Washington, March 30 (ANI): A new astronomical and topographical research has indicated that the missing pyramid of an obscure pharaoh that ruled Egypt some 4,300 years ago could lie at the intersection of a series of invisible lines in South Saqqara.
Connecting the funerary complexes raised by the kings of the 6th Dynasty between 2,322 B.C. and 2,151 BC, these lines would have governed the sacred space of the Saqqara area, in accordance with a number of criteria such as dynastic lineage, religion and astronomical alignment.
"We are talking of meridian and diagonal alignments, with pyramids raised at their intersections. The only missing piece in this sort of grid is the pyramid of Userkare," Giulio Magli, professor of archaeoastronomy at Milan's Polytechnic University, told Discovery News.
Known only from the king lists, Userkare was the second pharaoh of the 6th Dynasty and ruled briefly between Teti and Teti's son Pepi I.
He took power after Teti was murdered, perhaps in a conspiracy he himself had maneuvered.
Little is known about this shadowy pharaoh.
"When Pepi I took control a few years later, Userkare disappeared from history. Finding his tomb might help understand those obscure years. The walls in his burial might also contain intact copies of the Pyramid Texts," Magli said.
Magli's hunt for the lost pharaoh evolved around previous studies on the pyramids of the Old Kingdom.
From the Step Pyramid of Djoser (second king of the 3rd Dynasty) to the now-collapsed pyramid of Unas (the last king of the 5th Dynasty), all these monuments appear to be connected by a pattern of diagonal invisible lines.
"Diagonal axes - generally oriented northeast by southwest - governed Giza, Abusir and the Saqqara central field. But we have a different pattern with some 6th dynasty kings: their funerary monuments in South Saqqara appear to have been planned according to meridian, north-south axes," Magli said.
According to this pattern, the pyramid top of Pepi I (third king of the 6th Dynasty) aligned with that of Userkaf (first king of the 5th Dynasty), while the pyramid apex of Merenre (fourth king of the 6th Dynasty) aligned with that of Unas (last king of the 5th Dynasty).
"It is difficult to think that this rigorous meridian structure is just a coincidence. However something does not match in this pattern: no pyramid aligned with the Step Pyramid of Djoser, by far the most important and revered pyramid at Saqqara," Magli said.
The position was allegedly free, but the pharaohs choose different, sometime more complex sites.
For example, Pepi II, the third king of the 6th Dynasty, moved further to the southwest, and aligned the top of his pyramid with that of 3rd Dynasty King Sekhemkhet.
"There could be a simple explanation: the position in meridian alignment with the Step Pyramid was not free at all, being occupied by Userkare's complex," Magli said.
He suggested that Userkare's tomb is located approximately in the middle of the line connecting Pepi I and Merenre's diagonals, in alignment with Djoser's pyramid. (ANI)