posted on Jul, 29 2003 @ 11:38 AM
Shoot, sorry, not used to using Compuserve (on vacation)-- (woops)
Look What They Found Buried In the Sand
A lost ancient Egyptian town that was home to the workmen who built the pyramids has been found buried in the sand by a group of Scottish
archaeologists working with the Saqqara Geophysical Survey Project.
Located about 15 miles from Cairo, the town is situated near the necropolis of Saqqara and measures approximately one mile by three-quarters of a
mile. There are large temples, some of which are nearly 200 square feet in size, and a number of tombs. The houses are both large and small,
indicating the wealthy lived alongside artisans. The Scotsman newspaper described the remarkable discovery as "a 'real' town that will offer a
unique insight into Egyptian life unaffected by the glamour of the royal and aristocratic classes." The town most likely evolved from the Old
Kingdom, beginning in about 2,500 B.C., through the reign of Cleopatra and beyond the birth of Christ to about 54 A.D.
"I do not believe we will recover any chariots of gold or fabulous pharaoh masks, but in archaeological terms it is stunning; a hitherto undiscovered
town, complete, buried beneath the sand," Ian Mathieson, a scientific archaeologist from Edinburgh and the director of the Saqqara Geophysical Survey
Project, told The Scotsman. Experts are confident that artifacts of "immeasurable importance" will be found.
There's just one problem: The town is still buried 20 feet deep in the sand. The team, which is comprised of volunteers who spend their annual
vacation time digging in the sands of Egypt, doesn't have the money to excavate the lost city. It's been operating since 1990 on a shoestring budget
of about $16,000 a year. Compare this to teams from other countries that spend $1.6 million annually on archeological exploration.
Mathieson knows the town is down there thanks to geo-thermal equipment, but he says it's a miracle they even found it. They began looking for it when
they saw a one-line reference to it in the papers of Auguste Mariette and Jacques de Morgan, two archaeologists who worked in the area more than 110
years ago. "That was all there was to go on, and we found it. However, it needs resources greater than ours to excavate it," Mathieson told The
Scotsman. "But if there's anybody out there with spare cash, we'd be happy to hear from them."
Even without excavating the lost Egyptian city, the Scottish team has solved an enduring mystery that has long puzzled historians. To try to find the
town, they hunted for an ancient road that would have been capable of bearing the extremely heavy loads of building materials needed for the pyramids
and tombs. They didn't find a road. They found a lake. "The materials were carried by boat, and on the edge of the lake, there was the town,"
Mathieson explained. One more mystery solved about how the pyramids were built.