Scientists Discover Ancient Nile Riverbed Near Giza Pyramids

Scientists Discover Ancient Nile Riverbed Near Giza Pyramids


The Giza pyramids in Egypt's Western Desert were built next to a now-dry arm of the Nile River, which was called the Pyramid Branch. Scientists were able to confirm this long-held hypothesis in the scientific community using satellite radar imagery, geophysical data, and deep soil analysis.

On old engravings, the pyramids stand almost on the water, but in reality there are no bodies of water, let alone a river,near the ancient structures, except for a polluted canal a few kilometers away.

Archaeologists have managed to prove the old theory, believed by most historians, that the ancient Egyptians transported huge stone blocks from Upper Egypt by water during the construction of the pyramids.

The ancient Nile bed, whose waters washed over the plateau with 30 pyramids, including the Giza pyramids, was discovered using satellite radar. It was buried under farmland and sand for a long time. Its presence, scientists believe,may explain the reason for the construction of a large number of pyramids in the Giza area, which is now part of the desert west of the Nile Valley, not far from the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis.

According to Magdi Shaker, chief archaeologist for the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, historians know of seven main branches of the Nile that existed since ancient times, now only two remain - Damietta and Rosetta. The ancient Egyptians, he recalled, used the wood of plane trees and other species, forming a floating base from them with the help of ropes, and thus delivered giant stone blocks from which the pyramids were erected. At the same time, the rise in the river level during floods played into the hands of the builders, since at that time the level of the Nile was much higher,and the water almost reached the foot of the pyramids.

As Iman Ghoneym, a geomorphologist and lead author of the study from the University of North Carolina, told, to map the waterway, the research team used images obtained using satellite radars. Unlike aerial photographs or optical satellite sensors, which provide images of the Earth's surface, radar sensors have the ability to detect ancient structures or rivers buried under sand.

"Field analyzes, including deep holes in the soil, confirmed the satellite data and revealed a hidden river 64 kilometers long and 200 to 700 meters wide, which is equivalent to the measurements of the current riverbed," she said. 

"Since the Nile level at that time was much higher than today, its floodplain was crossed by several streams, which were difficult to trace, since the landscape was changed as a result of the construction of the Aswan Dam in the 1960s."

According to her, the pyramids are located approximately one kilometer from the banks of the discovered dry bed. "Our research has shown that a large number of these pyramids included a high passage leading to valley temples that served as ports," Iman Ghoneym added.

# Egypt
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