Given the size of the damn things, you’d be quite right in thinking that all of the pyramids had been found already – but a couple of recent discoveries would seem to suggest that there’s plenty more exploring to be done out there.
Just last week, a group of archaeologists in Luxor, close to Egypt’s capital Cairo, stumbled across the ruins of a pyramid belonging to Khay, a powerful vizier (advisor) of Pharaoh Ramses II, who ruled Egypt from 1279 B.C. to 1212 B.C.
What remains of the 3,000-year old pyramid were discovered by a joint expedition from the University of Liege and the Free University of Brussles, reports Egyptian news site Al Ahram. The pyramid stands at an impressive 15 meters talk, and is decorated with engravings depicting Ra-Horakhty, one of the ancient Egyptian gods.
Khay’s actual tomb is yet to be uncovered, but Al Ahram reports that excavation efforts are continuing. The Free University of Brussels put out its own press release reporting the find, saying that the connection to Khay means that this particular pyramid has great historical significance:
“Khay is well-known by Egyptologists through numerous documents. Occupying the highest civil rank in the kingdom, Khay took part in the celebrations of the six first jubilees of Ramses II. He also supervised the artist community that was in charge of realizing the royal tombs in the Valley of Kings and the Valley of Queens.”
More details come from the International Business Times, which reveals that the pyramid was discovered at the West Bank of Thebes, on the hill of Sheikh Abd al-Qurna, overlooking the tomb of Ramses II, also known as Ramses the Great.
Ramses tomb was discovered long ago, and his mummy can be seen on display at Cairo’s Ancient Egyptian Museum, alongside two statues of Khay.
Last week’s discovery comes on the back of another recent discovery where archaeologists unearthed the bases of 35 broken pyramids at the Sedeinga site in the Sudan. These pyramids are reported to be in a far worse condition than Khay’s tomb, despite the fact that they’re only believed to be 2,000 years old. The pyramids were constructed out of mud brick and once belonged to the ancient Kush kingdom, which lasted from 1000 B.C. to around 350 A.D. The Kingdom was eventually overrun and absorbed by the Axum Empire in Ethiopia.
According to LiveScience, the Sedeinga pyramids are far less grandiose than those in Egypt, with the largest measuring just 22 feet wide at its base, while the smallest is a tiny 30-inches across. Elsewhere in Sudan, far larger pyramids have been discovered, such as those at Nuri and Meroe, which stand 150-feet tall.
Inevitably some readers will be scratching their heads and wondering just how the hell these new pyramids weren’t discovered long before now. Well, the answer is that not only are these structures far smaller than the gigantic Great Pyramids of Giza, but they can also remain hidden for hundreds of years due to a combination of erosion and the shifting sands of the desert. And in the case of the Sedeinga pyramids, the stones atop the structures had long since been removed, used by locals to build newer structures.
Another problem is that many pyramids were built out of inferior materials – some of Egypt’s most recently built pyramids, such as the tomb of Senusret II pictured below, are barely visible due to being made out of poor quality mud bricks and, many believe, shoddy workmanship.