Ancient Egypt: Mystery Squatting Skeleton of Teenage Girl Discovered Near 4,600-year-old Pyramid

Ancient Egypt, Skeleton, 2
Archaeologists reveal the ancient skeleton of a girl. Egypt Ministry of Antiquities

Archaeologists have uncovered the ancient remains of a girl, two animal heads and three ceramic vessels near a roughly 4,600 year-old pyramid in Egypt, the country's Ministry of Antiquities reported.

Scientists believe the skeleton belonged to a girl aged around 13, but they aren't sure exactly when she was buried at the site. The pyramid itself—the Meidum pyramid—originally dates back to the third dynasty of Egypt (2686–2613 B.C.E).

The girl's skeleton was discovered curled up in a squatting position in a cemetery at the Meidum site. Her exact age remains unknown. The animal skulls—likely bulls—and the small pottery vessels were found elsewhere in the cemetery, and are thought to be funerary offerings.

Located near the ancient city of Memphis, the Meidum site features a pyramid, a mortuary temple and a raised track leading to another temple near the River Nile.

Scholars think the pyramid's construction began at the end of the third dynasty at the command of King Huni, before it was finally completed by Snefru—the first king of the fourth dynasty (2613–2498 B.C.E).

Initially built as a stepped pyramid, Meidum was eventually converted into a true pyramid with the help of limestone from the ancient Tora quarry, Encylopaedia Britannica reports.

The Old Kingdom, which spanned from 2613 to 2181 B.C.E, is sometimes called the Age of the Pyramids. Egypt's most famous pyramids—such as the Great Pyramid of Giza and its neighbor, the Pyramid of Khafre—were constructed during this period.

As well as Meidum, King Snefru was responsible for the Bent Pyramid and the Red Pyramid, both located at the royal necropolis of Dahshur, roughly 25 miles south of Cairo.

Although these ancient pyramids are grand, some historians believe they indicate vast inequality was present in Egypt at the time, with resources diverted to the gravesites of kings. Few archaeological sites from the time remain outside of the Memphite pyramid area.

The young girl's remains are the latest in a series of significant ancient Egyptian finds. Over the last few months, the Ministry of Antiquities has announced discoveries including the discovery of eight mummies in brightly-painted sarcophagi, the skeleton of a pregnant woman buried with beads and pottery and some 800 tombs hidden in a gravesite between two pyramids.

The Egyptian government has been keen to attract tourists after visitor numbers fell in the wake of the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 and subsequent political unrest.

In other archaeological news, researchers in Scotland were disappointed to discover a stone circle thought to be ancient was really a replica erected in the 1990s.

This article has been updated to include further details about other ancient Egyptian discoveries.

Ancient Egypt, Skeleton
Archaeologists reveal the ancient remains of a girl in Egypt. Egypt Ministry of Antiquities