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Another New Tomb in the Valley of the Kings? 131

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the pharoh's-got-the-coolest-forts dept.
Praxiteles writes "A radar survey in 2000 found KV63, the tomb excavated near King Tutankhamen's tomb earlier this year. (KV stands for Valley of the Kings). Just announced is that this same radar survey shows an image of what appears to be a shaft to another tomb just 15 meters north of KV63. Will radar stratigraphy change the multi-millennial tradition of destructive excavation and open new opportunities in the search for buried treasure?"
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Another New Tomb in the Valley of the Kings?

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  • What?? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jlowery (47102) on Sunday August 06, 2006 @12:34PM (#15855570)
    "Will radar stratigraphy change the multi-millennial tradition of destructive excavation and open new opportunities in the search for buried treasure?"

    Let's hope it will open up new opportunities to learn about history, which contributes to the wealth of everyone.
    • Thank you for saying that because the summary was great until that line which made me upset because my class on archaeology beat it into my head fairly well that the "search for buried treasure" has destroyed an incredible amount of history and has caused other artificats to be lost or altered (due to the "art market").
    • Re:What?? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Tx (96709) on Sunday August 06, 2006 @01:25PM (#15855714) Journal
      "Will radar stratigraphy change the multi-millennial tradition of destructive excavation and open new opportunities in the search for buried treasure?"

      Let's hope it will open up new opportunities to learn about history, which contributes to the wealth of everyone.

      Maybe, but "Lara Croft, Radar Stratigrapher" just doesn't have that ring to it.
      • Re:What?? (Score:1, Offtopic)

        by JakusMinimus (49854)

        Maybe, but "Lara Croft, Radar Stratigrapher" just doesn't have that ring to it.

        I don't know ... ever work in a lab environment with females? Yeah, that's right! It is inevitable that a boob (maybe even two at once!) is gonna brush up against you at some time or another. Oh, sweet bliss.

        So "Lara Croft, Radar Stratigrapher" the game isn't likey to be very popular as I imagine it is hard to design a game in a labratory setting where the payoffs range from brushing up against feminine charms to discovering here

      • Yeah, but "Tom Swift and his Radar Stratigrapher" doesn't sound too bad .
        • Tom Swift and his Secret Radar Stratigrapher Decoder Ring is even better. If you understand the reference you're an old slashdotter.
    • Well said!

      History is by far more important than any monetary value of the finds in any archeological foray. Long after any riches have lined the pockets of someone, the understanding of the past remains in our minds (if we let it). There is so much to learn from what happened in the Egyptian dynastic holdings region. So much to learn...

      I'm in hope that as our technology advances, so will our explorations - and perhaps our ability to preserve the purity of the finds.
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Sunday August 06, 2006 @12:36PM (#15855575) Homepage Journal
    Ever since I read Larry Niven's Ringworld I've been waiting for some geek who also read it to invent deep radar [google.com].

    Every time I see that someone has got a neutrino detector [wikipedia.org] up, I think we've finally got a deep "radar" that can see through practically everything (AFAWCT) in the Universe, offering us a neutrino detector detector.

    I won't be surprised when we fire it up and the Valley of the Kings lights up, along with various museums (and attics) in France, UK, US, Germany and Japan.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      They have. Allegedly. I was reading abot some (Brazillian I think) guy who demonstrated a device
      he built as a mine detector. It works slowly but can find anything burried within anything
      as long as there is a material anomoly. I was very suspicious of the story because it had
      all the "scientists" saying it was "impossible" and the guy wouldn't fully share the method
      until it was patented. Anyway he did a practical demonstration and discovered several
      buried bodies, arms caches and stuff in a field that had bee
      • apocrpyhal [reference.com]: Of questionable authorship or authenticity.
        (from apo/far + crypt/hidden)
      • > Anybody debunked it yet?

        I hope your not one of those of people [vast majority afaict] who
        have very different standards of evidence between a claim and
        the debunking of a claim.

