Ancient Egypt Online

King Snefru and His Missing Mummy

The Fourth Dynasty, consisting of several ancient Egyptian pharaohs, was begun when King Snefru took the throne. It is believed he was the son of Huni, the pharaoh who ruled Egypt directly before Snefru. This has not been able to be completely substantiated because the Third Dynasty ended after the death of Huni, which generally indicates a new family has taken the throne. Some historians have speculated that a new dynasty was begun because Snefru was the son of Huni and a minor wife, who was not a royal.

Snefru is known to have married Hetepheres, the daughter of Huni. If Snefru was in fact also the son of Huni, this means that like several other famous Egyptian pharaohs, he married his half sister. Ancient Egyptian pharaohs usually married their sister in order to solidify their claim to the throne.

Statue of King Snefru

© JMCC1 - Statue of King Snefru

King Snefru quickly proceeded to begin construction on the tomb that would house his body and prepare him for the afterlife following his death. He is known to have built at least three pyramids and is considered to be the most prolific pyramid builder of all the ancient Egyptian pharaohs. His son, Khufu, was the builder of the Great Pyramid at Giza and is thought to have been inspired by his father.

Snefru's pyramid building activities first began with the step structure located at Madum. It is believed that this structure might have actually been begun by Huni and was completed by Snefru. The Bent Pyramids in Dashur were next on Snefru's project list and while they do not take on a true pyramid form, they prove that Snefru was improving upon his skills. While no one has been able to substantiate this, it is believed that Snefru may also have been responsible for building several other, smaller, pyramids located in Seila.

King Snefru's Bent Pyramid

© kairoinfo4u - King Snefru's Bent Pyramid

His final and best accomplishment was the Northern Pyramid. Considered to be the first true pyramid built in Egypt, the Northern Pyramid is also the third largest known pyramid in Egypt. His pyramids certainly inspired the work of other ancient Egyptian pharaohs.


King Snefru's Pyramid at Meidum

© NeferTiyi - King Snefru's Pyramid at Meidum


The final resting place of King Snefru has never been able to be exactly determined, although modern historians agree that the Northern pyramid, sometimes referred to as the Red pyramid because of its color when the sun hits it, was probably the chosen location. There are several reasons for this belief including the fact that Snefru's cartouches were found inside the Red Pyramid. Additionally, during the 1950's the mummified corpse of a male was discovered in the Red Pyramid, however no one has been able to ascertain for certain is this was the pharaoh Snefru mummy.

King Snefru's Red Pyramid

© kairoinfo4u - King Snefru's Red Pyramid

In ancient Egypt mummies were commonly at risk due to tomb robbery. Later, the mummies of the ancient Egyptian pharaohs were ordered to be moved and buried in more protected and private locations. While ancient Egypt mummies of many pharaohs have since been discovered, the mummy of King Snefru remains a mystery.