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Sunday, October 8, 2017
New Discovery, Saqqara: Archaeologists Unearth Largest-Ever Discovered Obelisk Fragment From Egypt’s Old Kingdom
Waziri and Collombert on Site
Swiss-French archaeological mission at the Saqqara necropolis, directed by
Professor Philippe Collombert from the University of Geneva, has unearthed the
upper part of an Old Kingdom obelisk that belonged to Queen Ankhnespepy II, the
mother of King Pepy II (6th Dynasty, Old Kingdom, around 2350 BC). Written By/ Nevine
said that the part of the obelisk that was unearthed is carved in red granite
and is 2.5 metres tall; the largest fragment of an obelisk from the Old Kingdom
yet discovered. “We can estimate that the full size of the obelisk was around
five metres when it was intact,” he said.
Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told Ahram
Online that the artefact was found at the eastern side of the queen’s pyramid
and funerary complex, which confirms that it was removed from its original
location at the entrance of her funerary temple.
of the 6th dynasty usually had two small obelisks at the entrance to their
funerary temple, but this obelisk was found a little far from the entrance of
the complex of Ankhnespepy II,” Waziri pointed out, suggesting it may have been
dragged away by stonecutters from a later period. Most of the necropolis was
used as a quarry during the New Kingdom and Late Period.
The Newly Discovered Obelisk
said that the obelisk also bears an inscription on one side, with what seems to
be the beginning of the titles and the name of Queen Ankhnespepy II. “She is
probably the first queen to have pyramid texts inscribed into her pyramid,”
Waziri said. He explains that before her, such inscriptions were only carved in
kings' pyramids. After Ankhnespepy II, some wives of King Pepy II did the same.
says that at the top of the obelisk, there is a small deflection that indicates
that the pyramidion (the tip) was covered with metal slabs, probably of copper
or golden foil, to make the obelisk glint in the sun. The main goal of the
mission, which was established in 1963 by Jean-Philippe Lauer and Jean Leclant,
is to study the pyramid texts of the Old Kingdom.
1987, the mission has also been excavating the necropolis of the queens buried
in pyramids around the pyramid of Pepy I. This year, the mission is continuing
work on the funerary complex of Queen Ankhnespepy II, the most important queen
of the 6th dynasty.
II was married to Pepy I, and upon his death, she married Pepy I’s son,
Merenre, from her sister Ankhnespepy I. Ankhnespepy II gave birth to the future
King Pepy II. Merenre died when Pepy II was around six years old. Ankhnespepy
II then became regent, and the effective ruler of the country, but did not go
as far as to become pharaoh, as Hatshepsut did later on. “This is probably why
her pyramid is the biggest of the necropolis after the pyramid of the king
himself,” he said.