Featured image via Associated Press
Around 10 days ago, we posted a piece about the 4,000-year-old Lahun Pyramid in Fayoum that officially opened to the public. That news was trending until yesterday, when several international news sources, including Time, Associated Press, and Reuters, announced that Egypt just opened two ancient pyramids, including Sneferu’s Bent Pyramid, located about 40 kilometres south of the Cairo, to visitors for the first time since 1965! Naturally, we were intrigued and dug deeper to extract more information, and this is what we found out.
Minister of Antiquities, Khaled El-Anany told reporters on Saturday that Egyptian archaeologists uncovered a collection of stone, clay, and wooden sarcophagi, some of them with mummies inside, in the Dahshur royal necropolis, part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and home to what is considered to be some of the earliest pyramids. More discoveries in Dahshur included wooden funerary masks and cutting stone tools, all dating back to the Late Period of Ancient Egypt (664-332 BC).
Mostafa Waziri, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, added that they also uncovered large stone blocks along with limestone and granite fragments, indicating the existence of ancient graves in the area. He said, “When we were taking those objects out, we found…a very rich area of hidden tombs.” Sources also state that archaeologists unveiled the nearby tomb of Sa Eset, a supervisor of pyramids in the Middle Kingdom, which has been closed since its excavation in 1894 and contains finely preserved hieroglyphic funerary texts.
What do we know about the Bent Pyramid? It was built during the Old Kingdom (c. 2686-2181 BC) under the reign of Pharaoh Sneferu, the founding Pharaoh of the Fourth Dynasty of Egypt, whose burial place remains undetermined. He built at least three pyramids that survive to this day (the Bent Pyramid, the Red Pyramid, and the Meidum Pyramid), and introduced significant innovations in the design and construction of pyramids.
In terms of description, Reuters states that “Tourists will now be able to clamber down a 79-metre narrow tunnel from a raised entrance on the pyramid’s northern face, to reach two chambers deep inside the 4,600-year-old structure.” They add that “its appearance is unusual, as the first 49 meters, which have largely kept their smooth limestone casing, are built at a steep 54-degree angle, before tapering off in the top section.” We don’t want to bore you with all the structural and architectural details, so you can read more about it via this link.