Monday, September 08, 2008

Rising from the ruins

The Star Central (Hisham Zulkifli)

Recent studies have pointed to a fourth pyramid that was built during the fourth dynasty of ancient Egypt. Local authorities are already talking about plans to open it to visitors next year.

CAN anybody lose a pyramid in Egypt? Apparently, yes, in a place called Abu Rawash, some 8km north of Giza where the country’s great pyramids are.

Recently, media members who congregated in Giza, in the south-west of the capital Cairo in northern Egypt, found themselves coming face to face with an Egyptian man on a mission. Dr Zahi Hawass, the secretary-general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, declared that by next year, he wants all the pyramids to be opened to the public.

“Anyone who comes to Egypt will be able to go and see Abu Rawash, which will be opened to the public,” he said at a press conference in May, during which newsmen were treated to an abridged version of The History Channel’s new documentary, The Lost Pyramid. (It premieres on Astro Channel 555 tonight.)

But, really, how can anyone miss a pyramid? After all, it is one of those massive stone structures hundreds of feet tall, right?

The fact is, even though there are more than 80 of these burial monuments along the Nile River, they are all in various states of ruin, with some barely recognisable as pyramids. Indeed, some resemble little more than mounds of sand.


GP01 said...

I've, more or less just finished watching the History Channel documentary & have been left slightly confused by the fact that they portrayed Abu Roash as being, somehow, a new discovery, or completely inaccessible, until now.

On the first point they gave a history of the earlier excavations at the site; including several remarks to the effect that it had been identified as the site of Djed-ef-Re's pyramid.

As regards the site being inaccessible, I was fortunate enough to have been able to visit the site in June of 2001; the excavation team was, understandably, avoiding the summer heat, but it was thoroughly enjoyable. Amongst my clearest memories are the fact that the builders had reverted to the technique of accretion walls; rather than the horizontal courses of the Red & Great Pyramids, & the vast number of shards from beer jars that were heaped up around the site.

Otherwise, it was good to see that such a long period of excavation has lead to a much better understanding of both the nature & history of both the site & this King's monument.

Anonymous said...

"Recent studies have pointed to a fourth pyramid that was built during the fourth dynasty of ancient Egypt."

I think they meant the fourth pyramid. And by fourth, they would have to be referring to the pyramids built for kings. If satellite pyramids count, Djedefre's pyramid would be the 7th.