One of the pharaohs recorded on the Royal List of Abydos whose tomb is still unaccounted for is the mysterious Userkare. In our Heritage Key video The Hunt for the Lost Pharaoh:Userkare Dr Vasko Dobrev speculates on the possible location for the tomb of Userkare, a 6th Dynasty pharaoh who ruled shortly after Pharaoh Teti was assassinated by a priest.
In this video, Dr Dobrev – Egyptologist and Archaeologist – shares that he believes Userkare to be buried at the Southern end of the Saqqara necropolis, where other 6th Dynasty kings can be found as well.
The plateau that Dr Dobrev is currently excavating at Tabbet al-Guesh for IFAO (Institut Franais dArchologie Orientale) measures 15 hectare, enough to contain an 80 x 80 metre pyramid, or a 60 x 60 metre temple (see map).
A pharaoh is never buried alone, and if Dr Dobrev is right, there should be a necropolis near to Userkare’s tomb. On this plateau, excavations of a fifth of a hectare in the north-west part of Tabbet al-Guech have already revealed 15 tombs from the 6th Dynasty.
As an example for his theory, Dr Dobrev points out the tomb of Haunufer, in which the walls read ‘beloved by the King’. The text – an ‘Appeal to the Living’, meant to be read by people bringing offerings – does not specify which king. Maybe this information was unnecessary, as the King – possibly Userkare – was buried nearby?
Now a second possible location for the Pyramid of Userkare has been found by Giulio Magli, a professor of archaeoastronomy at Milan’s Polytechnic University. He told Discovery News that a pattern of diagonal lines that connects the Egyptian pyramids might hold a clue to the location of Userkare’s tomb.
According to Magli’s theory, the pyramid – or a double-tomb complex – would be aligned with the Step Pyramid of Djoser, which was the most important pyramid at Saqqara. Giulio Magli’s research will be published in the next issue of Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry.
According to Discovery News, Dr Dobrev agrees that Giulio Magli’s suggestion makes sense, if plotted out on a satellite map. In the field, it is more difficult to see.
Where do you think Pharaoh Userkare’s tomb will be found? . Oh, and just for those wondering, neither Dobrev nor Magli say the ancient Egyptians would have used GPScoordinates or required alien intervention to figure out the alignment!