Sunday, February 23, 2014

Entrance to the pyramid burial chamber

On Thursday, we reached an amazing moment in our exploration of Kurru Pyramid 1: we uncovered the doorway to the burial chamber.

In the pyramids of the kings and queens of Kush, the ancient builders cut a staircase into the rock that led down to two or more burial chambers. The staircase was open to the sky, but the burial chambers were entirely underground, cut into the rock itself.

All of the royal burials were looted, and the looters took different paths into the tombs. Sometimes they dug through the sediment that filled the staircase, reached the stones that blocked the entrance, and entered the tomb that way.

In Kurru Pyramid 1, they didn’t dig 7 meters down to reach the original doorway, but only about two meters under the surface, where they just dug through the rock and broke into the top of the outer room, which had a ceiling about 5 meters high.

You can see where things stood for us on Thursday—the tall and narrow original entrance, the bricked-up looter’s tunnel, and the remains of the layer of sand and trash that had accumulated in the pyramid staircase since Reisner’s excavation. We have lots of work ahead of us.


  1. Very exciting! Too bad about those looters. JBO

  2. I should have said that looters don't always do a good job and that many of the tombs have contained amazing finds and historical information after being looted. And in at least one case, some significant finds were protected from looters by a collapse of rock from the tomb ceiling. We know there was a big rockfall in this pyramid...