Friday, May 27, 2011

Hawass response to satellite discovery reports

Ahram Online (Nevine El-Aref)

Minister of State for Antiquities (MSA) Zahi Hawass announced at the ministry in Zamalek that yesterday’s media reports that researchers from the University of Alabama in the United States had identified 17 lost pyramids and thousands of ancient Egyptian settlements via infrared images is not accurate.

Hawass told Ahram Online that satellite infrared images are only able to locate anomalies beneath the sand, which cannot be identified until archaeological research is carried out. “These anomalies could be anything: a house, a tomb, a temple or even geological features,” Hawass asserted.

He continued that these images offer assistance in discovering antiquities but are generally not accurate.


And a response to Hawass by the Art of Counting

Seriously, did Zahi Hawass just spank Sarah Parcak? . . . .

While it is true that infrared images show only “anomalies” under the sand that need to be confirmed through direct examination, dismissing this data out of hand as inaccurate ignores the incredible insights that can be gained through the use of these technologies. These images DO assist in uncovering antiquities, even if the researcher does have to take them with a grain of salt and go into the process with the recognition that rather than being a true ‘map’ to an undiscovered site, these are guides that help direct to areas of incredible interest in a sea of sand.

The Art of Counting project has also encountered this type of dismissive attitude on occasion, as though statistical analysis is applicable to all other aspects of human existence but simply can’t reveal anything about ancient Egyptian imagery. Happily, there have been many scholars who have already joined the Art of Counting team, but new technologies can be overwhelming and somewhat frightening to those who do not understand them.

6 comments:

Bert said...

Is Mr Hawass playing the pharaoh of egyptology again ? Is he going for a reissue of the Joann Fletcher conflict "because it is not HIS discovery" again ? He may be the Minister of Antiquities because he knows too much about too many people, but he is not a truthful archeologist. So sorry about that ! I believed he had a far greater integrity !

Patrick said...

Well said, 'Art of Counting'!

AliceG said...

In other words it ain't gospel until Zahi says it's gospel. And if he can't be allowed to say it first it ain't gonna be gospel. He doesn't car how many degrees another person has or what university they're working for. He alone decides what and when to publish.

AliceG said...

Poor Fletcher. She did screw up the way she did it. But he went a bit overboard with her. You're right, Bert, he knows where all the bones are buried. And I don't mean the ancient ones!

Anonymous said...

Isn't it time for hawas to go? Egypt deserves better

Anonymous said...

Hawass is also the brainiac that once said "Not even in five thousand years could carbon dating help archeology. We can use other kinds of methods like geoarcheology, which is very important, or DNA, or laser scanning, but carbon dating is useless. This science will never develop. In archeology, we consider carbon dating results imaginary." (almasry alyoum)

The man is an embarrassment to himself, to Egyptology, and to Egypt.