Pyramid of Unas in foreground is near suspected site of Userkare's tomb.
Based on new astronomical and topographical findings, archaeologists believe the missing pyramid of Userkare ~ 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 kings of the 6th Dynasty between 2322 and 2151 BC, the lines would have defined the sacred space of the Saqqara area, based on 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. He took power after Teti I was murdered, perhaps in a conspiracy he himself had maneuvered.
"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, referring to the oldest known religious texts in the world that were carved on the walls and sarcophagi of the pyramids at Saqqara during the 5th and 6th Dynasties of the Old Kingdom.
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