Tuesday,24 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1316, (20 - 26 October 2016)
Tuesday,24 October, 2017
Issue 1316, (20 - 26 October 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Pyramid anomalies found

The ScanPyramids team has found two anomalies in the Khufu Pyramid after one year of research, reports Nevine El-Aref

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Al-Ahram Weekly

The committee formed by Egypt's antiquities minister to follow up on the work of the ScanPyramids Project met earlier this week to review a report on the results of the Project's work over the past year inside the Great Pyramid of Khufu and the Dahshur Bent Pyramid.

The ScanPyramids Project started last year and uses state-of-the-art-technology including three complementary techniques using muography, the recording of cosmic rays called muons, thermography and 3D simulation to explore the internal architecture of Egypt's pyramids.

The committee is led by former minister of antiquities Zahi Hawass and includes Mark Lehner, director of Ancient Egypt Research Associates, Merslav Barta, director of the Czech Archaeological Mission in Saqqara, and Riner Schtudlmen, former director of the German Archaeological Institute.

During the meeting, Hani Helal, the ScanPyramids coordinator, said that more research was required on the Bent Pyramid, but inside the Great Pyramid the mission had located two anomalies: One on the upper part of the entrance gate and the second on the north-eastern side.

He said that more research was to be carried out in order to identify the nature and size of these anomalies.

“The members of the committee approved in principal the results of the research carried out by the project,” Hawass told Al-Ahram Weekly, adding that it would prepare a detailed final scientific and archaeological report on the project's progress from its inception to the present time. The report is to be sent to Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Enany for discussion.

Hawass also said that members of the committee had approved in principal ScanPyramids' request to extend the project for another year, on condition that it was approved by the ministry's permanent committee and followed all legal procedures.

In a press release, the project researchers confirmed the presence of an unknown cavity on the north-eastern edge of Khufu’s Pyramid at a height of about 105 metres from the ground.

They also confirmed the presence of an unknown void behind the chevrons above the descending corridor of the Great Pyramid, the shape, size and extension of which is still under investigation.

The questions raised in this area have led the team to invest in a complete muography analysis of the descending corridor of the Pyramid, keeping in mind that when it was finished 4,500 years ago the chevrons in this area were not visible, as they were hidden under casing stones that were dismantled over subsequent centuries.

Today, researchers said, we can still see the remains of these chevrons and oblique stones which most probably are parts of missing chevrons covering a kind of void that might have existed before the stones were dismantled.

Inside the Great Pyramid there are other chevrons covering the king and queen’s chambers. These were not used for decoration, but had a very practical purpose: To protect a void and prevent the roof from collapsing. The question is why were so many chevrons used to protect such a small area at the beginning of the descending corridor.

Muography has proved efficient in detecting voids in massive structures such as volcanoes, power plants and pyramids. The ScanPyramids team has been acquiring muon data inside Khufu’s Pyramid with equipment installed by Japan.

“We expect to have the results of the analysis during the first three months of 2017,” the researchers said.

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