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Sunday, 5 May, 2002, 12:27 GMT 13:27 UK
Queen's pyramid found near Cairo
Pyramids
Archaeologists have found 110 pyramids in Egypt
Archaeologists in Egypt say they have discovered the remains of a 4,500-year-old pyramid.

The edifice, outside Cairo, is believed to contain the tomb of an unidentified Egyptian queen.


When we discover a pyramid, it's the most important thing

Zahi Hawass, antiquities expert
It is the 110th pyramid to be uncovered in Egypt and the first for four years.

Zahi Hawass, the director of Egypt's Supreme Council of the Antiquities, said it was an exciting find.

"When we discover in Egypt a tomb or statue, it's something important. But when we discover a pyramid, it's the most important thing," he said.

Accidental discovery

Mr Hawass said a Swiss team found the pyramid "completely by accident".

They were excavating the burial site of fourth dynasty Pharaoh Redjedef, son of Cheops, when they came across sharply cut blocks protruding from the ground above a square base.

The team spent two months investigating the pyramid, which was buried five metres (15 feet) underground and contained three chambers.

Mr Hawass said the archaeologists found part of a limestone sarcophogus, pieces of pottery and an alabaster jar used to store human innards following mummification.

The mummy, however, was missing, believed to have been taken by ancient grave robbers.

Hieroglyphics

Mr Hawass said the size and location of the pyramid suggested the tomb belonged to a woman, possibly the sister, daughter or wife of Redjedef.

Hieroglyphics found in the tomb spelled out the word Cheops, said Mr Hawass.

Redjedef succeeded Cheops, whose Great Pyramid is one of the most well-known.

The last similar discovery occurred four years ago, when another queen's pyramid was found at Saqqara, south of Cairo.

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Jeremy Frankel
" Buried by the desert for around 4,500 years"
See also:

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03 Apr 00 | Sci/Tech
Queen's pyramid discovered
17 Feb 00 | Middle East
Ancient sarcophagus discovered
14 Jun 99 | Middle East
Golden mummies discovered
14 Oct 99 | Middle East
Egypt unearths world's oldest stables
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