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Void discovered inside Pyramid of Khufu requires examination — analyst

November 03, 13:52 UTC+3 CAIRO

Scientists are still wondering what the void was meant for

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© EPA/MIKE NELSON

CAIRO, November 3. /TASS/. The newly-discovered void inside the Great Pyramid of Giza may turn out a natural element of the architectural design and thorough examination is required to find out its real purpose and function, the director of antiquities department at the Egyptian Ministry of Culture, Ayman Ashmaui, said following media publications about an archeological discovery made inside the pyramid.

Cavities were a common technique used in erecting such structures. In pyramids it is a mandatory architectural requirement, Ashmaui said.

Monthly magazine Nature on Thursday published intermediate results of a survey conducted by an international expedition in the area of the northern entrance to the pyramid. Experts said they discovered a 30-meter-long void over the Grand Gallery.

Scientists are still curious about what the void was meant for. One of the researchers, Mehdmi Tayoubi, says it remains to be seen if it is another chamber or gallery and what its structure is. Experts speculate the void may be purely functional. Ancient builders often used cavities to ease the pressure on supporting stones, thus preventing the collapse of the whole structure.

"It is impossible to make any conclusions without further research. We hope that scientists will produce their final conclusions soon," Ashmaui said.

Exploration of the Great Pyramid

A group of scientists from France, Canada, Japan and Egypt has been exploring the interior of the Great Pyramid near the northern entrance since 2015. To better understand its internal structure they imaged the pyramid using muons, which are by-products of cosmic rays that are only partially absorbed by stone. The resulting cosmic-ray muon radiography allows for visualizing the known and potentially unknown voids in the pyramid in a non-invasive way.

Ashmaui said this method was capable of identifying the slightest changes of temperature and humidity levels.

The Great Pyramid was built on the Giza Plateau (Egypt) during the IVth dynasty by the pharaoh Khufu, who reigned from 2509 to 2483 BC.

Inside there are two large chambers known as the Kings Chamber and the Queens Chamber. Two air shafts rise from either chamber at an angle of 45 degrees. Some scientists believe the shafts allowed the king's soul to travel to the "stars that never die" (the circumpolar stars in the northern sky) and the "land of light" (the southern sky). The shafts from the Kings Chamber lead to the upper part of the pyramid. It remains unclear where the shafts from the Queens Chamber go. They were discovered in 1872. Massive doors block the passage.

In 1992 and 2002 robots equipped with video cameras were sent to explore the secret chambers inside the Pyramid. They were expected to drill a hole in the door several centimeters thick with the aim to find out what is behind. Each time the robots discovered another door.

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