Scientists Reveal Hidden Branch of the Nile, Potentially Solving Pyramid Mystery – Study

Scientists Reveal Hidden Branch of the Nile, Potentially Solving Pyramid Mystery - Study
Scientists Reveal Hidden Branch of the Nile, Potentially Solving Pyramid Mystery - Study

Africa-Press – Namibia. The discovery could be the answer to the question of how ancient Egyptians were able to transport massive stone blocks that make up their now-famous monuments.

Scientists have recently discovered a long-buried branch of the Nile river that once rushed with life alongside the country’s magnificent Giza pyramid complex. The river branch is about 40 miles long (64 km), but has been hiding under desert and farmland for millennia, according to a study that published the findings on Thursday in Communications Earth & Environment.

Eman Ghoneim, a geomorphologist who was born and raised in Egypt, is a professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. She and her team analyzed batches of satellite images as well as sediment samples that were collected from beneath the desert’s surface.

“We were looking at these meandering natural features closer to the [pyramid] field, like long depressions and troughs, now covered up entirely by farmlands and sand,” Ghoneim says. “It can be very hard to see if you don’t know what to look for.”

Radar gave the research team the “unique ability to penetrate the sand surface and produce images of hidden features including buried rivers and ancient structures,” said Ghoneim. And through this process, they found the long-lost ancient branch of the Nile that once ran through the foothills beside the Giza pyramid field – just a kilometer from the banks of the river.

The team believes this hidden branch could be the answer to how builders transported heavy materials to the construction site of the now iconic pyramids – as heavy materials would have been easier to float down river than to carry across land.

The ancient Egyptians built 31 pyramids along the now inhospitable desert strip between 4,700 and 3,700 years ago. Ghoneim adds that the branch could help researchers find potential sites of ancient human settlements that might be buried beneath the land’s surface.

While archaeologists have long suspected a waterway was responsible for helping to build the pyramids, Ghoneim says “nobody was certain of the location, the shape, the size or proximity of this mega waterway to the actual pyramids site.”

The scientists believe the river, which they named Ahramat, was covered in sand when a major drought set in around 4,200 years ago. And the discovery of the river branch could also explain why the pyramids were built in different areas. Ghoneim explains that the water’s course and volume changed over time, so kings of later eras had to make different choices compared to those of earlier eras.

She adds that she is hopeful of continuing to piece together a map of the Nile’s previous life.

“For most cities, we’re not talking about how water helped the building of pyramids but rather how human civilizations otherwise depended on it and adapted to its changes,” she says. “And when we learn from the past, we can prepare for the future.”

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