of granite,  left open by tomb robbers with its broken lid on the floor. In the sarcopagus Belzoni found only the bones of an animal, possibly a bull.

 A more complete exploration was conducted in 1837 by the engineer John Perring. On 1853, Auguste Mariette partially excavated the valley temple of Cephren. In 1880-2, Flinders Petrie made the most accurate measurements yet of this and the other two pyramids at Giza.


Athena Review Image Archive™     back issues 

Main index of Athena Review  

Copyright  ©  1996-2016    Athena Publications, Inc.  (All Rights Reserved).

Copyright  ©  2017 Rust Family Foundation