|Work has been suspended for now at the 4,600 year old Seila Pyramid in Egypt.|
The structure was built by the pharaoh Snefru, the father of Khufu.
Photo courtesy Professor Kerry Muhlestein
Archaeological work has been suspended at the 4,600 year-old Seila Pyramid in Egypt.
Excavation and research at the site has been going on for nearly three decades now by a team led by Professor Wilfred Griggs of Brigham Young University.
Seila is one of four pyramids constructed by the pharaoh Snefru. The father of Khufu, this ruler revolutionized pyramid building by constructing the first “true” pyramids, with flat sides that angle up towards the sky.
There is a vast cemetery near the pyramid, estimated to hold nearly one million mummies. Most of the people buried there date to Graeco-Roman times (starting ca. 2,300 years ago) or later.
The past few days have seen widespread protests across Egypt, with demonstrators demanding that President Hosni Mubarak, a man who has led the country for 30 years, resign.
Professor Griggs said in a telephone interview from Cairo that antiquities officials are not permitting work to be done at the pyramid, “they’re worried about robbing and looting.” With the US government urging its citizens to leave the country, the Brigham Young team will depart in a few days.
Griggs emphasized that he has no information to indicate that Seila and its cemetery has been robbed and thinks it unlikely. “I hope they have not been.” From his conversations with antiquities officials they are more concerned about the general area that the pyramid is located in – to the north looting attempts have been reported at the sites of Abusir and Saqqara.