samedi 29 septembre 2012

Airbag engineering helps save world's first pyramid

“A Welsh engineering firm that has been involved in restoration work at Buckingham Palace and the White House is helping to save the world’s first pyramid in Egypt.
Enlisted to restore the ceiling of the burial chamber of the Pyramid of Djoser, also known as the Step Pyramid, which was at risk of collapse following an earthquake in 1994, Cintec International, the British structural engineering company behind the works, is now in the second stage of the advanced process which began in January 2011. (...)
The company, based in Newport, Wales, has maintained structures such as Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Ironbridge Gorge and countless castles and churches in the UK. It has also worked on the White House and the Chicago Board of Trade Building in the USA and the Canadian Parliament Building using its highly advanced and innovative engineering systems.
The latest stage of the pyramid work, which is worth £1.8m, follows the stabilisation of the ceiling using specialist Cintec airbags, and involves testing a lime grout mixture compatible with the interior of the pyramid and pointing this around the jagged stones in the ceiling to stabilise individual stones.
These stones are then drilled and a specialist anchor inserted 4m or more into the structure to knit the stones together, thus preventing further collapse and protecting the structure for hundreds of years.
Peter James, MD Cintec International, said: "As well as preventing its collapse, the aim of the project is to allow the public inside the pyramid’s burial chamber, allowing the iconic structure to be fully appreciated once again having been closed off for many years."
(Global Trader)

Saqqarah : On lit ou entend tout et son contraire

Qu’en est-il exactement de l’état actuel de la pyramide de Djoser ?
Les avis les plus contrastés font actuellement l’objet de publications dans la presse égyptienne.
De jeunes archéologues égyptiens, se réclamant de l’esprit de la Révolution de janvier 2011, affirment haut et fort que la plus vieille pyramide de pierres menace de s’écrouler. Ou, pour le moins, qu’elle est “en péril”. Ils mettent en cause la compétence de l’entreprise chargée des travaux de restauration et ont pris l’initiative d’une démarche auprès de l’Unesco pour que cet organisme culturel international fasse pression auprès de qui de droit afin que le nécessaire, voire l’indispensable, soit fait pour éviter un délabrement catastrophique du monument.
Lire l’article paru dans Le Progrès égyptien, en date du 27 septembre : “La Pyramide de Saqqarah en péril.”
Également cet article en arabe, au contenu identique, dans Sawt Roussia :
مخاوف من انهيار هرما زوسر وسقارا في مصر
Version française de cet article : La Voix de la Russie.
A contrario, le ministre des Antiquités, le Dr. Mohammed Ibrahim, assure qu’aucune crainte n’est de mise et que les travaux de restauration de la pyramide suivent leur cours, conformément aux devis établis et avec l’aide d’une entreprise spécialisée dont les compétences sont à la hauteur des exigences internationales.  
The restoration works of Zoser Step Pyramid at Saqqara plateau of Giza are going on in line with international specifications and standards, Antiquities Minister Mohamed Ibrahim said on Thursday 27/09/2012.
Minister Ibrahim said the restoration works are carried out under the supervision of the ministry's engineers and architects.
The status of the pyramid is safe, he said, stressing that a delegation of the UNESCO arrived in the scene few months ago and was satisfied with the development of the restoration works.
The Minister made clear that the company tasked with restoring the pyramid is using the latest techniques in this regard and has been responsible for carrying out similar projects and handing them over to the ministry in a good shape.” (All Africa)
Alors ? Une nouvelle fois : qu’en est-il réellement ?
Toute information complémentaire sera la bienvenue (mhlchartier/arobase/ , pour publication ici même. Merci par avance.

vendredi 28 septembre 2012

Les pyramides de Guizeh vues de la Station spatiale internationale

"The Great Pyramids at Giza are the last of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World that still survive, as well as a favorite photography subject of astronaut's in orbit, according to NASA.
The image of the pyramids above is a subset of a larger image taken on July 25 by an astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS) with a long focal-length lens to provide high magnification.
In the image, the southeast-facing sides of the pyramids of the pharaohs Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure are all brightly illuminated by the Sun, while the northwest facing sides are in shadow.
The angling of the sun and the shadows also highlight smaller pyramids nearby, as well as rectangular, flat-roofed mastabas (tombs) to the east and west of Khufu's pyramid. These were the burial places of prominent people during the time of the ancient pharaohs.
To the southeast of Khufu's pyramid, the head and rear haunches of the Sphinx are also just visible, a NASA statement points out.
Modern Cairo stands in stark contrast to the light, washed-out colors of the pyramids and desert, with its densely packed buildings and roads.
The image was taken by the Expedition 32 crew of the ISS."

mercredi 5 septembre 2012

"See the 'Google pyramids' up close", by Alan Boyle

Clichés Soknopaiou Nesos Project, University of Salento

"The place that went viral last month as the potential site of a mysterious Egyptian pyramid looks more like a series of mounds on the surface of Mars when you see it up close. Three weeks after the Dimai archaeological site burst into the spotlight, it's become a lot less mysterious — but there are still secrets to uncover.
The site has been familiar to Egyptologists since the 1920s: It's thought to have been the locale for a desert settlement going back to Egypt's Ptolemaic era, when Greek and Roman influences were on the ascendance. Did these mounds serve as watchtowers, or tombs, or well sites? That's what the Soknopaiou Nesos Project wants to find out. One of the project's directors, Egyptologist Paola Davoli of Italy's University of Salento in Lecce, filled me in about the current state of her group's research last week.
"For sure they are not pyramids, but their date and use are still not known," she told me in an email.
Since last week's exchange, Davoli has sent me these pictures of the site, taken during a 2006 survey.
Davoli has also been in touch with Angela Micol, the North Carolina researcher who turned the spotlight on Dimai last month via her Google Earth Anomalies website. Based on the satellite imagery, Micol suggested that the mounds might represent eroded pyramids. The up-close pictures make the formations look more like piles of rocky rubble. The largest one appears to have the ruins of a square building or walls on its summit, but it'll take a full-blown excavation to unravel the mystery."
More : Cosmic Log on NBC News