Oldest pyramid restored

Egypt’s so-called Step Pyramid was finally reopened to the public on March 5, following 14 years of restoration work. It is properly called the Pyramid of Djoser and, at approximately 4,700 years old, is the world’s oldest pyramid and the first monumental stone building in history. It is 207 feet tall, consisting of six stacked outer terraces and situated outside the royal capital of Memphis. The pyramid was commissioned by King Djoser, the second king of ancient Egypt’s third ruling dynasty, whose chief minister, Imhotep, is credited as the chief architect. The walls of interior spaces and deteriorated underground passages have been treated using careful restoration methods and reinforced materials. The burial chamber and its corridors were restored, removing large quantities of rubble and revealing a massive sarcophagus made from 32 granite blocks estimated to weigh around 176 tons.


Wis. Dells resorts closed

The Wisconsin-based Great Wolf Lodge has closed its 19 resorts in 13 states during the busy spring break season because of the coronavirus. The hospitality company says there have been no cases of COVID-19 at any of the resorts; it’s simply following the guidance from federal and state officials over larger gatherings. Great Wolf Lodge has more than 400 rooms at its water park in Wisconsin Dells. Both Kalahari Resort, one of the larger water park resorts in the country, and Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells have also closed. Kalahari, Wilderness and Great Wolf said they plan to reopen on April 2, the State Journal reported.

Associated Press

Truck destroys Moai statue

A pickup truck has destroyed one of Easter Island’s world-famous archaeological treasures, the imposing and mysterious Moai statues. The vehicle, reportedly belonging to a Chilean man, slammed into the ancient stone monument earlier this month, reported Chilean newspaper El Mercurio. Authorities believe the collision was the result of a brake failure that sent the truck sliding downhill and into the Moai. No one was inside the vehicle. The island’s mayor, Pedro Pablo Petero Edmunds Paoa, is calling for stronger regulations to prevent vehicles from operating in such proximity to any of the nearly 1,000 carved Moai monoliths on the island. Carved between the 13th and 16th centuries out of basalt rock from an extinct volcano, the purpose of the Moai largely remains a mystery, although it’s supposed that they represent ancestral figures.


Sun Country pulling out of Aruba, Costa Rica

Sun Country Airlines has been ferrying flights to extract passengers from Aruba and Costa Rica after both nations said they will close their borders to foreign travelers to slow coronavirus. The Minnesota-based airline urged passengers to respond to their e-mails, to tweet them or to send them Facebook messages if they were still in either country. Sun Country sent an empty plane to Aruba on Saturday in hopes of retrieving any remaining customers. Meanwhile, the last four flights from Liberia, Costa Rica, are scheduled for Sunday and Monday. The airline is canceling outbound flights from Minneapolis-St. Paul to Aruba through March, and from MSP to Costa Rica through mid-April, as a result and is offering travel credit for affected passengers (suncountry.com/advisory/alerts).

Kristen Leigh Painter