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Scientists discover a mysterious void in the Great Pyramid of Giza

  • Written by SHAUNACY FERRO
  • Published in Mysteries
  • Read: 290

THE Great Pyramid of Giza, the largest in all of Egypt, was built more than 4,500 years ago as the
final resting place of the 4th Dynasty pharaoh Khufu (a.k.a. Cheops), who reigned from 2,509 to 2,483
BCE. Modern Egyptologists have been excavating and studying it for more than a century, but it’s still
full of mysteries  that have yet to be fully solved. The latest discovery, detailed in a new paper in
the journal ‘Nature’, reveals a hidden void located with the help of particle physics. This is the
first time a new inner structure has been located in the pyramid since the 19th century.

The ScanPyramids project, an international endeavor launched in 2015, has been using non-
invasive scanning technology like laser imaging to understand Egypt’s Old Kingdom pyramids. This
discovery was made using muon tomography, a technique that generates 3D images from muons, a by-
product of cosmic rays that can pass through stone better than similar technology based on x-rays,
like CT scans. (Muon tomography is currently used to scan shipping containers  for smuggled goods and
image nuclear reactor  cores.)
    
The newly discovered void is at least 100 feet long and bears a structural resemblance to the
section directly below it: the pyramid’s Grand Gallery, a long, 26-foot-high inner area of the pyramid
that feels like a “very big cathedral at the center of the monument,” as engineer and ScanPyramids
co-founder Mehdi Tayoubi said in a press briefing. Its size and shape were confirmed by three
different muon tomography techniques.
    
They aren’t sure what it would have been used for yet or why it exists, or even if it’s one
structure or multiple structures together. It could be a horizontal structure, or it could have an
incline. In short, there’s a lot more to learn about it.
    
In the past few years, technology has allowed researchers to access parts of the Great Pyramid
never seen before. Several robots sent into the tunnels since the ’90s have brought back  images of
previously unseen areas. Almost immediately after starting to examine the Great Pyramid with thermal
imaging in 2015, the researchers discovered  that some of the limestone structure was hotter than
other parts, indicating internal air currents moving through hidden chambers. In 2016, muon imaging
indicated that there was at least one previously unknown void near the north face of Khufu’s pyramid,
though the researchers couldn’t identify where exactly it was or what it looked like. Now, we know its
basic structure.
    
“These results constitute a breakthrough for the understanding of Khufu’s Pyramid and its
internal structure,” the ScanPyramids team writes in ‘Nature’, “While there is currently no
information about the role of this void, these findings show how modern particle physics can shed new
light on the world’s archaeological heritage.”         Mental Floss