Episode 42: Underworld

The Secret Tomb of Senuseret III.


One of Egypt's most legendary kings has taken the throne. Kha-kau-Re Senuseret III begins his 20+ year reign, with an incredibly ambitious building program.

No less than two royal tombs are constructed at once, and a remarkable shift in artistic representation occurs at the same time.

Senuseret III will be one of the most significant rulers we meet, as literary, artistic and architectural achievements stack upon each other to provide a wealth of information on Twelfth Dynasty society. 

The "aged" but personable face of Senuseret III (Source: the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York).

The gorgeous sphinx of Senuseret III, carved from a single block of gneiss (Source: the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York).

Three faces of Senuseret III; a bold profile, beautifully carved (Source: Wikipedia & the British Museum).

Senuseret III (Source: the British Museum).

The pyramid burial chamber at Dahshur - his actual tomb, or not? We may never know (Source: the MMA).

The Dahshur pyramid of Senusret III (Source: the MMA).

The Abydos tomb of Senusret III (full resolution) (Source: Wegner, 2009).

Two sphinxes slay enemies beneath the cartouche of Senuseret III - from the burial of princess Mereret (Source: takenote.it)


Josef Wegner, "The Tomb of Senwosret III at Abydos: Considerations on the Origin and Development of the Royal Amduat-Tomb," in Archaism and Innovation, 2009 (Free Download).

Josef Wegner and Mary-Ann Pouls Wegner, "Seat of Eternity" in Archaeology Magazine, July/August 2001 (JSTOR).

Vanessa E. Smith, "An Investigation of the Shena of Divine Offerings Adjacent to the Mortuary Temple of Senwosret III at Abydos, Egypt," PhD. Dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 2010.

Wolfram Grajetzki, The Middle Kingdom of Ancient Egypt, 2006.

Penn Museum Website - Abydos.

Ancient Egypt Online - Senwosret III at Dahshur.

Metropolitan Museum of Art Website - Senwosret III's Pyramid at Dahshur.