Latvian ExpeditionSupported by: Latvian Academy of Science
Director: Bruno Deslandes
Area: Step Pyramid of Djoser
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A relative newcomer to the plateau, the Latvian expedition has tackled the Saqqara monument which has been known for the longest period: the Step Pyramid of King Djoser. Although this complex has been explored right from the beginning of the 20th century by archaeologists such as Firth, Quibell and later of course Jean-Philippe Lauer, this does not mean that all its mysteries have been revealed. The Latvian expedition, which is headed by a former member of the French team which continues Lauer's work on the pyramids at Saqqara-South, started in 2005 by making a detailed survey of the galleries lying under the pyramid complex. These have a total length of no less than 7 km and have now been planned using the most sophisticated 3D scanning and photogrammetry equipment. Primarily intended to serve as a database for safeguarding the architectural condition of these complexes, some of which are in imminent danger of collapse, the project has also led to the discovery of hitherto unknown additional galleries. A survey around the pyramid using ground-penetrating radar has indicated the presence of at least three new corridors linking the galleries cut for Djoser's relatives with the dry moat running around the perimeter walls of the pyramid complex.