US congressional delegation visits pyramids, inspects Sphinx renovation project
Tourists ride camels at the historical site of the Giza Pyramids in Giza, near Cairo, Egypt. Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson says it’s still his belief the great pyramids Egypt were built by the Biblical figure Joseph to store grain, and not as tombs for pharaohs. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)

CAIRO: A U.S. Congressional delegation led by Sen. Lindsey O. Graham took sightseeing to Giza Pyramids Saturday, Al-Hussein Abdel Baseer, the general director of the Giza Pyramids archaeological site told Al Ahram.

The delegation, along with their families, had a guided tour inside the Great Pyramid and visited the Sphinx to inspect a project currently carried out by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to lower groundwater that threatens the 4,400 year-old monument.

The delegation was accompanied by members of the USAID mission in Egypt.

In 2006, standing surface water appeared in the low-lying areas of the Giza Necropolis near the Great Sphinx and the recently discovered City of the Pyramid Builders, according to USAID website.  Groundwater, which can contain salts dissolved from soil as the water table rises, penetrates through the foundations of these ancient structures and weakens their integrity.

The Egyptian government, in collaboration with USAID, lowered the groundwater to safe levels in order to protect the antiquities from further damage.
The six-member Congressional delegation arrived in Cairo Friday evening and will meet with Egyptian officials to discuss matters of mutual interests between the two countries.

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