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4,300 year old Pharaonic obelisk unearthed in Giza

Dr. Mostafa Waziri, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities announced the discovery of the upper part of an Old Kingdom obelisk, during the excavation work carried out by a Swiss-French Archaeological Mission from Geneva University, at the funerary complex of Queen Ankhnespepy II at the Saqqara necropolis on the Giza plateau.

4,300 year old Pharaonic obelisk unearthed in Giza
The newly discovered obelisk [Credit: Ministry of Antiquities]
"The obelisk belongs to Ankhnespepy II one of the most important queens of the 6th dynasty and mother of Pepy II, one of the 6th dynasty’s kings. She was the wife of King Pepy I and when he died, she married to his son from her sister Ankhnespepy I, Merenre, with whom she had the future King Pepy II. Merenre died and his son Pepy II inherited the throne when he was 6 years old and the queen became regent, and the effective ruler of the country. It is probably the reason why her pyramid is so large and she is the first Queen to have Pyramid Texts inscribed into her pyramid", explains Dr. Waziri.

According to Dr. Philippe Collombert, Head of the Swiss-French Archaeological Mission, the part of the obelisk found is in granite and measures 2,50 m. "It is the largest fragment of an obelisk from the Old Kingdom found yet, which indicates that its full height was around 5 m. At the top of the obelisk there is a small deflection that indicates that the pyramidion was covered with metal slabs, probably copper or golden foil, to make the obelisk glitter in the sun", adds Dr. Collombert.

4,300 year old Pharaonic obelisk unearthed in Giza
Dr. Waziri and Dr. Collombert on site [Credit: Ministry of Antiquities]
Dr. Ayman Ashmawy, Head of the Ancient Egyptian Sector at the Ministry, explains that there is an inscription on one side, with what seems to be the beginning of the titles and name of the Queen Ankhnespepy II. "The obelisk was probably moved from its original location at the entrance of the funerary complex of Ankhnespepy II. Maybe it was dragged away by the stonecutters of a later period as most of the necropolis was used as a quarry during New Kingdom and Late Period", Dr. Ashmawy added.

Alaa El-Shahat, Deputy of the Head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Sector at the ministry, said that this discovery will add to the work list of the mission which has been working in the site for over 50 years ago. "The main goal of the Mission is to study the Pyramid Texts of the Old Kingdom. Since 1987, the mission has also been excavating the necropolis of the queens buried in pyramids around the pyramid of Pepy I. This year, we are continuing our work on the funerary complex of Queen Ankhnespepy II", concludes El-Shahat.

Source: Ministry of Antiquities [October 04, 2017]

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