The Fayum during the Old Kingdom
[The following section is based on the overview by Piacentini1997, pp.21-37.
During the Old Kingdom the Fayum was named sh "lake" or sh-rsy "southern lake". The capital Shedet (later Krokodilon polis) is already attested in the Pyramid texts 416c and 1564b (Sobek of Shedet), on a royal seal found at Gurob and on the funerary temple of Niouserre. The title "prophet of Shedet" is found with two priests of the 4th and 5th dynasties, buried at Dahshur and in Giza respectively.
The most conspicuous architectural remains of this period are the pyramid of Sheila, built under Snefru on top of a hill, just west of the Fayum depression, from where it is possible to see the pyramid at Meidoum. Several inscriptions found at Meidoum make mention of the nearby Fayum.
Caton-Thompson and Gardner 1934) wrongly dated several Middle Kingdom sites in the area of Qasr es-Sagha to the earlier period. Old Kingdom ceramics found North of the Lake do not necessarily point to permanent settlements.
Stone quarrying was going on in Umm es-Sawan, where fragments of stone vessels of dynasty I-IV were found, and in Widan el-Faras, from where a road led to the lake 12 km far.
© Willy Clarysse