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NASA satellite helps find 17 Egypt pyramids: report

AFP, Thursday 26 May 2011
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Archaeologists have uncovered as many as 17 buried pyramids in Egypt with the help of NASA satellite imagery, according to a documentary to be aired by the BBC on Monday.

Led by US researcher Sarah Parcak at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the team has already confirmed two of the suspected pyramids through excavation work.

The BBC, which funded the research, released the findings this week ahead of a broadcast describing the technique and what was uncovered.

"I couldn't believe we could locate so many sites all over Egypt," Parcak was quoted as telling the BBC.

"To excavate a pyramid is the dream of every archaeologist."

The team also found more than 1,000 tombs and 3,000 ancient settlements, according to the report.

Infrared images, which were taken by satellites orbiting 700 kilometers (435 miles) above the Earth, revealed the below-ground structures.

The satellites used powerful cameras that can "pinpoint objects less than one meter (three feet) in diameter on the Earth's surface," the report said.

The technology was helped by the density of houses and other buildings, made of mud brick so that they showed up somewhat clearly against the looser soil cover.

The documentary, "Egypt's Lost Cities," airs Monday on BBC One and will also be shown on the Discovery channel in the United States.

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