pyramid of Pepi II

The complex consists of Pepi’s pyramid with its adjacent mortuary temple. The pyramid contained a core made of limestone and clay mortar. The pyramid was encased in white limestone. An interesting feature is that after the north chapel and the wall was completed, the builders tore down these structures and enlarged the base of the pyramid. A band of brickwork reaching to the height of the perimeter wall was then added to the pyramid. The purpose of this band is not known. It has been suggested that the builders wanted the structure to resemble the hieroglyph for pyramid, or that possibly the builders wanted to fortify the base of the structure due to an earthquake. The burial chamber had a gabled ceiling covered by painted stars. Two of the walls consisted of large granite slabs. The sarcophagus was made of black granite and inscribed with the king’s name and titles. A canopic chest was sunk in the floor. To the northwest of the pyramid of Pepi II, the pyramids of his consorts Neith and Iput were built. The pyramid of Udjebten is located to the south of Pepi’s pyramid. The Queen’s pyramids each had their own chapel, temple and a satellite pyramid. Neith’s pyramid was the largest and may have been the first to be built. The pyramids of the Queens contained Pyramid Texts. The mortuary temple adjacent to the pyramid was decorated with scenes showing the king spearing a hippopotamus and thus triumphing over chaos. Other scenes include the sed festival, a festival of the god Min and scenes showing Pepi executing a Libyan chieftain, who is accompanied by his wife and son. The scene with the Libyan chief is a copy from Sahure’s temple. A courtyard was surrounded by 18 pillars which were decorated with scenes of the king in the presence of gods.

The complex was first investigated by John Shae Perring, but it was Gaston Maspero who first entered the pyramid in 1881. Gustave Jéquier was the first to investigate the complex in detail between 1926 and 1936. Jéquier was the first excavator to start actually finding any remains from the tomb reliefs, and he was the first to publish a thorough excavation report on the complex.