        Someone makes a claim and no matter what evidence they provide,
        the hearing from someone else that that person had heard it was
        "debunked" is enough for them to discard it.

        I am familiar [and sympathetic to] the viewpoint that extraordinary
        claims require extraordinary evidence, but this phenomena is different.
        Just the use of the word
        • >Someone makes a claim and no matter what evidence they provide,
          >the hearing from someone else that that person had heard it was
          >"debunked" is enough for them to discard it.

          I imagine taking a bunch of skeptics out to a field of their choice and finding mines and buried body parts would be rather enough evidence to merit further study and quiet the debunkers.

          If they can't do that, "debunking" is hardly needed, as there are a lot of crazy claims which I'm not going to bother using mind space on
      • Here is one for gold http://www.gnld.ws/ [www.gnld.ws]
    • by Quantum Fizz (860218) on Sunday August 06, 2006 @01:10PM (#15855674)
      Neutrinos are notoriously difficult to detect, for precisely the same reasons that you propose using them as imaging - they can travel through nearly everything. I used to work for the SNO [wikipedia.org] project back around 1996, the amount of engineering and technological sophistication that goes into a detector like this is quite amazing.
      .

      Back in the day there were proposals about using neutrinos to communicate with submarines and other military vehicles around the planet, since neutrinos can travel through the Earth. Since a military vessel would have to have a very small neutrino detector (to keep its mobility), the detection of neutrinos by this thing would be super low. IIRC, expected usable bandwidths (not sure if they actually did the experiment or not) would be something like a byte per day, which is obviously too low to be useful for military.

    • Not neutrinos, muons. Neutrinos can barrel through a lightyear thick piece of lead without noticing, they only interact with normal matter via the weak force and are far too difficult to image with. Muons (leptons, -kinda like heavy electrons) which are continuously created in the upper atmosphere by cosmic ray collisions with the gasses there produce copious amounts of muons which rain down from abovde all the time. the muon has a short half life (2 microseconds) but are travelling so fast (high kinetic en
      • "put an array of photodetectors below, say, a pyramid"

        Sounds like you'll have to rely on some leftover alien tech in the pyramid's basement, either a detector or levitator, to pull that off easy. Or make a brighter muon source on one side, and a detector held up on the other side, which is more easily accessible than the space beneath the biggest, most precious ancient artifact on the planet.
      • Kinetic energy is 1/2 * mass *velocity^2 and so depends on mass and velocity. Time dilation only depends on velocity. So it's somewhat incorrect to state the time dilation is because of high kinetic energy. For example. Consider a train. That will have a very large mass but slow velocity. Overall it probably has a higher kinetic energy than a muon, yet does not experience time dilation.

        In general be careful with the terms :)

      • Not neutrinos, muons.
        [...]
        Here, for instance is an image of the shadow of the moon. Big deal you say? Well that image was taken "in muons" from 700 meters underground in the Soudan mine of Minnesota.

        Big deal, I say. Wikipedia also says:

        The shadow is the result of approximately 120 muons missing from a total of 33 million detected in Soudan 2 over its 10 years of operation.

        Maybe the information is wrong or you know something I don't, but it doesn't look very practical to me.

        • Not to mention that the resolution is rather poor. The moon image looks like one of those "million light years away" objects. I don't know if it's because of the equipment used or a limitation of the technique itself but between that and the exposure time (10 years) plus the setup time (digging a gallery beneath the spot you want to explore), all to wonder whether this one off colour pixel might or might not be a buried paleolithic person... this does indeed seem a bit complicated for very little return, ev
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It's probably a Goa'uld trap. Wait, it might have a Zero-Point Module--open it but have a lot of guards and SG-1 standing by.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 06, 2006 @12:41PM (#15855589)
    My aunt works in Egyptology, and she doesn't have a lot of good things to say about this Reeves guy, so take this all with a grain of salt. The scan has found *something*, but not necessarily a tomb - limestone is naturally porous, and this could very well just be an air bubble. Basically, he's announcing a tomb that hasn't been discovered, which might not be a tomb at all, on the off-chance that, should it actually *be* a tomb, he'll get the credit for it.

