Dr Zahi Hawass and a huge team of experts have just finished laser scanning the Great Sphinx, and now the Pyramids of Giza are being surveyed using the latest laser technology. Dr Hawass, who reports on the project in his blog, has employed the services of the National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences at the Mubarak Institute for the project, which saw Djoser’s Step Pyramid at Saqqara subjected to the same techniques in June by a Japanese group. The team hope to get the most accurate representation of the wonders to date, as Egypt attempts to model the pyramids and sphinx in a number of ultra-modern ways, such as Heritage Key’s very own King Tut Virtual.
A similar project was first undertaken between 1979 and 1983, as a German Archaeological Institute team headed by renowned Egyptologist Mark Lehner made a photogrammetric map of the sphinx, alongside detailed drawings. This groundbreaking work allowed the monument to be mapped precisely enough to begin a series of complicated restoration and conservation schemes, which have led to its current good state of health. The pyramid project, which has mapped the outside of the structures to within 5cm, has only lasted one month. The work has involved overhead planes and a 45m-high fire truck ladder. Dr Hawass and his team plan to survey the inner chambers and shafts of each pyramid next. Hawass hope that the important heritage sites of Luxor will also be paid a visit in the coming months. This includes, of course, the tomb of Tutankhamun – which has been mooted for closure in light of the toll tourism is taking on its hallowed walls.