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Lausanne exhibition goes to the heart of the pyramids

Workers on the Abu Rawash archeological site (picture: Musée romain de Vidy)

The Roman museum in Lausanne-Vidy is unearthing the truth about the pharaohs in an exhibition entitled "To the Heart of the Pyramid".

The exhibition puts on display the results of a joint French-Swiss archaeological dig at the ruined pyramid of the pharaoh, Radjedef, near the city of Giza. The dig, which began in 1995, was led by Professor Michael Valloggia of Geneva University.

"To the Heart of the Pyramid" shares with the public some of the discoveries made by the archaeologists about how the pyramids were built. It poses questions about how the ancient Egyptians, who had neither the wheel nor iron, managed to erect such magnificent constructions.

Its aim is not only to show what was unearthed, but also to give the public a taste of what work at a modern archaeological site in Egypt is like.

In addition, the exhibition gathers together for the first time a whole range of precious artefacts - lent by museums all over Europe - which date back to the time of Radjedef.

Radjedef, also known as Djedefre, was the son of the pharaoh, Cheops, whose own pyramid, the Great Pyramid at Giza, is perhaps the most well-known of the 80 in Egypt.

The Sphinx was believed to have been built by Radjedef's younger brother, Khafre. But some experts have speculated it may have been built during the short reign of Radjedef.

While exploring Radjedef's last resting place, Valloggia's team discovered how the local environment had played a part in the construction of this huge pyramid. It was built on a limestone hill, which reduced the amount of stone that had to be transported to the site.

The exhibition is at the Roman Museum in Lausanne-Vidy until May 20.

by Roy Probert


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