One of the most exciting things about Egypt is the fact there’s still so much for archaeologists to explore and uncover – the Great Pyramid of Giza is merely the beginning of the ancient treasures that the country is home to. Take the recent public opening of the Pyramid of Senusret II.
The colossal structure can be found southwest of Faiyum, a two-hour drive from the capital, Cairo. It was built in the 12th Dynasty by the Pharaoh Senusret II, who ruled between 1897 and 1878 BC. From a distance, the pyramid looks like a rugged and rocky mountain, but up close, you’ll see that it’s built out of thousands of carefully placed mud bricks – thought to have represented fertility to the Ancient Egyptians – and has a limestone base.
A massive restoration kicked off last year, with teams of excavationists working to get the temple fit for visitors. It’s not the first time excavation has been attempted. In the past, efforts have been abandoned for being too difficult as so much of the site is underground.
According to TOLOnews, Mostafa Waziri, general secretary of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said in a statement: “The conservation work includes the removal of debris found inside the pyramid’s corridors and burial chamber, and installing wooden stairs to facilitate its entrance. It also includes reinstalling the fallen stones in the hall and corridor to its original location after restoration, as well as restoring the deteriorated stones of its floor and installing a new lighting system.”
During the process, archaeologists found various wooden masks, which could be funerary masks – even though you might be more familiar with the elaborate gold mask of Tutankhamun, most were made out of wood. The masks were meant to help protect your spirit as it crossed into the afterlife. Now, the pyramid is open to the public for the first time in 4,000 years. Sadly, Senusret’s mummy has yet to be found. Maybe you might stumble across it on your next visit?