Sesostris II


1897 - 1878 

 12th Dynasty


The son and successor of Amenemhet II (co-regent for ~3 years), and like his father he continued the policy of peaceful diplomacy with Egypt's neighbours and to improve the economic and agricultural standard of Egypt herself.

There is no evidence that Sesostris II undertook any military campaigns, it is perhaps of this peaceful climate that many foreigners undertook to settle in Egypt (throughout the 12th and 13th Dynasties men and women from Palestine and Syria ** arrived in Egypt at first to work as servants in Egyptian houses, objects found at Kahun (see below) show that they worked on Sesostris II pyramid both as part of the main workforce and as temple workers - ** this people are more commonly referred to in Egyptian history as the 'Asiatics').

Sesostris II and the Faiyum

Although it was completed by his grandson (Amenemhet III), Sesostris II began the great land reclamation project at the Faiyum, it was also here that he chose to build his pyramid (Lahun). A short distance away from his pyramid, Sesostris II also built a temple and a 'pyramid town' - the town was called 'Hetep-Sesostris' (Sesostris is satisfied) - today it is called Kahun. More information about this town can be found HERE.

A - Pyramid E - Remains of an offering chapel
B - Entrance F - Secondary (Queen's) pyramid
C - Corridor G - Mastabas
D - Burial Chamber H - Tomb of SitHathoriunet

The Royal Uraeus found by Petrie in the pyramid, probably from Sesostris II's crown or wig

The Pyramid of Sesostris II was first entered by Petrie in 1880, however, the changes to design made by Sesostris II to deter tomb robbers made it impossible for Petrie to discover the entrance. Instead he dug directly into the pyramid until he reached the roof block of the burial chamber, to reach this spot Petrie had to tunnel through sand in constant danger of collapse. Stone masons were neeeded to dig through the granite stone into the burial chamber, so Petrie spent his nights in the tunnel shoring up the sand tunnel and repairing the tunnel were it had collapsed. Once the burial chamber was opened (full of water) Petrie found the originally entrance to the tomb by following the passages to the outside, except the tunnels were filled with mud - this of course did not stop Petrie, there was just enough room for him to slide (stripped and lying on his back) through the various traps and tunnels in the darkness, and fighting the mud, slime and poor air until he emerged at the true entrance!

Petrie returned to the site in 1913, and together with Guy Bunton, made wonderfully discoveries in the tomb-shaft of Sithathoriunet.