A new satellite survey of Egypt has revealed 17 lost pyramids, 3,000 ancient settlements and more than 1,000 tombs. Scientists at the University of Alabama made the astounding discoveries using ultra-modern infra-red imaging techniques. Archeologists have already unearthed two of the pyramids, confirming their existence and opening an exciting new chapter of discovery.
The two uncovered pyramids are at Saqqara, an older but lesser known archeological site than Giza. Dr Sarah Parcak told the BBC: “I could see the data as it was emerging, but for me the ‘aha’ 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.”
The satellites, orbiting 400 miles above the Earth, are equipped with cameras powerful enough to capture objects less than three feet in diameter. Infra-red imaging is then used to detect building materials beneath the surface. Mud bricks used by the ancient Egyptians were more dense than surrounding soil, giving researchers a clear outline of the structures.
Calling Indiana Jones “old school”, Dr Parcak added: “These are just the sites close to the surface. There are many thousands of additional sites that the Nile has covered over with silt.” The discovery will be featured in the upcoming documentary Egypt’s Lost Cities, to be broadcast on BBC One in the UK on May 30.