Putting privacy concerns aside, Google's Street View and Earth features have become useful tools in a variety of situations. They have been used to spot odd satellite calibration targets in China's Gobi Desert, let you take a virtual tour through the White House or on the Great Barrier Reef, and even helped a lost boy locate his hometown and family decades later.
Now, a satellite researcher is claiming to have used Google Earth to reveal lost Egyptian pyramids. According to Google Earth Anomalies, satellite archaeologist Angela Micol discovered two sites, which were verified as undiscovered prior to this time by Egyptologist and pyramid expert Nabil Selim. Other experts though say more work needs to be done to verify whether these are really pyramids or not.
Here's more on the sites themselves:
One of the complex sites contains a distinct, four-sided, truncated, pyramidal shape that is approximately 140 feet in width.
This site contains three smaller mounds in a very clear formation, similar to the diagonal alignment of the Giza Plateau pyramids.
The second possible site contains four mounds with a larger, triangular-shaped plateau. The two larger mounds at this site are approximately 250 feet in width, with two smaller mounds approximately 100 feet in width. This site complex is arranged in a very clear formation with the large plateau, or butte, nearby in a triangular shape with a width of approximately 600 feet.
“The images speak for themselves," Micol said according to Google Earth Anomalies. "It’s very obvious what the sites may contain but field research is needed to verify they are, in fact, pyramids and evidence should be gathered to determine their origins. It is my hunch there is much more to these sites and with the use of Infrared imagery, we can see the extent of the proposed complexes in greater detail.”
The structures, which appear to have a truncated top (not the usual point you might expect) are being further verified by researchers. In a separate post on Google Earth Anomalies, it is reported the location of the ruins are near Dimai, a town which Discovery News notes peaked in the first and second century A.D. Google Earth Anomalies reports the color of the mounds are similar to that of the materials composing the walls of Dimai.
Gizmodo points out this isn't the first time virtual tools have been used to find previously undiscovered pyramids. It notes Egyptologist Sarah Parack finding 17 pyramids using infrared satellite images last year. But Parack herself is questioning this latest discovery by Micol. According to NBC, Parack said in an email:
"These Google Earth reports are coming from someone who is neither an Egyptologist, an archaeologist, or a remote sensing specialist, and from an area where there is no earthly reason to have a pyramid — 8 miles to the west of the Nile Valley edge in upper Egypt. ... I get emails constantly from people who have claimed to find features."
NBC reports other experts saying that assuming these are pyramids is premature.
"It may well turn out to be a pyramid, but it may turn out to be another structure," University of Hawaii archeologist Robert Littman told with NBC.