Egypt opens 2 ancient pyramids for first time since 1960s

  • A member of an international delegation sketches the site of the Bent Pyramid during an event opening the pyramid and its satellites for visitors in Dashur, Egypt, Saturday, July 13, 2019. The Bent pyramid, listed on UNESCO’s world heritage list as part of the Memphis necropolis, is considered a transition phase in pyramids construction that comes between step pyramids and complete pyramids. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

  • Women visit the Bent Pyramid during an during an event opening the pyramid and its satellites for visitors in Dashur, Egypt, Saturday, July 13, 2019. The Bent pyramid, listed on UNESCO’s world heritage list as part of the Memphis necropolis, is considered a transition phase in pyramids construction that comes between step pyramids and complete pyramids. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

  • Detail of a recently discovered sarcophagus at the Memphis necropolis during an event opening the pyramid and its satellites for visitors in Dashur, Egypt, Saturday, July 13, 2019. An Egyptian mission led by Dr. Mostafa Waziri discovered a collection of stone, clay and wooden sarcophagi which some of it still houses its mummies in addition to wooden funerary masks and instruments used in cutting stones from the Late period. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

  • Women look at recently discovered artifacts at the Bent Pyramid during an event opening the pyramid and its satellites for visitors in Dashur, Egypt, Saturday, July 13, 2019. An Egyptian mission led by Dr. Mostafa Waziri discovered a collection of stone, clay and wooden sarcophagi which some of it still houses its mummies in addition to wooden funerary masks and instruments used in cutting stones from the Late period. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

CAIRO — Egypt recently opened two of its oldest pyramids, located about 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of the capital of Cairo, to visitors for the first time since 1965.

Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Anany told reporters that tourists were are now allowed to visit the Bent Pyramid and its satellite pyramid in the Dahshur royal necropolis, which is part of the Memphis Necropolis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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The Bent Pyramid, which was built during the Old Kingdom of the Pharaoh of Sneferu, in about 2600 B.C., is unique in that it has two internal structures. El-Anany said the Bent Pyramid represents a transitional form of pyramid construction between the Djoser Step Pyramid (2667-2648 B.C.) and the Meidum Pyramid (also about 2600 B.C.)

El-Anany also announced that Egyptian archaeologists have uncovered a collection of stone, clay and wooden sarcophagi, some of them with mummies, in the area. He said archaeologists also found wooden funerary masks along with instruments used for cutting stones, dating to the Late Period (664-332 B.C.).

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Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said they also uncovered large stone blocks along with limestone and granite fragments indicating the existence of ancient graves in the area.

Egypt has been whipping up publicity for its new historical discoveries in the hopes of reviving a devastated tourism sector still recovering from the turmoil following a 2011 uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

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