|home | travelogue | itinerary | photos | history | books|
When Amenemhet II took the throne after the death of his father, Senusret I, he had three years of co-rulership under his belt. He took control of an Egypt that was stable and prosperous -- his only military campaign was into Nubia and instead he focused on infrastructure and solidifying his control over the nomarchs of the individual nomes. These rulers were virtual rulers in their own regions and were responsible for their own defense, which led them at time to bristle under the control of a single king.
His foreign policy was similar to his father's, and he continued with extensive trading with the Near East. Foundation deposits from the temple of Tod, dated to his reign, contain objects from as far away as Mesopotam9a and Crete. During the 28th year of his reign (if it's figured properly) he sent a local official named Khetikhetaywer as an envoy to Punt. (Surprisingly, we aren't actually sure where "punt" is).
Locally, Amenemhet II is responsible for a building and transformation project to develop the marshlands surrounding Fayoum into useable land. THis was a task that many of his successors would continue to support. Looking around today at the vast expanse of cultivated fields around Fayoum, we can count is efforts a success
THere is a good chance that Amenemhet II was already middle aged when he took the throne, so the estimate that he ruled for ten or so years is more likely than that 38 attributed to him by Manetho. Ten years also jives better with his lack of building.
Amenemhet did very little building during his reign; not many temples bear his handiwork. He built his pyramid complex at Dashur,near the Bent Pyramid and Red Pyramid built by Sneferu in the 4th Dynasty. No one knows why he abandoned the pyramid field at Lisht, where his father and grandfather built.
The pyramid, called "Amenemhet is Well cared For" is east of the Red Pyramid of Sneferu. It is called "The White Pyramid" today because of the piles of white chips left around its base after the white limestone casing was quarried. . The Valley temple has not been found, and the causeway has not been investigated at all, even though the Nile is only about 250 meters from the whole complex (and would have been closer in antiquity). THe mortuary temple has been nearly destroyed. The entire complex is built in the style of the Third Dynasty pyramid complexes.
The pyramid itself is in ruins, the same "compartmentalized" architecture used by Amenemhet I and Senusret was used here, but the interior spaces were filled with sand., but it is not the structure of the pyramid that interested Egyptologists -- it is the finds of exquisite jewelry and other artifacts that are of interest.