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Wednesday, June 03 2020 @ 12:56 PM CDT


Pyramid Mysteries

A five metre tall pyramid of the Sixth Dynasty Queen Sesheshet has been discovered at Saqqara necropolis...

Nevine El-Aref was among the crowds gathered to hear the announcement of the finding that brings the number of pyramids discovered in Egypt to 118.

Minister of Culture Farouk Hosni told the gathered throng that the pyramid dates from 4,300 years ago and is five metres in height, though originally it reached about 14 metres. The base is square, and the sides of the pyramid slope at an angle of 51 degrees. The entire monument was originally cased in fine white limestone from Tura.

Zahi Hawass, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), believes the pyramid, the architecture of which is characteristic of fifth and sixth dynasties, belonged to Queen Sesheshet, thought to be the mother of King Teti, the founder of the Sixth Dynasty.

"We are familiar with this queen from mention of her in a medical papyrus containing a recipe, supposedly created at her request, to strengthen the hair," Hawass said.

Ushabti figurines found in the area date to the third Intermediate Period. There is also a New Kingdom chapel decorated with a scene of offerings being made to Osiris, a group of Late Period coffins, a wooden statue of the god Anubis, amulets, and a symbolic vessel in the shape of a cartouche containing the remains of a green substance. "These objects will be transported to the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir where they will be restored and put on display," said Hosni.

According to Sabri Abdel-Aziz, head of the SCA's ancient Egyptian department, the finds show the entire area of the Old Kingdom Teti cemetery was re-used from the New Kingdom through to the Roman Period.

Earlier excavations at the site revealed the pyramid of Queen Khuit, wife of Teti. Scholars had long believed Khuit to be a secondary wife though Hawass told Al-Ahram Weekly the discovery that her pyramid was built before that of queen Iput I, long believed to be Teti's chief queen, suggested Khuit's status needed to be upgraded. (photo: Khaled El-Fiqi)

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