    He also isn't even allowed in the Valley of the Kings. He got the boot because he's been known to work with smugglers. Generally not a reputable character.
    • I view GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar) as a diagnostic tool. There are definite cases where GPR has generated false positives. Think about when the FBI destroyed that barn recently while looking for Jimmy Hoffa. This technology cannot be trusted on its own, but it can help reduce the wholesale destruction of exploratory digging. It is possible that this shaft is a natural formation or something else that will not lead to treasure (or a deeper understanding of history).
      • by Anonymous Coward
        In my experience,17 years in North American archaeology, GPR is worthless.
        The only way to test it is with good old fashioned back hoe and shovel excavation -an opportunity I have often had.
        GPR "finds"(and misses) gravel lenses, boulders,bedrock outcrops ,recent and long rotted tree stumps. GPR "misses" structural remains, pit features, burials and other cultural features. You could achieve the same results with a dowsing rod. A skilled and perceptive archaeologist could easily do much better than GPR with
    • He also isn't even allowed in the Valley of the Kings. He got the boot because he's been known to work with smugglers. Generally not a reputable character.

      Well... FTA...

      Reeves was falsely accused of involvement in antiquities smuggling and his permit was revoked. In August 2005, he was officially cleared of any wrongdoing by Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA)

      Looks like the Egyptians looked into that and cleared him. Sounds to me like your aunt has a personal axe to grind...

    • Basically, he's announcing a tomb that hasn't been discovered, which might not be a tomb at all, on the off-chance that, should it actually *be* a tomb, he'll get the credit for it.
      I'll bet it's Al Capone's [wikipedia.org] other vault that contains the pr0n stash. Go get 'em, Geraldo.
    • by hey! (33014) on Sunday August 06, 2006 @01:06PM (#15855659) Homepage Journal
      He also isn't even allowed in the Valley of the Kings. He got the boot because he's been known to work with smugglers.


      Shades of E A Wallis Budge [thebritishmuseum.ac.uk], a man so vain and unscrupulous, that the British Museum, the organization that he worked for, can only say this of him:


      Budge's works are still in print, but this is because they are out of copyright, and so the text can be cheaply reprinted. While they are well illustrated, full of information and extremely cheap, they are at best unreliable, and usually misleading.


      They only stopped short of slapping a red banner across his photo with the world "Crackpot".

      Yet, nobody says Budge was stupid. Nor that he was unenterprising. He brought home lots of archaeological treasure that the Museum might not have received otherwise, which makes the Museum an important place for scholars. The down side is that he destroyed priceless and possibly irreplaceable knowledge in the process, which undermined the Museum's mission.

      So, it isn't out of the question that a freebooting antiquities smuggler found a new, possibly unlooted, probably even royal tomb. IIRC we don't have tombs to match up every ruler we know to have existed from the period where the Valley of the Kings was in use. Furthermore, while most people I know are marginally unethical, very few of them view themselves as ruthlessly bad. Therefore he might not scruple to support antiquities smuggling, but might draw the line at looting a newly discovered tomb. Or the tomb, if it exists, may not be excatable without a fairly major engineering effort.

      Or it may not exist at all. But I hope it does. Even a looted tomb is bound to be very interesting, unless all the inscriptions and paintings have been removed.
    • by techno-vampire (666512) on Sunday August 06, 2006 @01:37PM (#15855745) Homepage
      Basically, he's announcing a tomb that hasn't been discovered, which might not be a tomb at all, on the off-chance that, should it actually *be* a tomb, he'll get the credit for it.


      If you'd bothered to RTFA (Yeah, yeah, I know this is Slashdot; people never RTFA before posting.) you'd have seen two things. First, he's not saying it is a new tomb but that it might be. Second, he gives credit for the discovery of the other new tomb to the person who excavated it, even thought it had been found earlier in the radar survey.

