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Ancient Egypt

Fourth Dynasty Queen's Pyramid Found

Edited from BBC News, 5 May 2002

Archaeologists in Egypt stated in 2002 that they had discovered the remains of a 4,500-year-old pyramid. The edifice, outside Cairo, was believed to contain the tomb of an unidentified Egyptian queen.

It was the one hundred and tenth pyramid to be uncovered in Egypt and the first in four years. Zahi Hawass, the director of Egypt's Supreme Council of the Antiquities, said it was an exciting find, rating the discovery of a new pyramid as just about the most important of finds.

Accidental discovery

Mr Hawass said a Swiss team found the pyramid 'completely by accident'. They were excavating the burial site of fourth dynasty Pharaoh Dedefre (or Redjedef, the Greek version of his name), son of Khufu (Cheops), when they came across sharply cut blocks protruding from the ground above a square base.

The team spent two months investigating the pyramid, which was buried five metres underground and which contained a total of three chambers. Mr Hawass said the archaeologists found part of a limestone sarcophagus, pieces of pottery, and an alabaster jar used to store human innards following mummification.

The mummy, however, was missing, believed to have been taken by ancient grave robbers.


Mr Hawass said the size and location of the pyramid suggested the tomb belonged to a woman, possibly the sister, daughter, or wife of Dedefre. Hieroglyphics found in the tomb spelled out the word Khufu.

Dedefre succeeded Khufu, whose Great Pyramid is one of the most well-known of all of them.

The fourth dynasty witnessed a flowering of pyramid building, as well as the establishment of firm trading links with the Levant. Before this find, the previous similar discovery occurred in 1998, when the pyramid of a Sixth Dynasty queen was found at Saqqara, to the south of Cairo (see sidebar link, right).



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