Egyptian archaeologists have uncovered the “missing pyramid” of a pharaoh and a ceremonial procession road where high priests carried mummified remains of sacred bulls, Egypt’s antiquities chief said Thursday.
Zahi Hawass said the pyramid — of which only the base remains — is believed to be that of King Menkauhor, an obscure pharaoh who ruled for only eight years more than 4,000 years ago.
In 1842, German archaeologist Karl Richard Lepsius mentioned Menkauhor’s pyramid among his finds at Saqqara, calling it the “Headless Pyramid” because its top was missing, Hawass said.
But the desert sands covered Lepsius’ discovery, and no archaeologist since was able to find it.
“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, the capital of Egypt’s Old Kingdom, south of Cairo.
Only the pyramid’s base — or the superstructure as archaeologists call it — was found after a 25-foot-high mound of sand was removed over the past year and a half by Hawass’ team.
The base was in a 15 foot-deep pit dug out by workers, with heaps of huge rocks marking its entrance and walls. A burial chamber also was discovered.
Hawass said the style of the pyramid and of a gray granite sarcophagus lid found in the burial chamber indicates the pyramid was from the Fifth Dynasty, a period that began in 2,465 B.C. and ended in 2,325 B.C.