On 2nd February 1925, the photographer from the Harvard-Boston archaeological expedition was setting up his camera tripod on the rocky plateau of Giza close to the base of the Great Pyramid. Having some degree of difficulty in his attempt to get the legs on an equal footing, he dislodged what he assumed was a small piece of limestone, but which closer inspection revealed to be a fragment of plaster, the kind of plaster traditionally used in ancient times to seal up the entrance of a tomb.
With the same archaeological team having already made a series of spectacular discoveries at Giza over the previous 20 years, most notably a large group of superb statues of King Menkaure, builder of Giza’s third pyramid, this new discovery was so unexpected the excavation director George Reisner was still in the US. So the task of opening the tomb fell to his British assistant Alan Rowe and his Egyptian head foreman Said Ahmed Said, whose removal of the plaster covering revealed a 100 foot vertical shaft cut down into the limestone bedrock, filled solid with limestone masonry and yet more plaster. Read more.
It was like looking at wood planks and timbers that were cut from their trees and shaped just a few decades ago. But these pieces were thousands of years old. About 4,500 years old, in fact.
With a sense of urgency, a team donned in special white hazmat-like suites, gloves and face-masks, like surgeons, swiftly yet methodically removed, handled and examined scores of carefully and artfully cut pieces of wood. They were priceless, because these specimens were as old as the pyramids of Egypt and they were in danger of beginning to disappear before their excavator’s eyes, like phantoms, if they weren’t handled and processed appropriately. These were parts of Pharaoh Khufu’s solar funerary vessel, anciently disassembled and packed meticulously into a stone pit grave beneath the sand at the foot of Khufu’s great pyramid over 4,500 years ago. Read more.
TORONTO — Zahi Hawass is back.
The famous, and at times controversial, Egyptologist is free of legal charges, free to travel and is launching a worldwide lecture tour with the aim of getting tourists back to Egypt, he told LiveScience in an interview.
Hawass also said that he believes there are some fantastic discoveries waiting to be made, including more tombs in the Valley of the Kings and a secret burial chamber, containing treasure, which he believes to be inside the Great Pyramid built by the pharaoh Khufu (also known as Cheops).
It’s a turnaround for the archaeologist, who, just a few months ago, was under investigation and banned from traveling outside Egypt. Read more.
A private company is now cleaning Giza Plateau, the world famous archaeological site, removing garbage accumulated in the area and attempting to recapture its serenity.
Visitors to the plateau, where the three pyramids of ancient Egyptian kings Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure are located, along with the Sphinx, will be pleasantly surprised with the change.
Due to a lack of security and the absence of police on the plateau, the site, like other archaeological sites, was subject to encroachment. Horse and camel owners violated the law and entered the archaeological safe zone in an attempt to find clients. After the revolution, the number of tourists to Egypt has decreased, leading to greater competition in the Egyptian tourism trade. Read more.
CAIRO: Egyptian antiquities officials have confirmed to Bikyanews.com that a pipe has burst inside the museum holding one of pyramid builder Khufu’s boat. The ancient boat has been restored and is a major pull for tourists heading to the Giza Pyramids.
Khufu is also the 4th dynasty King who erected the largest of the three pyramids, which has been named after him.
One official said late Monday night that the “sewage pipe in the building has exploded. We are looking into the situation and are not sure if any damage has happened.”
Activists and archaeologists have begun spreading the message on Twitter and other social media networks as they fear for the destruction of the ancient boat. (source)
THE Dahshur royal necropolis in Egypt was once a dazzling sight. Some 30 kilometres south of Cairo, it provided King Sneferu with a playground to hone his pyramid-building skills - expertise that helped his son, Khufu, build the Great Pyramid of Giza. But most signs of what went on around Dahshur have been wiped away by 4500 years of neglect and decay. To help work out what has been lost, archaeologists have turned to fractals.
All around the world, river networks carve fractal patterns in the land that persist long after the rivers have moved on (see picture). “You can zoom in as much as you like, at each magnification the [natural fractals] would look the same,” says Arne Ramisch at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Potsdam, Germany. This should be the case around Dahshur, because it sits on the fringes of the Western desert, where river channels drain into the floodplain of the Nile - but it isn’t. Read more.
The most realistic and complete virtual rendition of Egypt’s Giza Plateau is now available online, allowing anyone with a computer to wander the necropolis, explore shafts and burial chambers, and enter four of the site’s ancient temples, including Khufu and Menkaure’s pyramids.
Engineered by software design firm Dassault Systèmes in collaboration with Harvard University and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston (MFA), the free application is available on multiple devices, including 3D-enabled computer monitors and TVs, and immersive environments.
Indeed, this is not just another too-clean looking and ultimately boring 3D virtual tour of Egypt’s famous archaeological site.
"Many 3D models of ancient sites have more to do with fantasy and video games than with archaeology. The colors, surfaces, and textures are not researched and appear quite flat or unrealistic," Peter Der Manuelian, Philip J. King professor of Egyptology at Harvard University and director of the MFA’s Giza Archives, told Discovery News.
According to Manuelian, Giza 3D focuses on reality and reproduces one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World on sound scholarly data. Read more.
Today archaeologists began excavating a pharaonic boat hidden for 4,500 years in an underground chamber on the southern side of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
Consisting of disassembled beams and planks, the boat is one of two which were buried near the pyramid to follow the dead Khufu, also known as Cheops, in his journey into the afterlife.
The first boat, entombed in a pit sealed by 41 stone blocks, was discovered in 1954. As with the newly excavated boat, it was completely dismantled.
Made of 1,224 components and about 142 feet long, Khufu’s first ship was fully reconstructed in 1971 and the model now stands resurrected in a specially built museum near the Great Pyramid.
While evidence of a second pit near to the first one was noted already in 1954, the second boat was detected only in 1987 by an electromagnetic radar survey. Read more.