Secret Pyramids Under The Sands!
Radar From Space Hunts For Lost Tombs.
By Kevin Dowling ©
Express Newspapers Ltd. © 2000
Space satellites are helping to search for 4000-year old buried treasure...the lost pyramids of Egypt.
The Pharaoh's tombs may be the most durable wonders of the ancient world, but at least three of them seem to be missing.
Now radar beams from what archaeologists call "eyes in the sky" are being used to pinpoint likely sites.
The Nile's west bank was turned into a giant funeral park by the Kings of the Old and Middle Kingdoms, who ruled between 2800 and 1780 BC, but the last resting places of the God-Kings Menkauhor, Neferkare and Ity have never been found.
A team of Japanese experts has already used satellite data from the US, Russia, France, Japan and the EU to locate a previously unknown tomb beneath the desert.
From the satellites, short radio pulses are beamed down to the Giza Plateau, and the returning electronic echo's are used to create visual images of known collapsed or unfinished pyramids and other buildings.
The space archaeologists admit it is hard to imagine anything as big as the Great Pyramid at Giza lying undiscovered, but the missing pyramids may have collapsed or been demolished. "Recently we used data from space for the first time in Egyptology to explore the Pyramid zone" said team leader Toshibumi Sakata.
"It is reasonable to suppose that some pyramids do remain undiscovered, and if we can find these pyramids in their original state, the purpose and manner of construction and other lingering questions might be answered."
The pyramid hunters reported last week that they have pinpointed 38 sites where previously unknown constructions may lie buried.
Most are under military control or within the areas controlled by other archaeological teams, but they have already found the remains of ancient monuments at 4 of the sites. the most spectacular was a tomb complex buried 43 feet below the surface at Dahshur north, less than 20 miles south of Cairo and only a mile north east of the Red Pyramid.
The Sarcophagus belonged to Mes, a Royal scribe who was responsible for training the young Princes of Egypt in horseback riding and archery. Although the tomb was not a pyramid complex, a limestone pyramidion - a mini-pyramid which sat atop the tomb-chapel - was found.
"The discovery of the tomb of Mes is most important because this is the first time a tomb dating to the New kingdom has been found in this area," said Zahi Hawas, director of the Giza pyramids plateau excavation effort.
Japanese leader Sakata added; "The excavation is noteworthy as an archaeological discovery, but even more for demonstrating the value of space archaeology in surveying the Egyptian desert for sites invisible from the ground."
Yet as Sakata explains, the greatest quest of all remains.
"The central question of our study remains whether pyramids like those of the three giant monuments of Giza remain undiscovered," he said.
"The eye's in the sky, which we were the first Egyptologists to use, promise many more discoveries in the years ahead."
Copyright Kevin Dowling and Express Newspapers 2000 ©
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