Egyptian archaeologists on Thursday unveiled a 4,000-year-old “missing pyramid” that is thought to have been discovered by an archaeologist almost 200 years ago and never seen again.
Zahi Hawass, Egypt's antiquities chief, said the pyramid appears to have been built by King Menkauhor, a pharaoh who ruled for only eight years.
In 1842, German archaeologist Karl Richard Lepsius mentioned it among his finds at Saqqara, referring to it as No. 29 and calling it the “Headless Pyramid” because only its base remains. But desert sands covered the discovery, and no archaeologist since has been able to find Menkauhor's resting place.
“We have filled the gap of the missing pyramid,” Hawass told reporters on a tour of the discoveries at Saqqara, the necropolis and burial site of the rulers of ancient Memphis, 12 miles south of Cairo.
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The team also announced the discovery of part of a ceremonial procession road where high priests once carried mummified sacred bulls worshipped in Memphis, the ancient Egyptian capital.
The pyramid's base was found after a 25-foot-high mound of sand was removed over the past year and a half by Hawass' team.
Hawass said the style of the pyramid indicates it was from the Fifth Dynasty, a period that began in 2465 B.C. and ended in 2325 B.C.
Although archaeologists have been exploring Egypt for some 200 years, Hawass says only a third of what lies underground in Saqqara has been discovered.
“You never know what secrets the sands of Egypt hide,” he said.