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  • May be this is the most impressive place on Earth.

  • This is the step pyramid that is built by stone.

  • We are in the burial chamber of the step pyramid.

  • The step pyramid built by this genius architect Imhotep.

  • He was a common man, was not really important man,

  • but he became very important because of his mind.

  • He was the first one on Earth, who invented the building from mud brick to limestone.

  • He was the first one on Earth to make the first ceiling by limestone.

  • He was the first one on Earth to make the first pillar of a stone.

  • And this is why he was worshiped by the Egyptians.

  • From this place architecture was created.

  • This burial chamber is cut under the ground.

  • And the sarcofagus, huge 20-ton sarcofagus

  • made of granites, underneath the sand.

  • We are in the XXI century now,

  • trying to restore this pyramid.

  • Trying, because we are afraid

  • that these tunnels and passages can fall down.

  • People always loved to hear about discoveries

  • and secrets from the sand, mummies and things like this.

  • But what I've got to tell you now is not a discovery,

  • but it's a more thrill than a discovery.

  • It's a story of the step pyramid,

  • the oldest pyramid in Egypt

  • that almost dated back to 4900 years ago.

  • I was underneath this pyramid

  • for about 36 meters under the ground.

  • What's amazing, I used to come to this burial chamber

  • and they told all the time when I come by here,

  • it was full of the stone rubble and sand

  • for about four meters high.

  • I used to say: “It will never,”

  • We will never see the sarcofagus in our life.”

  • I never thought that we'd be able to do conservation and restoration

  • and clean this sarcofagus.

  • What's happened in the past?

  • 500 B.C. This burial, incredible chamber fell down.

  • And people in that time came and they restored the chamber.

  • And later the burial chamber began to be destroyed.

  • Huge stones, that this burial chamber was cased

  • with white fine limestone with the stars on them,

  • all this came down on the sarcofagus, they broke it to the pieces.

  • About 2 months ago we found a tunnel underneath the sarcofagus.

  • And that tunnel goes for about 60 feet,

  • or may be 90 feet.

  • But going in this tunnel crawling and see yourself under the base

  • of the sarcofagus that may be weight for 60 tons,

  • and what is dangerous about that is that you can look on the top

  • and you can see the sarcofagus became to be pieces.

  • The egyptian team that is working inside the step pyramid

  • was able to remove the stone rubble, limestone blocks

  • and be able in two months to clean the surface of the sarcofagus

  • for the first time.

  • And now, actually, I don't think

  • that any archaeologist in the past or anyone in modern times

  • saw full this sarcofagus.

  • It is the first time, when we can actually see it.

  • Samir, my assistant today, he said:

  • We have huge blocks underneath

  • that we cannot move it, we need to break it.”

  • I said: “Break it.”

  • Sometimes a surgeon can make a surgery.

  • We have to sacrifice [UNCLEAR] to save the patient.

  • We are saving the step pyramid.

  • And the most important thing that you can see

  • is the touch of workmen, who moved this granite from [UNCLEAR],

  • over 800 kilometers south of Cairo,

  • brought it and made the sarcofagus.

  • You can see the touch of the hands,

  • signs that they made

  • to see how the blocks will be near each other.

  • They found names of the queens,

  • because the step pyramid is the only pyramid in the whole kingdom

  • that eleven of the king's daughters were buried inside.

  • And no one really knows that all these tunnels and passages,

  • if you take it to the computer and put it into computer,

  • you can see that the tunnels can show 3.5 miles long.

  • And that is the mystery of ancient Egypt:

  • how did the Egyptians imagine the other world,

  • full of tunnels and passages, dark.

  • And something that I will be proud all my life:

  • restoring the step pyramid.

  • No one can do it.

  • Many foreign expeditions tried, and they came and failed.

  • We did very impressive project

  • completely done by the egyptian team

  • of engineering architects, archaeologysts and restorators.

  • They worked together.

  • I gave them authority to make a decision.

  • Even if the decision could be wrong, but make a decision.

  • For the safety of the monuments.

  • And this is why we are inside this burial chamber.

  • It's something incredible.

  • And sitting above the granite sarcofagus

  • for the first time that people can see the sarcofagus

  • that makes eternal to the king.

  • And we are giving eternal to this unique pyramid,

  • the step pyramid of Djoser.

May be this is the most impressive place on Earth.

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B1 pyramid chamber burial step limestone tunnel

Exploring the Step Pyramid, Ancient Egypt's "Stairway to Heaven" - Dr. Zahi Hawass

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    Li posted on 2014/11/02
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