Last week the news about the preliminary findings of the Djedi Project broke worldwide, and not without a little sensationalism. While sensationalism can be fun, it can also backfire when people form preconceived notions about what the findings mean.
“Red-painted numbers and graffiti are very common around Giza,” advises Peter Der Manuelian, an Egyptologist at Harvard University and director of the Giza Archives at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. “They are often masons’ or work-gangs’ marks, denoting numbers, dates or even the names of the gangs.”
There is a lot to be excited about with the Djedi mission, but we need to keep the discoveries in context until Egyptologists have had an opportunity to analyze the findings and their implications. But that does not mean that we can’t have some fun in the meanwhile…
Dr. Zahi Hawass has been dropping tantalizing bits of news about the mission to explore the Queen’s Chamber shafts for several years now. When news broke that a team at Leeds University, backed by the Passion for Innovation initiative from Dassault Systèmes, had been selected to lead the mission Em Hotep took notice. According to Hawass:
I selected the Djedi team during a competition that I coordinated to pick the best possible robot to explore the shafts in the Great Pyramid. I decided on a team sponsored by Leeds University and supported by Dassault Systèmes in France. (Source: Zahi Hawass Website: The Djedi Robot)
Dassault Systèmes provides financial and technical support for two other projects close to our hearts: Project Khufu and (speaking of Peter Der Manuelian) the Giza 3D Project. Judging from the incredibly detailed and scientifically accurate 3D animation produced by Dassault Systèmes’ for these other projects (just click on any of the videos in the Project Khufu and Giza 3D Media Clearinghouses), combined with the engineering genius of Shaun Whitehead, we knew to expect some audiovisual magic. We were right.
Knowing how eager the public is for more info and a better understanding of the Djedi Project, Mehdi Tayoubi and the team from Dassault Systèmes spent the weekend putting together this fantastic video that shows Djedi in his “natural habitat”—exploring the Queen’s Chamber shaft. Another advantage of 3D is that you get to see the layout of the shaft in relation to the rest of the pyramid.
Industrial 3D is more than just a visually pleasing way to supplement the “hard science”… It is hard science. The models produced by the 3D engineers at Dassault Systèmes are accurate down to the last detail. The same software that is used to design and make predictions about the life cycle of everything from race cars to supertankers has been lent to the field of Egyptology, allowing researchers to share information to people of all fields, languages, and levels of expertise in a visual manner. As Mehdi Tayoubi explains:
…3D is not only a tool for engineers and we believe that the best way to experience this adventure for yourself is through 3D experiences we are able to deliver…in a virtual 3D world, to help the public -all publics- understand what the robot has seen. (Source: 3D Perspectives: Exclusive 3D Reconstruction of the Djedi Robot Findings in the Great Pyramid)
So while rumors of hidden treasure and 4,500 year old secret messages continue to float around the web, we encourage you to keep a level head. Sources such as the 3D Perspectives blog, Zahi Hawass’ official website, and, of course, Em Hotep, will keep you informed of the very real and very exciting details as the Dassault Systèmes/Leeds University joint expedition continues.
Copyright by Keith Payne, 2011. All rights reserved.
Tags: Dassault Systemes, Djedi Project, Gantenbrink's Door, Khufu's Pyramid, Leeds University, Mehdi Tayoubi, Peter Der Manuelian, QCS Chamber, Queens Chamber Shafts, Robotic Archaeology, Shaun Whitehead