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35 ancient pyramids discovered in Sudan

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
February 7th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

In an amazing archaeological find, researchers have found 35 ancient pyramids in the African nation of Sudan. Uncovered between the years of 2009 to 2012, some of the pyramids are so densely packed together that 13 were found in an area roughly the size of a basketball court.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Built during the height of the Kush Kingdom, the 2,000-year-old pyramids resemble French formal gardens with a circle built inside them. The pathway cross-braces and connects the circle to the corners of the pyramid. The site, dubbed Sedeinga, only one pyramid is known to have been built in this way.

The Kush kingdom shared a border with Egypt and Roman Empire. The impetus to build pyramids among the Kush people was influenced by Egyptian funerary architecture.

Researchers say that pyramid building there continued for many centuries.

"The density of the pyramids is huge," researcher Vincent Francigny, a research associate with the American Museum of Natural History in New York says. "Because it lasted for hundreds of years they built more, more, more pyramids and after centuries they started to fill all the spaces that were still available in the necropolis."

The biggest pyramids are about 22 feet wide at their base with the smallest being only 30 inches long, probably intended for the burial of a child. The tops of the pyramids are not attached, as the passage of time and the presence of a camel caravan route resulted in damage to the monuments.

Francigny said that the tops would have been decorated with a capstone depicting either a bird or a lotus flower on top of a solar orb.

Pyramid construction continued until they ran out of room. "They reached a point where it was so filled with people and graves that they had to reuse the oldest one," Francigny said.

Excavation director of the French Archaeological Mission to Sedeinga, Francigny and his team made the discoveries. Along with team leader Claude Rilly, Francigny published an article detailing the results of their 2011 field season in the most recent edition of the journal Sudan and Nubia.

Among the discoveries were several pyramids designed with an inner cupola, or circular structure connected to the pyramid corners through cross-braces. Rilly and Francigny noted in their paper that the pyramid design resembled a "French Formal Garden."

Only one pyramid, outside of Sedeinga, is known to have been constructed this way, and it's a mystery why the people of Sedeinga were fond of the design. It "did not add either to the solidity or to the external aspect [appearance] of the monument," Rilly and Francigny write.

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