After 4,000 years, the pyramids at Giza are melting away. A new study by the University of California and the University of Sohag in Egypt confirms that water damage, caused by nearby farming, urbanization and housing, has caused the water table underneath the pyramids to rise. When groundwater comes close to the foundations of the pyramids, the salt in the water weakens the stone and causes structural damage. Dr. Ayman Ahmed, of Sohag University, says, “Probably the most dangerous factors affecting the pharonic monuments are urbanization and agricultural development.”
Cracks have recently widened in the face of the Sphinx, and experts are worried that the head may fall off. The Sphinx is made up of about two million blocks of stone, each weighing more than two tons. In the 1980s, a carefully planned restoration of the Sphinx was started. Over six years, more than 2,000 limestone blocks were added to its body and chemicals were injected into it. However, the treatment only trapped existing moisture inside. Also, the new blocks flaked away, taking some of the original rock with them. Workers tried for 6 months to repair the new damage, but they weren?t trained in restoration and the situation only got worse. In 1988, the left shoulder crumbled and blocks fell off.
Damage has accelerated since the completion of the Aswan Dam, which allows year-round irrigation of crops instead of seasonal flooding, leading to more ground water. When the pyramids were built, the area was wet only once a year and had a long time to dry out in between. Ahmed and Graham Fogg, a professor of hydrology at the University of California, are trying to find ways to prevent and reduce the damage and are building a computer model showing how ground water moves under the monuments.
Dr. Nigel Strudwick, of the British Museum?s department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan, says, “This water table problem is something that we have been worried was happening for many years. If the water table rises, the monuments, which are made of limestone, are very porous and will absorb it. If efflorescence occurs, it means salt crystals start growing on the surface of the rock, and if there is anything sitting on top of that, like some decoration, then it just gets pushed off and crumbles.”
We need keep exploring the secrets of the ancient Egyptians while the evidence is still there. Moustafa Gadalla, author of ?Historical Deception?, says that most of the conclusions of Egyptian ?experts? is false, click here.
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