Eight more chambers have been located in the pyramid of Pharaoh Sahure at Abusir during an ongoing restoration project at the site.
According to press reports from Egyptian media, the joint German-Egyptian team headed by Mohamed Ismail Khaled (University of Würzburg) found eight hitherto unknown chambers in the pyramid of 5th Dynasty Pharaoh Sahure (c. 2458–2446 BCE) during the latest season of an AEF / ARCE-supported conservation project which runs since 2019. The project aims at securing the stability of the pyramid’s substructure and interior, performing clearance of its chambers, and consolidating its burial chambers that had remained inaccessible till recently.
As Dr. Khaled explained, during the work at the pyramid’s antechamber, the team located traces of a low passage that had been recorded by British explorer John Perring in 1836. Following the passage’s clearance, the team stumbled upon the eight “new” rooms, identified with magazines. The rooms were found in bad condition, as the ceiling and a large part of the floor had been “severely damaged”, while the area was filled with debris. Still, the documentation of each magazine was possible, as high-standard technology (including 3D laser scanning) and other tools were available to the team who proceeded with mapping the pyramid’s internal end external areas. For the time being, experts are working to secure the stability of the newly found chamber before the area opens to scholars and the public.
Sahure was the second pharaoh of the 5th Dynasty, which historically belonged to Egypt’s Old Kingdom. He is credited for the first known Egyptian expedition to the foreign Land of Punt as well as for commissioning a now-lost Sun Temple, a type of cultic monument dedicated to the solar cult which is similar to a pyramid complex but has no mortuary character and characterizes the religious advances of the 5th Dynasty. He had also been immortalized through a Middle Kingdom mythical narrative recorded in the famous Westcar Papyrus, where he is seen as one of three miraculously born kings that would succeed Pharaoh Khufu’s “unrighteous” dynasty.
Sahure was the first pharaoh to build his pyramid complex at Abusir, instead of Saqqara or Giza. The location had been selected due to its proximity to Abu Ghurob, where his predecessor Userkaf had built the first-ever Sun Temple. The complex is characterized by a focus on the temple area, which is extended and richly decorated, unlike the pyramid itself which is smaller and built with less costly materials.