French archeologists have discovered the remains of a 4,000-year-old queen’s pyramid south of Cairo, complete with texts of special prayers previously found only with kings.
The finding was one of several announced at the Eighth International Congress of Egyptologists, a weeklong conference that ends today and has drawn about 1,500 archeologists to Egypt’s capital.
The French team, led by Jean Leclant, uncovered the foundation stones March 25 in Sakkara, an ancient royal cemetery about 20 miles south of Cairo. The pyramid belonged to Queen Ankh-sn-Pepi, the wife of King Pepi I.
The archeologists dug into the queen’s burial chamber and found a stone bearing pyramid texts, or special prayers to protect the dead and ensure sustenance in the afterlife. Until this discovery, such texts had been found only in the pyramids of kings. It is not yet known why they were in the queen’s burial chamber.
“Who knows what else they may find?” said Gaballa Ali Gaballa, head of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities. The team will work at the excavation site, now one of the country’s largest, through May.