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我们为什么至今仍不知道金字塔里有什么?

Why do we still not know what’s inside the pyramids?
我们为什么至今仍不知道金字塔里有什么?

“At last have made wonderful discovery in Valley; a magnificent tomb with seals intact recovered same for your arrival congratulations,” scribbled Howard Carter in a hurriedly written message to George Herbert, encouraging him to join him on the expedition. It was 1922 and Carter had just stumbled on the exquisitely preserved tomb of Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun.

“我终于在国王谷展开了奇妙的探险。这是一片完好无损的宏伟墓地,静静地欢迎你的到来。”霍华德·卡特(Howard Carter)在匆忙写给乔治·赫伯特(George Herbert)的信中鼓励他与自己一同进行这次探险。那是1922年,卡特当时刚刚无意间发现了埃及法老图坦卡蒙那座保存完好的精致陵墓。

The discovery of King Tut’s treasures instantly became a worldwide sensation. And although Tutankhamun wasn’t himself buried in a pyramid, the knowledge that other pharaohs were has led many to wonder what the undiscovered chambers inside the great structures might hold. But despite the fact that they’ve been standing in the desert for millennia, we still don’t really know much about the pyramids’ interiors.

发现图坦卡蒙宝藏的消息立刻轰动全球。尽管图坦卡蒙法老本人并没有埋葬在金字塔里,但由于有其他法老的遗骸埋藏在里面,所以令很多人迫不及待地想要知道,这些宏大建筑中尚未挖掘的墓室里究竟隐藏着什么东西。然而,尽管它们在沙漠中矗立了数千年之久,但我们至今对金字塔内部的情况不甚了解。
 

Recently, US presidential candidate Ben Carson commented on his theory that the pyramids were actually primarily used for storing grain, much to the consternation of the US media. Why do pyramid mysteries and alternative theories persist even now? And why have we never explored them fully?

最近,美国总统候选人本·卡森(Ben Carson)发表了一番理论:他认为,金字塔的主要目的是用来储存粮食,这一观点令美国媒体惊愕不已。为什么有关金字塔的神秘传言和五花八本的理论至今仍在不断涌现?为什么我们始终都无法全面了解它们的内部情况?

For one thing, the pyramids are structures of outstanding archaeological importance. Indeed, they are so significant – from their complex designs to the hieroglyphs and artifacts found inside them – that any suggestion of breaking into internal tunnels or chambers forcibly would be seen as inappropriate and irresponsible.

首先,金字塔具有极其重要的考古意义。事实上,无论是复杂的建筑形式,还是内部的象形文字和人工制品,都彰显了它们的重要地位,以至于任何想要强行进入内部隧道或墓室的建议都显得有失体统,不负责任。

Modern archaeological practice is concerned with “making sure we’re not harming the heritage that we’re trying to understand”, explains Alice Stevenson at University College London’s Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology. For example, CyArk – a non-profit organisation – recently began to digitally preserve over 500 world heritage sites, from the Brandenburg Gate to the Ziggurat of Ur in Iraq using non-invasive lasers. Their technology will capture 3D images without the need to lay a finger on them.

伦敦大学学院皮特里埃及文物博物馆的爱丽丝·史蒂文森(Alice Stevenson)表示,现代考古实践都表现得非常谨慎,不遗余力地“避免我们努力研究的文物遭到破坏”。例如,非营利组织CyArk最近就开始通过数字技术保存500多处世界遗产,包括勃兰登堡门和伊拉克的乌尔塔等名胜古迹。他们的技术主要借助激光来实现,不必触碰文物即可为其拍摄3D图像。

But Stevenson also says that counter-theories about the pyramids actually being huge grain stores are not helpful.

但史蒂文森也表示,类似于“金字塔是用来存放粮食的巨大仓库”这样的无稽之谈对考古学没有任何帮助。

“Archaeologists have in fact found grain silos in Egypt, they’re well known to us and they look nothing like pyramids,” she says. Egyptian officials have also chimed in recently to refute Carson’s ideas.

“事实上,考古学家已经在埃及发现了谷仓。业内人士都知道,它一点都不像金字塔。”她说。埃及官员最近也反驳了卡森的理论。

But that still leaves the question of what we know about the pyramids’ interiors. Take the Great Pyramid itself, in Giza. Built more than 3,000 years ago out of more than two million blocks of stone, the Great Pyramid is the biggest ancient pyramid in the world and today stands at 139m (450ft) tall, though it would have been slightly taller when first constructed. That’s a big building. But we only have access to a few chambers inside it, such as the great gallery and the king’s and queen’s chambers.

