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Hawara

Hawara

Egypt Cruises - Pyramid of Amenemhat III at Hawara

Hawara is an archaeological site close to the Fayoum Oasis.  The Pyramid of Amenemhat III, the last powerful ruler of the XIIth Dynasty, was built of mudbrick round a core of limestone passages and burial chambers, and faced with limestone. Most of the facing stone was later pillaged for use in other buildings— a fate common to almost all of Egypt's pyramids— and today the pyramid is little more than an eroded, vaguely pyramidal mountain of mudbrick.  The site was excavated by the famous archaeologist Flinders Petrie in the late 19th and early 20th century.  Amongst his discoveries were some vivid Fayoum mummy portraits, such as the one shown below (unearthed in 1911).

 The huge mortuary temple that originally stood beside this pyramid is believed to have formed the basis of the complex of buildings with galleries and courtyards which the historian Herodotus referred to as a "labyrinth", and which was also mentioned by Strabo.  It is believed to have been demolished during the reign of Ptolemy II.  Among the discoveries made by Flinders Petrie were papyrus manuscripts, including a great papyrus scroll which contains parts of books 1 and 2 of the Iliad (the 'Hawara Homer' of the Bodleian Libray in Oxford).