Thursday, June 30, 2011
"The principal mission of the Ministry of State for Antiquities, previously known as the Supreme Council of Antiquities, is to protect and promote the cultural heritage of Egypt, both independently and in cooperation with national and international organizations. To achieve its goals, it formulates and implements all policies concerned with antiquities; issues guidelines and permits for the excavation, restoration, conservation, documentation, and study of sites and monuments; and manages a country-wide system of antiquities museums."
http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en/node/470508 and also
An ancient Egyptian federation
As reported by Aristide Malnati, federalism had been developed for the first time in the ancient Egypt. This is a conclusion after analysis of archaeological and historical elements, lasted for 30 years during the systematic excavations on the site of Balat, Dakhla Oasis (200 km due west of Luxor). The period was that of the Sixth Dynasty (2300-2200 BC). The excavation is lead by the French archaeologist Georges Soukiassian.
Balat is considered the oldest Egyptian village. It was the most powerful center in one of the richest regions in Egypt, particularly during the Sixth Dynasty. Here lived the Governors of Oasis, having wide autonomy from the king and a real possibility to influence the decisions of the national policy.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
A collection of painted blocks used in the construction of king Osorkon II’s temple have been unearthed in San El-Hagar in the Delta city of Sharqia"
New Pharaonic artefacts discovered in North Egypt's site of San El-Hagar - Ancient Egypt - Heritage - Ahram Online
Monday, June 27, 2011
How small can these shapes be? In December 2003, German chemists made a molecular Mobius strip out of a benzene-like ring modified with a belt-like carbon structure. Since then, various groups have produced increasingly bizarre Mobius-type molecules, including one that can switch back and forth from a Mobius to an ordinary strip when zapped with light.
Of course, the obvious choice of material with which to make Mobius molecules is graphene. But this particular trick has eluded chemists, an omission that clearly irks. Now Douglas Galvao from the Universidade Estadual de Campinas in Sao Paolo, Brazil, and buddies have decided to grip the bull by the horns and calculated the properties that Mobius carbon might have."New form of "Mobius" carbon predicted - Technology Review
Friday, June 24, 2011
"Physicists in the US, India and China have calculated that quarks and gluons can break free from their confinement inside protons and neutrons at a temperature of around two trillion degrees Kelvin – the temperature of the universe a fraction of a second after the Big Bang. The researchers arrived at this figure by combining the results of supercomputer calculations and heavy-ion collision experiments. They say that it puts our knowledge of quark matter on a firmer footing."
"A new quasiparticle called the "wrinklon" could help explain why materials as diverse as graphene and household curtains wrinkle in much the same way – despite their very different length scales. The particle has been introduced by researchers in Belgium, France and the US as a result of measurements on a wide range of materials on length scales from micrometres to metres. While the work may not lead to more attractive curtains, wrinkles do turn out to affect the electronic properties of graphene and the analysis could therefore influence the development of graphene-based devices."
"Recent data from the spacecraft have shown a gentle decrease in the velocity of the solar wind at the heliopause – the outer boundary of the heliosheath – not the abrupt discontinuity predicted by current theories. Also, scientists looking at other data from both Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 have found that the magnetic field in the heliosheath is a tumultuous foam of magnetic bubbles, as compared to the graceful arcs of magnetic field lines they had expected."
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Gracias al convenio firmado entre el Archivo General de la Nación (AGN) y la Asociación Educacional ‘Antonio Raimondi’ será posible restaurar y digitalizar la colección del sabio italiano, que data de los años 1852 a 1869, anunció el ministro de Cultura, Dr. Juan Ossio Acuña. "
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
by AC Sparavigna
The paper shows the recurrence and cross recurrence plots of three time series, concerning data of the solar activity. The data are the sunspot number and the values of solar radio flux at 10.7 cm and of solar total irradiance, which are known as highly correlated. To compare the series, the radio flux and irradiance values are monthly averaged. Recurrence plots display the oscillating behaviour with remarkable features. Moreover, cross recurrence plots help in identifying time lags between the sunspot number maximum and the maximum of radio or irradiance signals, in circumstances where the data values are highly dispersed. Image processing is useful too, in enhancing the monitoring. An interesting behaviour is displayed by cross recurrence plots of irradiance, which are not symmetric with respect to the line of identity.
GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 38, L11802, 4 PP., 2011
Volcanic ash is hygroscopic
Water vapor adsorption is the main proceess controlling ash hygroscopicity
The results can be parameterized in a simple correlation for use in models
"Limited observational data exists on the physical interactions between volcanic ash particles and water vapor; yet it is thought that these interactions can strongly impact the microphysical evolution of ash, with implications for its atmospheric lifetime and transport, as well as formation of water and ice clouds. ...The hygroscopicity of the ash particles is quantified by their ability to uptake water and nucleate into cloud drops under controlled levels of water vapor supersaturation. Evidence presented strongly suggests that ash uptakes water efficiently via adsorption and a simple parameterization of ash hygroscopicity is developed for use in ash plume and atmospheric models."
Friday, June 10, 2011
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
"Future space equipment could one day be built in off-planet automated factories, following a new programme by UK firm Magna Parva.
The Technology Strategy Board-funded scheme will develop the idea of off-planet manufacturing for technology such as solar sails and antenna reflectors, which could cut the costs and complexity of such structures.
If this equipment were manufactured in space it could be made thinner, lighter and with fewer parts because it would not have to withstand the force of Earth’s gravity or fold compactly into a launch vehicle."
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
We propose the use of image processing to enhance the Google Maps of some archaeological areas of Egypt. In particular we analyse that place which is considered the cradle of pyramids, where it was announced the discovery of a new pyramid by means of an infrared remote sensing.
Saqqara and Dahshur are burial places of the ancient Egypt. Saqqara was the necropolis of Memphis, the ancient capital of the Lower Egypt. This place has many pyramids, including the well-known step pyramid of Djoser, and several mastabas. As told in Wikipedia, 16 Egyptian kings built pyramids there and the high officials added their tombs during the entire pharaonic period . The necropolis remained an important complex for non-royal burials and cult ceremonies till the Roman times. Dahshur is another royal necropolis located in the desert on the west bank of the Nile . The place is well-known for several pyramids, two of which are among the oldest and best preserved in Egypt. Therefore this site can be properly considered as the cradle of Egyptian pyramids . Figure 1 shows the Djoser pyramid and the Great Enclosure at Saqqara. The two images have been obtained from Google Maps after an image processing with two programs, AstroFracTool, based on the calculus of the fractional gradient, and the wavelet filtering of Iris, as discussed in Ref.4. The reader can compare the images with the original Google Maps, using the coordinates given in the figure .
Recently the BBC announced the discovery in the area between Saqqara and Dashur, near the river Nile, of a new pyramid buried in the sand . The pyramid has been observed by means of the infrared remote sensing. According to the images in Ref.7, it is located near the pyramid of Khendjer, discovered by Gustave Jequier in 1929, built as the tomb of king Khendjer, who ruled Egypt during the 13th Dynasty . The pyramid currently lies in ruins, in part damaged during the excavations done by Jequier, and it is rising just one meter above the desert sand. The pyramid complex was enclosed by inner and outer walls. The inner wall was made of limestone, the outer wall was made of mud bricks. According to Wikipedia, the pyramid stood at about 37.35 meters high .
It is interesting to observe the structure of this pyramid from the space with Google Maps. After a processing by means of AstroFracTool and Gimp , we obtained the lower panel in Fig.2. According to Ref., the ruins are rising only a few meters above the grounds; the Google Maps, however, after a suitable processing are displaying all the details of the Khendjer complex.
As BBC announced, Sarah Parcak, of the University of Alabama, used some data from NASA infrared equipped satellites to survey the Egypt. Waiting for a more detailed report on her researches and on the methods the team used, let us observe the images that some Web sites are publishing, in particular that of the Khendjer complex (for the author it is impossible to tell whether the images are the original infrared ones or not). According to , it is in this complex that there is one of the discovered pyramids. The site is shown in Fig.3, where the upper panel is displaying as it appears in Google Maps, and the lower panel shows it after processing by means of AstroFracTool. It seems a ghost image having the same features of the complex outlines in Fig.2.
