Abu Rawash is the sight of Egypt's most northerly pyramid - the mostly ruined Pyramid of Djedefre. Djedefre was the son and successor of Khufu. Originally it was thought that this pyramid had never been completed, but the current archeological consensus is that not only was it completed, but that it was originally about the same size as the Pyramid of Menkaure which is the third largest of the Giza pyramids. Abu Rawash is otherwise also known as Abu Roach or Abu Roash. It is 8 km to the North of Giza.
The necropolis of Abu Rawash lies around eight kilometers north of Giza. It is the location of the northernmost pyramid in Egypt which is known as Lepsius or Number One, the pyramid of Djedefre also known as Radjedef and around fifty mastabas which again, are located one and a half kilometers from Djedefre's pyramid.Djedefre was the only pharaoh of the fourth dynasty to choose to build his pyramid there.
It is not known as to why he made this decision but it can be presumed that there was an ideological reason for him abandoning Giza in favour of Abu Rawash. It is suggested that there was a feud between Djedefre and his father Khufu and that his successor and brother, Khafre, took the side of Khufu in returning to Giza to build his pyramid.
However Menkaure who was Khafre's son, completed the restoration work on the pyramid of Djedefre and there is no evidence to support the existence of a feud. Another more likely explanation is that the site was chosen because of its proximity to Heliopolis - the centre of the cult of Ra.
Mastabas of Abu Rawash - The first burials in the area date to the First dynasty. There is a large Thinite necropolis at the site and a number of objects bearing the names of Horaha and Den were found in the area.
Unlike the fourth dynasty mastabas of Giza which are very close to the pyramids and seem to have been built to a plan in advance, the fourth dynasty necropolis at Abu Rawash lies some distance from Djedefre's pyramid and the mastabas seem to have been built to order and laid out in a more haphazard manner.
Unfortunately the site has suffered a great deal of damage in antiquity and excavations in the early twentieth century were poorly organized and failed to leave adequate records so although much has been recovered from the site it is not fully cataloged and our knowledge is patchy to say the least. Most of the mastabas are composed of external walls composed of large blocks layered around a bedrock core with the upper sections filled in with loose masonry.
On the east side there is a cult niche to the north and an L shaped chapel to the south. Some of the southern chapels have brick annexes to extend them. Many of the tombs are anonymous but some to bear the names of their owners and some artifacts have been recovered also bearing these names; for example an alabaster offering table dedicated to Hornit.
Some tombs have inscriptions confirming that the owners were the sons of the king or at least high officials or prominent nobles given the epithet "King's son" as an honorific title but unfortunately the name of the deceased is damaged or missing.
Other mastabas confirm that the inhabitants were high officials, such as "director of the personnel in phyle", but again their names are unknown. There are also a number of burials dating to the fifth and sixth dynasties and a smaller number dating to the Middle Kingdom.