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New discovery throws light on mystery of pyramids' construction

Egyptologists stumble across ramp that helps explain how huge blocks of stones were hauled into place

Pyramids Egypt
The ramp appears to date from about the same time as the Pyramid of Giza was built Photograph: Mark Brodkin Photography/Getty Images

The mystery of how, exactly, the pyramids were built may have come a step closer to being unravelled after a team of archaeologists made a chance discovery in an ancient Egyptian quarry.

Scientists researching ancient inscriptions happened upon a ramp with stairways and a series of what they believe to be postholes, which suggest that the job of hauling into place the huge blocks of stone used to build the monuments may have been completed more quickly than previously thought.

While the theory that the ancient Egyptians used ramps to move the stones has already been put forward, the structure found by the Anglo-French team, which dated from about the period that the Great Pyramid of Giza was built, is significantly steeper than was previously supposed possible.