May 27, 2011
Satellite Images Reveal 17 Buried Pyramids
According to a documentary to be aired by the BBC on Monday, archaeologists have uncovered as many as 17 buried pyramids in Egypt by using infrared imaging from NASA satellites.
The team has already confirmed two of the suspected pyramids through excavation work.
"I couldn't believe we could locate so many sites all over Egypt," Sarah Parcak of the University of Alabama, who led the research, told BBC.
"To excavate a pyramid is the dream of every archaeologist."
According to the report, the archaeologists found over 1,000 tombs and 3,000 ancient settlements.
Satellites orbiting 435 miles above the Earth took the infrared images.
The satellites used powerful cameras that can "pinpoint objects less than one meter (three feet) in diameter on the Earth's surface."
Buildings made of mud brick showed up clearly in the images because they were covered up by looser soil.
"I could see the data as it was emerging, but for me the 'aha' moment was when I could step back and look at everything that we'd found," Parcak told the BBC.
Parcak said she believes there are more buildings buried deeper than those already spotted, even under the Nile River.
"These are just the sites close to the surface. There are many thousands of additional sites that the Nile has covered over with silt," she told BBC.
"This is just the beginning of this kind of work."
The documentary, "Egypt's Lost Cities," will air on Monday on BBC One and will also be shown on the Discovery channel in the United States.
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