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4,000 year-old pyramid in Egypt opens to the public

A small team of archaeologists from the Egyptian ministry of antiquities spent around a year clearing out the burial chamber inside the pyramid, which had been covered in rocks and debris since its discovery.

Fallen stones were restored to their original locations and wooden staircases were installed, according to a statement by the Egyptian ministry of antiquities.

A variety of artefacts were excavated and placed on display outside the pyramid, including “amulets, scarabs, shells, and chains,” which were in pristine condition, according to the Secretary General of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, Mostafa Waziri.

Sarcophagi bearing persevered paintings, showing hues of green, red and white, were also on display in glass cases, next to a collection of painted masks.

The mud brick pyramid located in Fayoum, which was first excavated more than a century ago, is believed to be built by the 12th dynasty pharaoh Senusret II, who according to museum supervisor Ashraf Sobhy is one of few Middle Kingdom rulers who chose to be buried in Fayoum, 60 km (35 miles) south of Cairo.

Standing inside King Senusret II’s burial chamber, Sobhy said he and his successor’s decision to choose Fayoum, as their final resting place was linked to agricultural reforms and projects initiated during the Middle Kingdom.

The pyramid has been closed since its 19th century discovery, but the Egyptian ministry of antiquities decided to open it up as a tourist attraction.

The tourism sector is one of the country’s main sources of foreign currency but has struggled since a 2011 uprising that ousted then president Hosni Mubarak. A total of 14.7 million people visited Egypt in 2010 before the uprising.

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