Tuesday, June 19, 2018 | Updated at 12:33 AM ET


New Step Pyramid Found in Egypt; Ancient Wonder is 4,600 Years Old

First Posted: Feb 05, 2014 02:21 AM EST

A step pyramid predating the Great Pyramid of Giza has been uncovered near the ancient settlement of Edfu, reports Fox News.

The now 16-feet tall structure was originally 43 feet, says Fox News, and was found under "a thick layer of sand, modern waste and remains from the pillaging of its blocks."

The "step" pyramid has been called such due to its construction. "A core of blocks rises up vertically, with two layers of blocks beside it, on top of each other. This made the pyramid look like it had three steps," says Fox News.

Live Science reports that the newly uncovered step pyramid n Edfu is one of the seven so-called "provincial" pyramids that were built by either Huni or Snefru. The provincial pyramids are characterized by the absence of chambers, the presence of which usually hinting that the structure is intended for burial purposes.

Because of this, archaeologists and researchers from the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago believe that the Edfu step pyramid, as well as other provincial pyramids, "acted as a monument dedicated to the worship of pharaoh."

True to the researchers' belief that the Edfu step pyramid was built as a monument, rather than a tomb, the remains of an installation where food offerings appear to have been made were found on the east side of the pyramid, reports Fox News.

Even so, remains of buried mothers, infants and children were also reportedly found at the foot of the pyramid. "But the archeologists believe those scrawlings and burials came long after the structure was built and were not part of its original purpose," says the Smithsonian.

According to the researchers, the pyramid in Edfu is intended to be saved and preserved through the Edfu Pyramid Project with an end goal of enclosing the whole area "without disfiguring the entire site, with a light but solid barrier providing a sufficiently clear limit to avoid the risks of traffic, illegal dumping, and plundering in the long term."

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