Seventeen lost pyramids among thousands of buried Egyptian settlements pinpointed by infrared satellite images
Last updated at 11:39 AM on 25th May 2011
- More than 1,000 tombs and 3,000 ancient settlements found in astounding haul
- The findings are a major boost to relatively new science of space archaeology
A satellite survey of Egypt has uncovered lost treasures including 17 pyramids and more than 1,000 tombs.
Three thousand ancient settlements have also been located by scientists who studied infrared images which allowed them to see underground buildings.
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.
Only the beginning: Archaeologist Dr Sarah Parcak points out the site of a buried pyramid on a satellite image. Scientists have uncovered lost treasures including 17 pyramids and more than 1,000 tombs using the technology
Dr Sarah 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.
'I couldn't believe we could locate so many sites all over Egypt.'
Buildings in ancient Egypt were constructed out of mud brick - the material is dense, allowing 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, 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.
Pyramid of Djoser: Many more are thought to be buried underground. The cameras on the satellites are so powerful that they can precisely image objects on Earth that are less than one metre in diameter
Such a 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 added: 'Indiana Jones is old school, we've moved on from Indy, sorry Harrison Ford.'
Dr Parcak and her team's findings form the basis of the documentary Egypt's Lost Cities, which airs on BBC1 on May 30.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1390667/Seventeen-lost-pyramids-thousands-buried-Egyptian-settlements-pinpointed-infrared-satellite-images.html#ixzz1NMmAeT3o