A pyramid-shaped burial monument found in the Lebanon is believed to be 1,500 years older than the Great Pyramid of Cheops (Khufu) in Egypt. The monument was found by Abdulaziz Al-Zein, a mountain guide with the Environmental Council of Lebanon, while hiking near the village of Akrum in Northern Lebanon.
In view of the ancient Mediterranean trade links with Egypt, the find has led to wild speculation that the pyramids of the Nile might have taken their inspiration from this 4,000 year old Lebanese version. However, this pyramid differs from the more familiar Egyptian monuments in two respects. Firstly it is only 10 feet (3 metres) tall; and secondly, it is built with large flat limestone slabs rather than stone blocks.
Many megaliths dating back around 6,000 years have been found in the area around Akrum, including three other pyramids. This one is also unusual, however, as it is made of flat limestone slabs, whereas most megalithic remains previously discovered in the area are made of basalt.
The ancient inhabitants of the area used large stones to build simple huts, whose roofs have since fallen and disappeared, leaving walls that lean slightly inward. The remaining structures were recently renovated and are now open to visitors and tourists.
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Text Alun Harvey