Pyramid found in Egypt is older than Giza's Great Pyramid

Feb. 3, 2014 at 7:21 PM

EDFU, Egypt, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- Archaeologists report they've uncovered a 4,600-year-old step pyramid near the Egyptian city of Edfu built decades before the Great Pyramid at Giza.

It is the seventh such "provincial" pyramid discovered, all constructed before the better known pyramids at Giza, LiveScience reported Monday.

The solid step-pyramids have been found in various part of Egypt and are nearly identical, archaeologists say.

Step pyramids were not used for royal burials and contain no inner chamber like the Giza pyramids, and their exact purpose is still debated, although archaeologists theorize they may have been monuments to living Egyptian royalty.

An area adjacent to one of the recently discovered pyramid's sides appears to have been used for food offerings, but it apparently was abandoned around 50 years after its creation, possible in response to the new focus on the pyramids at Giza, they said.

The newly discovered pyramid stands about 16 feet tall, but when it was new, its three step levels would have reached a height or more than 40 feet, they said.

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