Experts skeptical of Great Pyramid’s newly discovered ‘hidden chambers’
Courtesy: Laura Cugusi

Several leading Egyptologists have expressed skepticism about recent assertions that two hidden chambers have been discovered in the Great Pyramid of Khufu in Giza, claiming it is too early to determine whether the anomalies detected by the ScanPyramids mission are of any significance.

The mission began work in November 2015 using  non-invasive technologies like infrared scans, 3D reconstruction, and muon radiography to conduct in-depth surveys on several ancient Egyptian monuments. The sites investigated include the tomb of King Tutankhamun in the Valley of Kings, the Bent Pyramid in Dahshur, and the Great Pyramid in Giza.

Muon radiography was primarily used to scan the Bent Pyramid and Pyramid of Khufu, where the supposed chambers were discovered.

According to a statement issued by the ScanPyramids mission on October 15, scientists are “able to confirm the presence of an unknown cavity on the northeastern edge of the pyramid, at a height of about 105 meters from the ground,” also affirming “the presence of an unknown void” above the descending corridor.

The mission has claimed that the use of muon radiography to scan the Great Pyramid has led to “the first conclusive findings.” Others have described these findings as anomalies.

News of the initial discovery was soon followed by a slew of local reports and international claims that the two cavities were in fact secret chambers in the 4,500-year-old pyramid.

However, officials presiding over the ScanPyramids mission have been cautious in their assessments, urging media outlets not to jump to conclusions or announce unconfirmed discoveries about the ancient monument.

In a statement published by the Ministry of Antiquities on Thursday, general coordinator of the mission Hany Helal commented that “many studies will be conducted during the coming period to determine the function of these voids, along with their nature and size,” which he states have not yet been determined.

The ministry also cites chief of the state-appointed committee overseeing the ScanPyramids mission and former Minister of Antiquities Zahi Hawass, who recognizes the preliminary findings of these scans but concludes that further research is needed.

According to Hawass his committee has yet to prepare “a detailed final report on the scientific and archaeological processes” utilized in the project. He added that the report will eventually be submitted to the Minister of Antiquities, Khaled al-Anany.

The Live Science news portal reported on Monday that Hawass is not yet convinced that voids or cavities of any significance have been discovered. He told Live Science that such anomalies may exist due to the irregularly sized stones used in the Great Pyramid, and does not necessarily indicate the presence of sizeable voids, adding that further research may reveal their size and function.

Many involved in the ScanPyramids mission hoped to locate hidden chambers within the Great Pyramid, which they believe may contain the mummy of King Khufu, especially in light of recent archaeological evidence revealing the existence of intricate security systems including tunnels and blocking mechanisms. The mummy of King Khufu has not been yet been accounted for, and while his granite sarcophagus, which appears to have been forced open, has been discovered his whereabouts remain a mystery.

Other high-tech scans have been conducted over the past year in hopes of locating the remains of Queen Nefertiti in the Tomb of King Tutankhamun,  in the Valley of the Kings.

While initial infrared thermography and radar scans revealed the presence of voids and possible secret chambers, no hidden tomb was discovered and the remains of Queen Nefertiti have not yet been located.


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