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
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.
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 (fifteen feet) 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
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).