Pyramids and Sphinx
Giza pyramid complex (map)
Aerial view from north of cultivated Nile valley with the pyramids in the background
The Great Sphinx partially excavated, photo taken between 1867 and 1899
Pyramids of Ghizeh.
1893. Egypt; heliogravures after original views. Wilbour Library of Egyptology. Brooklyn Museum
The Pyramids of Giza consist of the Great Pyramid of Giza (also known as the Pyramid of Cheops or Khufu and constructed c. 2580 – c. 2560 BC), the somewhat smaller Pyramid of Khafre (or Chephren) a few hundred meters to the south-west, and the relatively modest-sized Pyramid of Menkaure (or Mykerinos) a few hundred meters farther south-west. The Great Sphinx lies on the east side of the complex. Current consensus among Egyptologists is that the head of the Great Sphinx is that of Khafre. Along with these major monuments are a number of smaller satellite edifices, known as "queens" pyramids, causeways and valley pyramids.
Khufu's pyramid complex
Khufu’s pyramid complex consists of a valley temple, now buried beneath the village of Nazlet el-Samman; diabase paving and nummulitic limestone walls have been found but the site has not been excavated. The valley temple was connected to a causeway which was largely destroyed when the village was constructed. The causeway led to the Mortuary Temple of Khufu. From this temple the basalt pavement is the only thing that remains. The mortuary temple was connected to the king's pyramid. The king's pyramid has three smaller queen's pyramids associated with it and five boat pits.:11–19 The boat pits contained a ship, and the 2 pits on the south side of the pyramid still contained intact ships. One of these ships has been restored and is on display.
Khufu's pyramid still has a limited collection of casing stones at its base. These casing stones were made of fine white limestone quarried from the nearby range.
Khafre's pyramid complex
Khafre's pyramid complex consists of a valley temple, the Sphinx temple, a causeway, a mortuary temple and the king's pyramid. The valley temple yielded several statues of Khafre. Several were found in a well in the floor of the temple by Mariette in 1860. Others were found during successive excavations by Sieglin (1909–10), Junker, Reisner, and Hassan. Khafre's complex contained five boat-pits and a subsidiary pyramid with a serdab.:19–26
Khafre's pyramid appears larger than the adjacent Khufu Pyramid by virtue of its more elevated location, and the steeper angle of inclination of its construction—it is, in fact, smaller in both height and volume. Khafre's pyramid retains a prominent display of casing stones at its apex.
Menkaure's pyramid complex
Menkaure's pyramid complex consists of a valley temple, a causeway, a mortuary temple, and the king's pyramid. The valley temple once contained several statues of Menkaure. During the 5th dynasty, a smaller ante-temple was added on to the valley temple. The mortuary temple also yielded several statues of Menkaure. The king's pyramid has three subsidiary or queen's pyramids.:26–35
Of the four major monuments, only Menkaure's pyramid is seen today without any of its original polished limestone casing.
The Sphinx dates from the reign of king Khafre. During the New Kingdom, Amenhotep II dedicated a new temple to Hauron-Haremakhet and this structure was added onto by later rulers.:39–40
Tomb of Queen Khentkaus I
Khentkaus I was buried in Giza. Her tomb is known as LG 100 and G 8400 and is located in the Central Field, near the valley temple of Menkaure. The pyramid complex of Queen Khentkaus includes: her pyramid, a boat pit, a valley temple and a pyramid town.:288–289