    • Well, after Googling this subject for a bit (and looking at the Project's Web site) it appears that he announced his results after Otto Schaden and his team independently found the tomb (it was found in what was originally Reeve's concession.) He also states very clearly that even though his radar results identified a tomb-like structure some time before the physical discovery of the tomb, Schaden's group clearly deserves the credit for finding it. Doesn't sound like as much of an asshole as you're trying t
    • If a new tomb _is_ located, somebody should warn Zahi Hawass (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zahi_Hawass) about the 'blindness' and 'hairy palms' historically said to be the fruits of his not-unexpected actions - and that he should at least wash his hands when he's finished...
    • Basically, he's announcing a tomb that hasn't been discovered, which might not be a tomb at all, on the off-chance that, should it actually *be* a tomb, he'll get the credit for it.

      It:s that easy, huh? Hell, I don't even need to LOOK at the X-Ray scans... Even from here I can clearly see half a dozen undiscovered tombs! And at least one of them has some shocking new discovery! I'll take the credit for that, thank you very much.
    • Not only the accusation but the continued ban can be due to reasons ranging from Reeves being guilty but the authorities lacking evidence to professional jealousy that succeeded moving an "interloper" out of the way. It could be as simple as a rival hearing about the discovery of voids revealed by Reeves's radar data and taking a cynical step to remove Reeves from the field. In the Valley of the Kings, "voids" evoke the possibility of tombs.

      Reeve's discovery of intact stratigraphy outside of the tombs (it
    • Most of those accusations come from Dr. Hawass, himself a character that has a colorful reputation and a history of pulling a fast one to "protect" the sanctity of the Valley of Kings in particular and Egyptian artifacts in general. In other words, If you want to dig in Egypt his ass is the one you kiss and if doesn't think you do it well enough your gone.
    • "My aunt's brother's sister's cousin's an Egyptologist who says..." You are repeating what someone else is repeating from what someone else told them about the character of someone you have never personally met or observed. Okay!

       
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 06, 2006 @12:44PM (#15855600)
    "Will radar stratigraphy change the multi-millennial tradition of destructive excavation and open new opportunities in the search for buried treasure?"

    I have a better question. Why does every submission have to have the posters agenda? You could have said "Will radar stratigraphy open new opportunities in the search for buried treasure?".
    • And more importantly, was it needed at all. I mean, duh, of course it will change it. It's just a question of _when_ it will, not _if_. I'd try and come up with some witty analogy here, but I'm to lazy. It is left as an exercise to the reader.
    • . Why does every submission have to have the posters agenda?

      Because inflammatory submissions generate more comments, rebuffs, flames, etc...

      Which translate to more page views, etc....

      Which makes advertising on slashdot more valuable.....

      Which means more money for CowboyNeal.....

  • by Jeian (409916) on Sunday August 06, 2006 @12:52PM (#15855619)
    ... the Valley of Kings in Loch Modan.

    I should play WoW less.
  • Google UnEarth (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ageing Metalhead (586837) on Sunday August 06, 2006 @12:58PM (#15855635)
    All we need is a deep radar satellite, to spin around the world, and then we can have "google unearth". People searching the globe with their PCs looking for buried treasure from their armchair. Mind you, it will probably throw up more unearthed Mafia corpses than treasure ;-)
  • -1 Troll for the silly (but apparently mandatory, these days) 'buried treasure' feedline, just to give all the lame Tomb Raider jokers something to hang their crap from.

    (off-topic) I wish Slashdot had qualitative scoring for posts, instead of a simple 0-5 points scale of bad->good. I read at +5 because I remembered one day that I had other things to do with my life than read every comment. Unfortunately a lot of pretty lame gags, and equally glib dinner-party received opinions get modded up. Most of th

  • by krell (896769) on Sunday August 06, 2006 @01:23PM (#15855708) Journal
    " open new opportunities in the search for buried treasure?"

