Category Archives: EGYPT

Giant Egyptian Pyramids Hidden Beneath, buried by sands of time

Giant Egyptian Pyramids Hidden Beneath, buried by sands of time

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.

Astounded researchers on the ground have already confirmed that two of the pyramids exist – and they believe there are thousands more unknown sites in the region.

satellite images revealed strange structures

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 that 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.

Huge pyramids could be buried beneath the sand. 

Dr. Parcak told the BBC: ‘I could see the data as it was emerging, but for me, the “a-ha” moment was when I could step back and look at everything that we’d found.’

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 by satellites orbiting 435miles above Earth to photograph the outlines of structures invisible to the human eye.

The cameras on the satellites are so powerful that they can precisely image objects on Earth that are less than one metre in diameter. The researchers’ findings are a major boost to the relatively new science of space archaeology.

Their most promising excavations are taking place in Tanis, the hiding place of the Ark of the Covenant in the 1981 Indiana Jones blockbuster Raiders of the Lost Ark, where they are uncovering a 3,000-year-old house.

Excitingly, the outline of the house exactly matches the shape seen on the satellite images.

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.

Archaeologist Dr Sarah Parcak points out the site of a buried pyramid on a satellite image

The camera’s high level of accuracy has impressed the Egyptian government, which now plans to use the technology to identify and protect its colossal heritage in the future.

Dr Parcak believes that there are many more buildings buried deeper than those already spotted, the most likely location being under the banks of the River Nile.

She said: ‘These are just the sites close to the surface. There are many thousands of additional sites that the Nile has covered over with silt.

‘This is just the beginning of this kind of work.’

She told the BBC: ‘It just shows us how easy it is to underestimate both the size and scale of past human settlements.

‘These are just the sites [close to] the surface. There are many thousands of additional sites that the Nile has covered over with silt. This is just the beginning of this kind of work.’

She said the technology could be used to monitor the looting of antiquities, as well as to engage young people around the world in science and help archaeologists in their quest to uncover the secrets of the past.

The archaeologist said, ‘We have to think bigger and that’s what the satellites allow us to do. Indiana Jones is old school. We’ve moved on from Indy, sorry Harrison Ford.’

Nabta Playa: The World’s First Astronomical Site Was Built in Africa and Is Older Than Stonehenge

Nabta Playa: The World’s First Astronomical Site Was Built in Africa and Is Older Than Stonehenge

Nabta Playa has been assessed by an inventory of Egyptian archeological sites in accordance with the UNESCO World Heritage Convention as having “theory solar and stellar alignments.”

This stone circle of 7,000 years has tracked the summer solstice and the arrival of the annual monsoon season. It’s the oldest known astronomical site on Earth

Ancient civilizations around the world constructed huge stone circles for thousands of years, aligning them with the sun and stars to identify the seasons. These early calendars foretold the coming of spring, summer, fall, and winter, helping civilizations track when to plant and harvest crops.

They also served as ceremonial sites, both for celebration and sacrifice.

These megaliths — large, prehistoric monuments made of stone — may seem mysterious in our modern era, when many people lack a connection with, or even view of, the stars.

Some even hold them up as supernatural or divined by aliens. But many ancient societies kept time by tracking which constellations rose at sunset, like reading a giant, celestial clock.

And others pinpointed the sun’s location in the sky on the summer and winter solstice, the longest and shortest days of the year, or the spring and fall equinox.

Europe alone holds some 35,000 megaliths, including many astronomically-aligned stone circles, as well as tombs (or cromlechs) and other standing stones. These structures were mostly built between 6,500 and 4,500 years ago, largely along the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts.

The most famous of these sites is Stonehenge, a monument in England that’s thought to be around 5,000 years old. Though still old, at that age, Stonehenge may have been one of the youngest such stone structures to be built in Europe.

The chronology and extreme similarities between these widespread European sites lead some researchers to think the regional tradition of constructing megaliths first emerged along the coast of France. It was then passed across the region, eventually reaching Great Britain.

But even these primitive sites are at least centuries younger than the world’s oldest known stone circle: Nabta Playa.

The stone circle of Nabta Playa marks the summer solstice, a time that coincided with the arrival of monsoon rains in the Sahara Desert thousands of years ago.

Located in Africa, Nabta Playa stands some 700 miles south of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. It was built more than 7,000 years ago, making Nabta Playa the oldest stone circle in the world — and possibly Earth’s oldest astronomical observatory.

It was constructed by a cattle worshiping cult of nomadic people to mark the summer solstice and the arrival of the monsoons.

“Here is human beings’ first attempt to make some serious connection with the heavens,” says J. McKim Malville, a professor emeritus at the University of Colorado and archaeoastronomy expert.

“This was the dawn of observational astronomy,” he adds. “What in the world did they think about it? Did they imagine these stars were gods? And what kinds of connections did they have with the stars and the stones?”

Roman Ovens, Late Period Wall Discovered In Luxor

Roman Ovens, Late Period Wall Discovered In Luxor

LUXOR, EGYPT—According to an Ahram Online report, several structures were uncovered during an excavation at the Avenue of Sphinxes, a ceremonial passageway lined with ram-headed sculptures that once connected temples in Luxor and Karnak.

Mudbrick kilns dating to the Roman period (30 B.C.–A.D. 640) are thought to have been used to fire pottery. A wall dated to the Egyptian Late Period (712–332 B.C.) 

The Egyptian archaeological mission revealed during the works of the project to restore and revive the major historical road known as the Rams Road, a number of round ovens for burning mud-brick with burning marks, and a huge wall of mud bricks from the Roman and Late Periods.

