French team discovers Queen's Pyramid in Sakkara
Egypt-France, Culture, 3/30/2000
A team of French archaeologists has discovered a pyramid at Sakkara near Cairo belonging to an ancient Egyptian Queen from the Sixth pharaonic Dynasty, an Egyptian antiquities official said on Wednesday.
"A French team found the pyramid last Sunday, thus brining the number of pyramids in Egypt to 108" Zahi Hawass, antiquities chief in the Giza pyramids area said.
He said the team, headed by professor Jean Leclant, found hieroglyphic inscriptions engraved on the walls of the queen's burial chamber, which were earlier found only in the pyramids of kings. The texts usually refer to their lives after death.
"This is the first record of a queen's pyramid to have such inscription" Hawass said. "The pyramid text assured the divinity of the king and also helped the queen to ascend to the sky."
He said the queen, the wife of Pharaoh Pepi I and mother of Pepi II, was called Ankhnspepi. Her pyramid tomb was built over 4,000 years ago during the Sixth Dynasty.
"Only few remains of the beautifully decorated, pyramid have been found" said Gaballah Ali Gaballah, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.
"The work, still in its initial stage, is to continue until mid-May and we expect to find more" he added.
A piece of the pyramid, wide of 25 meters (82 ft) and one meter high, is currently exhibited at the Egyptian Museum as part of the Eighth International Egyptology Congress to be held in Cairo to April 3.
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