Egypt's Lost Pyramids

Daily Mail (London), May 26, 2011 | Go to article overview

Egypt's Lost Pyramids


Byline: Fiona MacRae Science Correspondent

INDIANA Jones found success with little more than a bullwhip and a fedora.

These days however, if you want to make your mark as an archaeologist, a bit of space technology works wonders.

Satellites have helped locate 17 pyramids and 3,000 ancient settlements hidden underground in Egypt.

More than 1,000 burial sites were also discovered thanks to infra-red technology capable of probing beneath the desert sands from 450 miles above the Earth.

NASA-funded archaeologist Sarah Parcak said: 'I couldn't believe we could locate so many sites. To excavate a pyramid is the dream of every archaeologist.' The finds are hugely significant.

Until the latest discoveries there were thought to have been almost 140 pyramids across Egypt.

But experts have long argued that there must be many more which remain undiscovered, buried by the sands of time. Dr Parcak, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, analysed images from satellites equipped with cameras so powerful they can zoom in on objects less than three feet in diameter on the Earth's surface. The mud bricks used by ancient Egyptians are much denser than the sand and soil that surrounds them, allowing the shapes of homes, temples, tombs and other structures built thousands of years ago to be seen.

Two pyramids at Saqqara - the burial ground for the ancient capital of Memphis - have already been confirmed by excavations and the site is being hailed as one of the most important in Egyptian archaeology. The oldest pyramids ever discovered were built in Saqqara around 2,600BC. …

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