Thursday, February 20, 2014

NEWS: 4,600-Year-Old Egyptian Pyramid

Sakkara Step pyramid as a sample for what was discovered 
Decades before the great pyramids at Giza took shape, a modest stepped pyramid arose at a site now known as Edfu. Archaeologists from the University of Chicago have been studying the 4,600-year-old stone structure since 2010, gathering information about its purpose and attempting to protect it from modern encroachment.


Contrary to many news reports this week, this is not a new discovery. In fact, the pyramid's existence has been known since at least 1894. The archaeologists involved in the recent research declined to comment on their work. Because it is ongoing, "the archeologists don't feel comfortable giving media interviews about the project at this time," a university spokesperson wrote in an e-mail. But the university and the American Research Center in Egypt have published a number of reports as work on the pyramid has progressed. Here's what's known, and what has been discovered over the past few years.

The Edfu pyramid is located about 500 miles (800 kilometers) south of the Egyptian capital of Cairo. Until the recent archaeological excavations began, it wore a shroud of sand that had accumulated for many centuries. The structure is one of several identical pyramids built at about the same time in early provincial centers in southern Egypt—Seila in the Fayum, Zawiet el-Meitin, Abydos, Naqada, Hierakonpolis, and Elephantine near Aswan. 

First, the Edfu pyramid and its six counterparts were likely symbols of royal power. The king ruled from Memphis, near modern Cairo. These engineered mounds of stone would have served to remind people in the provinces who was really in charge of their lives, and that Egypt was a unified political state. Second, the provincial pyramids may have been places where people worshipped the king, who was believed to be a living god.
For more Info: National Geography 

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