SAQQARA, Egypt — Egyptian archaeologists unveiled yesterday a 4,000-year-old "missing pyramid" that is believed to have been discovered by an archaeologist almost 200 years ago and never seen again.
Egypt's antiquities chief, Zahi Hawass, said the pyramid appears to have been built by King Menkauhor, an obscure pharaoh who ruled for only eight years.
In 1842, the German archaeologist Karl Richard Lepsius mentioned it among his finds at Saqqara, referring to it as number 29 and calling it the "Headless Pyramid" because only its base remains. But the desert sands covered the discovery, and no archaeologist since has been able to find Menkauhor's resting place.
"We have filled the gap of the missing pyramid," Mr. Hawass told reporters on a tour of the discoveries at Saqqara, the necropolis and burial site of the rulers of ancient Memphis, the capital of Egypt's Old Kingdom, about 12 miles south of Cairo.
The team also announced the discovery of part of a ceremonial procession road where high priests, their faces obscured by masks, once carried mummified sacred bulls worshipped in the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis.
The pyramid's base — or the superstructure as archeologists call it — was found after a 25-foot-high mound of sand was removed over the past year and a half by Mr. Hawass' team.
Mr. Hawass said the style of the pyramid indicates it was from the Fifth Dynasty, a period that began in 2,465 B.C.E. and ended in 2,325 B.C.E. That would put it about two centuries after the completion of the Great Pyramid of Giza, believed to have been finished in 2,500 B.C.E.
Another proof of its date, Mr. Hawass says, was the discovery inside the pyramid of a gray granite lid of a sarcophagus, of the type used at that time.
The rectangular base, at the bottom of a 15 foot-deep pit dug out by workers, gives little indication of how imposing the pyramid might have once been. Heaps of huge rocks, many still partially covered in sand and dust, mark the pyramid's walls and entrance, and a burial chamber was discovered inside.
Archaeologists have not found a cartouche — a pharaoh's name in hieroglyphs — of the pyramid's owner. But Mr. Hawass said that based on the estimated date of the pyramid he was convinced it belonged to Menkauhor.