A 4600-year old pyramid in close proximity to the town of Edfu in Egypt has finally gotten its wash, scrub and cleanse as scientists have begun excavating the structure which is believed to be the 7th ‘provincial’ pyramid constructed many, many years prior to that of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
The latest pyramid to be excavated is 16 feet in height however when it was originally erected the structure’s peak topped approximately 43 feet.
Archaeologists are still unsure what the pyramid was used for as there are no inner chambers or royal burials hidden within its depths. An educated guess from scientists suggests the pyramid was used for fare offerings in addition to a royal Egyptian shrine.
It appears as though the pyramid was vacated some 50 years following its conception, most likely redirecting its efforts to Giza.
Hieroglyphic inscriptions discovered on the pyramid portray an animal, a book roll, leaf, man and bird. Archaeologists believe women and children may have been buried in or around the pyramid. It’s been determined however, the women and children were placed there many years after the pyramid’s creation which would suggest those burials were not a part of the structure’s initial function.
Research Associate, Gregory Marouard, at the University of Chicago‘s Oriental Institute who led the excavation, spoke to LiveScience via email.
The construction itself reflects a certain care and a real expertise in the mastery of stone construction, especially for the adjustment of the most important blocks.
LiveScience described the pyramid’s structure and history.
Built of sandstone blocks and clay mortar, it had been constructed in the form of a three-step pyramid. A core of blocks rises up vertically, with two layers of blocks beside it, on top of each other. This made the pyramid look like it had three steps. The style is similar to that of a step pyramid built by Djoser (reign ca. 2670-2640 B.C.), the pharaoh who constructed Egypt’s first pyramid at the beginning of the third ancient Egyptian dynasty. The technique is close to that used at the Meidum pyramid, which was built by either Snefru or Huni and started out as a step pyramid before being turned into a true pyramid.