According to the Egypt's Minister of State for Antiquities Affairs, Zahi Hawass, the new technologies are able to locate the remains beneath the sand , but it is necessary to identify them with archaeological researches on the spot. Of course, a research on the area will be able to tell the name of the king buried in the site.
As discussed in Ref.10, there are several remote sensing techniques that can be useful in archaeology. For what concerns the Google Maps, let me remark its use in the study of the Merowe Dam and the paleochannels of the Nile where we compared the images from SIR-C/X-SAR imaging radar system, with those from Google .
It is my opinion that the image processing of Google Maps can be used for an archaeological survey of Egypt (see for instance, some examples on the satellite images of Amarna, ), besides of course, all the satellite methods used for geophysical researches. For what concerns the proposed processing of Google Maps, it is important to note the following fact: it is during the processing activity, when the user is changing parameters and details appear in the picture, that it is easier to recognize them. The information is already in the image: it is only enough to take it out.
3. From A to Z, Dahshur, http://www.ancient-egypt.org/index.html
4. Enhancing the Google imagery using a wavelet filter, A.C. Sparavigna, http://arxiv.org/abs/1009.1590
5. See images at the site https://sites.google.com/site/saqqaradahshursatellite/
6. Egyptian pyramids found by infra-red satellite images, F. Cronin, BBC New, 24 May 2011,
7. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1390667/Seventeen-lost-pyramids-thousands-buried-Egyptian-settlements-pinpointed-infrared-satellite-images.html?ito=feeds-newsxml, and also http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/9202577-egyptian-pyramids-found-by-infrared-satellite-images
9. News broadcast by BBC is inaccurate, says Hawass, N. El-Aref, Ahramonline, 26 May 2011, http://english.ahram.org.eg/
10. The satellite archaeological survey of Egypt, A.C. Sparavigna, http://arxiv.org/abs/1105.6315
11. The Merowe Dam on the Nile, A.C. Sparavigna, http://www.archaeogate.org/, and, Merowe Dam and the inundation of paleochannels of the Nile, A.C. Sparavigna, http://arxiv.org/abs/arXiv:1011.4911
12. Some image processing on Amarna,
Fig.3. According to , it is in the Khendjer complex that there is one of the discovered pyramids. The upper panel is showing as it appears in Google Maps, the lower panel shows it after processing by means of AstroFracTool. It seems a ghost image having the same features of the complex outlines in Fig.2.
Monday, June 6, 2011
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
by Amelia Carolina Sparavigna
A recent announcement from BBC of 17 new pyramids discovered in Egypt arouses the interest on the archaeology aided by satellites imagery . These pyramids, as many other ancient remains in Egypt, are under the sand of the desert. They were discovered by means of a remote sensing with infrared sensors. In fact, the archaeological surveys, usually performed by means of airplanes, are necessary to observing the sites from above and gain a better view of the landforms. In some cases, the survey of a region ends with the discovery of new archaeological sites or with the precise location of an ancient lost town .
Satellites give different opportunities, according to their sensorial equipment. BBC announced that Sarah Parcak, of the University of Alabama, used some data from NASA infrared equipped satellites to survey the Egypt. Waiting for a more detailed report on her researches and on the methods the team used, we can just tell that the infrared inspection is based on collecting the radiances in various wavelength bands, in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum. The resulting profiles depend on the methods used to obtain the surface data from radiances. To have a good detection, the surface must be free from clouds.
The Egypt's Minister of State for Antiquities Affairs, Zahi Hawass, seems to be quite interested to the new technologies, but, as he told Ahram Online, the satellite infrared images are only able to locate the remains beneath the sand . It is then necessary, according to Hawass, to identify them with archaeological researches on the spot. From the news on the Web it is not clear how many sites have been analyzed by the team of the University of Alabama. It seems that the amount of data collected by the researchers is huge.
Besides the analysis with infrared imagery, let us consider that there are other remote sensing techniques that can be useful in archaeology: among them we have the LIDAR system, which is, as we discussed in , able to see under the canopy of the forests, and the SIR-C/X-SAR imaging radar system, which has waves that can penetrate the clouds, and, under certain conditions, vegetation, ice and dry sand . Of course, these facilities are not freely available and needs financial supports.
