Remains of 3,700-year-old pyramid unearthed in Dahshur

A team of Egyptian archaeologists has discovered the remains of a forgotten pyramid in Dahshour, Giza, 40 km south of Cairo, which dates back 3,700 years to ancient Egypt’s 13th dynasty. However, the member of the royal family for whom this pyramid was built has not yet been identified.

The remains include the pyramid’s inner structure, including a corridor, along with rows of blocks which reveal the interior design of the funerary edifice. An alabaster plaque with hieroglyphic inscriptions was also discovered nearby the structure, along with columns topped with a granite architrave.

Alaa al-Shahat, head of the Central Administration for Artifacts in Cairo and Giza told local media outlets on Tuesday that the remains were in “a well-preserved condition,” adding that the team of archeologists that made the discovery will continue to conduct excavations around the site in the upcoming period, in hopes of unearthing additional segments and building blocks.

An alabaster plaque with hieroglyphic inscriptions was also discovered near the site

Mahmoud Afify, head of the Department of Ancient Egyptian Artifacts at the Antiquities Ministry, said the remains of the forgotten pyramid were discovered on Monday, just south of the Bent Pyramid of King Snefru (who reigned during the Old Kingdom’s fourth dynasty, circa 2613-2589 BC) in the royal necropolis of Dahshur. King Snefru had commissioned the construction of both the Bent Pyramid and the adjacent Red Pyramid in the Dahshur necropolis during his reign.

The Bent Pyramid, whose excessively steep angles were adjusted during the construction process — earning it the name “bent” — is believed to have been ancient Egypt’s first attempt to erect a pyramid with smooth sides. Snefru’s taller Red Pyramid was built later, with shallower angles.

The forgotten pyramid in Dahshur is unique in that its construction took place around 900 years after Snefru’s pyramids were built. The vast majority of Egypt’s pyramids (estimated at between 118 to 138) were constructed during the Old and Middle Kingdoms, most commonly in the period between the 3rd and 12th dynasties (from around 2700-1800 BC).

Only a few pyramids were constructed during the 13th dynasty (circa 1803-1649 BC). The last such edifice to have been discovered is the pyramid of the 18th dynasty king, Ahmose (who reigned circa 1549-1524 BC), which did not serve as a tomb.

Last week, a large plank from a royal funerary solar ship was excavated by the Great Pyramid of King Khufu (Cheops) at the Giza plateau. Khufu (who reigned circa 2589-2566 BC) had commissioned the tallest and largest pyramid in Egypt, the only remaining wonder of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

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