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Step Pyramid renovation. Photo: Stu Rapley, FlickrStep Pyramid renovation. Photo: Stu Rapley, Flickr

21st century Welsh technology to save 27th century Egyptian Pyramid


AWelsh engineering firm called Cintec has been enlisted by the Supreme Council of Antiquities to help save the iconic Step Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara.

The pyramid was built around 2640 BCE for the burial of Pharaoh Djoser by the fabled architect Inhoptep, but in 1992 after a major earthquake caused serious faults in the famous 4600 year old structure.

The tomb started life as an unusual square mastaba – normally they are flat-roofed, rectangular structures with outward sloping sides -  but over the lifetime of Djoser it develop into a six-stepped pyramid with a rectangular ground-plan. Below ground, a warren of tunnels, galleries and rooms surrounded Djoser’s burial chamber.

Step Pyramid of Djoser, Saqqara. Photo: Stu Rapley, Flickr

Step Pyramid of Djoser, Saqqara. Photo: Stu Rapley, Flickr

The 1992 earthquake resulted in the partial collapse of the burial chamber ceiling and raised the very real prospect of the pyramid’s entire central chamber completely failing without intervention.

To support the partial collapse of the damaged ceiling, Cintec are using a technology known as Waterwall, which consists of self-inflating water-filled bags to temporarily secure the damaged ceiling  to allow time for the  permanent repair of the Step Pyramid.

The structural repair and reinforcement company was appointed to the project after proving its credentials in preserving historical landmarks across the world.

The company has maintained structures including Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle in the United Kingdom and The White House in Washington DC, United States. In Egypt it has helped stabilise many other monuments, including the  Al Ghuri Mosque in Cairo, The Red Pyramid of Senefru and the Hibis Temple at El-Kharga.

Cintecs work on the Snefru (Red) Pyramid, Dahshur

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