Comme on pouvait s’y attendre, la presse internationale s’est précipitée sur la “nouvelle” pour la propager à l’envi, commençant ainsi à généraliser cette (pseudo ?) information dont il eût été préférable de vérifier auparavant la vraisemblance, si ce n’est la véracité.
Pendant ce temps, les experts en archéologie égyptienne et autres égyptologues brillent par leur silence, rodés qu’ils sont à faire parler la pierre plutôt que les on-dit.
Le ministre des Antiquités égyptiennes, pour sa part, n’y est pas allé par quatre chemins. Il vient de déclarer que “Google Earth ment”, tout en prenant néanmoins la précaution d’annoncer que des missions d’exploration se rendront sur place.
Dans ce cafouillis médiatique, orné, il est vrai, de superbes clichés, comment se faire néanmoins une première idée plausible, sous réserve que l’observation satellitaire puisse être un outil fiable à la disposition des archéologues ?
Je vous propose donc ci-dessous quelques brefs extraits de presse sur le sujet.
Si vous disposez d’éclairages complémentaires, ou bien si votre avis sur la question est d’ores et déjà arrêté, ils seront ici les bienvenus. Merci par avance.
“Angela Micol va partir à l’assaut de ces monticules pour vérifier qu'il s'agit bien de pyramides. Pour l’instant, les archéologues examinent les images qu'elle a compilées avant d'entamer des fouilles plus approfondies. Mais déjà, la découverte crée la controverse. Selon certains chercheurs, ces monticules ont des structures rappelant les pyramides de la 13e dynastie qui couvre la période de - 1801 à 1786. Pour d'autres, il est encore prématuré d'évoquer une découverte historique. "Il y a une chance infime qu'une ou deux de ces formes soient des pyramides, mais ce n'est pas mon avis", a déclaré l'égyptologue américain Bob Brier à NBCNews.com.”
Le Monde (15 août 2012)
Two unidentified, possible pyramid complexes
“One of the complex sites contains a distinct, four-sided, truncated, pyramidal shape that is approximately 140 feet in width.
This site contains three smaller mounds in a very clear formation, similar to the diagonal alignment of the Giza Plateau pyramids.
The second possible site contains four mounds with a larger, triangular-shaped plateau. The two larger mounds at this site are approximately 250 feet in width, with two smaller mounds approximately 100 feet in width. This site complex is arranged in a very clear formation with the large plateau, or butte, nearby in a triangular shape with a width of approximately 600 feet. (...)
The Egyptian sites have been sent to Egyptologists and researchers for further investigation and “ground truthing”. Angela has stated, “The images speak for themselves. It’s very obvious what the sites may contain but field research is needed to verify they are, in fact, pyramids and evidence should be gathered to determine their origins. It is my hunch there is much more to these sites and with the use of Infrared imagery, we can see the extent of the proposed complexes in greater detail.”
Google Earth Anomalies
"There is a slight chance that one or two could be pyramids” (Bob Brier)
“The first site, just 1.5 miles from the ruins of an ancient town called Dimai, consists of a large, square formation and three (or possibly more) smaller features. The smaller ones are roughly aligned with true north, like the Giza pyramids, though the large one is conspicuously off-axis.
The other potential discovery is about 12 miles from Abu Sidhum, a city on the Nile. Its most prominent feature is a large, triangular plateau with regular sides that have been severely eroded. The center of this triangle has a pair of circular features that may have been wells or mounds. (...)
Egyptologist Bob Brier, senior research fellow at the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University, said the claims were premature.
"There is a slight chance that one or two could be pyramids, but it doesn't look like it to me," Brier wrote.
Robert Littman, an archaeologist from the University of Hawaii who is a director of the Tell Timai excavation project in Egypt, agreed that it's premature to say what the structures were – but said the Google Earth imagery was nonetheless "very interesting."
"It may well turn out to be a pyramid, but it may turn out to be another structure," he said in a telephone interview.
The process for registering and protecting such sites may mean that the nature of these discoveries, if they are in fact discoveries, will not be made public for some time. In the meantime, amateur Egyptologists can continue scouring the area for more features by using the same method Micol used : Google Earth.”
“Almost three times the size of the Great Pyramid”
“Two new pyramid complexes may have been discovered in a satellite survey of Egypt.
The potentially important sites, standing 90 miles apart, are made up of unusual-shaped mounds, according to archaeology researcher Angela Micol.
Ms Micol has spent the past 10 years searching for ancient sites from space using Google Earth.
The first area stands in Upper Egypt, some 12 miles from the city of Abu Sidhum along the Nile.
It includes a 620ft-wide triangular plateau - almost three times the size of the Great Pyramid.
"Upon closer examination of the formation, this mound appears to have a very flat top and a curiously symmetrical triangular shape that has been heavily eroded with time," she said.
There are also four mounds nearby - two around 250ft wide, and two 100ft wide.
The second site is 90 miles north, near the Faiyum Oasis, and 1.5 miles south east of the ancient town of Dimai, and contains a four-sided shape about 140ft wide.
"It has a distinct square centre, which is very unusual for a mound of this size and it almost seems pyramidal when seen from above," said Ms Micol, from Maiden, North Carolina.
The site also contains three smaller mounds "similar to the diagonal alignment of the Giza Plateau pyramids," she added.
"The colour of the mounds is dark and similar to the material composition of Dimai's walls which are made of mudbrick and stone."
Archaeologists are examining the images and will visit the sites to explore further.
"The images speak for themselves. It's very obvious what the sites may contain, but field research is needed to verify they are, in fact, pyramids," added Ms Micol, who has also found a possible underwater city off the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico.”
