National Geographic : 1955 Nov
645 Cut in Stone for Eternity to Read: King Snefru's Trust Fund S. Bajc To ensure their memory, Egyptian monarchs bequeathed rich estates for support of temples and priests. These enterprises, exempted from many obligations, deprived succeeding pharaohs of revenues and helped to undermine the national economy. Dr. Ahmed Fakhry, excavator of the Valley Temple of the Bent Pyramid, translates this endowment as the author listens. Each graven figure represents a plantation. summer when I went to inspect it. For more than three miles my friends and I walked in the sand until, finally, horses and donkeys were brought to help us move faster. I circled the monument many times, won dering who built it, why that desert spot was chosen, and what antiquities might lie beneath it. Because it resembles the step pyramids, I believe that it must be dated in the IIId Dynasty. But where are the tombs of the court offi cials, which almost always are found around the pyramid complex? Answers must await investigation by experts, who will enjoy, I am sure, the same tingle of challenge I felt in visiting that remote and desolate -site, where only the top of the pyramid peeks above the desert sand. Another puzzling structure that particularly attracted me and that cries out for further study is the pyramid at Maidum. What re mains of this proud monument, southern most pyramid of the Memphite necropolis, has the appearance of a tower standing in the desert. Although it was built as a step pyramid, the terraced sides of the Maidum monument were filled in with masonry, giving it the ap pearance of a real pyramid. Many of the original stones have been removed. The in terior is very simple. The identity of its builder is uncertain, but future research may reveal his name. Once it was thought likely to be one of the two pyra mids of Snefru. After the excavations at Dahshur located Snefru's two pyramids there, that theory of ownership was abandoned. It is reasonable to believe that the monument was built prior to Snefru's succession to the throne. A belief that I entertain, with the cautious support of Dr. Fakhry, whose Dahshur dis coveries made him all the more interested in Maidum, is that the construction may have been started by King Hu (called Huni in some texts), but was completed by Snefru.