Archaeologists found a hidden passageway in the Great Pyramid of Giza by using cosmic rays to map the ancient wonder

A hidden passageway (right) in the Great Pyramid of Giza (left) was discovered and mapped by researchers on the Scan Pyramids project.AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File / The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities/Handout via REUTERS

  • A hidden passageway has been discovered in the Great Pyramid of Giza using cosmic rays.

  • The corridor is 9 meters long and is located at the entrance of the 4,500-year-old structure.

  • It could lead to new discoveries within the seventh wonder of the world, researchers say.

A hidden tunnel has been discovered in the Great Pyramid of Giza, a team of international archaeologists in Egypt announced Thursday.

The 9-meter corridor is located on the north side of the 4,500-year-old pyramid and could lead to new discoveries within it, Reuters reported.

“This discovery is, in my opinion, the most important discovery of the 21st century,” Zahi Hawasssaid the former Egyptian antiquities minister and archaeologist, according to the Today show.

Archaeologists believe the vaulted hallway was designed to help distribute the weight of the giant ancient wonder of the world.

The vaulted corridor in the pyramid of Giza is shown here.

A 3D scan of the corridor is shown here.Egypt Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

“This corridor protects or relieves pressure on something below. It could be a room, maybe something else,” said Mostafa Waziri, Egypt’s supreme council of antiquities.

Waziri said he hopes the gang’s purpose will become clear “very soon”.

“We’re continuing to scan, so we’ll see what we can do … to find out what we can find underneath, or just at the end of this corridor,” he told reporters, per Reuters.

The discovery was made as part of Scan Pyramids, a project started in 2015 that uses a technique called cosmic-ray muon radiography to probe what’s inside the pyramid without causing any destruction.

The technique is based on radiation fired from the pyramid. By reading the radiation that arrives at detectors placed around the pyramids, scientists can deduce the monument’s internal structures, according to New Scientist.

An image of the opening on the side of the pyramid is shown here next to a diagram showing the opening in the pyramid.

An image of the opening on the side of the pyramid is shown here next to a diagram showing the opening in the pyramid.Egypt Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

The cavity was first discovered in 2016 and early scans suggested there was an unknown void behind the opening. The entrance to the cavity, seen above, was probably hidden under the pyramid’s covering.

Thanks to the muon imaging, the scientists realized that the structure was so close to the surface that they could reach it with a small camera called an endoscope. Squeezing it through the tiniest crevices allowed scientists to look inside the cavity for the first time since its closure.

A photo of the room is shown here.

A look inside the cavity, seen through an endoscope camera.Egypt Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

This confirmed the presence of the cavity, which is thought to have a slight upward slope.

The findings were published Thursday in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Communications.

“We knew the cavity was there, but of course it’s completely different when you see it,” S├ębastien Procureur of the University of Paris-Saclay in France and an author of the study told New Scientist. “We felt strange when we saw this.”

This is a “fascinating discovery,” Wojciech Ejsmond, an Egyptologist from the Warsaw Mummy Project who was not involved in that work, told Insider in an email.

“Scientists have been speculating for decades about possible hidden chambers and cavities in the pyramid. Now we have some clues as to where to look for them. The discovery right at the entrance to the pyramid is very surprising, as it is a very famous place,” he said.

The hope is that the corridors can uncover previously unknown rooms. Four chambers have been uncovered so far, shown in the diagram below: the Underground Chamber, the Queen’s Chamber, the Great Gallery, and the King’s Chamber.

A diagram of the pyramid drawn in 2017 shows the entrance location compared to the different chambers in the pyramid.

A diagram of the pyramid drawn in 2017 shows the entrance location compared to the different chambers in the pyramid. Underground chamber (a), queen’s chamber (b), great gallery (c), king’s chamber (d), corridors (e, f, g), entrance to the newly exposed hidden corridor (h).Attorney, S., et al, Nat Commun 14, 1144 (2023) doi.org/10.1038/s41467-023-36351-0

The Great Pyramid of Giza was originally built in 2560 BC under the reign of Pharaoh Khufu.

The 450-meter-high funerary monument was the tallest man-made structure in the world until the Eiffel Tower was built in 1889.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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