13 June 2024 The Future is the Product of the Past

Radar Detects Long-lost River in Egypt and Could Explain How The Pyramids Were Built

More than 30 pyramids in Egypt are located in an unremarkable strip of barren desert far from the shores of the modern Nile River, and now scientists may have found the reason for this. The extinct branch of the Nile River could explain the pyramids’ location and how they were built, according to recent research.

The discovery of this extinct waterway, according to the University of North Carolina Wilmington team, explains the high concentration of pyramids in the region and provides an answer to the question of how materials were transported to build the Giza complex and other pyramids that dot the Western Desert Plateau.

The strip near the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis includes the Great Pyramid of Giza — the only surviving structure of the seven wonders of the ancient world — as well as the Khafre, Cheops and Mykerinos pyramids.

The pyramid field is a fair distance from the Nile River we see today. Archaeologists had long thought that ancient Egyptians must have used a nearby waterway to move the giant materials used to build the pyramids.

In a recent study, researchers searched for the potential location of a former river branch that may have run alongside the pyramid fields, close to the Western Desert Plateau’s foothills, using satellite imagery. They went to the region to gather sediment samples and conduct geophysical surveys after discovering a viable candidate.

The watercourse of the ancient Ahramat Branch borders a large number of pyramids dating from the Old Kingdom to the Second Intermediate Period, spanning between the Third Dynasty and the 13th Dynasty. Image credit: Eman Ghoneim et al.
The watercourse of the ancient Ahramat Branch borders a large number of pyramids dating from the Old Kingdom to the Second Intermediate Period, spanning between the Third Dynasty and the 13th Dynasty. Image credit: Eman Ghoneim et al.

Researchers claim this revealed evidence of a 64-kilometer (40-mile) ancient branch of the River Nile that has since disappeared. They propose naming the long river “Ahramat,” which means “pyramids” in Arabic.

In a report published in the journal Communications Earth and Environment, the researchers stated: “Many of the pyramids, dating to the Old and Middle Kingdoms, have causeways that lead to the branch and terminate with Valley Temples which may have acted as river harbors along it in the past. We suggest that the Ahramat Branch played a role in the monuments’ construction and that it was simultaneously active and used as a transportation waterway for workmen and building materials to the pyramids’ sites.”

It seems the river branch was approximately 39 miles long and over 2,000 feet wide, however following an intense drought, the strip became caked in windblown sand and was gradually lost to the desert and farmland.

Surveys in the field and cores of sediment from the site confirmed the presence of the river, according to the study in the journal Communications Earth & Environment. Unlike the arid and inhospitable landscape known today, up to 6,000 years ago, the valley was a network of freshwater marshes and floodplains, with inhabitants moving to natural levees of the river and jeziras (islands) by the beginning of the Old Kingdom period (around 2686 B.C.E.).

The Ahramat Branch moved steadily eastward, with abandoned channels visible in 1911 historical maps of the area. The Dahshur Lake is probably the last existing trace of the tributary.

“As branches disappeared, Ancient Egyptian cities and towns also silted up and disappeared, and we have no clue actually where to find them,” said Dr Eman Ghoneim.

Communications Earth & Environment

Related Articles

Bronze age settlement found under in Swiss lake

23 April 2021

23 April 2021

For the first time, archaeologists discovered traces of a Bronze Age lakeside village beneath the surface of Lake Lucerne. The...

Egypt unearths ancient quarters of mining leader in the Sinai Peninsula during the Middle Kingdom

19 January 2022

19 January 2022

The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities announced recently that an Egyptian archaeological mission working in Wadi Al-Nasab in South...

Unique 2,000-year-old Decorated Roman Sandal Discovered in Spain

20 October 2023

20 October 2023 1

A 2,000-year-old Roman sandal was discovered during archaeological excavations at Lucus Asturum (modern-day Lugo de Llanera) in Asturias, northern Spain....

Archaeologists find 4 Umayyad epigraphs in the ancient city Knidos

24 May 2022

24 May 2022

Archaeological excavations in the ancient city of Knidos connected to Datça District of Muğla province in western Turkey have unearthed...

World’s Oldest Place Name Signs

4 February 2021

4 February 2021

Throughout the history of the world, our interest and curiosity in ancient cultures and lives continue to increase day by...

Hand disease known as Viking disease may have its origins in Neanderthal genes

14 June 2023

14 June 2023

A recent study in the Oxford University Press journal Molecular Biology and Evolution demonstrates that a condition known as Dupuytren’s...

Researchers Found Evidence in Ethiopia of a Human Population that Survived the Eruption of the Toba Supervolcano 74,000 Years Ago

22 March 2024

22 March 2024

Researchers working in the Horn of Africa, also known as the Somali Peninsula have uncovered evidence showing how Middle Stone...

Persian-era plaster walls were discovered during excavations at Zeyve Höyük in central Turkey

2 August 2022

2 August 2022

This year’s excavations at Porsuk-Zeyve Höyük (Zeyve Mound) near the Porsuk village of the Ulukışla district of Niğde, located in...

Iron Age stone altar and gold-plated ceremonial sword discovered in Kazakhstan

14 August 2021

14 August 2021

A stone altar and a gold-plated ceremonial sword used in the early Iron Age were discovered during excavations along the...

Bergama Ancient City Takes Its Place in Digital Environment

1 February 2021

1 February 2021

As a result of the studies carried out by the German Institute, Bergama Ancient City was It was transferred to...

700-Year-Old Church Becomes a Museum

31 January 2021

31 January 2021

It was learned that the 7-century-old church in Akçaabat, Trabzon will serve as a museum from now on. St. The...

Ancient Hippodrome, Subject of Ben-Hur Movie, Will Become “Arkeo Sports Park”

8 August 2021

8 August 2021

Ben-Hur, a wealthy prince living in Jerusalem, is a historical figure who struggled for the freedom of the Jews during...

A 42,000-year-old pendant found in northern Mongolia may be the earliest known phallic art

20 June 2023

20 June 2023

An international team of researchers has found a pendant in northern Mongolia that may be the earliest known example of...

Archaeologists Discovered Submerged Stoa Complex in Ancient Salamis, Greece

27 October 2023

27 October 2023

Archaeologists exploring the east coast of Salamis, the largest Greek island in the Saronic Gulf, discovered a large, long, and...

Archaeologists reconstructing how the Assyrian army conquered the ancient Judean city of Lachish 2700 years ago

9 November 2021

9 November 2021

Archaeologists discovered how King Sennacherib’s soldiers constructed the huge siege ramp that enabled them to defeat the Lachish city 2,700...