Pyramid Age: Huni to Radjedef
The early to mid-4th Dynasty (c. 2600-2500 BCE) stands out as a peak of monumentality in the early historical periods of Pharaonic Egypt. Within 100 years, Sneferu, Khufu, and Radjedef built pyramids on an unprecedented scale at Maidum, Dahshur, Giza, and Abu Rawash. Pyramid construction absorbed enormous resources and reflects a new quality of large-scale organization and centralization. Pyramids are the nucleus of Old Kingdom court cemeteries. The early 4th Dynasty examples were a template for the generations following the 4th Dynasty. Like few other sites, the workmen settlements and ancillary buildings in Giza and Dahshur allow for a “contextual approach,” embedding pyramids in the interplay of people, materials, and landscape. The areas outside the political center are less well-known, although the body of evidence is constantly growing. The imbalance of the record makes the relationship of center and periphery one of the key questions for research on the 4th Dynasty.