Egypt’s Khufu’s pyramid, Great Pyramid of Giza one of the wonders of the ancient world contains a hidden void at least a 100ft long, scientists announced on Thursday. This void was discovered using particles that are made in Earth’s atmosphere by the comic rays.
The space’s dimensions resemble those of the pyramid’s Grand Gallery, the 153ft long, 26ft tall corridor that leads to the burial chamber of Khufu, the pharaoh for whom the pyramid was built which is 4,500 years ago during the Fourth Dynasty of ancient Egypt’s Old Kingdom.
At that time, Egypt was a powerful, highly centralized monarchy, wealthy from trade and Nile-nourished agriculture. This pyramid was built during the reign of Pharaoh Khufu from 2509 to 2483 BCE. This research was published in the journal Nature.
This void is the first major inner structure discovered in the pyramid since 1800’s
The scientists made the discovery using particles that are naturally produced in the upper atmosphere as a by-product of cosmic rays that come from outer space. “Muons radiography” a technique that uses cosmic rays to detect cavities in massive structures, a high energy particles that take different paths depending on what they are traveling on, it could be either air or stone.
“This is definitely the discovery of the century,” says archaeologist and Egyptologist Yukinori Kawae, a National Geographic Emerging Explorer. “There have been many hypotheses about the pyramid, but no one even imagined that such a big void is located above the Grand Gallery.”
” Secret room in the great pyramid”
If you have a muon detector behind or below an object that you want to probe, you just count the number of muons that are coming from one direction
This count then gives you an idea about the density of the object the muons have travelled through, that’s how the researchers found this big void in Khufu’s Pyramid which is also known as the Great Pyramid of Giza.
The team used three different muon detection techniques to figure out how the muons were affected by having travelled through the pyramid, and they waited until all of their groups had independently detected it before announcing their discovery.
The finding could eventually shed light on how the pyramid was built but it’s still early days, as the researchers haven’t yet figured out the exact orientation of the void.
The findings mark the latest in a millennia long quest to understand the Great Pyramid of Giza, an object of mystery and intrigue.
“The thing is, when they cross materials they actually lose energy, and when they lose energy they stop and decay,” said Sébastien Procureur (nuclear physics researcher at the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission) one of the authors of the paper.
“If you have a muon detector behind or below an object that you want to probe, you just count the number of muons that are coming from one direction.”
The seemingly empty region, which the researchers neutrally call “the void,” is at least a hundred feet long. Its purpose remains unclear; researchers are cautiously avoiding the word “chamber” for the time being.
“We don’t know for the moment if it’s horizontal or inclined or if it is made from one structure or several successive structures,” said study coauthor Mehdi Tayoubi, president and cofounder of the Heritage Innovation Presentation (HIP) Institute, in a press briefing.
“What we do know is that this void is there, that it is impressive and that it was not expected by any kind of theory.” Tayoubi and his colleagues stress that they don’t know what the void is.
But, Egyptologists may have some initial ideas for what it might be.
CLASSIC FACT: Several mystery shafts extend from the king’s and queen’s chambers. Neither airshafts (they were sealed) nor hallways (they are too narrow), they may have been designed to allow Khufu to travel to the stars in his afterlife. A blocked shaft from the queen’s chamber was penetrated in 2002.(read more in National Geographic News).
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