8 chambers discovered inside Sahure’s Pyramid in Abusir Necropolis

A joint Egyptian-German mission has made an unprecedented discovery of eight previously undocumented storage chambers – or magazines – within Sahure’s Pyramid in the Abusir Necropolis south of Giza.

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This discovery was made during conservation work carried out by the German-Egyptian archeological mission from the University of Würzburg headed by Egyptologist Mohamed Ismail Khaled. The work began in 2019 and is supported by the Antiquities Endowment Fund (AEF) of the American Research Centre in Egypt (ARCE).

The project aims to safeguard the substructure of the pyramid by cleaning its interior chambers, stabilizing its interior to prevent further collapse, and consolidating its previously inaccessible burial chambers.

“This discovery sheds new light on the interior design and architecture of King Sahure[’s Pyramid], the second king of the Fifth Dynasty (2400 BC) and the first king to be buried in Abusir,” said Mostafa Waziri Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA).

The magazines will be opened to scholars for studies after the completion of its restoration, he added.

Khaled explained that during the restoration process, the team determined the original dimensions and layout of the antechamber. Although the eastern wall of the antechamber was badly damaged, and only the north-eastern corner and 0.30 m of the eastern wall were still detectable, traces of a low passage, previously observed by British explorer John Perring in 1836, were unearthed.

“This important discovery proved that the observation made during Perring’s exploration was correct,” Khaled pointed out, adding that the eight magazines were uncovered after the passage was cleared of rubble.

The northern and southern parts of the magazine’s area were severely damaged, particularly the ceiling as well as the original floor. “However, remnants of the original walls and parts of the floor can still be seen,” Khaled observed.

“Accurate documentation of each magazine’s layout and dimensions, has significantly enhanced our understanding of the pyramid’s interior design,” said Khaled.

The restoration process aims to balance preservation and presentation, ensuring the structural integrity of the magazines while making them accessible for future study and the potential public.

He pointed out that state-of-the-art technology, including the 3D laser scanning, enabled the Egyptian-German team to investigate the pyramid in detail and comprehensively map its external and internal areas.

“The frequent scans provide real-time progress updates and create a lasting record of the exploration efforts.”