New Discoveries at Saqqara

H.E. Farouk Hosni, Minister of Culture, announced today that a section of the avenue of sphinxes, known among archaeologists as the avenue associated with the Anubieion, and the superstructure of an unidentified pyramid have been found at Saqqara during excavations carried out by an Egyptian archaeological mission led by Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA).

The Minister of Culture explained that this avenue was previously mentioned in Roman manuscripts and documents unearthed beside the Serapeum, the necropolis of the Apis bulls at Saqqara.

Dr. Hawass stated that the French archaeologist Auguste Mariette found a section of the avenue of sphinxes in 1850; its western extension led him to the Serapeum. It also extended to the east towards the Anubieion. Dr. Hawass added that another section of the avenue dated to the Ptolemaic period was found during recent excavations. It extends to the east reaching the area of the Nile Valley and the Anubieionís gate, which once was opposite the valley.

The mission also unearthed a limestone block decorated with inscriptions of Ptolemy V (204-180 BC), which suggests that the newly discovered section of the avenue may be the southern edge of the Anubis temple.

Dr. Hawass also said that the superstructure of a pyramid, which was mentioned by the German archaeologist Karl Richard Lepsius and given the number XXIX, has been located. This pyramid was covered with sand for a long time, and none of the Egyptologists succeeded in locating it until recent excavations uncovered it beside the pyramid of Teti I, first king of the Sixth Dynasty (c. 2374-2354 BC). The entrance of the pyramid, its walls, and burial chamber were also discovered. Inside the burial chamber, a white limestone block was found which may be the northern wall of the chamber, as well as the lid of a sarcophagus and a pit used for the chest containing the canopic jars.

Some Egyptologists believe that the newly discovered pyramid dates back to the Old Kingdom, while others assign it to the Middle Kingdom. Despite the fact that there is no cartouche giving the name of the pyramidís owner, Hawass believes that it may belong to King Menkauhor of the Fifth Dynasty.

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