Minister of Antiquities and foreign ambassadors at the inauguration of restored pyramids in Dahshur
Despite the sweltering heatwave gripping Cairo, journalists and media outlets flocked to Dahshur Necropolis in Giza to join Egypt's Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany and foreign and African ambassadors to Egypt from 40 countries to inaugurate the restored Senefru’s Bent and its satellite Pyramids.
The foreign ambassadors to Egypt who travelled to Dahshur to attend the inauguration included the envoys of Germany, Italy, France, Britain, Hungary, Cameron, Congo.
The Senefru Bent Pyramid is now open to the public for the first time ever.
Mostafa Waziri, the secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said that the restoration work on both pyramids involved the consolidation of their inner structures and walls as well as installing an external and internal lighting system, along with wooden ramps and stairs to facilitate their visits.
On site, El-Enany explained that the Senefru's Bent Pyramid is an ancient Egyptian pyramid located in the royal Dahshur Necropolis, and that it has been placed on the UNESCO’s world heritage list as part of the Memphis Necropolis.
The Bent Pyramid was built during the Old Kingdom under King Sneferu (c. 2600 BC) and is a unique example of early pyramid development in Egypt. It represents a transitional form of pyramid construction between the Djoser Step Pyramid, Meidum Pyramid and the Red Pyramid.
The Bent Pyramid had steep angles of inclination and showed signs of instability during its construction process.
In order to correct the steep inclination of Bent, the builders first changed the angle of construction to 45 degrees.
However, as the pyramid showed signs of decay, the builders then constructed another pyramid adjacent to Bent, the Red Pyramid - called so because of the colour of its stones - to serve as a royal burial site.
After the inauguration, El-Enany announced a new discovery of a Middle Kingdom winding wall almost 300 metres south of King Amenemhat II’s pyramid at Dahshur Necropolis.
The discovery was made by an Egyptian archaeological mission, which was excavating in the Dahshur area, El-Enany said.
The Egyptian mission stumbled upon remains of the Middle Kingdom winding wall, which stretches along 60 metres towards the east, the minister explained.
El-Enany said that the mission found a collection of stone, clay and wooden sarcophagi with some of them still housing its mummies.
Some of the sarcophagi, which are anthropoid, were found to be very well preserved, still maintaining the original paint on the surface.
A collection of wooden funerary masks was also unearthed along with instruments used for cutting stones from the Late period, indicating that the area was reused in a later period.
Waziri pointed out that the mission selected such an area for its excavation due to a previous archeological surveys discovering large stone blocks in the surface of Dahshur, along with limestone and granite fragments, which indicated the existence of archaeological graves.
The mission started the excavations that made the discovery in August 2018 and completed its session in April 2019.
More work will resume later to uncover more of the area’s secrets, Waziri said.