Uncovering the Giza’s pyramids’ secret with… Cosmic particles!

“Just because a mystery is 4500 years old doesn’t mean it can’t be solved…” is the motivation for the Scan Pyramids project. Created, designed, and coordinated by the Faculty of Engineering of Cairo and the French HIP Institute (Heritage, Innovation, and Preservation), this project uses the most innovative non-destructive technologies. It will be used by three major universities and researchers of international renown. And guess what? They achieved something, something big. A hidden corridor of 9m inside the Khufu’s pyramid was revealed to the public on the 2nd of March 2023, the first significant inner discovery since the 19th Century.

The Great Pyramid of Giza is, without a doubt, the most mysterious monument on Earth. To this day, we still can’t precisely describe how the ancient Egyptian civilization built the last standing wonder of the Ancient world. This site is the epicenter of all kinds of theories, from slaves to aliens, everybody has their idea, but we will not discuss this subject today. In 2017, the Scan Pyramid team announced they discovered a potential 30 m-long corridor over the King’s chamber on the pyramid’s Northside. However, no further research has been done yet as it is challenging to confirm this hypothesis without damaging the monument.

So how did they manage to find this nine-m-long corridor?
By using the stars! Muon radiography is a technique that uses cosmic muons to create images of the internal structure of objects. Cosmic muons are high-energy particles constantly raining down on the Earth’s surface from outer space. When these muons encounter matter, they are slowed down and can be deflected or absorbed, depending on the material they pass through. The principle behind muon radiography is that denser materials, such as metals or rocks, will absorb more muons than less dense materials, such as air or water. By measuring the number of muons that pass through an object from different angles, it is possible to create an image of the object’s internal density structure. It is (mainly) because of this technique that the Scan Pyramid team was able to detect the void in the pyramid.

Inside plan of the Khufu’s pyramid – ScanPyramid

This March, a 9m long, 2m wide, and 2m high tunnel was filmed and projected to the public. Some believe this corridor was used to redistribute the weight of the stones above it, while others believe it is a hidden tomb. This reminds us that we are far from knowing the whole story about those giant monuments, and if this kind of discovery keeps happening, we will be even closer to the final answer on how they built it! For now, archaeologists are still conducting research on this beautiful discovery.

The Scan Pyramids teams still have research going on to see if the 30m void detected is indeed real. For now, they are on a one-for-one finding, and this news shakes the whole field of Egyptology.
Their work empathizes with the use of non-destructive techniques in the uncovering of hidden mysteries in old monuments. This technique could be used around the world’s most mysterious constructions and (why not?) reveal some secrets!

Hugo Lhomedet

Hidden Tunnel Discovered Inside Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt – NBC New York
Incredible discovery made inside Great Pyramid of Giza – nypost.com

Credit photo: Osama Elsayed – Unsplash

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