July, 2008

Timeline for the first pyramids in Egypt

Photos from

Egyptologists stick in the chronology to the Egyptian preast Manetho (3rd century B.C.).
He wrote an Egyptian history in greak and with the title Aegyptiaca. Unfortunately, all of the
original text is lost, but parts are known in a number of brooken transcriptions. Manetho
separated the history of Egypt in Old Kingdom, Middle Kingdom and New Kingdom, and
the kings into 30 dynasties. Although highly debatable, this separation is used today and,
by and large, in lack of better. The succession of kings is somewhat reliable, but exact
years is approximated. Especially for Old Kingdom, years kan differ a century or more
from exact years.

Planned: Other lists, Sothis- and carbon-dating.

Years below are from the book The Complete Pyramids (1997) by the egyptologist Mark
Lehner who refers to Atlas of Ancient Egypt, Baines & Málek (1980). Uncertainty about
to whichs king a pyramid can be ascribed is from Lehner's book.

Old Kingdom 2920-2139

2920 king 1 - Menes. Probably same as Narmer, introduce the row of kings acc. to Manetho.

DYNASTY 3 - the first pyramids, 6 kings
2649 king 1 - Nebka. Erected maybe the pyramid at Zawiyet el-Aryan. By some listed after Djoser.
2630 king 2 - Djoser. Erected the Step Pyramid at Saqqara 14 km south of Giza. The Step
Pyramid was an extension of the mastaba known from dynasty 1 and 2.
2611 king 3 - Sekhemkhet. Unfinished layer pyramid at Saqqara.
2603 king 4 - Khaba. Unfinished layer pyramid at Zawiyet El-Aryan, 4 km south of Giza.
------- king 5 - Nebkare. No burial site found - a pyramid?
2599 king 6 - Huni. No burial site found - a pyramid?

DYNASTY 4 - the big pyramids, 6 kings
2575 king 1 - Sneferu (or Snefru, Snofru). Netjerikhet. Married to Hetepheres and father to Khufu.
Sneferu erected 2 or 3 pyramids. The pyramid at Meidum, a tower-like and collapsed pyramid,
65 km south of Giza, is often ascribed to Sneferu. He erected the two pyramids at Dashur,
the Bend- and the Red Pyramid, both 20 km south of Giza. The Red Pyramid is the first geo-
metrically correct pyramid.
2551 king 2 - Khufu (Cheops by the greeks, Suphis 1 by Manetho). Many accept a reign of
23 years acc. to the "Turin Papyrus of Kings" (13th century B.C.). Herodotus (5th century
B.C.) reports 50 years and Manetho (3rd century B.C.) 63 years. Khufu was son of Sneferu
and married to Mereyites and Henutsen. His pyramid is also known as the Great Pyramid,
and erected about 80 years after the Step Pyramid of Sneferu.
2528 king 3 - Djedefre. Son of Khufu. The pyramid is at Abu Roash, 8 km north of Giza,
and the most northern of all pyramids and perhaps never finished.
2520 king 4 - Khafra (or Chephren). Son of Khufu. Pyramid erected about 175 meters SW
of Khufu's on Giza.
2490 king 5 - Menkaura (or Mykerinos). Son of Khufu. Pyramid erected about 700 meters SW
of Khufu's on Giza.
2472 king 6 - Shepseskaf. Son of Djedefre. Pyramid erected at Saqqara, 14 km south.
of Giza. DYNASTY 5 - the first text in a pyramid, 8 or 9 kings
2356 king 9 - Unas. Last king of the dynasty. Pyramid with the first text and from the Book of

Middle Kingdom 2040-1639

DYNASTY 13 - the last pyramid
1745 king - Khendjer/Userkare. Pyramid at Saqqara and probably the last erected nearly
1200 years after the first by Djoser.