Archaeologists have discovered a new pyramid under the sands of Saqqara, an ancient burial site that remains largely unexplored and has yielded a string of unearthed pyramids in recent years, Egypt's antiquities chief announced Tuesday.
The 4,300-year-old monument most likely belonged to the queen mother of the founder of Egypt's 6th Dynasty, several hundred years after the building of the famed Great Pyramids of Giza, the country's antiquities chief Zahi Hawass said as he took the media on a tour of the find.
The discovery is part of the sprawling necropolis and burial site of the rulers of ancient Memphis, the capital of Egypt's Old Kingdom, about 19 kilometers (12 miles) south of Giza.
All that remains of the pyramid is a square-shaped 16-foot (5-meter) tall structure that had been buried under 65 feet (25 meters) of sand. "There was so much sand dumped here that no one had any idea there was something buried underneath," said Hawass.
Hawass' team has been excavating at the location for two years, but he said it was only two months ago when they determined the structure, with sides about 72 feet (22 meters) long, was the base of a pyramid. They also found parts of the pyramid's white limestone casing -- believed to have once covered the entire structure -- which enabled them to calculate that the complete pyramid was once 45 feet (14 meters) high.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Egypt: 4,300-year-old pyramid discovered