How many mysteries are buried within Egypt’s Great Pyramid of Giza? Whatever the answer, we know of one more. Scientists recently discovered an unknown void in the heart of the pyramid. Over the past centuries, archaeologists have unveiled many features of the pyramid’s interior. If you get a tour today, you can venture along its Grand Gallery, into the king’s chamber, and touch the 4,500-year-old walls of limestone and granite with your own fingers. But the journey does not stop there. To visualize the inner structure of the pyramid, three independent scientific teams conducted muon tomography. All reported spotting a void area about 8 meters high, 2 meters wide, and at least 30 meters long, located above the Grand Gallery.
Generated by cosmic rays, muons are particles with a mass 207 times that of the electron, allowing them to penetrate far deeper into matter. Muon tomography, or the process of visualizing structures via muon scattering (like X-ray imaging), has been used to study volcanoes, deep subterranean mines, and now pyramids. With upgraded precision and resolution, this technique has evolved to be a great archaeological tool, helping us visualize spaces unreachable by humans.
The nature of this hidden space remains to be explored. Some scholars believe it to be a corridor or chamber, although it does appear to be an isolated room. As the void is located directly above the Grand Gallery, others suspect it a structural design meant to relieve pressure, preventing the pyramid from collapsing into the Grand Gallery. Researchers plan to collect more information about the void’s structure and function by using more detectors, and hope to reveal any remaining secrets about this ancient architectural marvel.
Original Research Article:
Inside Giza’s Great Pyramid, Scientists Discover a Void –The New York Times