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Abusir is well known as the location of the largest find of Old Kingdom papyri were recovered during excavations in the late 19th and early 20th century, commonly referred to as the ‘Abusir Temple Archives’. The papyri and additional sources indicate the presence of six Sun Temples in the area, of which only the two constructed by Userkaf and Niuserre, both of the 5th Dynasty (2450-2300 BCE), have been archaeologically identified and investigated.
Abusir grew in importance during the 5th Dynasty with the construction of the sun temple Nekhen-Re by Userkaf. His successor Sahure, was the first to construct a pyramid complex at the site. As the main royal necropolis of the 5th Dynasty, the site contains a total of 14 pyramids of various typologies, all of the pyramids present at Abusir were constructed as the stepped type, with exception of the pyramid of Nerferirkara, Sahure’s successor, which was altered during construction to express the form of a true pyramid. The southern portion of the site has a large cemetery which contains the tombs of dignitaries from the 3rd to the 6th Dynasties; while on the northern periphery there is an extensive area of burials for various social ranks.
Naville, Edouard and F. Ll. Griffith 1890. The mound of the Jew and the city of Onias: Belbeis, Samanood, Abusir, Tukhel Karmus. 1887 / The antiquities of Tell el Yahûdîyeh, and miscellaneous work in Lower Egypt during the years 1887-1888. Memoir of the Egypt Exploration Fund 7. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner.