Using high-energy particles from space, researchers find evidence of a hidden room inside the Great Pyramid.
The pyramids of Giza are some of the oldest structures still standing. While scientists and archaeologists have been studying the pyramids for centuries, progress has been slow. Investigating the pyramids tends to be hampered by their status as a protected site and the hundreds of tons of rock between researchers and anything important.
This means there’s still a lot left to discover about the Giza Pyramids. Case in point: a group of researchers recently used high-energy radiation from space to discover a “void” in the Great Pyramid.
Looking inside the Great Pyramid
The researchers were part of the ScanPyramids project, a plan to use high-tech scanning equipment to uncover the secrets of Giza. The ScanPyramids team takes advantage of cosmic rays. These are high-energy particles emitted by the sun and other stars.
These cosmic rays tend to be gamma rays generated by the fusion reactions in the sun. However, the rays themselves never make it past our planet’s upper atmosphere. Instead, they collide with air molecules and form muons, tiny particles that pass through pretty much everything, including the pyramids. The researchers have detectors that catch those muons after they’ve passed through the Great Pyramid. And while muons pass through pretty much everything, it’s easier for them to pass through air than stone. So the researchers can tell if there are gaps inside the pyramids.
Using this technique, the ScanPyramids team discovered a large, previously undiscovered open area just above the Grand Gallery. It’s unknown whether this internal area is a single room or multiple smaller rooms, or what – if anything – is in there. It’s also unknown whether this area is connected at all to the other rooms and corridors inside the pyramid.
Ultimately, while this new discovery is exciting, it raises more questions than it answers. Not only is there a new area inside the Great Pyramid to explore, but there may also be hidden rooms inside other pyramids that the team hasn’t checked yet. The one thing we do know is that we still have much to learn about these ancient structures.