Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ancient 4,300-year-old pyramid uncovered in Egypt

Egypt's chief archaeologist has announced the discovery of a 4,300-year-old pyramid in Saqqara, the sprawling necropolis and burial site of the rulers of ancient Memphis.

Zahi Hawass said the pyramid may have belonged to Queen Sesheshet, the mother of King Teti who was the founder of the 6th Dynasty of Egypt's Old Kingdom.
Archaeologists working on the site, 12 miles south of Cairo, will only know for sure once they enter the burial chamber and find inscriptions. Two of the Pharaoh's wives are buried nearby in the necropolis.

References to Queen Sesheshet have been found in ancient papyrus texts. In one of them, the queen made a request to doctors to find her a cure for hair loss, Hawass said.

Egypt's antiquities chief Zahi Hawass made the announcement at the site in Saqqara today, about 12 miles south of Cairo.

Hawass' team had been excavating near the world's oldest step-pyramid of Saqqara, the main burial site of ancient royal Egyptians before the pyramids of Giza.

They made their pyramid discovery only two months ago after nearly two years of work.
'It's common for us to find a tomb or a statue, but to find a pyramid, that is rare,' Hawass said.

'There are probably many more discoveries to be made around this site.'

The base was discovered 20 metres below the sand and it appears thieves had looted the pyramid.

Hawass says the new pyramid is the 118th discovered so far in Egypt.
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