Scientists discover hidden chamber in Egypt's Great Pyramid

Scientists discover hidden chamber in Egypt's Great Pyramid
ScanPyramids Big Void 3D Artistic view horizontal option Credit: ScanPyramids mission

Scientists say they have found a hidden chamber in Egypt's Great Pyramid of Giza, in what would be the first such discovery in the structure since the 19th century and one likely to spark a new surge of interest in the pharaohs.

In an article published in the journal Nature on Thursday, an international team said the 30-meter (yard) void deep within the pyramid is situated above the structure's Grand Gallery, and has a similar cross-section.

The purpose of the space is unclear, and it's not yet known whether it was built with a function in mind or if it's merely a gap in the pyramid's architecture. Some experts say such empty spaces have been known for years.

"This is a premier," said Mehdi Tayoubi, a co-founder of the ScanPyramids project and president of the Heritage Innovation Preservation Institute. "It could be composed of one or several structures... maybe it could be another Grand Gallery. It could be a chamber, it could be a lot of things."

The scientists made the discovery using cosmic-ray imaging, recording the behavior of subatomic particles called muons that penetrate the rock similar to X-rays, only much deeper. Their paper was peer-reviewed before appearing in Nature, an international, interdisciplinary journal of science, and its results confirmed by other teams of scientists.

Chances of the space containing treasure or burial chambers are almost nil, said Aidan Dodson, an Egyptologist at the University of Bristol, but the discovery helps shed light on building techniques.

"The pyramid's burial chamber and sarcophagus have already been discovered, so this new area was more likely kept empty above the Grand Gallery to reduce the weight of stone pressing down on its ceiling," he said, adding that similar designs have been found in other pyramids.

Egypt's former antiquities minister and famed archaeologist Zahi Hawass, who has been testing scanning methods and heads the government's oversight panel for the new techniques, said that the area in question has been known of for years and thus does not constitute a discovery. He has long downplayed the usefulness of scans of ancient sites.

"The Great Pyramid is full of voids. We have to be careful how results are presented to the public," he said, adding that one problem facing the international team is that it did not have an Egyptologist as a member. He said the chamber was likely empty space builders used to construct the rooms below.

Scientists discover hidden chamber in Egypt's Great Pyramid
Khufu's Pyramid 3D cut aerial view Credit: ScanPyramids mission

"In order to construct the Grand Gallery, you had to have a hollow, or a big void in order to access it—you cannot build it without such a space," he said. "Large voids exist between the stones and may have been left as construction gaps."

The pyramid is also known as Khufu's Pyramid for its builder, a 4th Dynasty pharaoh who reigned from 2509 to 2483 B.C. Visitors to the pyramid, on the outskirts of Cairo, can walk, hunched over, up a long tunnel to reach the Grand Gallery. The space announced by the scanning team does not appear to be connected to any known internal passages.

Scientists involved in the scanning called the find a "breakthrough" that highlighted the usefulness of modern particle physics in archaeology.

"It was hidden, I think, since the construction of the pyramid," Tayoubi added.

Scientists discover hidden chamber in Egypt's Great Pyramid
Known Grand Gallery Credit: ScanPyramids mission

The Great Pyramid, the last surviving wonder of the ancient world, has captivated visitors since it was built as a royal burial chamber some 4,500 years ago. Experts are still divided over how it and other pyramids were constructed, so even relatively minor discoveries generate great interest.

Late last year, for example, thermal scanning identified a major anomaly in the Great Pyramid—three adjacent stones at its base which registered higher temperatures than others.

Speculation that King Tutankhamun's tomb contains additional antechambers stoked interest in recent years, before scans by ground-penetrating radar and other tools came up empty, raising doubts about the claim.

The muon scan is accomplished by planting special plates inside and around the pyramid to collect data on the particles, which rain down from the earth's atmosphere. They pass through empty spaces but can be absorbed or deflected by harder surfaces, allowing scientists to study their trajectories and discern what is stone and what is not. Several plates were used to triangulate the void discovered in the Great Pyramid.

Scientists discover hidden chamber in Egypt's Great Pyramid
ScanPyramids team Augmented reality review of ScanPyramids Big Void Credit: ScanPyramids mission

While the technology can detect large open spaces, it cannot discern what is inside, so it's unclear if the empty space contains any objects. Tayoubi said the team plans now to work with others to come up with hypotheses about the area.

"The good news is that the void is there, and it's very big," he said.

Explore further

Particles could reveal clues to how Egypt pyramid was built

More information: Discovery of a big void in Khufu's Pyramid by observation of cosmic-ray muons, Nature (2017) DOI: 10.1038/nature24647 ,
Journal information: Nature

© 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Citation: Scientists discover hidden chamber in Egypt's Great Pyramid (2017, November 2) retrieved 16 July 2019 from
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Nov 02, 2017
I found a better headline from a newsfeed;

"Cosmic rays reveal mysterious void in Egypt's Great Pyramid..."

