Archaeologists have discovered a new pyramid under the sands of Saqqara, an ancient burial site that has yielded a string of pyramids in recent years, but which remains largely unexplored.
The 4,300-year-old monument most likely belonged to Queen Sesheshet, the queen mother of the founder of Egypt's 6th Dynasty, and was built several hundred years after the famed Great Pyramids of Giza, antiquities chief Zahi Hawass said Tuesday.
The discovery is part of the sprawling necropolis and burial site of the rulers of ancient Memphis, the capital of Egypt's Old Kingdom, about 12 miles south of Giza.
All that remains of the pyramid is a 16-foot-tall structure that had been buried under 65 feet of sand. "There was so much sand dumped here that no one had any idea there was something buried underneath," Hawass said. His team had been excavating for two years, but only determined two months ago that the structure, with sides about 72 feet long, was the base of a pyramid. The pyramid is the 118th discovered so far in Egypt, and the 12th to be found in Saqqara. Only about a dozen remain intact.
"To find a new pyramid is always exciting," Hawass said. "And this one is magical. It belonged to a queen."