Egypt’s oldest pyramid saved from collapse


Share post:

Egypt’s oldest pyramid has been saved from ruin thanks to a team of Newport engineers. The 4,700-year-old Step Pyramid of Djoser was at risk of collapse after an earthquake hit Egypt.

Egypt’s oldest pyramid saved from collapse
Djoser, Egypt’s oldest pyramid, located on the Nile’s west bank near Cairo, was prone to collapse
but it was saved by a team of British engineers [Credit: Wales News Service]

British structural experts Cintec were hired in 2010 to shore up the pyramid, believed to be the first large stone building on earth.

One engineer said he had to crawl on his stomach to repair walls crumbling in front of his eyes.

Dennis Lee, 59, said: “It was nerve-wracking. It’s not a crumbling wall in front of you, it’s right over your head. It’s also very historic so you have to take everything very slowly.”

The £7m project to repair the partially-collapsed burial chamber and its crumbling walls faced setbacks.

Engineering firm Cintec battled extreme heat, vandalism and political unrest in Egypt, but nine years later the firm has completed its mammoth task.

Much of the damage was done when an earthquake hit the pyramid in 1992, and the repair project was agreed by World Heritage and Egyptian antiquities chiefs.

Egypt’s oldest pyramid saved from collapse
The pyramid during repair work [Credit: Wales News Service]

Mr Lee said their work exposed the pyramid’s sarcophagus – the coffin which at one point held the mummy of the Pharoah Djoser – for the first time in hundreds of years. There was no mummy found during the repair.

To repair the ceiling the firm used giant air bags to hold it in place before knitting it back together with more than 100 steel rods.

Mr Lee said their work would have been completed sooner, but it was initially delayed by the Arab Spring in 2011.

“During the revolution many of the pyramids and museums were plundered – we were lucky because even though our equipment was in Egypt it hadn’t yet cleared customs. For the past six years I would travel to Egypt and work over there for spells between four to six weeks and then return. At one point I had about 13 visas in my passport – maybe more.”

Source: BBC News Website [June 10, 2019]



Related articles

ICOMOS voices concern over Bulgaria’s cultural heritage

In a letter to the Bulgarian authorities, the International Council on Monuments and Sties (ICOMOS) expressed its concern...

Iron Age graves brought to light at Capodimonte, Naples

Excavations in the Buccacce area at Capodimonte, Naples, under the direction of the Superintendence have brought to light...

Fragments of new female figurine found at Hohle Fels

Archaeologists, Prof. Nicholas Conard and his team member Maria Malina, present the discovery of two fragments of a...

Genetics reveal 50,000 years of independent history of aboriginal Australian people

The first complete sequences of the Y chromosomes of Aboriginal Australian men have revealed a deep indigenous genetic...

New Roman mosaic floor from Alexandria

The site of Kom el-Dikka, located in the heart of Alexandria, has been excavated archaeologically since 1960 by...

Bronze Age jewellery found in Slovakia

Archaeologists excavating in the village of Hozelec in northern Slovakia have unearthed a unique trove of jewellery believed...

Bronze Age burial of ‘shaman’ discovered in Slovakia

Archaeologists found an interesting discovery when researching the area of the transport infrastructure for Jaguar Land Rover and...

Skeleton of 16th cent. pirate found under school

Council workers were baffled to find the gruesome skeleton while carrying out survey work to build an extension...