The Great Pyramid of Giza has become the site of a fresh scientific discovery

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  • Published on March 3, 2023
  • Last Updated May 15, 2023
  • In History

More than 4,500 years after its initial construction in Egypt, the only surviving wonder of the ancient world continues to surprise us with new revelations.

After years of work using cutting-edge technology, a previously unknown corridor inside the Great Pyramid of Giza has been discovered. This pyramid is the only one of the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World that is still standing.

The Scan Pyramids project has been using non-invasive technology, such as infrared thermography, 3D simulations, and cosmic-ray imaging to look deeply inside the structure since 2015, as reported by Reuters. Significant anomalies were detected the following year on the northern face of the Great Pyramid, where four inverted v-shaped chevrons were seen overhanging the descending corridor, in addition to several thermal anomalies found in November 2015.

NBC reported in 2017, that an international team of researchers used the same cosmic-ray-based imaging technique to investigate a cavity identified behind the pyramid’s north face called the Grand Gallery, one of a series of passages and chambers inside the pyramid for the first time since the 19th century.

On Thursday, they held a press conference with Egyptian officials outside the 456-foot pyramid to announce their findings.

Around 2560 BC, during the reign of Pharaoh Khufu or Cheops, the Great Pyramid was built as a monumental tomb. Once standing at a height of 146 meters (479 feet), it has since been shortened to its current height of 139 meters but was still the tallest man-made structure in the world until the Eiffel Tower in Paris was completed in 1889.

Officials have asserted that the passageway’s dimensions are approximately 2 meters wide by 9 meters long, and that it was likely constructed to help relieve the weight of the massive structure, which was built as royal burial chambers around 2560 B.C.

The corridor was “protecting or reducing the pressure on something beneath it,” according to Mostafa Waziri, the secretary general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities. It could be something else, he said, but they’d get to the bottom of it “very soon.”

Former Egyptian antiquities minister Zahi Hawass told NBC News on Thursday that he believes this discovery to be the most significant of the 21st century.

During his reign from 2509 to 2483 B.C., Khufu, a pharaoh of Egypt’s 4th Dynasty, had a massive pyramid constructed on the Giza plateau outside of Cairo.

“The discovery today tells us there is something important to be discovered soon under that tunnel, which could be the real burial chamber of Khufu,” Hawass said.

However, much of the 4,500-year-old pyramid’s history and construction remain unknown. The king’s chamber and a smaller queen’s chamber were also previously discovered, in addition to the Grand Gallery, roughly in the pyramid’s center.

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