Workmen may just have downed tools after laser scanning the Sphinx, but a new Egyptian-Japanese venture aims to seek out even more archaeological hotspots along the Nile, using technology at the bleeding egde of science. The far-flung team, headed by Egypt’s National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences, hopes to reach areas in the river’s western Delta and nearby El-Beheira governorate, whose geography has resisted conventional techniques thus far. The team has already employed satellite imaging and remote sensing devices to map heritage sites in the area, and experts are confident more will appear when a second phase gets under way next February.
The Authority’s work is being carried out by cohorts from the country’s Supreme Council of Antiquities and Japan’s Waseda and Tokai universities. And as well as uncovering some ancient wonders, the team is hoping it can discover more about the Nile’s geological history. This could in turn lead to even more breakthroughs, as more could be learned about how the ancient Egyptians settled along the world’s longest river thousands of years ago.
Egyptian archaeology is enjoying something of a gadgetry renaissance of late, with not only Giza‘s laser-scanning coup but a glut of mummy CSI cases, as experts rush to radiograph some of the empire’s most alluring enigmas. Yet while preservation and identification will whet the appetites of Egyptologists, the discovery of new heritage sites will ignite the passions of history lovers the world over. Satellites have long been regarded as key archaeological tools, with sites like Syria’s Tell Brak benfitting from the pioneering work by experts like Harvard University’s Jason Ur. The extensive mapping carried out by Google Earth has caused its own stir in recent years, and has even spurred on a number of Atlantis theories with apparent grids being spotted in the Atlantic Ocean.