I grew up believing the pyramids in Egypt were burial tombs. The other day I was channel surfing while watching television and came upon a documentary that claimed that, actually, no Egyptian mummy has ever been found entombed within the pyramids. Wait! What?
Digging around, if I did the math correctly, the busiest pyramid building periods were from about the year 2300 B.C. until about 4 A.D. When most people think about the pyramids of Egypt, what usually comes to mind are the Great Pyramids of Giza that are considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The oldest and largest of these is reported to have been built for Khufu. Three smaller pyramids constructed near the Great One are supposedly for his queens. His mother, Queen Hetepheres, was actually discovered entombed nearby.
The middle pyramid of the Great Pyramids of Giza was constructed for his son, Khafre. This is the one with the Sphinx guarding it.
So, then, my question is, were the mummies of Khufu and Khafre found entombed within these pyramids? If not, was evidence discovered to indicate that at one time they had been entombed there?
Well, according to the Smithsonian Institute, found inside what is called the “King’s Chamber” in the center of the Great Pyramid were what is believed to be the remains of a sarcophagus belonging to Khufu. This has led experts to believe that Khufu was entombed within the Great Pyramid but at some point his tomb was raided, hence the empty chamber.
Now, actually, most mummies have been found in the Valley of The Kings. That’s where archaeologists found Tutankhamen. In efforts to avoid tomb raiders and protect the eternal rest of their kings and queens, the remains of other rulers may have also been relocated to the Valley of The Kings.
Now, Khafre loved himself very much. In fact, he commissioned twenty-three life-size statues of himself that were erected in his valley temple. Seven more that were larger than life-size were erected in the temple of his mortuary. Considering this, it is then very interesting to find that his mummy nor any remains whatsoever were found within his pyramid. Experts believe there should have been some trace of his interment even if the pyramid was plundered. Robbers hit his mortuary temple and yet artifacts were still to be found when modern day archaeologists entered and studied it.
What an interesting mystery! Although no remains have been found in any of the Great Pyramids, some of the smaller pyramids have actually yielded the discovery of mummies. In 2009 a mummy believed to be Queen Sesheshet was found. Her pyramid is located near Cairo in a burial ground that would have been near what would have been the capital city of Memphis during her lifetime.
As is usually the case, her pyramid had been plundered of treasure but her remains had been left alone. This may have been due to the design of her sarcophagus. It was made of granite and had a six ton lid. Certainly it would have been too heavy for ancient tomb raiders to lift so her mummy and jewels remained safe within.
So, I’m of the mind to believe that at one time these pyramids did contain the mummies of great Egyptian Pharaohs and they were either molested by robbers and forever lost to history or were relocated to the Valley of The Kings to be re-interred in a more secure tomb. You can come to your own conclusion!