The Great Pyramids of Giza desert near Cairo in Egypt unesco cultural heritage
An unexplored secret tunnel has been discovered in the famous pyramid of Cheops. This find was made possible by a non-invasive technology allowing to map the structure without excavation.
A hidden corridor was discovered in the pyramid of Cheops whose function remains, still today, a mystery. The hypothesis of its existence had already been advanced a few years ago. It is now confirmed by a group of Egyptian, French, Canadian, Japanese and German researchers led by archaeologists from Cairo University.
The find is credited to the ScanPyramids Project, which since 2015 has been studying what is contained in the Great Pyramid of Cheops, south of Cairo, thanks to a technology that does not require excavations or other investigations that could damage the structure of the pyramid.
A technology used to analyze volcanoes
Specifically, the team of researchers conducted a muon X-ray of the structure, a technique that measures the amount of negatively charged particles, called muons, which are produced by the collision of cosmic rays with atoms in the upper atmosphere after passing through solid bodies. This method, developed by Japanese scientists, was initially intended to monitor changes in the magma inside a volcano. It has already been used to verify the position of lava inside Vesuvius.
The technology uses different sensors that, when positioned at particular points, allow us to understand if there are empty spaces inside a solid structure, such as tunnels or chambers, in this case. Where there are voids, the number of muons that the sensors collect is lower.
The mystery of the tunnel
The results of this long-term work, which were published in Nature Communications, show without doubt the existence of a new corridor of about 9 meters long, 2.10 meters wide and 2 meters high. The tunnel is hidden inside large blocks arranged in the shape of an inverted “V” on the north face of the pyramid. It is located above the tunnel that the Caliph al-Ma’mun had dug to penetrate the heart of the pyramid and which is today used by tourists to access it.
The definitive proof of the existence of such a tunnel was also brought by a micro-camera which was introduced in the corridor. The usefulness of this corridor at this precise location remains a subject of debate. Zahi Hawass, Egyptian Egyptologist and archaeologist, maintains that this tunnel could lead to the real burial chamber of the pharaoh Khufu, while for other archaeologists, it would be only the result of the arrangement of boulders in such an order that it reduced the weight supported by the passage that started from the original entrance.