Modern Archaeology: Scanning The Pyramids
Archaeology is the study of human history and prehistory through the excavation of sites and the analysis of artifacts and other physical remains. It is the goal of archaeologists to study their finds with a minimal amount of disruption or destruction of the environment surrounding the artifacts, and of the artifacts themselves. For as careful these scientists are, they are always looking for ways and means to have access to the relics with little or no destructive impact, which is not easy to do. As technology improves, so improves the methods and techniques used by archaeologists in minimizing disruptions.
It was recently announced that scientists will use scanning technology on four of Egypt’s ancient pyramids starting next month utilizing cosmic ray detectors and thermal imaging in order to see what lies beneath their surface. Egypt’s antiquities minister, Mamdouh Eldamaty, said that the project aims to solve the enigma of the Old Kingdom pyramids at Dahshur and Giza and to provide a better understanding of their architecture and interior designs. As reported by Arham Online, Eldamaty explains:
“The survey will be implemented through invasive — though non-destructive — scanning techniques using cosmic rays in cooperation with scientists and experts from Japan, France and Canada.”
The modern visualization techniques, including infra-red thermography, cosmic particle detectors and 3D laser scans, will be used to gaze deep into the pyramids in an attempt to further understand the massive structures. It is suggested that the infra-red and muon technologies that would be used to search the four pyramids might also prove useful in looking for a possible hidden chamber in King Tutankhamun’s tomb, which may be the burial place of Queen Nefertiti.
The future of archaeology is now, as pick axes and shovels give way to computers and detectors.