Radar discovers a long-lost river in Egypt, and may solve the mystery of an ancient pyramid – Science News (Trending Perfect)


Scientists have discovered a long-buried branch of the Nile River, which once flowed alongside more than 30 pyramids in Egypt, which may solve the mystery of how ancient Egyptians moved huge stone blocks to build the famous monuments.

The 40-mile branch of the river, which ran past the famous Giza pyramid complex among other wonders, had been hidden beneath desert and farmland for thousands of years. According to a study The discovery was revealed on Thursday.

The presence of the river explains why the 31 pyramids were built in a series along an inhospitable strip of desert in the Nile Valley between 4,700 and 3,700 years ago.

The strip, located near the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis, includes the Great Pyramid of Giza – the only surviving building of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – in addition to the pyramids of Khafre, Khufu, and Mycerinus.

Archaeologists have long believed that the ancient Egyptians used a nearby waterway to transport the giant materials used in building the pyramids.

The study's lead researcher, Iman Ghoneim, from the University of North Carolina Wilmington in the United States, told AFP: “But no one was sure of the location, shape, size, or how close this huge waterway was to the actual site of the pyramids.”

Guides with their camels search for tourists at the Giza Pyramids necropolis on the outskirts of Giza on May 3, 2024.

Jawhara Samad/AFP via Getty Images

The international team of researchers used radar satellite images to map the branch of the river, which they named “Al-Ahramat” – “pyramids” in Arabic.

Ghoneim said the radar gave them a “unique ability to penetrate the sandy surface and produce images of hidden landmarks including buried rivers and ancient structures.”

Field surveys and sediment samples from the site confirmed the presence of the river, according to what Reuters reported. Stady In the journal Earth and Environmental Communications.

Scientists have suggested that the once-mighty river was increasingly covered with sand, and likely began during a major drought about 4,200 years ago.

“It's easier to float down the river”

The pyramids of Giza were located on a plateau about one kilometer from the banks of the river.

Many of the pyramids had a “high ceremonial walkway” that ran along the river before ending at valley temples that served as ports, Ghoneim said.

She added that this indicates that the river played “a major role in transporting the enormous building materials and workers needed to build the pyramid.”

How the ancient Egyptians were able to build such massive and long-lasting structures has been one of history's greatest mysteries.

These heavy materials, most of which came from the South, “were much easier to float down the river” than transported overland, study co-author Susan Onstein from the University of Memphis told AFP.

She suggested that the riverbanks may have been where the pharaohs' funeral livestock were received before their bodies were transported to their “final burial place within the pyramid.”

The river may also indicate why pyramids were built in different places.

“The path and volume of water changed over time, so the kings of the Fourth Dynasty had to make different choices than the kings of the Twelfth Dynasty,” she said.

“This discovery reminded me of the close connection between geography, climate, environment and human behaviour.”

This study comes on the heels of recent research projects focusing on the famous pyramids.

Earlier this year, archaeologists released A Huge projectTo return the smallest of Giza's three famous pyramids to what they believe they looked like when they were built more than 4,000 years ago. An Egyptian-Japanese archaeological mission announced a project to reposition hundreds of granite blocks that formed the outer shell of King Menkaure's pyramid.

However, some archaeologists, including the former head of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, were not involved in the project and expressed concern as excavation work began. Dr. Mohamed Abdel Maqsoud, former director of the Egyptian Antiquities Sector and former senior official at the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, told CBS News that before the granite blocks are transported, they must first be studied extensively to verify that they are all equal. Of structure to begin with.

Last year, a team of archaeologists and other scientists in Egypt used cutting-edge technology based on radioactive beams coming from space to get a clear image of a 30-foot-long object. The corridor inside the Great Pyramid of GizaWhich remains hidden behind the main entrance of the old building.

Ahmed Shawkat contributed to this report.



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