(Updated) Scientists discover a secret chamber in the Great Pyramid of Giza
A group of scientists have been scanning the Great Pyramid of Giza for the last two years, and they have found a secret chamber.
Update 11/3/17: After nearly two years, the “Scan Pyramid” group, working with the government of Egypt, have published their findings, confirming what they now believe to be one long, horizontal room within the Great Pyramid. The hollow space is roughly 30-meters long, and its purpose is unclear. Originally, the opening was thought to be two chambers, but further scans confirmed it to be one long area.
The next step will be to accept pitches from scientific teams that can offer ways to further scan the pyramid without using intrusive techniques, including drilling into the stone and placing a camera.
Original Posted 10/19/17: Last year, a group of scientists set the archeological world on fire by announcing that it may have discovered something unusual at the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt. After a year of searching, the team has refined that claim and now believes that it may have discovered two secret chambers.
The Great Pyramid of Giza, the largest of the iconic trio of pyramids located just southwest of Cairo, was built roughly 4,500 years ago as the tomb of the Pharaoh Khufu. The structure is the first of the seven wonders of the ancient world, and the only one still standing.
The common consensus has been that there are three chambers, one of which is unfinished and found near ground level. The other two are known as the Queen’s Chamber and the King’s Chamber, both of which are found in the interior, high above ground level. It was a common practice to build multiple chambers, primarily to stave off tomb robbers. Because of that, most pyramids feature several decoy chambers, and the primary vaults are typically hidden.
The Egyptian Ministry of Antiques Authority has been scanning the pyramid using a combination of infrared thermography, “cosmic ray” muon detectors, aerial drone photography, and laser scanning. It is an unobtrusive and passive way to scan the ancient structures, and one that may have led to some interesting results.
Last year, the team discovered thermal inconsistencies that hinted at a previously unknown hollow area behind the seemingly solid stone. The discovery wasn’t without critics though, and many claimed that the thermal scans were simply picking up cracks in the rock that gave off strange heat results. It was enough that the group continued working, and the results may be two hidden chambers.
The first is a cavity roughly 345 feet up from the ground in the northeast corner of the pyramid; another void was discovered on the north face. The exact size and shape of the voids hasn’t been confirmed, but now that the team knows where to look, they will begin focusing on those areas.
The Great Pyramid was believed to have been robbed centuries, possibly millennia ago, but it’s a tempting thought that the grave robbers may not have found the secret chambers. The best case scenario is that some of Khufu’s treasure is hidden in there, just waiting for someone to find it. Alternatively, it could be something far less spectacular.
“These people are scientists and do not have an archaeological background,” said former Egyptian Minister of State for Antiquities Affairs and Director of the Giza Pyramids Excavation, Zahi Hawass. “The core of the pyramid was built using long stones and small stones. If you know that, you’ll find anomalies everywhere. I think there are no secret rooms and these anomalies have to do with the way the pyramid was built.”
The group has another month or so of searching. After that, if the consensus is that there is a hidden room or two, the next step will be to consider how to get to it without destroying the structure. That is much easier said than done.