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Belgian scientists find 3,300-year-old pyramid at Luxor

By Helen Maguire

DPA(MCT)

Published: Thursday, Feb. 21 2013 10:18 p.m. MST

BRUSSELS (MCT) — A mudbrick pyramid built about 3,300 years ago has been unearthed in the Egyptian city of Luxor by a team of Belgian scientists, universities in Brussels and Liege announced Thursday.

The pyramid is thought to belong to a vizier, or senior adviser, called Khay, who worked under the reign of pharaoh Ramses II about 1279-1213 B.C., judging by the stamp impressions found on the brick.

The vizier, who was the highest official under the pharaoh, would have supervised the workers in charge of building the royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens. Khay is known to Egyptologists through many documents.

The pyramid, situated on the Luxor West Bank — the site of the ancient city of Thebes — originally stood about 49 feet high, and its side measured 39 feet, according to a statement by Universite Libre de Bruxelles and the Universite de Liege.

"Located high on the hill, overlooking the memorial temple of Ramses II, the pyramid must have been an impressive landmark of the Theban landscape," the universities wrote.

The mudbrick had been covered in whitish plaster and capped by a small topstone, or pyramidion, decorated with an image of the tomb's owner adoring the sun-god Ra-Horakhty.

Khay's tomb is immediately below the pyramid, but remains to be excavated as a modern village house has been built on top, the universities said.

The vizier's pyramid was built in the courtyard of an earlier tomb, which the Belgian team had discovered in 2009.

During the excavation of that tomb, the researchers also found fragments of wall paintings dating back to about 1479-1427 B.C.

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