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Latvian specialists find forgotten Egyptian pyramid column

  • 2007-02-19
  • From wire reports

REDISCOVERED: Latvian researchers have helped relocate a missing column from the Djoser Pyramid in Saqqara, Egypt.

A team of Latvian specialists exploring Egypt's ancient pyramids have rediscovered a forgotten column from the Djoser Pyramid in Saqqara, Egypt. The column had been taken to a Berlin Museum, but went missing from its collection during World War II bombing.

A team of Latvian specialists exploring Egypt's ancient pyramids have rediscovered a forgotten column from the Djoser Pyramid in Saqqara, Egypt.
The column had been taken to a Berlin Museum, but went missing from its collection during World War II bombing.
Bruno Deslandes, head of a Latvian team of scientists, said they discovered the forgotten column in museum archives in Berlin and returned it to Egypt.
"We scanned the column and put it back in the gallery, and for the first time since 1842, when German Lepsius took the column to Berlin, it was possible to get the complete view of the gallery," Deslandes said.
After studying archives and publications, the Latvian scientists concluded that the missing 22nd column was once covered with inscriptions or epigraphs, and that for this reason German Egyptologist Karl Richard Lepsius had taken the column to the Berlin Museum of Egyptology.
The museum was severely damaged in bombardments during the World War II, and its collection was twice moved to safer locations. Traces of the column disappeared from the museum's documents, Deslandes said.
In cooperation with the museum's director, Dietrich Wildung, the Latvian scientists found the missing column, as well as a number of other valuable artefacts from the Djoser Pyramid.
"The column is covered with beautiful epigraphs, it is remarkably well preserved," Deslandes said. "Initially, it was erected in a small temple that stood in the southern courtyard of Djoser"s step Pyramid and was dedicated to some Nemtymessus - a treasurer and chief scribe."
Later, the column was used to reinforce the pyramid's southern gallery.
The Latvian scientists have already made several expeditions to Egypt to study its ancient pyramids.
The Deslandes-led expeditions to Egypt's ancient pyramids have made several important discoveries and last October the Latvian specialists found an inscription dedicated to the architect Imhotep, who created the pyramid to pharaoh Djoser.
Djoser's Pyramid, the oldest known stone building in the world, was built some 2,700 years BC by architect Imhotep.