“Nothing to see here but a couple of big buttes”
“If Micol's blog is to be believed, Egyptologists have vetted and are currently investigating her amazing discovery. "The images speak for themselves. It's very obvious what the sites may contain but field research is needed to verify they are, in fact, pyramids," Micol wrote on her blog.
Turns out, further field research won't be necessary after all. These mounds are just your common buttes.
"It seems that Angela Micol is one of the so-called 'pyridiots' who see pyramids everywhere," said James Harrell, professor emeritus of archaeological geology at the University of Toledo and a leading expert on the archaeological geology of ancient Egypt. "Her Dimai and Abu Sidhum 'pyramids' are examples of natural rock formations that might be mistaken for archaeological features provided one is unburdened by any knowledge of archaeology or geology. In other words, her pyramids are just wishful thinking by an ignorant observer with an overactive imagination."
The large, three- and four-sided hills Micol chanced upon are geologic features known as buttes, Harrell told Life's Little Mysteries. Commonly seen in the local Faiyum Desert, such buttes form when a mound of sediment contains a difficult-to-erode layer. When the surrounding sediment gradually erodes, that resistant layer gets left on top, making the hill flat.
Meanwhile, the smaller hills found in Micol's Google Earth screenshots are circular, and thus nothing like pyramids, Harrell said.
Other geologists attribute the features to the forces of nature as well. "What it looks like to me is an area where a resistant layer of stone is underlain by soft rock, perhaps shales. If that is so, the triangular one looks very much the sort of feature common in the U.S. southwest, and might be called a butte," said Clair Ossian, a geoarcheologist at Tarrant County College who has studied Egypt's sites.
So in summary, sorry folks : nothing to see here but a couple of big buttes. The question is how they garnered so much breathless, and factless, media attention.”
Egyptologists are skeptical
“Micol writes that she has confirmed that the sites were previously unknown with Egyptologist Nabil Selim, who notes that their size is similar to that of 13th Dynasty pyramids. She also says that next step will be to investigate the sites in detail to identify them as pyramid structures.
Egyptologists, however, are skeptical of her claims. According to a report from LiveScience, James Harrell, an archaeologist at the University of Toledo and a specialist in Egyptian archeology, says, “Her Dimai and Abu Sidhum ‘pyramids’ are examples of natural rock formations that might be mistaken for archaeological features provided one is unburdened by any knowledge of archaeology or geology. In other words, her pyramids are just wishful thinking by an ignorant observer with an overactive imagination.” Harrell identifies the structures as natural buttes, commonly formed by desert winds.
Egyptian pyramid building dates back as far as 2600 years B.C., and the land now hosts 138 known pyramids.”
The Petri Dish
“Some supposed finds of lost ruins on Google Earth, however, have failed to pan out”
“Micol’s claims reflect a growing trend of satellite archaeology being used by both amateurs and professionals. For more than a decade, she has scanned satellite images for possible evidence of lost ruins, and she touts other finds including a potential underwater city off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. Indeed, satellites have revealed lost pyramids in the past. Recently, a team led by Egyptologist Sarah Parcak, an archaeology professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, discovered 17 still-buried pyramids by studying infrared satellite images taken by NASA and commercial satellites.
Some supposed finds of lost ruins on Google Earth, however, have failed to pan out. The most notable was in 2009, when the lost city of Atlantis was reportedly spotted on Google Earth 600 miles west of the Canary Islands. It turned out the mysterious grid on the ocean floor was just a computer error, which has subsequently been fixed.
Micol acknowledges that on-the-ground research will be necessary to confirm whether her supposed finds are indeed ancient pyramids. “The images speak for themselves,” she said. “It’s very obvious what the sites may contain, but field research is needed to verify they are, in fact, pyramids, and evidence should be gathered to determine their origins. It is my hunch there is much more to these sites and with the use of Infrared imagery, we can see the extent of the proposed complexes in greater detail.”
“Aucune preuve archéologique”
Selon le Dr Mohamed Ibrahim, ministre des Antiquités, il n'y a pas de nouvelles pyramides en Égypte. Il a qualifié l'annonce d’Angela Micol de “mensonge” inspiré par Google Earth. Il ne s’agit pour lui que de “fausses informations”. Les images de l’observation satellitaire sont celles de “plateaux”, non de pyramides.
Il a toutefois annoncé qu'il enverrait des missions pour savoir ce qu’il en est exactement, en dépit de sa certitude que l'information est fausse.
“Il n'existe, a poursuivi Mohamed Ibrahim, aucune preuve archéologique confirmant l'existence de nouvelles pyramides en Haute-Égypte.”
أكد الدكتور محمد إبراهيم، وزير الآثار، عدم وجود أي أهرامات جديدة في مصر، واصفًا ما أعلنته الباحثة الأمريكية أنجيلا ميكول، برصد «جوجل إيرث» لموقعين محتملين لأهرامات جديدة غير مكتشفة في مصر، بأنه «معلومات كاذبة»، موضحًا أنها هضاب وليست أهرامات، وقال إنه سيرسل بعثات كشفية إلى الصعيد للوقوف على حقيقة الموقف، على الرغم من تأكده من كذب المعلومة.
وأضاف إبراهيم، في تصريحات لـ«المصري اليوم»: «لا توجد أي شواهد أثرية تؤكد وجود أهرامات جديدة في صعيد مصر»، مضيفًا: «سبق أن تم تكذيب توقعات جوجل إيرث في البوسنة والهرسك، عندما أعلنت عن دراسة بالقمر الصناعي تشير إلى وجود أهرام في البوسنة والهرسك، وعندما بدأت البعثات الكشفية في أعمال الحفر لم تجد شيئًا»، موضحًا: «ليست كل مجموعة هرمية تضم أهرامًا أثرية».Al-Masry Al-Youm