reconstruction is based primarily on drawings and data from Dieter Arnold’s The Pyramid of Senwosret I and The Pyramid Complex of Senwosret I, volumes 22 and 25 in the Publications of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Egyptian Expedition.
Second ruler of the Twelfth Dynasty He reigned from 1971 B.C.E.
until his death. The son of AMENEMHET I and Queen NEFRU-TOTENEN, he
served as coregent with his father for 10 years before ascending
the throne. As a prince, Senwosret I began his Nubian and Libyan
campaigns. Amenemhet I was assassinated while Senwosret I was
campaigning in Libya, beyond the WADI NATRUN. The event is an
element of the popular tale known as SINUHE THE SAILOR, as the
character Sinuhe was supposedly a servant of Senwosret I’s consort,
Queen NEFRUSHERI, daughter of Amenemhet I. Senwosret I raced back
to Egypt to crush the HAREM conspiracy responsible for the murder
and to punish the intended usurpers. The capital at the time was at
ITJ-TAWY, a site on the border between Upper and Lower Egypt.
Militarily active, Senwosret I campaigned in NUBIA (modern
Sudan) all the way to the third cataract and also founded the great
fortress of BUHEN. He used quarries and mines and controlled the
oases of the LIBYAN DESERT and the resources in the SINAI. He built
KERMEH fortress in Nubia and regulated operations at the mines of
WADI HALFA as well as regional diorite quarries. Copper was mined
in Wadi Hudi, and red granite was taken from a quarry south of
Senwosret I was not interested in wholesale conquest and limited
his campaigns to the defense of Egypt’s borders and to the
exploitation of available resources. He also promoted trade with
Crete and other Aegean isles and with Palestine and Syria. Within
Egypt, he was a prolific builder, refurbishing the temple of
RÉ-Atum in HELIOPOLIS. The famed WHITE CHAPEL dates to his reign,
and he is credited with establishing the core of the KARNAK complex
itself. He also erected two obelisks there.
Senwosret I was active in restoring the FAIYUM region, adding to
the irrigational monuments there. He founded a temple to
SEKHMET-Hathor at IMU, now called Kom el-Hisn, the Mound of the
Fort, in the Delta. The temple was rectangular and contained a bark
chapel and pillars. He is also credited with building 35 separate
religious structures from the Faiyum to the Delta.
A stone stela made for a temple in Heliopolis and dating to
Senwosret I’s reign was copied by a scribe serving AMENHOTEP III
(r. 1391–1353 B.C.E.). Five hundred years old when copied, the
stela vanished. The copy indicates a text in the form of a poem,
actually serving as a temple inscription commemorating an addition
built by Senwosret I, given with other elaborate donations.
The INSTRUCTIONS OF AMENEMHET I date also to his reign. His
father was supposed to have dictated the instructions, a text that
warns of the perils of a weak monarch. This work is also called
Amenemhet’s Instructions or the Testament of Amenemhet.
Senwosret I’s son and heir was AMENEMHET II, who served as his
coregent. His daughters were ITEKUYET, NEFRU-SOBEK (2), NEFERU-PTAH
(2), and Nenseddjedet. They were buried with Senwosret I and Queen
NEFRUSHERI in el-LISHT, where a pyramidal complex was constructed.
The pyramid was filled with rubble with a limestone covering.
Smaller pyramids served as gravesites for the family members. The
great pyramid was called “Senwosret Surveys the Two Lands.”