We could then ask ourselves if a free satellite service, such as Google Maps, can help in some archaeological researches in Egypt. It is my opinion that the answer is positive. In studying the Merowe Dam and the paleochannels of the Nile we could compare the images from SIR-C/X-SAR imaging radar system, with those of the Google Maps . After a suitable image processing with some freely downloadable programs (GIMP, IRIS, AstroFracTool,), the Google Maps revealed astonishing details of the network of old buried channels of Nile in the Nubian region. The same for the "raised fields" near the Titicaca Lake in Peru: the processing of the images clearly displayed the network of these ancient earthworks and canals . Many of these structures are probably buries under some sediments of the lake.
Let us then try to apply the image processing to the Google Maps of those areas in Egypt, where according to the press, the infrared satellite imagery is giving good results. We see that one of these investigated areas is that of Tanis, a town of the ancient Egypt. In Fig.1, it is shown what we can have after processing the image from Google Maps. The upper part of the figure is obtained using the GIMP image- processing program, to adjust brightness and contrast. The lower part is gained after a processing with the wavelet filtering of Iris. These images seem to contain quite clear information on the buried town too.
Another example is the site where there are buried pyramids, according to the press [9,10]. The site is at Saqqara: Figure 2 shows the area as can be seen after a processing of Google Maps. The reader is invited to compare these images with those published on the Web, copyrighted BBC. I guess that after comparison, the reader can draw some positive conclusions about Google Maps and its use for an archaeological survey of Egypt. I am proposing another example of the use of image processing in Fig.3. This is the Great Temple at Amarna, buried under the sand (more images at ).
As Zahi Hawass is telling, it is necessary to understand whether some “anomalies” revealed by the satellite remote sensing are archaeological remains or not. This means that archaeology can only receive benefits for geophysics researches and the related use of remote sensing.
1. Egyptian pyramids found by infra-red satellite images, F. Cronin, BBC New, 24 May 2011, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-13522957
2. Documentation of the Abandoned Town La Ciudad Perdida in Peru Combining VHR Satellite Data and Terrestrial Measurement, K. Pavelka, M. Bukovinsky, J. Svatuskova, Remote Sensing for Science, Education and Natural and Cultural Heritage, Rainer Reuter Ed., EARSeL, 2010.
3. News broadcast by BBC is inaccurate, says Hawass, N. El-Aref, Ahramonline, 26 May 2011, http://english.ahram.org.eg/
4. Lines under the forest, A.C. Sparavigna, http://www.archaeogate.org/, and http://arxiv.org/abs/1105.5277.
5. SIR-C X-SAR Earth-Imaging Radar for NASA's Mission to Planet Earth, Infopage.
6. The Merowe Dam on the Nile, A.C. Sparavigna, http://www.archaeogate.org/, and, Merowe Dam and the inundation of paleochannels of the Nile, A.C. Sparavigna, http://arxiv.org/abs/arXiv:1011.4911.
7. Enhancing the Google imagery using a wavelet filter, A.C. Sparavigna, http://arxiv.org/abs/1009.1590.
8. The geoglyphs of Titicaca, A.C. Sparavigna, http://www.archaeogate.org/ and Symbolic landforms created by ancient earthworks near Lake Titicaca, A.C. Sparavigna, http://arxiv.org/abs/1009.2231.
9. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1390667/Seventeen-lost-pyramids-thousands-buried-Egyptian-settlements-pinpointed-infrared-satellite-images.html?ito=feeds-newsxml, and also
10. In my opinion, the published images at  are not the real infrared images of the Alabama University team, but this is what is published on the web.
11. Some image processing on Amarna, https://sites.google.com/site/amarnasatelliteimagery/
Fig.1: Tanis as can be observed after processing an image from Google Maps. In the upper part, brightness and contrast had been adjusted with GIMP. The lower image was obtained with a wavelet filtering with Iris. It seems that the image is giving quite good details too.
Fig.2. This is the Saqqara area where there is a buried pyramid. The image has been obtained after processing a Google Maps image. According to Refs., in this area there one of the buried pyramid announced by BBC .
Fig.3: The Great Temple in Amarna, as can be seen after processing a Google Maps image.