The Great Pyramid has a huge “plane-sized” void at its middle, according to scientists.
What lies in the middle of the structure has been debated for years, with researchers unable to actually see inside. But the new discovery just deepens that mystery: they now appear to have discovered that it contains a huge room with an unknown purpose.
The discovery is the first of its kind to be made since the 19th century and comes as part of the “ScanPyramids” project, being run by an international team of researchers. That sees them use particle physics to try and scan deep into the pyramid and find out what’s contained within, without disturbing its outside.
The scientists made the discovery using cosmic-ray imaging, recording the behavior of subatomic particles called muons that penetrate the rock similar to X-rays, only much deeper. Their paper was peer-reviewed before appearing in Nature, an international, interdisciplinary journal of science.
“This is a premier,” said Mehdi Tayoubi, a co-founder of the ScanPyramids project and president of the Heritage Innovation Preservation Institute. “It could be composed of one or several structures… maybe it could be another Grand Gallery. It could be a chamber, it could be a lot of things.”
“It was hidden, I think, since the construction of the pyramid,” he added.
The muon scan is accomplished by planting special plates inside and around the pyramid to collect data on the particles, which rain down from the earth’s atmosphere. They pass through empty spaces but can be absorbed or deflected by harder surfaces, allowing scientists to study their trajectories and discern what is stone and what is not. Several plates were used to triangulate the void discovered in the Great Pyramid.
Tayoubi said the team plans to work with others to come up with hypotheses about the area.
“The good news is that the void is there, and it’s very big,” he said.
Previously, the same research project has found mysterious “heat spots”, which still remain unexplained. That prompted rampant speculation about what the Pyramid – the only surviving wonder of the ancient world – was hiding inside of it, and the new discovery is sure to do the same.
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