Egypt’s ‘floating’ pyramid exposed after pharaoh’s ‘4,000-year-old secret decoded’

Pyramid of Lahun: Experts discuss Egypt’s ‘floating’ monument

Senusret II was the fourth pharaoh of the Twelfth Dynasty of Egypt who ordered for the construction of the Pyramid of Lahun before his death. The ancient ruler took a great deal of interest in the Faiyum oasis region and began work on an extensive irrigation system from Bahr Yussef through to Lake Moeris in Middle Egypt. The purpose of his project was to increase the amount of cultivable land in that area and as a result of his efforts, it would remain the political capital of Egypt through to the 13th Dynasty.

But the Science Channel’s ‘Unearthed’ documentary explained why his pyramid was “like no other”.

The series revealed: “Surrounded by a strange trench, this is the only pyramid ever built to look like it floats on water.

“Now our cameras have been given exclusive access to venture inside this bizarre megastructure for the very first time.

“We explore tunnels hidden deep below the ground, use pioneering drone scanning analysis and forensics to decode the secrets of a pharaoh locked away for 4,000 years. 

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“We will digitally deconstruct the pyramid’s star-shaped inner-skeleton, reveal its hidden tunnels, unearth its astonishing engineering features and uncover long-lost treasures to solve the mystery of the strangest pyramid of all.”

In the new documentary, released earlier this month, experts gained a unique glimpse into the past.

The series explained: “Built around 1870BC, it’s a mighty monument clad in gleaming limestone that rises 160 feet above the desert.

“At the top, a black granite capstone makes a connection to the heavens.

“Next to it, a smaller pyramid – for the pharaoh’s queen – and eight stone mastaba memorials.

“It was all inclosed by a huge mud-brick wall. The complex was said to be surrounded by water, seemingly floating in the desert.

“It stands in Egypt’s vast western desert. This is a fertile area of the desert known as the Faiyum Oasis.”

Leading archaeologist Salima Ikram revealed her theory on how the pharaoh created the illusion that his pyramid was floating.

She said: “What a sight it must have been for people, to look at something like that – this mountain of a pyramid encircled by water.

“We’re in the middle of a desert, but in the distance, you can see there is lots of greenery and vegetation.

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“The fact that there is a lush oasis here means there is a constant supply of water.”

Instead of using an infill of stones, mud and mortar, Senusret II;s pyramid used an infill of mud bricks before cladding the structure with a layer of limestone veneer.

The outer cladding stones were locked together using dovetail inserts, some of which still remain.

A trench was dug around the central core that was filled with stones to act as a drain.

The limestone cladding stood in this drain, indicating that Senusret II was concerned with water damage.

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