Legend says that there are undiscovered chambers hidden within the Great Pyramid of Giza — a monument which has existed for over 5,000 years. Scientists recently announced a startling discovery supporting this notion, which was previously passed off as myth. Using cosmic rays, researchers confirmed the presence of a large empty space — a void which might signal the presence of a hidden chamber.
The Great Pyramid of Giza was built around 2500 B.C. and is considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Until now, no one knew the hidden void even existed — which his why scientists are so baffled. The void is located above a tall, cathedral-like room known as the Grand Gallery. According to a report in the journal Nature, the room is about 100 feet long.
Said Peter Der Manuelian, an Egyptologist at Harvard University who did not take part in the research: “All we know is that we have a void, we have a cavity, and it’s huge, which means possibly intentional and certainly worthy of further exploration.” He noted that it is unknown whether or not there is more than one chamber.
“In that sense it’s obviously frustrating,” Manuelian added. “On the other hand, as an architectural discovery, something we didn’t know about the interior of the Great Pyramid, it’s absolutely big news.” This is the first significant internal structure found within the Great Pyramid since the 19th century.
Mehdi Tayoubi, with the HIP Institute in Paris, said that the goal was to investigate the pyramid using non-destructive analytical techniques. He and his colleagues settled on a type of imaging that involves muons, tiny particles similar to electrons.
NPR reports that muons are formed when cosmic rays from deep space hit the atoms of the upper atmosphere. As they rain down, they pass through materials — like the thick stones of the pyramid — and lose energy. When the researchers placed muon detectors in strategic locations, they were able to create a kind of picture that reveals whether the material above is dense — like stone — or an empty space.
Said Tayoubi, “The first reaction was a lot of excitement, but then we knew that it would take us a long, long time, that we needed to be very patient in this scientific process. The good news is the void is there. Now we are sure that there is a void. We know that this void is big. I don’t know what it could be. I think it’s now time for Egyptologists and specialists in ancient Egypt architecture to collaborate with us, to provide us with some hypotheses.”
The researcher is eager to see if small robots might somehow enter the space through tiny cracks or holes to reveal more information.
Images via ScanPyramids Mission