Nov 13, 2008

Newly Discovered Pyramid at Saqqara

Announced on 11/11 by Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass, what remains of a 4,300 year old pyramid is being excavated in Saqqara.

The discovery is the third known subsidiary, or satellite, pyramid to the tomb of Teti. It's also the second pyramid found this year in Saqqara, an ancient royal burial complex near current-day Cairo.

. . .

"This might be the most complete subsidiary pyramid ever found at Saqqara," added Hawass, who is also a National Geographic Society explorer-in-residence.

The pyramid is believed to be the tomb of Queen Sesheshet, whose son Teti was the first of King of the 6th Dynasty.

Sesheshet's son Teti might have been more motivated than the average pharaoh to pay homage to his mother. Sesheshet had come from a powerful family and probably supported his ascendancy to the throne during turmoil at the end of the 5th dynasty.

"She's one of the important ladies at that time," said Hakim Haddad, general director of excavations in Egypt.

"At the end of the 5th dynasty and the beginning of the 6th dynasty, there was a conflict between two branches of the royal families."

. . .

"You can discover a tomb or a statue, but to discover a pyramid it makes you happy. And a pyramid of a queen—queens have magic."

"Queens have magic," says the very not metaphysical Hawas. Hmm... Well, they can do some very cool things on a chess board. But, in all seriousness, this statement has me thinking. That's not an aspect of the queen archetype I've ever given a lot of thought to. Let's face it. Queens are practically superfluous in most fairy tales... unless they're wicked stepmothers. And, there are certainly many evil, magical queens. The story of Snow White comes to mind. And, of course, Susan Sarandon (Queen Narissa) in the very dear fairy tale send-up, Enchanted. She turned out to be a giant, malevolent dragon. (Shades of Melusine?) And, of course, there's the White Witch in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Yes, many black magic practicing queens, I can think of. But I digress...

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