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Father and daughter conduct hydrogeologic research in the Valley of the Kings.

During my daughter Katarin's travels along the Nile Valley in 1988, she visited tombs in the Valley of the Kings and Queens at Luxor and many other antiquity sites. She traveled with her friend, an Egyptian exchange student who had enrolled in the State College Area School District. During their travels, Katarin observed that many tomb entrances and some passages in the Valley of Kings and Queens were located on, or aligned along, zones of fracture concentration.

These fractures were similar to geological structures she had seen when she helped me explore for groundwater, initially for Penn State and the Borough of State College Water Authority and subsequently, elsewhere in Pennsylvania and throughout the world. This new groundwater prospecting method had been demonstrated and described in a 1964 publication co-authored by Dr. L.H. Lattman, a former PSU geology faculty member with whom I collaborated. Katarin hypothesized in 1988 that ancient tomb builders recognized and selected these geological structures as favorable sites to locate and excavate Egyptian tombs. If her hypothesis could be verified, this tool could be used to look for undiscovered tombs of the Pharaohs.

My first visit to Egypt was in 1998. During that visit our team presented its professional qualifications and a study proposal to the Ministry of Antiquities and the Supreme Council of Antiquities to undertake geo-archaeological field investigations at the Hierakonpolis Temple-Town Site near Edfu. Drs. Shelton S. Alexander and David P. Gold were on our team together with Dr. Elizabeth Walters, Penn State Art Historian and the leader of what has become the Penn State Hierakonpolis Temple-Town Mission. My daughter, Katarin is an active member of this Mission. Together, our group has worked at the Unfinished Aswan Obelisk Site and at the Ancient "Fort" south of the Temple-Town Site.

Katarin continually urged me to revisit the Valley of the Kings with her, but our next joint visit was delayed until 2001. Formal field work followed in 2002 to test Katarin's original hypothesis. Nearly 13 years had elapsed since her first visit when observations had been made regarding the tomb entrances at the Valley of the Kings and Queens. I continue to serve on Katarin's project as her field assistant. We map geological structures within tombs and the desert above and Katarin creates detailed photographic images of tomb interiors, documenting damage to decorations caused by water that seeps along fractures during major storm events. By 2012, 30 of 33 tombs we investigated were shown to be located on zones of fracture concentration, some for their entire length as Katarin had postulated. Currently we are considering demonstration studies to seal water-transmitting fractures.

Katarin, together with other Penn State faculty members, students and Egyptian colleagues have conducted hydrogeologic investigations at the Temple-Town Site, and the Ancient mudbrick "Fort" located in the desert one kilometer to the south of the Temple-Town Site. It soon became apparent that rising water levels and the growing number of surface pools at the Temple-Town Site were caused by irrigation water from the Wadi El-Sayaada Land Reclamation Project and not the distant Aswan High Dam, irrigated cropland nearby or sewage water, as some others had assumed. The land reclamation project had destroyed a city and hundreds of mudbrick homes in nearby villages as well as damaging previously fertile farmland. Katarin's dramatic photographs reveal the scope of destruction.

My daughter and I, along with Drs. S.S. Alexander, D.P. Gold, and Egyptian colleagues undertook similar geophysical and hydrogeologic investigations at the Unfinished Obelisk Quarry at Aswan, where we confirmed the presence of a canal used to barge stone blocks and obelisks to the Nile. We also documented artifact damage caused by rising water and proposed methods to control water at the Aswan Quarry, the Ancient "Fort" and the Temple-Town site. Similar hydrogeologic studies were undertaken with S.S. Alexander and other US and Egyptian scientists at the Osireion and Seti-1 temples, at Abydos, where I served as Mission Head.

At age 80, Richard Parizek recently retired as an Emeritus Professor of Geology and Geo-Environmental Engineering after teaching and conducting research for 53years in Penn State's College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. Dr. Parizek has advised 100+ M.S. and Ph.D. candidates who are now professional hydrogeologists working around the world and employing innovative techniques learned from their mentor and friend.
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Title Annotation:Richard Parizek and Katarin Parizek
Author:Parizek, Richard R.
Publication:African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development
Article Type:Essay
Geographic Code:7EGYP
Date:Oct 1, 2014
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