Discovery of long-lost river may solve ancient pyramid mystery

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Great Pyramid find

Hidden enclosure discovered successful Great Pyramid of Giza 02:51

Scientists person discovered a long-buried subdivision of the Nile stream that erstwhile flowed alongside much than 30 pyramids successful Egypt, perchance solving the enigma of however past Egyptians transported the monolithic chromatic blocks to physique the celebrated monuments.

The 40-mile-long stream branch, which ran by the iconic Giza pyramid analyzable among different wonders, was hidden nether godforsaken and farmland for millennia, according to a study revealing the find connected Thursday.

The beingness of the stream would explicate wherefore the 31 pyramids were built successful a concatenation on a present inhospitable godforsaken portion successful the Nile Valley betwixt 4,700 and 3,700 years ago.

The portion adjacent the past Egyptian superior of Memphis includes the Great Pyramid of Giza -- the lone surviving operation of the 7 wonders of the past satellite -- arsenic good arsenic the Khafre, Cheops and Mykerinos pyramids.

Archaeologists had agelong thought that past Egyptians indispensable person utilized a adjacent waterway to determination the elephantine materials utilized to physique the pyramids.

"But cipher was definite of the location, the shape, the size oregon proximity of this mega waterway to the existent pyramids site," pb survey writer Eman Ghoneim of the University of North Carolina Wilmington successful the United States told AFP.

EGYPT-TOURISM-HISTORY-PYRAMIDS Guides with their camels look for tourists astatine the Giza Pyramids Necropolis connected the outskirts of Giza connected May 3, 2024. JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images

The planetary squad of researchers utilized radar outer imagery to representation the stream branch, which they called Ahramat -- "pyramids" successful Arabic.

Radar gave them the "unique quality to penetrate the soil aboveground and nutrient images of hidden features including buried rivers and past structures," Ghoneim said.

Surveys successful the tract and cores of sediment from the tract confirmed the beingness of the river, according to the study in the diary Communications Earth & Environment.

The erstwhile mighty stream was progressively covered successful sand, perchance starting during a large drought astir 4,200 years ago, the scientists suggested.

"Easier to interval down the river"

The Giza pyramids stood connected a plateau astir a kilometer from the banks of the river.

Many of the pyramids had a "ceremonial raised walkway" which ran alongside the stream earlier ending astatine the Valley Temples which served arsenic harbors, Ghoneim said.

This indicates that the stream played "a cardinal relation successful the proscription of the tremendous gathering materials and workmen needed for the pyramid's construction," she added.

Exactly however past Egyptians managed to physique specified immense and long-standing structures has been 1 of history's large mysteries.  

These dense materials, astir of which were from the south, "would person been overmuch easier to interval down the river" than transport implicit land, survey co-author Suzanne Onstine of the University of Memphis told AFP.

The banks of the rivers could person been wherever the ceremonial entourages of pharaohs were received earlier their bodies were moved to their "final burial spot wrong the pyramid," she suggested.

The stream whitethorn besides bespeak wherefore the pyramids were built successful antithetic spots.

"The water's people and its measurement changed implicit time, truthful 4th dynasty kings had to marque antithetic choices than 12th dynasty kings," she said.

"The find reminded maine astir the intimate transportation betwixt geography, climate, situation and quality behavior."

The survey comes connected the heels of caller probe projects focusing connected the iconic pyramids.

Earlier this year, archaeologists launched a massive project to reconstruct the smallest of Giza's 3 celebrated pyramids to what they judge it looked similar erstwhile it was built much than 4,000 years ago. An Egyptian-Japanese archaeological ngo announced the task to enactment backmost successful spot hundreds of granite blocks that utilized to signifier the outer casing of the pyramid of King Menkaure.

Some archeologists, however, including a erstwhile caput of Egypt's antiquities ministry, aren't connected committee with the project, and expressed interest arsenic the digging got underway. Dr. Mohamed Abd El-Maqsoud, erstwhile Director of the Egyptian Antiquities Sector and a erstwhile elder authoritative successful Egypt's antiquities ministry, told CBS News that earlier the granite blocks are moved, they should archetypal beryllium studied extensively to verify that they were each adjacent portion of the operation to statesman with.

Last year, a squad of archaeologists and different scientists successful Egypt utilized cutting-edge exertion that relies connected rays of radiation from abstraction to get a wide representation of a 30-foot-long corridor wrong the Great Pyramid of Giza, which remains hidden down a main entranceway to the past structure. 

Ahmed Shawkat contributed to this report.

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