但这仍然无法回答关键问题:我们对金字塔的内部究竟了解多少?以吉萨大金字塔本身为例。它建造于3,000多年前,总共使用了200多万块石头,是全世界规模最宏大的古代金字塔。如今保留下来的遗迹高度达到139米(450英尺),比当初建造时略矮。这是一座巨大的建筑,但我们只能进入里面的几个墓室,包括画廊以及国王和王后的墓室。

Recently, an international team of architects and scientists used infrared thermography to detect unexpected temperature differences in the stones of the Great Pyramid.

最近,一支由世界各地的建筑师和科学家组成的科研团队使用红外热成像法发现,大金字塔内部的石头在温度上存在着出人意料的差异。

This has, perhaps, raised more questions than answers. Warmer temperatures on certain stones detected as the sun rises and sets could be an indicator of cavities or tunnels where airflow is present. However, there’s no easy way of knowing - the scientists involved in the project are under strict orders not to make invasive excavations. Either way, National Geographic reports that the Egyptian authorities are already interested in the idea of marketing tourist access to any chambers that might be found.

这可能会引发更多的疑问。某些石头在日出或日落时的温度更高,表明里面或许有可供气流穿梭的空洞或隧道。然而,由于参与该项目的科学家必须严格遵守纪律,不能进行破坏性挖掘,所以很难知道具体答案。但无论如何,据美国《国家地理》杂志报道,埃及官员已经有意吸引游客进入所有能够找到的墓室参观。

It’s something that would have to be orchestrated responsibly, but Stevenson says she understands why there might be interest in the idea. “I think it’s important for Egyptian tourism,” she comments, adding, “and I can understand that they would want to make the most of opportunities to exhibit wonders of the ancient world.”

这肯定是经过慎重考虑的,但史蒂文森表示,她明白埃及官员为什么对这个想法感兴趣。“我认为这对埃及旅游有着重要意义。”她说,“我能理解他们的心情,他们是希望提供尽可能多的机会展示古代遗迹。”

Scanning and sensing technologies are likely to be the main tools for pyramid investigators in years to come. Infrared analysis from satellites in orbit around the earth has even helped locate buried pyramids, so there are plenty of examples now of how such technologies can enhance our understanding of these enigmatic structures.

未来几年,扫描和感应技术有可能成为研究金字塔的主要工具。通过轨道卫星开展的红外线分析甚至帮助科学家找到了埋藏在地下的金字塔。所以,现在已经有很多事例表明,这些技术完全可以帮助我们更好地了解这些神秘建筑。

But we might also be helped by robots. One chamber in the Great Pyramid not accessible by humans was, four years ago, explored with machines. A strange, tiny tunnel leads from the queen’s chamber to another blocked-off area. This has been known about since 2002 when a robot was used to drill through a stone “door” and film what was behind it. But the images didn’t show much. In 2011, a more flexible device was sent in and captured mysterious red hieroglyphs, which hadn’t been seen by human eyes for thousands of years.

但机器人或许也能提供一定的帮助。大金字塔里有一间人类无法进入的墓室,但4年前,科学家还是借助机器考察了里面的情况。王后的墓室里有一条古怪而狭窄的隧道通向另外一个密闭区域。科学家2002年就知道这个地方,当时还用机器人穿过一道“石门”,并拍摄了里面的照片。但当时的图像并没有呈现太多内容。2011年,研究人员使用了更加灵活的设备在里面拍摄到封存数千年之久的神秘象形文字。

Even this high-tech expedition provided just a tantalising glimpse of what is in this long-lost chamber of the Great Pyramid. Until the scientific evidence can enlighten us, we will remain in the dark about what other rooms might or might not be inside the pyramids of Egypt. For Stevenson, that sense of mystery is something we’ve lived with for a long time. Indeed, it’s been part of our cultural relationship with the pyramids for hundreds of years.

即使高科技探险让人们得以一睹千年未见的大金字塔墓室的真容,但在更多的科学证据公布之前,我们仍然无法了解埃及金字塔内的其他墓室究竟是什么模样。对史蒂文森来说,这种神秘感早已与我们常年相伴。事实上,数百年来,我们与金字塔之间的文化关系始终都掺杂着这样的元素。

“They’ve been a source of wonder for many many centuries,” she says. “I think that’s the nature of monuments - they transcend so many [generations].”

“许多世纪以来,它们一直都在引发人们的好奇心。”她说,“我认为这是历史遗迹的特征,它们跨越了一代又一代人,才最终呈现在我们面前。”
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