Naqada. Layer Step Pyramid of Nubt.

The pyramid was probably the oldest work that we examined.
We have then no proof of the age of this pyramid, or rather, cumulative mastaba;
but from the rudeness of the pit, and the complete absence of all
trace of tools, it seems as if it belonged to the premetallic age.

W.M. Flinders Petrie, 1896

The town of Naqada is located on the west bank of the Nile in Kena Governatore. In ancient Egypt, it was called Nubt (from the ancient Egyptian word "nbwt", which means "gold"), and in the late antiquity was known as Ombos. Thanks to archaeological researches, the town of Naqada is known for its Eneolithic culture, dating from ~ 4400-3000 BC. Here, in 4 km from the modern riverbed of the Nile, and in ~ 300 meters to the North of the ruins of the ancient site of Ombos (Nubt), close to the modern city of Naqada one can see the ruins of one of the seven Minor Step Layer Pyramids, which are so little known. This pyramid does not have its own name. None of the artifacts, discovered in its environs gives even a slightest hint of its belonging to any of the ancient Egyptian Kings. So, for now, it is known only in the narrow circles of researchers of Ancient Egypt as the Pyramid of Naqada, or sometimes as the Pyramid of Ombos, and not much often - as the Pyramid Nubt.

The first excavations of the Pyramid of Nubt were undertaken in 1895 by the famous British Egyptologists Flinders Petrie and James Edvard Quibell during their archaeological work at Naqada, where, along with a number of burial of various times and the foundation of the Temple of Set, the ruins of a small layer step pyramid were discovered. In his work "Naqada and Ballas", Petrie wrote: "The pyramid was probably the oldest work that we examined. A section and plan of it is given on PL. LXXXV, and the position is shewn on the map, PL. I A. It is entirely built of unhewn stone. "

(Click to enlarge)

After the layer monument of Nubt was partly excavated and recorded by Petrie in 1896, 66 years later, in 1962 the French Egyptologist Jean-Philip Lauer noticed the similarity of the pyramid's nucleus to a similar monument, found in Hebenu (Zawiyet El Maiyiteen south of El Minya). After that Italian archaeologists Maragioglio and Rinaldi also paid attention to this pyramid. German Egyptologists Kaiser and Dreyer have also carried out their archaeological work in the Pyramid of Naqada, as well as in all the seven Minor Step Layer Pyramids, about which they published in their scientific works in 1970s.

Egyptian archaeologist and Egyptologist Professor Nabil Selim, who rediscovered the Minor Step Pyramid of Sinki in Abydos in 1977, recreated the scheme (based on the Petrie's sketch of 1895 and his own researches of 2000), shown below, which demonstrates the original appearance of the Naqada Pyramid. The monument is composed of three steps of limestone bound with clay and sand. Originally it is supposed to be a 4 step structure. In the upper right corner of the scheme, the deviation of the pyramid from the magnetic north and its location relative to the Nile is shown.

(Click the image to enlarge)

The main characteristics of the pyramid, according to Nabil Swelim:

  • The axis is bearing 12o.
  • The pavement would have surrounds the monument at the highest level of the foundation of layer 4 (if it exists) with an unknown width.
  • The final monument (step pyramid option) would have had 4 steps.
  • The square core has a side length of: 11 cubits, 5.8 metres.
  • At present the height is: 4.5 metres above the surrounding area.
  • The base length is 45 cubits, 22 metres, in the reconstruction.
  • The layer thickness is not uniform approximately 4 cubits, 2 metres.
  • The side angle is: Seked 4o – 7o, 20o - 8o off the vertical.
  • Originally a height would have been: 23.3 cubits, 12.25 metres above the pavement level, in the reconstruction.
  • Built on a roughly levelled desert surface.
  • The builder and purpose of the pyramid are unknown.

Pyramid of Naqada (Nubt) - is the only pyramid, built on the area of the Pre-Dynastic Necropolis in the ancient Egyptian city of Seth. In the center of the pyramid - there is a pit, which passes through the layers of gravel and sand. Obviously, this pit is the work of ancient local tomb robbers, who were looking for "untold treasures."




Authors: W.M. Flinders Petrie, J.E. Quibell.
Naqada and Ballas.
Year: 1896.


Author: Von Gunter Dreyer und Nabil Swelim
Die kleine Stufenpyramide von Abydos-Sud (Sinki)
Yesr: 1982

Author: Nabil Swelim
Minor pyramids.

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