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Japan-Egypt Research Team Starts Excavation of What Might Be Egyptian King’s Tomb

Photo by Yomiuri Shimbun Correspondent Michinari Nishida
Archeologist Sakuji Yoshimura watches over workers removing sand at an excavation site in Giza, Egypt.

CAIRO — A joint team of Japanese and Egyptian researchers have started an excavation in an area known as the Western Cemetery, located close to the Great Pyramid of Giza in the suburbs of the Egyptian capital Cairo. The pyramid is said to belong to the Ancient Egyptian King Khufu.

Preliminary research using a ground-penetrating radar captured images that appeared to be remains of an ancient structure, giving researchers hope that the excavation will lead to a new discovery.

The team is led by Sakuji Yoshimura, 80, Japan’s prominent Egyptian archaeologist and the president of Higashi Nippon International University in the city of Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture.

On Saturday, workers started removing sand from the ground surface, below which ruins of the ancient structure are believed to be buried, with shovels while Yoshimura and others were watching over.

The team plans to spend about two months digging until the point above the bedrock, where the remains are believed to be.

The Great Pyramid of Giza is known as the tomb for King Khufu, but neither his remains nor burial accessories have been discovered. Yoshimura believes his tomb is located elsewhere.

The current excavation site has been long left untouched. Authorities finally gave permission for the excavation after many years of requests.

“It may be an illusion, but it’s important to believe through the end,” Yoshimura said. “I hope we’ll be able to make a wonderful achievement.”