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Frank_Hoenedge

Zawyet El Aryan - backfilled?

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There have been discussions that have made reference to Zawyet El Aryan (The Unfinished Northern Pyramid) on Unexplained Mysteries before:

Alongside several other references.

 

When to co-ordinates are placed in Google Earth (29.940122, 31.151556) the image is one of a filled in complex with none of the features observed in archaeological photos, taken during the limited time it was explored, discernible.

 

To what extent would lapsed interest, or similarly the lack of preservation, be a standard archaeological method?

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Posted (edited)

You often cover a site if there is no intention of preserving it or continuing research. This protects it better if no permanent site use is envisioned; either for tourism or further research. In Egypt sites that aren't refilled will be filled up by drifting sand over time.

The location coordinates you provided appears overgrown.

Wikipedia notes: Since 1960, much of the area near Zawyet El Aryan has been restricted for use as a military base. Access to the pyramids has been restricted since 1964. No excavations are allowed, the original necropolis is overbuilt with military bungalows, and the shaft of the Unfinished pyramid has allegedly been misused as a trash dump. The condition of both burial shafts is uncertain and most possibly disastrous

Research history of the site

 

Quote

The first descriptions of the monument were made between 1842 and 1846 by the German egyptologist Karl Richard Lepsius. He investigated the main shaft and its surroundings and marked the pyramid in his pioneering list as Pyramid XIII.

The pyramid shaft was examined more closely in 1904–1905 by the Italian archaeologist Alessandro Barsanti.[4]Gaston Maspero, then director-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt, visited Barsanti's excavations and was struck by the monumental size of the construction. He writes:

... I hope that the best informed amongst the tourists will come to admire the monument: the pleasure they will experience during this trip is worth the two or three hours it will take. At first, the immensity of the task undertaken by the Egyptians will not appear to them, it is only at the bottom of the stairway, when they will walk upon the granite pavement that it will become obvious. It is not that anything in particular when examined in details is remarkable or out of the ordinary, but the general feeling is one of those one never forgets. The size and richness of the materials, the perfection of the cuts and joints, the peerless finish of the granit sarcophagus, the boldness of structure and the sheer height of the walls, everything comes together to compose this so far unique ensemble. It is an awe inspiring shock and nowhere is the power and mastery of the old Egyptian architects so suddenly and strongly obvious as here.

Barsanti undertook further work on the site in 1911–1912 but the First World War brought all excavations to a halt and Barsanti died in 1917. As a consequence, nothing happened on the site until 1954 when a set was needed for the epic film "Land of the Pharaohs". The landscape of Zawyet El Aryan seemed to be the perfect place and the pyramid of Baka was chosen as a backdrop for the movie. Consequentlty, the shaft and its surroundings were cleared from the sand and rubbles which had covered the area since Barsanti's excavations.

A slightly different version of the current status:

Since 1964 the pyramid of Baka lies within a military restricted area. Consequently, no excavations are allowed, the necropolis surrounding the pyramid is overbuilt with military bungalows and the shaft is misused as a local dump. Thus, the status of the burial shaft is now uncertain and most likely disastrous

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unfinished_Northern_Pyramid_of_Zawyet_El_Aryan

Edited by Hanslune
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Thanks for the statement that it is standard practice.

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In many cases. I've helped to back fill a few sites on Cyprus. We would make sure all the documentation, survey, images were done and duplicated. We would place glass coke bottles, one or two with messages insdie and pieces of plastic around the site then cover it up as well as we could.

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I've worked on the old Spanish fort a couple of times in Pensacola. After each season the part of the site being worked on is backfilled for protection. 

 Currently it is permanently buried, and paved over with a small display over top due to lowered funding and shrinking work areas due to development. 

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