Cosmic-ray imaging finds hidden structure in Egypt’s Great Pyramid

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By Cristina Abellan Matamoros  with REUTERS
Cosmic-ray imaging finds hidden structure in Egypt’s Great Pyramid

Scientists using an imaging method on cosmic rays have detected a hidden structure in the Great Pyramid of Giza on the outskirts of Cairo.

The discovery was made on Thursday (November 2) but the purpose of what scientists are calling a “void or cavity” inside the pyramid remain unknown.

Scientists found this “void” by using an imaging technique called muon tomography, which uses cosmic-ray imaging to penetrate deeply into solid objects.

“What [we] are sure about is that this big void is there, that it is impressive, that it was not expected by, as far as I know, any kind of theory,” said Mehdi Tayoubi, president and co-founder of the HIP Institute in France and one of the leaders of the study published in the science journal Nature.

The project entitled Scan Pyramids, which led to the discovery of the unknown structure, was meant to scan the internal structure of the pyramids in a non-invasive way and understand how they are built.

The project was not meant to find “hidden cavities” said Hany Helal of Cairo University.

The newly-discovered structure is at least 100 feet (30 metres) long and is located above the Grand Gallery, a series of passageways inside the pyramid.

Researchers said this was the first major inner structure found in the Great Pyramid since the 19th century.

However, Zahi Hawass, an Egyptian archaeologist, Egyptologist and former Minister of Antiquities does not believe the “void is not a discovery.”

“If you understand how the pyramid was built, you will know that inside the pyramid there are many hollows and many gaps. What they announced today is not a discovery.”

Hawass pointed out that to build the Grand Gallery, they had to build hollows around it.

“The thirty meters (100 feet) void they mention was mentioned by Dieter Arnold [curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art] 25 years ago”

The Great Pyramid was constructed during the reign of the Pharaoh Khufu and was the tallest structure constructed by mankind until the Eiffel Tower in 1889.