Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fracture Zones Endanger Tombs In Valley Of Kings

Date:
October 21, 2009
Source:
Penn State
Summary:
Ancient choices made by Egyptians digging burial tombs may have led to today's problems with damage and curation of these precious archaeological treasures, but photography and detailed geological mapping should help curators protect the sites, according to a researcher.

Katarin Parizek, instructor in digital photography, department of integrative arts, Penn State, photographs the wall of Tia's tomb in the Valley of Kings, Luxor, Egypt.
Credit: Katarin Parizek, Penn State

Ancient choices made by Egyptians digging burial tombs may have led to today's problems with damage and curation of these precious archaeological treasures, but photography and detailed geological mapping should help curators protect the sites, according to a Penn State researcher.

Related Articles


"Previously, I noticed that some tomb entrances in the Valley of Kings, Luxor, Egypt, were aligned on fracture traces and their zones of fracture concentration," said Katarin A. Parizek, instructor in digital photography, department of integrative arts. "From my observations, it seems that tomb builders may have intentionally exploited these avenues of less resistant limestone when creating tombs."

Fracture traces are the above-ground indication of underlying zones of rock fracture concentrations. They can be between 5 and 40 feet wide, but average about 20 feet and can be as long as a mile. Lineaments are similar geological features that exceed one mile in length. Geologists suggest that fracture traces are good locations for drilling water wells and probably the highly fractured rock made it easier for the Egyptians to dig tombs.

Working with Richard R. Parizek, professor of geology and geoenvironmental engineering, Parizek has now looked at 33 of the 63 known tombs in the Valley of Kings. She reports her results today (Oct. 18) at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America in Portland, Or.

"We have now documented nine tombs in detail, photographing and mapping the entire tombs inside and out, and preliminary observations have been made in another ten, which still have to be mapped in detail." said Parizek. "We have recorded 14 more tombs through field observations, but still need to map and photograph these as well."

Of the 63 tombs in the Valley of the Kings, so far 30 have been identified by Parizek as lying on fracture traces, two lie diagonal to a trace and one is completely off of this type of geological structure.

The importance of these geological features is not just that they allow easier tomb creation, but the fracture traces are natural entry points for water, which sometimes damage tombs.

"We have seen evidence of seven separate flood events in four tombs so far," said Parizek.

When it does rain in the area, water enters the fracture traces and runs through the zones of fracture. Because so many of the tombs are located on the traces, the water runs into the tombs destroying wall and ceiling paintings and causing the tomb surfaces to spall or flake off. Even if archaeological curators divert water away from the entrances of known tombs, they may be directing the water to currently undiscovered tombs and flooding them.

"Archaeologists try very hard to mitigate flooding in the tombs, but it becomes even harder if there are tombs flooding that no one knows about," says Parizek.

The geological information the team has been gathering is now allowing archaeologists to plan better ways to stop the flooding of both known and unknown tombs by diverting the water away from traces and exposed entrances.

Parizek also notes that archaeologists are using this geological information along with archaeological clues to explore for new tombs and other archaeological sites in the Valley of Kings. In February 2006, KV63 was discovered by professor Otto Schaden.

"This tomb is localized along master joints immediately adjacent to a zone of fracture concentration that we mapped in 2002," said Parizek.

This discovery supplied evidence the Parizeks' original hypothesis that tombs were dug on fracture traces and into fracture zones is correct.

For the last two years, Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities and a renowned Egyptian archaeologist, has been leading an extensive exploration effort within the Valley of Kings.

"He is using our geological information along with archaeological clues to guide excavations," said Parizek.

The researchers hope to investigate and map the geology of more tombs in the future and to combine the photographs and maps to create 3-D images of the tombs.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Penn State. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Penn State. "Fracture Zones Endanger Tombs In Valley Of Kings." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091019123105.htm>.
Penn State. (2009, October 21). Fracture Zones Endanger Tombs In Valley Of Kings. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091019123105.htm
Penn State. "Fracture Zones Endanger Tombs In Valley Of Kings." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091019123105.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Fossils & Ruins News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Bring Player Pianos Back to Life

Researchers Bring Player Pianos Back to Life

AP (Dec. 17, 2014) Stanford University wants to unlock the secrets of the player piano. Researchers are restoring and studying self-playing pianos and the music rolls that recorded major composers performing their own work. (Dec. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Domestication Might've Been Bad For Horses

Domestication Might've Been Bad For Horses

Newsy (Dec. 16, 2014) A group of scientists looked at the genetics behind the domestication of the horse and showed how human manipulation changed horses' DNA. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mozart, Beethoven, Shubert and Bizet Manuscripts to Go on Sale

Mozart, Beethoven, Shubert and Bizet Manuscripts to Go on Sale

AFP (Dec. 16, 2014) A collection of rare manuscripts by composers Mozart, Beethoven, Shubert and Bizet are due to go on sale at auction on December 17. Duration: 00:57 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Old Ship Records to Shed Light on Arctic Ice Loss

Old Ship Records to Shed Light on Arctic Ice Loss

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 15, 2014) Researchers are looking to the past to gain a clearer picture of what the future holds for ice in the Arctic. A project to analyse and digitize ship logs dating back to the 1850's aims to lengthen the timeline of recorded ice data. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins