Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Video Report: Saqqara

Terrific footage from inside and underneath the Step Pyramid of Djoser. Just over six minutes long. And not a hard hat in sight.

Just south of Cairo, in an area known as Saqqara, there is something that has just been uncovered and a 24-Hour News 8 camera was the first to capture the images of what lies deep inside the Step Pyramid.

Dating back 5,000 years, the oldest pyramid in Egypt is now frail and breaking down. Builders are laying in the concrete and putting in massive stones to restore the disintegrating pyramid. No heavy equipment is being used.

The workers shape every new stone, use dollies, wheelbarrows and human strength -- not too different from centuries ago. They've been at it for a year under the direction of Dr. Zahi Hawass. While his job is Egypt's Secretary General of Antiquities, Hawass now feels like a doctor with a patient on life support.

The pyramid's unique design is a result of a change in plan. What started as a flat roof, two-level tribute to the Pharoh Djoser, became the largest structure in existence after its estimated 20-year construction.

It reaches more than 200 feet high, but the burial chamber lies 100 feet below the sand and rock and that's just where a 24-Hour News 8 crew went.

See the findings by clicking on the Video tab in the left margin of this story.

There's more video of the Step Pyramid at Hawass's own site.

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