Engineer Glen Dash of the Glen Dash Research Foundation and Egyptologist Mark Lehner of Ancient Egypt Research Associates (AERA) took new measurements of the Great Pyramid of Giza to try to determine its original size and orientation. The 4,500-year-old pyramid, constructed for the pharaoh Khufu, is the largest of the three pyramids on the Giza Plateau, but most of its smooth limestone casing was removed and reused in antiquity. The scientists looked for surviving casing stones on the pyramid’s platform, and marks that suggest where the edges of the casing stones once rested. They found 84 points along the original edges and marked them on a grid system developed by AERA to map the Giza Plateau. Statistical analysis of the new measurements indicate the west side is longer than the east by between 0.25 and 5.6 inches to a 95% probability, with the best estimate of the error being 2.9 inches. “The base is not quite square,” Dash told Live Science. He suspects that the pyramid builders laid the structure out on a grid oriented on the cardinal directions, with just a slight degree of error. Additional research could reveal how the ancient Egyptians accomplished this feat.
Archaeologists may soon unravel the mysteries of ancient Egypt using a new imaging technique that offers a better look inside mummies without removing a single piece of wrapping.
The new kind of CT scan has been successfully tested on cat mummies from the collections of the South Australian Museum. While the exact ages of these mummies are unknown, feline mummies were fairly common in Egypt from about 600 B.C. until A.D. 250.
Typical CT scans use a single type of x-ray to take images of an object from multiple angles and then create a digital image of the insides. Such scans can tell the difference between muscle and bone based on their relative density. But this can present challenges for mummies: As they get older, their skin and muscles dry up and become denser, while the bones lose marrow and become less dense.
The new technique, known as atomic number imaging, instead uses two kinds of x-rays to peer inside stuff and figure out the hidden composition based on a material’s atomic number—one of the defining characteristics of a chemical element. For instance, the scans can distinguish between bones filled with calcium and phosphorous and muscle, which is mostly carbon.
“It’s a technique that can be done on any CT scanner,” says lead author James Bewes, a radiology resident at the Royal Adelaide Hospital in Australia, who describes the work in the August issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science.
“We can dive that little bit deeper into the makeup of what we’re imaging,” Bewes says. “We’re trying to tell how they lived and how they died through their bones and through their muscles.”
A mummy from ancient Egypt was heavily tattooed with sacred symbols, which may have served to advertise and enhance the religious powers of the woman who received them more than 3,000 years ago.
They say it is 30 percent less heavy than has long been accepted, based on a re-evaluation of data taken nearly half a century ago that suggests the density of the pyramid’s interior is actually that much lower.
“Our study shows the blocks of stone that had to be transported were relatively light for their size,” said Michinori Oshiro, a professor of Egyptology at Komazawa University in Tokyo, who was part of a study team that includes Hiroyuki Tanaka, a professor of particle physics at the University of Tokyo’s Earthquake Research Institute.
“That could change part of the established theory, such as how long it took to build it,” Oshiro said.
Archaeologists from the National Trust for Scotland (NTS), which manages what is one of Scottish history’s the most iconic sites, are using cutting-edge, laser scanning, technology to provide a detailed model of the battlefield of Culloden.
University of Leicester archaeologists who discovered and helped to identify the mortal remains of King Richard III have created a 3D interactive representation of the grave and the skeleton of the king under the car park.
For at least 3,339 years, nobody has seen what lies behind the west and north walls of the burial chamber of Tutankhamun. But this secret of three millennia might not last much longer.
On Thursday, Mamdouh Eldamaty, the Egyptian antiquities minister, held a press conference in Cairo to announce a tantalizing new piece of evidence: Radar scans on those walls have revealed not only the presence of hidden chambers, but also unidentified objects that lie within these rooms. These objects, Eldamaty said, seem to be composed of both metal and organic materials.
Ancient Rome Live (ARL) is an immersive journey that provides new perspectives about the ancient city. A multi-platform learning experience, ARL first and foremost presents original content:
a clickable map of ancient Rome
a library of videos arranged according to topic
live streaming from sites in Rome and her empire.
The first complete sequences of the Y chromosomes of Aboriginal Australian men have revealed a deep indigenous genetic history tracing all the way back to the initial settlement of the continent 50,000 years ago, according to a study published in the journal Current Biology today.
A team from the University of Kent, led by biological anthropologist Patrick Mahoney, used 3-D microscopic imaging to examine the teeth of children between the ages of one and eight years who lived near Canterbury Cathedral during the medieval period.