Dr.. Mustafa Waziri, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said that these furnaces and fences were found in the Nag Abu Asbah area, and perhaps the furnaces were used in the manufacture of pottery or faience.

As for the wall, it was found west of the procession road of the Temple of Khonsu, about 30 meters high and two and a half meters wide and 3 wide Meters, and consists of 17 courses of mud bricks.

The mission also found a wall that was built from 3 sandstone blocks, which is an extension of the wall that was protecting the eastern bank of the Nile from changing levels of the Nile River during seasons of flooding and burning.

This wall extends from the front of Karnak Temple in the north to Luxor Temple in the south alongside The Great Procession Road is about 3 kilometers long.

Dr. Waziri agreed that the work team has taken all necessary measures to prevent and protect from the new Coronavirus, during the explorations, as all of the project workers are wearing masks and taking social spaces in the course of drilling.

It is worth noting that the excavation work in various areas of the Rams road has been ongoing since 2017 in order to unveil all the rams in it within the framework of the road rehabilitation project, in preparation for its opening soon.

Ancient Egyptian ‘city of the dead’ discovery reveals ‘elite’ mummies, jars filled with organs and mystery snake cult

Ancient Egyptian ‘city of the dead’ discovery reveals ‘elite’ mummies, jars filled with organs and mystery snake cult

A new burial chamber on the bottom of a communal burial shaft was unearthed in 2018, during exhilaration work carried out by the Egyptian-German team of the University of Tübingen, operating in Saqqara with a 30-meter deep connection to the mummification workshop discovered along with a large tomb complex with five burial chambers in 2018.

The project uncovered the sixth burial chamber behind a 2,600-year-old stone wall after more than a year of research and documentation

The new-discovered chamber had four wooden coffins in a poor state of preservation said Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.

The Minister of State for Antiquities, Dr. Ramadan Badri Hussein, said that one of the coffins belongs to a woman called Didibastett.

She was buried with six canopic jars, which contradicts the custom in ancient Egypt which was to embalm the lungs, stomach, intestines, and liver of the deceased, and then to store them in four jars under the protection of four gods, known as the Four Sons of Horus.

In a tomb deep below the desert, Egyptologist Ramadan Hussein (left) and mummy specialist Salima Ikram (right) examine the coffin of a woman who was laid to rest inside a limestone sarcophagus weighing more than seven tons.

The mission examined the content of Didibastett’s two extra canopic jars using computerized tomography (CT) scan. Preliminary analysis of the images indicates that the two jars contain human tissue.

Based on this result, there is a possibility that Didibastett had received a special form of mummification that preserved six organs of her body. The mission’s radiologist is currently conducting a thorough study of the images in order to identify the two extra organs.

Workers use a hand-cranked winch to lower tools and other gear to the mummy workshop and tombs 100 feet below. The burial complex occupied a prime location at Saqqara—within sight of the Step Pyramid of Djoser, one of Egypt’s oldest and most sacred monuments.

After studying texts on the coffins and sarcophagi in the burial chambers, the mission identified priests and priestesses of a mysterious snake goddess, known as Niut-shaes. Indications are that the priests of Niut-shaes were buried together and that she became a prominent goddess during the 26th Dynasty.

A priestess and a priest of Niut-shaes, who were buried in the same burial chamber, were possibly Egyptianised immigrants.

Their names, Ayput and Tjanimit, were common to the Libyan community that settled in Egypt from the 22nd Dynasty (ca. 943-716 BC) onward. Ancient Egypt was a multicultural society that received immigrants from different parts of the ancient world, including Greeks, Libyans, and Phoenicians among others.

Hussein said that the mission conducted non-invasive testing, called X-ray fluorescence, on the gilded silver mask that was discovered on the face of the mummy of a priestess of the goddess Niut-shaes. This test determined the purity of the mask’s silver at 99.07 percent, higher than Sterling Silver at 93.5 percent. This gilded silver mask is the first discovered in Egypt since 1939, and the third such mask to ever be found in Egypt.

A priest named Ayput was interred in a stone sarcophagus carved in the shape of a human, a style known as anthropoid. The mummy’s wrapping were coated with tar or resin, giving it a dark color.
Some of those buried at the complex were identified as priests and priestesses of a mysterious snake goddess.

An international team of archaeologists and chemists from the University of Tübingen, the University of Munich, and the Egyptian National Research Centre in Cairo carried out chemical testing on the residue of oils and resins preserved in cups, bowls, and pots found in the mummification workshop.

Early results of these tests give a list of mummification substances, including bitumen (tar), cedar oil, cedar resin, pistachio resin, beeswax, animal fat, and possibly olive oil and juniper oil, among others. The team is finalizing a report for scientific publication.

In July 2018, Khaled El-Enany, minister of tourism and antiquities, announced to the world the unprecedented discovery of a mummification workshop complex at Saqqara from the 26th Dynasty (ca. 664-525 BC). It included an embalmer’s cachette of pottery and a communal burial shaft.
This shaft is 30 m. deep and has six tombs.

The tombs contained around 54 mummies and skeletons, five large sarcophagi, a dozen calcite (Egyptian alabaster) canopic jars, thousands of shawabtis figurines, and a rare gilded silver mummy mask.

This discovery was rated among the top 10 archaeological discoveries of 2018 by Archaeology Magazine and Heritage Daily.

The mission of the University of Tübingen will resume its full investigation of the 26th Dynasty cemetery at Saqqara in the winter of 2020.