Menkaure (Mykerinos to the ancient Greeks; c.2532–2503 BC) is the builder of the third of the three large Giza Pyramids. He was most likely the son of Khafre (Khefren), and grandson of Khufu (Cheops). With a base area that is less than a quarter of their pyramids’, and with an original height of 65 meters, Menkaure’s is by far the smallest of the three. This reduction in size is due to several factors, including the limited amount of space left on the Giza Plateau. The material used for the outer casing of Menkaure’s pyramid is another. Whereas his predecessors had used limestone for this purpose, Menkaure employed granite, which was quarried in Aswan, over 800 km away. In addition to the logistics involved in transportation of the granite blocks, the material itself is much harder than limestone. However, only the bottom quarter of the casing stones are made of granite however, the rest being limestone.
Like the Great Pyramid, three smaller pyramids can be seen next to Menkaure’s as well, which were used for the burials of his queens. No satellite pyramid has been discovered, however, but it is believed that the largest of the three queens’ pyramids was in fact originally intended to have been the satellite pyramid.
Menkaure died before his pyramid complex was completed, and much of the pyramid’s granite casing blocks were not smoothed. His mortuary and valley temples were intended to consist of colossal limestone blocks encased in granite, but were actually completed with whitewashed mudbrick. Despite this, however, the mortuary cult of Menkaure was practiced for another 300 years after his death.