Egyptian archaeologists have discovered a pyramid buried in the desert and thought to belong to the mother of a pharaoh who ruled more than 4,300 years ago, Egypt's antiquities chief Zahi Hawass said on Tuesday.
He said that the pyramid, found about two months ago in the sand south of Cairo, probably housed the remains of Queen Sesheshet, the mother of King Teti, who ruled from 2323 to 2291 BC and founded Egypt's Sixth Dynasty.
"The only queen whose pyramid is missing is Shesheshet, which is why I am sure it belonged to her," Hawass said. "This will surely enrich our knowledge about the Old Kingdom."
The Sixth Dynasty, a time of conflict in Egypt's royal family and erosion of centralized power, is considered to be the last dynasty of the Old Kingdom, after which Egypt descended into famine and social upheaval.
Archaeologists had previously discovered pyramids belonging to two of the king's wives nearby, but had never found a tomb belonging to Sesheshet.
The headless, five-meter high pyramid originally reached about 14 m, with sides 22-meter long, Hawass said.
The pyramid, which Hawass said was the 118th found in Egypt, was uncovered near the world's oldest pyramid at Saqqara, a burial ground for the rulers of ancient Egypt.
"This may be the most complete subsidiary pyramid ever found at Saqqara," Hawass believes.
The monument was originally covered in a casing of white limestone brought from quarries at nearby Tura, Hawass said.
Archaeologists plan to enter the pyramid's burial chamber within two weeks, although most of its contents are likely to have been taken by thieves, Hawass said.
He explained that Artefacts including a wooden statue of the ancient Egyptian god Anubis and funerary figurines dating from a later period indicate that the cemetery had been reused through Roman times.
1. Archaeologists think the tomb probably housed the remains of Queen Sesheshet, the mother of King Teti, who ruled from what years to what years and founded which Dynasty?
2. How high did the pyramid originally reach?
3. Where were the remains of the pyramid found?
1. King Teti reuled from 2323 to 2291 BC and founded Egypt's Sixth Dynasty.
2. About 14m high.
3. In the sand south of Cairo (Egypt’s capital).
（英语点津 Helen 编辑）
Dylan Quinnell is a freelance journalist and photographer from New Zealand who has worked in TV, print, film and online. With a strong interest in international affairs, he has worked in Denmark, Indonesia and Australia, covering issues like the EU, indigenous people and deforestation. Dylan is in Beijing on an Asia New Zealand grant working as a copy editor for the English news department.