Advanced technology helps explore new corridor
The Great Pyramid of Khufu has been an object of fascination since the very beginning of archaeology, yet even today it continues to reveal fascinating new discoveries. After a lengthy program to use non-destructive methods to map the Great Pyramid, the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities announced the discovery of a sealed chamber within the 4,500-year-old pyramid.
Located near the main entrance of the pyramid of Khufu, the hidden chamber measures nearly 30 feet in length and 6 feet wide. Intentionally blocked off in antiquity, the corridor was identified using advanced scanning methods including ultrasound and muography. Following the identification of the corridor, archaeologists located a tiny opening between several stones through which they fit an endoscope, a small camera attached to a semi-flexible cable. The endoscope confirmed the results of the scans and took photos of the inside of the corridor. The scan of the pyramid was carried out by the ScanPyramids Project, an international group that has previously identified multiple hidden chambers within the pyramid and published many of their findings in the journal Nature.
The archaeological and scientific teams are not yet certain of the corridor’s purpose, although they hypothesize it may have been used to distribute weight and relieve pressure around other rooms inside the pyramid. According to Zahi Hawass, Egyptologist and former Minister of State for Antiquities Affairs, it is possible that this discovery will lead to further, yet unknown chambers within the pyramid, possibly even Khufu’s burial chamber.
One of the three main pyramids making up the complex known as the Great Pyramids of Giza, Khufu’s pyramid was constructed in the mid-26th century BCE. The pyramid of Khufu, the largest of the three Great Pyramids of Giza, originally stood nearly 500 feet tall, was 750 feet wide, and was constructed of several million massive limestone blocks. The limestone was likely brought to the pyramid complex by a now-defunct branch of the Nile River. Pharaoh Khufu, also known as Cheops, was the second pharaoh of the Fourth Dynasty of Egypt’s Old Kingdom (c. 2663–2181 BCE). Khufu’s son and grandson, Khafre and Menkaure, respectively, would go on to build the other two main pyramids on the plateau.
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