Egypt's Pyramids May Have Been Built on a Long-lost Branch of the Nile - Latest Global News

Egypt’s Pyramids May Have Been Built on a Long-lost Branch of the Nile

31 different Egyptian pyramids appear to have been built along an arm of the Nile that dried up thousands of years ago, according to new research published today in Communication Earth & Environment.

The pyramid group – which includes the famous Giza pyramids and others such as the Bent Pyramid and the Step Pyramid of Djoser – exists today on a narrow strip of desert west of the Nile. They were built over a millennium, starting around 4,700 years ago. According to the authors of the current study, there was once a 40-mile (64-kilometer) long branch of the Nile stretching through the now inhospitable landscape, which explains the pyramids’ rather odd placement so far from the Nile. the longest river in the world and the lifeblood of ancient Egyptian civilization.

“Uncovering this extinct arm of the Nile may provide a more accurate idea of ​​where ancient settlements may have lay in its relationship and prevent them from being lost to rapid urbanization,” the team wrote. “This could improve protection measures for Egypt’s cultural heritage.”

A map showing the location of the old branch of the river.
graphic: Eman Ghoneim et al.

Using satellite images, geophysical surveys and sediment cores collected from the western desert plateau, the team identified the branch, which had long been filled with silt. They suggest calling the ancient branch Ahramat, Arabic for “pyramids.”

The team also found that many of the pyramids they examined along the western desert plateau had causeways that ended where the Ahramat branch ran. As a result, the team believes the estuary was likely used to transport building materials for the pyramids, a series of projects so gigantic that the History Channel’s “Aliens” meme needs to be kept close at hand.

The bays that fed the Ahramat Branch are also now filled with sand, making them invisible to optical satellite images. But radar and topographic data from the sites revealed the riverbeds of the bays as well as the causeways leading to the pyramids of Pepi II and Merenre.

The causeways of several other pyramids (Khafre, Menakure and Kentkaus) led to another branch of the river, which the team called the “Giza Inlet,” suggesting that the branch of the river still ran in the Fourth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom. Archaeologist Eman Ghoneim of the University of North Carolina Wilmington led the research.

However, the team concluded that the signs for the Ahramat branch were already visible around 4,200 years ago, when a major drought may have increased the amount of wind-blown sand that slowly filled the branch, eventually obscuring it even from satellite images . But thanks to radar images and sediment core drilling, an ancient Egyptian resource has come to light.

More: The ancient Egyptians may have seen the Milky Way as a celestial deity

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