A satellite survey of Egypt has discovered 17 lost pyramids amongst thousands of  tombs and ancient settlements.

Scientists made the discovery using infrared images which enabled them to identify underground structures.

The existence of two pyramids have already been confirmed by researchers on the ground.

This cutting edge form of “space archaeology” is being pioneered by a team of archaeologists  from the University of Alabama in Birmingham lead by US Egyptologist Dr Sarah Parcak.

“We were very intensely doing this research for over a year,” Parcak told the BBC. “I could see the data as it was emerging, but for me the “Aha!” moment was when I could step back and look at everything that we’d found and I couldn’t believe we could locate so many sites all over Egypt.”

“To excavate a pyramid is the dream of every archaeologist,” she said.

The team analysed images from satellite-cameras so powerful they can zoom in on objects less than 1m in diameter on the earth’s surface.

Infra-red imaging was then used to identify different materials undeground.

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