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Review of methods used for lowering groundwater levels at archeological sites, Egypt

Hassan, Dahlia S. (2006)
Division of Water Resources Engineering
Abstract
Seven or eight thousand years ago, as the farthest the human memory can reach, the Egyptians established a great civilization that was considered as the origin of civilization on the Earth. There is no place in Egypt where man cannot find evidence that enlighten this civilization and tell about Egypt's role in most of the world's historic events from the beginning of mankind until the present. In the recent decades, it has been noticed that this 'indestructible' heritage that once stood in dry sand are bathed in water throughout the year and limestone and sandstone are gradually crumbling back into sand and this heritage could disappear in our lifetime. The number of decaying monuments is not exactly known, but it is estimated to be a... (More)
Seven or eight thousand years ago, as the farthest the human memory can reach, the Egyptians established a great civilization that was considered as the origin of civilization on the Earth. There is no place in Egypt where man cannot find evidence that enlighten this civilization and tell about Egypt's role in most of the world's historic events from the beginning of mankind until the present. In the recent decades, it has been noticed that this 'indestructible' heritage that once stood in dry sand are bathed in water throughout the year and limestone and sandstone are gradually crumbling back into sand and this heritage could disappear in our lifetime. The number of decaying monuments is not exactly known, but it is estimated to be a considerable number from the deadly white salt crystallizations that could be seen on the monuments walls throughout the country. The problem is caused by rising groundwater which is eating away at the monuments. The story has begun after the construction of Aswan High Dam (AHD) which has been affecting Egypts water table over the last 30 years; AHD has minimized the fluctuation of surface and ground water levels. The groundwater, which contains water-soluble salts, is rising annually. When the groundwater is soaked up by the pores within the sandstone and limestone foundations, salts are absorbed by the structures. As the groundwater evaporates, these salts accumulate on the monuments surfaces.

The main objective of this study is reviewing the methods used to protect archaeological sites in Egypt against groundwater threats. In this report, some reports of finished or on-going project that is implemented by governmental agencies or international consultants to face the adverse effects of groundwater against the monuments are reviewed.

Egypt has addressed many calls to international organizations and specialists who are engaged in this subject to help in solving the problem which is considered as a threat to one of the World's Heritage. However, the government has the will, it cannot accomplish what is required alone; the need is so great and requires support and active engagement of people everywhere.

Rising of groundwater table is a consequence of; 1) construction of the AHD which prevented the freshwater floods and provided water for agriculture almost year-around that led to over-irrigation to the lands by farmers in absence of any governmental control and 2) leakage from sewage systems (if they exist).

The methods used were found to promote only short-term solutions that do not attack the problem at the source. However, the methods used are effective for the present time; still there are many limitations and unanswered questions about the sustainability of such methods on the long run.

(examensarbetet är utfört vid avd Teknisk vattenresurslära, TVRL) (Less)
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@misc{1329021,
  abstract     = {Seven or eight thousand years ago, as the farthest the human memory can reach, the Egyptians established a great civilization that was considered as the origin of civilization on the Earth. There is no place in Egypt where man cannot find evidence that enlighten this civilization and tell about Egypt's role in most of the world's historic events from the beginning of mankind until the present. In the recent decades, it has been noticed that this 'indestructible' heritage that once stood in dry sand are bathed in water throughout the year and limestone and sandstone are gradually crumbling back into sand and this heritage could disappear in our lifetime. The number of decaying monuments is not exactly known, but it is estimated to be a considerable number from the deadly white salt crystallizations that could be seen on the monuments walls throughout the country. The problem is caused by rising groundwater which is eating away at the monuments. The story has begun after the construction of Aswan High Dam (AHD) which has been affecting Egypts water table over the last 30 years; AHD has minimized the fluctuation of surface and ground water levels. The groundwater, which contains water-soluble salts, is rising annually. When the groundwater is soaked up by the pores within the sandstone and limestone foundations, salts are absorbed by the structures. As the groundwater evaporates, these salts accumulate on the monuments surfaces.

The main objective of this study is reviewing the methods used to protect archaeological sites in Egypt against groundwater threats. In this report, some reports of finished or on-going project that is implemented by governmental agencies or international consultants to face the adverse effects of groundwater against the monuments are reviewed.

Egypt has addressed many calls to international organizations and specialists who are engaged in this subject to help in solving the problem which is considered as a threat to one of the World's Heritage. However, the government has the will, it cannot accomplish what is required alone; the need is so great and requires support and active engagement of people everywhere.

Rising of groundwater table is a consequence of; 1) construction of the AHD which prevented the freshwater floods and provided water for agriculture almost year-around that led to over-irrigation to the lands by farmers in absence of any governmental control and 2) leakage from sewage systems (if they exist).

The methods used were found to promote only short-term solutions that do not attack the problem at the source. However, the methods used are effective for the present time; still there are many limitations and unanswered questions about the sustainability of such methods on the long run.

(examensarbetet är utfört vid avd Teknisk vattenresurslära, TVRL)},
  author       = {Hassan, Dahlia S.},
  keyword      = {Civil engineering,teknisk geografi,irrigation,groundwater table,Aswan High Dam (AHD),water-soluble salts,offshore technology,salts accumulations,Hydrogeology,geographical and geological engineering,teknisk geologi,Hydrogeologi,hydraulic engineering,soil mechanics,Väg- och vattenbyggnadsteknik},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Review of methods used for lowering groundwater levels at archeological sites, Egypt},
  year         = {2006},
}