Archaeologists working near Edfu, a city in southern Egypt, fought back the rolling tide of modern development to preserve a rare archaeological site. And the effort has paid off: Beneath this heap of sand, at a site called Tell Edfu, researchers have uncovered a 4,600-year-old step pyramid — one of the earliest pyramids yet found.
The new find predates the more massive Great Pyramid of Giza by decades. It stands just 16 feet tall today, but it probably towered more than 40 feet before weathering and pillaging diminished its stature.
The structure is one of seven nearly identical “provincial” pyramids constructed by either the pharaoh Huni (reign ca. 2635-2610 B.C.) or Sneferu (reign ca. 2610-2590 B.C.). The provincial pyramids don’t contain burial chambers, and researchers think they may have been symbols reinforcing the power of the king in southern provinces. Via 4,600-Year-Old Pyramid Uncovered in Southern Egypt