TORONTO — Archaeologists working near the ancient settlement of
Edfu, in southern Egypt, have uncovered a step pyramid that dates back
about 4,600 years, predating the Great Pyramid of Giza by at least a
The step pyramid,
which once stood as high as 43 feet, is one of seven so-called
"provincial" pyramids built by either the pharaoh Huni (reign ca.
2635-2610 B.C.) or Snefru (reign ca. 2610-2590 B.C.). Over time, the
step pyramid's stone blocks were pillaged, and the monument was exposed
to weathering, so today, it's only about 16 feet tall.
Scattered throughout central and southern Egypt, the provincial
pyramids are located near major settlements, have no internal chambers
and were not intended for burial. Six of the seven pyramids have almost
identical dimensions, including the newly uncovered one at Edfu, which
is about 60 x 61 feet.