Extraordinary discovery of a corridor hidden for 4500 years

archeology – The ScanPyramids mission photographed the mysterious corridor identified above the main entrance in 2016 in February.

Behind the thick, four-thousand-year-old blocks of King Cheps’ tomb lies something new. Seven years after discovering unknown cavities hidden deep within the Great Pyramid of Giza facing Cairo, scientists from the international ScanPyramids project are providing the first glimpse of one of these imagined cavities. Located behind the entrance to the northern face of the monument, the corridor in question does not hide anything unexpected. Blank walls. There is no mummy among the hidden or unsuspected treasures. Nevertheless, from the point of view of experts, it is amazing.

The space, which is two meters wide, extends almost nine meters under the rafters. It could be inspected on February 24, thanks to a small opening detected by radar in the connection of the rafters of the entrance. Failing to pass a head there, the researchers use a five-millimeter diameter endoscope, passed through a copper tube, to gain an overview of this place, which has been hidden since the construction of the monument.

What is the use of this blind corridor at the northern end of the great tomb of Chebes? Egyptian officials are careful not to decide if the path to the topographical space above the pyramid’s main entrance has been improved by scientists from the ScanPyramids project. Their interest lies elsewhere: the now-proven existence of this space, evidenced by their instruments’ discovery in 2016, thanks to the principle of muon radiography. “These images confirm the existence of this cavity, which we already suspected to 99.99%. They also complement the proof of effectiveness of our non-destructive and non-invasive methods.As Mehdi Tayoubi, co-director of the ScanPyramids project, underlines.

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Interior view of a pit discovered in 2016 inside the Great Pyramid of Giza. Scan pyramids

Miography consists of imaging elementary particles that are sensitive to the bodies they pass through, adapted to the context of the pyramid at Nagoya University and the Atomic Energy and Alternative Energy Commission (CEA). Since 2016, this technique has been able to identify two previously unknown locations inside the Great Pyramid: the North Face Corridor (NFC) located near the entrance, as well as a “large void” (nicknamed SP-BV) with a diameter of at least thirty meters and about 10 meters from the Great Gallery. will be high.

A view of the north face of Cheops’ pyramid at the base of the monument, in November 2022. The corridor studied by the ScanPyramids mission lies above the rafters of the main entrance, which today serves as a tourist access. Amir Makar, AFP

Last puzzles of the pyramid

According to the images of the endoscope, the probed corridor does not appear to be connected to a “large void”. “A small corridor of less than a meter between these two structures cannot be completely ruled out from these measurements”However, 36 researchers associated with the ScanPyramids work note that in an article published Thursday in the journal Science. Nature Communications . A crowded corridor route cannot be ruled out either, notes Mehdi Dayobi. Fascinating Egyptian archeology Zahi Hawass is already dreaming of finding “The Real Burial Chamber of King Cheps”. The work, to be sure, is far from over. “We will continue our scan campaign”, Mustafa Waziri, head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities at the base of the pyramids, confirmed on Thursday.

Launched in 2015 under the Egyptian Ministry of National Antiquities, the ScanPyramids scientific mission links Cairo University with the French company HIP. Supported by Dassault Systèmes, the association coordinates the range of actors involved in the project and, on the Egyptian side, is managed by a scientific team led by Zahi Hawass. Among the latest partners in the adventure, the Technical University of Munich, conducted additional radar experiments between 2020 and 2022 on the north face of the pyramid to refine the contours of the crater.

Egyptian archaeologist and former antiquities minister Zahi Hawass in front of the Great Sphinx of Giza in Giza, Egypt on November 20, 2019. Khaled Desuki/AFP

Ultimately, identifying and studying these new locations of the Great Pyramid will make it possible to better understand the final mysteries of its construction. There are several competing hypotheses on this architectural problem, which may have been solved by external or internal collapse systems, or even a combination of the two. Built around 2560 BC, during the Egyptian Old Kingdom, the monument was the tallest human structure ever built for several millennia. And the unsolved mysteries of this world wonder still do not fail to fascinate.

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