    Arr, matey! Any of ye swabs got a pirate ship that can sail in the desert?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The trouble is that if we find and excavate all the ancient sites, we are in peril of losing them forever. Maybe we should dig them up, photograph them and then put them back. The media that we use to store information are quite volitile. With one good war we could erase all information about our society as well as all the artifacts we have excavated from previous civilizations. The only historical information left would be the stuff we haven't dug up yet.

    The Renaissance was jump-started by ancient Roma
    • i doubt it. if we ever go belly up, we're bound to leave a lot of crap lying around unless people have managed to nuke every city and burn every book. i mean, rome got sacked, and there was still a bunch of stuff left over to rediscover (including a giant hill of trash). although the media we use to store stuff is more easily lost than say stone tablets (i'm talking physical stuff here... paper and photos and what nots), the amount of copies we have now almost guarantees that there will be enough left for w
      • Ther may be tons of copies of any semi-cultural stuff right now, but almost any of them will be unreadable in a couple of centuries. I'm not talking about DRM (I they have the technology to recreate a device to read it, cracking it won't be too hard), but about CD rot and similar decay of HD and flashs over time.
    • "One good war" could wipe out the valley too. . A couple of well placed H-bombs would obliterate it.

      But you are right in principle. Perhaps we should send out backups to the moon.
  • by posterlogo (943853) on Sunday August 06, 2006 @02:01PM (#15855816)
    ...called "dry holes" in the KV and surrounding areas, where tomb builders would build the antechamber, but then change their minds and go to another spot. So a supposed shaft, while exciting, even if what rader is picking up really was a product of ancient tomb builders, may still be a dead end.
  • They might find another ZPM to power Earth's Antartic base.
  • by voss (52565) on Sunday August 06, 2006 @03:31PM (#15856086)
    Good for the tomb robbers...That treasure was collected off the backs of thousands of
    slaves and from the pockets of honest egyptians for thousands of years. The "tomb robbers"
    are not thieves, that stuff was abandoned the same as a sunken treasure ship. The egyptian government didnt even care until they realized they could make money off it.

    At least the tomb robbers did something with the gold and treasure instead of just taking
    from innocent people and burying it. What good does it do history yet another
    Golden mask sitting in some museum somewhere. At least the tomb robbers enjoyed the
    treasure and put the gold into the economy.

    You want to talk about a treasure...the palimpset of archimedes is a treasure, the Rosetta stone is a treasure, the ruins of pompeii and karnak are treasures, Gold should be used for the living not the dead.

    • Gold should be used for the living not the dead.
      Used for what I wonder?
    • How was this modded so high? Of course the rulers had exquisite jewelry and other belongings. It's no different than any other culture. The reason it should go to museums and not to robbers is so that everyone can enjoy and learn from them. They teach of the history and the culture of the ancient egyptians. How is it doing any good to society if a couple of people steal something and it's melted down or sold to some rich guy for his private collection?
    • Er, yah. And you know, you don't have to pay your taxes! ALL ONE OR NONE!
    • "That treasure was collected off the backs of thousands of slaves and from the pockets of honest egyptians for thousands of years."

      For the most part, the slavery bit is Jewish/Christian/Muslim propoganda. The pyramids were generally built by farmers in the off-season.

      The money didn't take "thousands of years" to acquire, it was put together during the lifetime of the that particular pharaoh (for obvious reasons).

      And the farmers that built and paid for the pyramids weren't exactly taxed into oblivion; thei
      • It's "abandoned" only if you believe that the dead have no use for it. The person entombed and most of the people who built the tomb believed they did.


        Considering some of the later Pharos hired "tomb robers" to steal gold from previous burials to help bolster their coffers, and considering the practice was to empty those coffers at the time of burial to go into the next tomb, I'm not sure I can really look at those as "hallowed" graves.

