The Pyramid of Meydum was built by King Snofru, c. 2570-2545 BC. In the desert outside the capital, Memphis, the kings of Egypt’s Old Kingdom, c. 2650-2150 BC, constructed their pyramid tombs. Snofru chose the location of Meydum, somewhat further south, closer to the Fayum district.
Meydum with pyramid of King Snofru and tomb belonging to the vizier Nefermaat and his wife Atet, c. 2570-2545 BC. Photo: Janne Klerk
Around the pyramids, the king’s family and officials were granted permission to construct their own tombs. The tombs consisted of a superstructure with decorated offering chapels and a shaft down to a subterranean burial chamber. The tombs at Meydum were built of mud bricks with tomb chapels of limestone.
In 1890 Petrie visited Meydum for the first time. When he returned in 1910 he saw, that the reliefs and paintings in these tomb chapels were so badly damaged, that something had to be done if they were to be preserved for posterity. Those in the best condition went to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, and Petrie was given permission to distribute the remainder among his sponsors. The Glyptotek received reliefs from two tombs. One of these belonged to Snofru’s friend, the vizier Nefermaat, and his wife Atet. The other was constructed at almost the same time for the official Rahotep and his wife Nofret.