-I can't wait for the zahi hawass tv docudrama. You know with the little robots and the spooky music...

No seriously this is great stuff.

Nov 02, 2017
I saw that one, Otto.
You tube is gonna be even crazier, now...:-)

Nov 02, 2017
It's things like this that illustrate a fundamental problem:

..... all those versions of a hidden chamber in the great pyramid stories that have been out there for 10-20-30-40+ years?

When you give the asshats overly critical deniers what they want, and then they are no where to be seen when it comes to taking back some of the abuse they so gleefully dished out for decades.

What does this say about their innate childishness and stupidites they embody?

To even the balance they'd have to sit still and take it for months, years, even decades straight, on a daily basis - so they can finally understand what they are.

No balls, no integrity, no character, nothing. Just 100% small minded asshole, like they've always been.

Speculation is: Multifaceted resonance chambers. Rf, microwave, mechanical, acoustic, and so on.

The data available on potentials for the pyramid is scientifically fearsome, to say the least.

Nov 02, 2017
Importantly, there is no way in hell that it (they pyramid) is some sort of burial memorial device.

It's electromechanical, at the very least. The number of suspicious facts and anomalies that surround it, is a mile long. And there is no way whatsoever, that it's precision can be equaled today, with the best hardware and technology we can muster.

Which means it is a giant unbelievably stinky anomaly that some simply don't want to the general public to be looking at, so all alternative theories are directly and actively poo-pooed.

It's built out of technology that we modern humans still cant reach and it was built a very long time ago.

It turns historical timelines into ground up mush, just like all the recent works in carbon dating new human finds. That the human development timeline is pushed back by over a factor of two now.

They want it dead as it breaks the modern oligarchical control complex wide open.


Nov 02, 2017
KBK.. right, and to be precise.. Built in 71,344BC. (The Pleidian Mission,by Randolph Winters). Built using androids. (The Far Sight Institute). Built with high tech machinery. (http://www.gizapo...g.html). A power./health/communication generator as the Bosnian pyramids, (https://www.youtu...1asei08)

Nov 03, 2017

Yeah I saw the Stargate Documentary with R.D. Anderson too.The universe is too aloof, and life on earth too transient to be worried about an "oligarchical control complex". I used to be enveloped by conspiracy theories but the anxiety and paranoia became more of a drag on my life than the new world order trying to convince me the world is oblate spheroid because somehow me knowing it's flat will thwart their control over science and money. Statistics, Evolution, and natural selection are the only Orders we have to worry about.

"Do not lose time on daily trivialities. Do not dwell on petty detail. For all of these things melt away and drift apart within the obscure traffic of time. Live well and live broadly. You are alive and living now. Now is the envy of all of the dead"

Nov 04, 2017
And, actually on topic, it would suit a 'relieving arch' system. Like the basic arrangement over the 'Queens Chamber', and the multi-tier arrangement over the 'Kings Chamber'.

Hmm. If a lot of the unseen interior is NOT 'cut masonry' but mortared rubble, it explains where the 'trimming' debris went.

FWIW, didn't a Egyptologist recently note that the era's term for 'levers' also meant 'rollers' and 'pulleys' ? He worked out that twin teams pulling *down* cleated walkways could easily drag massive masonry *up* a remarkably steep central ramp. No half-mile ramp required, certainly no Psi powers or UFOs...

Nov 04, 2017
Tc, sw2, N_2, now play nice with the 'True Believers'. The poor creatures haven't met a comicbook yet, they will not accept as gospel.

You have to understand, hiding away in their mommies basement? They've never even seen a major construction site. Never been to a shipyard or factory, refinery or steelworks.

To them, reality begins and ends with magic faerie dust and flying cracked teapottys.

Nov 06, 2017
bs, damn, you're good! Not many original speculations are offered in these comments.

Please forgive me, but I'm going to steal your idea for an LHC fun ride.

Oh, and what do you think was more important? The pyramids as monuments to bloated egos? Or as a means to keep idle farm workers busy and creatively preoccupying craftsmen?

Nov 07, 2017
Hey bs, think about this idea from very recent history...

Whatever reason for building a massively primitive, boondoggle pyramid?

Those empty chambers were useful as somewhere to conveniently dispose of stubbornly breathing cantankerous predecessors, inconvenient relatives competing for the throne and obstreperously ambitious precocious heirs.

How convenient for the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, finding those empty chambers in the pyramid. I'm sure he'll put them to good use as a disposal of his own competitors!

Think of the exhibits possible in future museums, when these boyhood chums are rediscovered.

Sing it out! All together... "The Code of the West is as follows... Do unto others and do it before they do it unto you!"

Now bs, now do you see the advantage of a classical. liberal arts education?

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