        It does however shed more light on the traditional jewish practice of bu

      • The pyramid-building Old Kingdom had limited access to the outside world, and presumably few, if any, foriegn slaves. So the pyramid building workers were probably motivated chiefly by religious conviction. I'm not sure I'd agree with your "farmers in the off-season" classification. Indications seem to be that the society was well off enough to support dedicated pyramid-builders, and that these monuments were in fact collosal resource commitments. But basically, I second your note that the image of slav
  • Is it Al'kesh , Puddle jumper, or Stargate.
  • by Tiro (19535) on Sunday August 06, 2006 @06:22PM (#15856532) Journal
    Come on, this stuff is Ancient History!!
  • Hehe... (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by Jugalator (259273)
    Each time I hear about Valley of the Kings, I start thinking of the end area of Act 2 in Diablo 2. :-p
    Sure, it's Valley of the Magi, but still. I think I played that game too much...
  • We may even find the stargate in our lifetime.

    Wont that be cool.
  • by BuildMonkey (585376) on Sunday August 06, 2006 @08:58PM (#15856970)
    How long does a body have to be in the ground before digging it up the corpse and taking its valuables stops being grave robbing and becomes archeology? Is it archeology if you just take enough pictures and measurements? Shall we do some "archeology" on Westminster Abbey? The Vatican? I'm sure there are valuables buried with those bodies. How about digging up Lincoln's tomb - it could tell us more about how he lived and died. If you find these examples offensive consider this:

    Time after time, from the Incas, the Mayas, the Egyptians, American Indians, etc. entire cities or societies worked for a generation to ensure that their royalty, leaders, or god-kings could rest forever undisturbed. What gives us the right to violate that sanctity? "Knowledge" is the canonical answer, but is it curiosity for curiosity's sake? And is that sufficient justification violate an entire society's clear wishes?
    • by woolio (927141) on Sunday August 06, 2006 @09:30PM (#15857046) Journal
      How long does a body have to be in the ground before digging it up the corpse and taking its valuables stops being grave robbing and becomes archeology?

      Grave robbing occurs when a burial ground is disturbed while members of the same race/society/tribe/etc are still present.

      As soon as they have all been exterminated and the previous society no longer exists, then it becomes archaelogy..... because there is no longer any protest...
    • > And is that sufficient justification violate an entire society's clear wishes?

      The wishes of a dead civilization do not matter.
    • We have a greater obligation to advance human knowledge than humor superstitions of the dead ancients.
      From learning, there is benefit for the living. Burial rituals are for the living, so when there are no living to be annoyed by it, why not dig?
    • How long does a body have to be in the ground before digging it up the corpse and taking its valuables stops being grave robbing and becomes archeology? Is it archeology if you just take enough pictures and measurements? Shall we do some "archeology" on Westminster Abbey? The Vatican?

      Actually archaeological digs on 'recent' burials and in the West is fairly common. (The just completed one at Little Big Horn about a decade back for example.) Then there is the study of the Franklin expedition back in the

  • I've always wondered what it is about being an archaeologist that makes it OK to be a grave robber. I mean, the practice is frowned upon in pretty much every other circumstance.
    • Nothing but advancement of science.
      Thats why they cut up rabbits, test atomic bombs and make caged animals eat cosmetics.Mainstream science doesn't lookahead,it just ignores failure.
      And thats not surprising in the least, as civilizations contains alot of defective ideas,fucked-up traditions and self-destructive reasoning (as an eye for an eye) embedded within.
  • I just came back from visiting Mayan ruins in Central America and I wondered why they don't use similar technicques to locate some of the ruins? Many ruins are deep within thick jungles, and I have heard of archaeologists walking by structures without recognizing them because the jungle is so thick. There are so many sites that are unknown to historians that locals usually suggest new sites every few weeks. Is there anything about thick jungles that would prevent this technique from working in central am
    • Ground Penetrating Radar works best in dry conditions with a uniformly-composed ground that contains no natural iron. It's also reliable only to a few feet. If you want greater depth, you need more power and you lose resolution. You also risk noise in the signal.

      Non-uniform ground is a pain for two reasons. First, it creates false reflections, and secondly because GPR measures depth as a function of the time for the echo to return, the vertical scale goes to hell in a handbasket. You've no idea where things

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