May 26, 2024

AN, CAIRO: The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities has launched a project to study and document the granite blocks that make up the outer casing of the Pyramid of Menkaure, the smallest of the three main pyramids of Giza, in preparation for their restoration.

A joint Egyptian-Japanese archaeological mission is carrying out the project.

“This is a huge project that requires many collaborators,” Dr. Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said. Waziri and Dr. Yoshimura Sakoguchi are the leaders of the mission.

Waziri continued: “There have been numerous projects throughout history that have been dubbed ‘Project of the Century,’ but, in my opinion, the task of restoring the granite casing of the Menkaure Pyramid is as significant and crucial as (any of them).”

He described the project as “a gift from Egypt to the world,” coinciding with the upcoming opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum, as it will facilitate the “first complete viewing” of the pyramid in modern times.

There were originally 16 granite blocks used for the pyramid’s outer casing, but only seven remain today.

The project is expected to take three years, according to Waziri, and will include drawing and photogrammetry, documentation, laser scanning, and reassembly of the granite blocks.

While observing the project’s progress, the secretary-general met a tour group from Costa Rica and invited them to revisit the site once the project is complete.

Archaeological expert Ahmed Mohammadi told Arab News that archaeological discoveries in Egypt boost tourism.

“We have observed depictions of Menkaure’s Pyramid in ancient drawings and inscriptions, and they differ from its current state. (This project) will restore it to its original state, as built by the ancient Egyptians,” he said.

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