Archaeologists have unearthed a 3,300-year-old tomb which had a 7-metre-high pyramid at its entrance in an ancient cemetery in Egypt.
The tomb, found at the site of Abydos, contained disarticulated skeletal remains from three to four men, 10 to 12 women and at least two children.
Within one of its vaulted burial chambers, archaeologists found a finely crafted sandstone sarcophagus which was painted red.
There is no mummy in the sarcophagus, and the tomb was ransacked at least twice in antiquity, researchers said.
The chambers uncovered would have originally resided beneath the surface, leaving only the steep-sided pyramid visible.
“Originally, all you probably would have seen the pyramid and maybe a little wall around the structure just to enclose everything,” said Kevin Cahail, a doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania, who led excavations at the tomb.
The pyramid itself “probably would have had a small mortuary chapel inside of it that may have held a statue or a stela giving the names and titles of the individuals buried underneath,” Mr. Cahail told ‘LiveScience’.
Now, all that remains of the pyramid are the thick walls of the tomb entranceway that would have formed the base of the pyramid. The other parts of the pyramid either have not survived or have not yet been found.
It was not uncommon, at this time, for tombs of elite individuals to contain small pyramids, Mr. Cahail said.
The tomb was excavated in the summer and winter field seasons of 2013 and Mr. Cahail will be presenting the results at a meeting of the American Research Center in Egypt, to be held in Portland next month.