Sesheshet in hieroglyphs

Sš sš.t


Sesheshet, occasionally known as Sesh, was the mother of King Teti, the first and founding pharaoh of the sixth dynasty of Ancient Egypt. She was instrumental in enabling her son to gain the throne and reconciling two warring factions of the royal family.[1]

In 2008 archeologists discovered what is believed to have been her pyramid.[2]


Sesheshet was a grandmother of King Pepi I Meryre. Queen Iput I, Teti's wife, was a daughter of King Unas, the last king of the Fifth dynasty. The dynasty that arose from Teti is considered part of the Old Kingdom of Egypt, a term designated by modern historians.

There was no break in the royal lines or the location of the capital from its predecessors, but significant cultural changes occurred to prompt the designation of different periods by scholars.

Until the recent rediscovery of her pyramid, little contemporary evidence about Sesheshet had been found. Her estates under the title King's Mother are mentioned in the tomb of the early sixth dynasty Vizier Mehi, and she is referenced in passing as the mother of Teti in a remedy for baldness in the Ebers Papyrus.[3]

Teti named his daughters after his mother.

Pyramid discovery

On November 8, 2008, Egypt's chief archaeologist, Zahi Hawass, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), announced that Sesheshet was entombed in a 4,300-year-old, topless pyramid at Saqqara that measures 5 metres (16 ft) tall. Hawass stated that this may be Saqqara's most complete subsidiary pyramid.[4] The tomb is number 118 among the ancient pyramids discovered so far in Egypt. The largest part of its 2 metres (6.6 ft) wide casing was built with a superstructure 5 metres (16 ft) high.

Hawass's archaeological team began excavating the site in 2006. The discovery of the pyramid was made in September 2008 with the unearthing of the structure from the sand. The structure originally reached 14 metres (46 ft) in height, with sides 22 metres (72 ft) long.[5]

Once five stories tall, the pyramid was discovered beneath 7 metres (23 ft) of sand, a small shrine, and mud-brick walls from later periods. It is the third known "subsidiary" pyramid to Teti's tomb and originally was 14 metres (46 ft) and 22 metres (72 ft) at its base, due to its walls having stood at a 51-degree angle. Buried next to the Saqqara Step pyramid, its base lies nineteen metres underground.[6]

The pyramid of Sesheshet lies near two other pyramids which belong to Unas's two wives, Nebet and Khenut. Archeologists entered the pyramid on January 8, 2009. The remains of what are thought to be Sesheshet were found in the sarcophagus of the tomb. The mummy was found wrapped in cloth in the 22-metre long and four-metre wide chamber. Even though the archaeologists didn’t find the name of the queen in hieroglyphics, there is evidence to suggest that the mummy was the mother of the Sixth Dynasty ruler Teti, Hawass said in the statement. "It is believed that these remains belong to Queen Sesheshet, especially because the pyramid was not built for worship but it was a burial pyramid," he said. Hawass also stated that the sarcophagus appeared to have been looted. Ancient robbers had stolen most of the valuables from inside the sarcophagus, leaving behind the body parts, some pottery and gold that was used to cover fingers of royal pharaohs.[7][8]

Although ancient graphics in good condition adorn the structure, it is presumed that the tomb was robbed of its valuable artifacts centuries ago.


  1. ^ 'Ancient Egypt queen' found. The Straits Times
  2. ^ "4,300-year-old pyramid discovered in Egypt" November 12, 2008 Link accessed 13/11/08[dead link]
  3. ^ Dodson, Aidan and Hilton, Dyan. The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt. p.70 Thames & Hudson. 2004. ISBN 0-500-05128-3
  4. ^ "New Pyramid Found in Egypt: 4,300-Year-Old Queen's Tomb". November 14, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-14.
  5. ^ "Egypt says has found pyramid built for ancient queen". Reuters. Archived from the original on 2008-11-18. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  6. ^ "Under tons of sand, a treasure of history". August 17, 2010. See also: National Geographic News:New Pyramid Found in Egypt: 4,300-Year-Old Queen's Tomb and "Pyramid find to shed light on last Pharaoh dynasty".
  7. ^ "Archaeologists find mummy of ancient Egypt queen". ABC News. Jan 9, 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-09.
  8. ^ "Mummy of Queen Sesheshet found?". Egyptology Online Resources. Jan 8, 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-08.

9.4300 Year Old Pyramid Discovered in Egypt

External links

  • BBC, In pictures: New pyramid found