Sunday, June 22, 2008

Scientists Use Lasers to Probe Step Pyramid

The Step Pyramid in Saqqara is Egypt's oldest.

Dozens of American and Japanese scientists, archaeologists and workmen gathered one dawn last week at the base of the Step Pyramid to begin a laser-scanning survey of Egypt’s oldest pyramid complex.

The goal is to use a high-tech laser to create a three-dimensional model of the pyramid, using infrared signals to gather elevations and coordinates at thousands of points along the edifice’s six gigantic steps. The result will be a detailed map of the pyramid plus the three-dimensional model as a valuable reference for restoring the pyramid and monitoring its condition.

The Step Pyramid was built during the reign of King Djoser of the Third Dynasty, 2687-2668 B.C. It is the world’s earliest known stone structure of its size and is the first of the Egyptian pyramids.

The project is a collaborative venture between Americans from the Ancient Egypt Research Associates (AERA) and Japan’s Osaka University, with the laser scanning expected to take about four weeks. For more information, click here for the complete article in Al-Ahram Weekly.

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