Monday, November 26, 2007

Using Satellites to Find Sites in Egypt

This had to happen--I only wonder why it took so long. Seems like satellite technology has been used to find sites in the Americas for a couple of years now.

(Satellites, schmatellites. In the 1920s, airplane pilots pointed out intaglios carved into the California and Arizona deserts. And Roger Agache began using aerial photography to pinpoint the locations and outlines of Roman and pre-Roman Celtic sites in the Picardie region of northern France in the 1970s.)

But to get to the point--Yahoo reports that satellite mapping has identified over 100 new archaeological sites in Egypt. The work was done by ten computers run by researchers in Birmingham. Yahoo puts them in the UK (Birmingham, England) but that may be a mistake. Dr. Sarah Parcak (right) , Egyptologist with the University of Alabama, Birmingham leads the project. The sites include:

". . . a lost temple buried beneath agricultural fields, a major town in the East Nile Delta dating to the time of the pyramids, a large monastery from 400 A.D. in Middle Egypt and a massive, largely buried city beneath a field on the East Delta dating to 600 B.C."

Googling reaveals that that LiveScience reported in June 2007 that the same researchers had rediscovered a forgotten 1600-year-old metropolis 200 miles south of Cairo. This picture , credited to DigitalGlobe, is of the Great Aten temple at Tell al-Amarna. It shows a temple enclosure wall in the north, buried under a modern cemetery.

A University of Toronto site shows and tells about satellite imagery along the Nile Delta and Sinai regions. That project is called SEPE (Survey & Excavation Projects in Egypt.) Most of its info dates from 2004, but it's still interesting.

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