The pharaoh, known as Sanakht, is believed to have reigned during Egypt’s Third Dynasty, around 2700 B.C. This period marked the dawn of high civilization in the lower Nile Valley – a 500-year era known to Egyptologists as the Old Kingdom or “the Age of the Pyramids”. It was characterized by dramatic transformations in architecture and economy.
However, Sanakht’s exact place in the Dynasty is disputed. Some Egyptologists say he actually founded the Third Dynasty, citing claims by Manetho, an Egyptian priest who lived during the third century B.C. Others point to recently unearthed evidence that strongly suggests Sanakht reigned during the Dynasty’s later period.
Likewise, the duration of Sanakht’s rule is strongly contested. Manetho’s claim that he ruled for 18 years seems dubious because few relics survived from his reign, unlike some other pharaohs of the same period. Of course, Manetho lived some two thousand years after Sanakht, meaning his account is unlikely to be entirely reliable.