Thursday, December 27, 2007

Close to finding Imhotep at Saqqara?

The original URL for this story has now expired (Sunday Post). However Chris Townsend has pointed out that another web page is now available with this story:
Unfortunately, expiring URLs are a hazard of blogging, but hopefully this will remain for a while (or the story will be updated with even more exciting news!)

A SCOTTISH archaeologist has discovered what he believes is the final resting place of a 5000-year-old lost mummy — widely regarded as the holy grail of Egypt.

Egyptologist Ian Mathieson (right) , from Lauder in Berwickshire, has found two vast tombs under the desert sands that could hold the remains of Imhotep, the architect of the Step Pyramid and one of the most important figures in ancient history.

Imhotep, who became revered as a god after his death, was the builder, sculptor and architect of King Djoser of the Third Dynasty (2649-2575 BC). Archaeologists have long searched in vain for his tomb in the Saqqara burial ground.

This highly sensitive area, now engulfed in desert sand, was once the great necropolis of MemphisEgypt’s main city for 2500 years —and is believed to hold untold riches, which prompted Napoleon to send an expedition in 1798.

Ian, director of The Saqqara Geophysical Survey Project, has led surveys in the region since 1990 using unobtrusive scanning technology and now believes he’s within touching distance of the most coveted treasure of all.

He revealed, “Most of the archaeologists working in Saqqara have been looking for Imhotep.

“We’ve now found two large tombs that fall right within the area where we think he could be. The largest tomb is immense — around 90 metres long by 50 wide, with walls more than five metres thick.
“Right next door is a second tomb, around 70 by 50 metres with very thick walls and a complicated internal structure which could point to a courtyard or temple.
“They dwarf everything in the area — Imhotep may have designed his own tomb to compare with the Step Pyramid he built. A person of his standing could command the artisans and labour needed to build such imposing structures.
“All the information points to this being the most probable place he could be.”

Although Ian’s find was made last year he hasn’t released the information until now because he’s had to publish his findings and present them to the Supreme Council of Antiquities — the regulatory body for any archaeological work in Egypt.

See the above page for more.

The Saqqara Geophysical Survey Project has its own web page. There is also an image gallery.

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