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EARTH OBSERVATION
Satellites reveal 'lost' Egyptian pyramids
by Staff Writers
Cairo (UPI) May 25, 2011


disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

A satellite survey of Egypt has revealed 1,000 tombs and 3,000 ancient settlements in infrared images that can detect underground structures, scientists say.

Seventeen lost pyramids are among the structures identified in the survey, two of which have already been confirmed with initial excavations, the BBC reported Wednesday.

"To excavate a pyramid is the dream of every archaeologist," U.S. Egyptologist Sarah Parcak, a pioneer of space-based archaeology, said.

Working at the University of Alabama, she and a team of researchers analyzed images from satellites orbiting 435 miles above the earth, equipped with cameras that can capture images of objects less than a yard in diameter on the earth's surface.

Structures under the earth such as houses, temples and tombs were revealed using infrared imaging, as ancient Egyptians constructed their buildings out of mud brick, which is much denser than the soil that surrounds it.

"These are just the sites [close to] the surface," Parcak said. "There are many thousands of additional sites that the Nile has covered over with silt. This is just the beginning of this kind of work."

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