A man rides a horse in front of the pyramids of Khufu (Cheops) (L), Khafre (Chephren), at the Giza pyramids necropolis on the southwestern outskirts of the Egyptian capital Cairo, on January 26, 2021. (Photo by ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP via Getty Images)
OAN Roy Francis
10:01 AM PT – Friday, March 3, 2023
Egyptian antiquities officials announced on Thursday that a new passage in the Great Pyramid of Giza has just been discovered.
🤠 It’s like something straight out of an Indiana Jones film!
🇪🇬 Scientists have discovered a hidden passage inside #Egypt’s Great Pyramid. It is nine metres in length and more than two metres in width, the antiquities ministry said in a statement. pic.twitter.com/AdvZUEf1Mz
— FRANCE 24 English (@France24_en) March 3, 2023
The passage discovered was measured out to be nine meters long (approximately 30 feet) and located behind the entrance of the pyramid. Officials say that the discovery of the passage could lead to further findings inside the pyramid.
Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawaa and the Minister for Tourism Ahmed Eissa had announced the discovery during a ceremony outside of the pyramid.
The discovery was made inside the pyramid of Khufu, which was named after its builder, a pharaoh who had ruled from 2509 to 2483 B.C.
It is one of the pyramids that make up the Great Pyramids at Giza, which is the only one of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World that have survived until today.
The discovery was made inside the 4,500-year-old pyramid under the Scan Pyramids project. The Scan Pyramids project an international program that scans unexplored sections of the pyramids. Beginning in 2015, the project had been using infrared thermography, 3D simulations, and cosmic-ray imaging to cause as little disturbances as possible while looking deeper into the pyramid.
Since experts are still undecided on how the pyramids were originally built, discoveries such as this passage generate great interest with the hopes of gaining answers on their construction.
Christian Grosse, Professor of Non-destructive Testing at the Technical University of Munich is a leading member of the Scan Pyramids project. He said that various scanning techniques were utilized, including ultrasound and ground penetrating radars, to find and explore the passage. Images were then retrieved by feeding a 6mm-thick endoscope though a joint in the stones.
Grosse hopes that the finding of the passage could lead to further discoveries within the pyramid, which includes a chamber at the end of the passage that is blocked by limestones.
‘’There are two large limestones at the end chamber, and now the question is what’s behind these stones and below the chamber,’’ Grosse said.
Mostafa Waziri, the head of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, said that the purpose of the passage was not immediately known. However, he claimed that it was likely built to redistribute the pyramid’s weight around the main entrance or around another chamber or space that has yet to be discovered.
“We’re going to continue our scanning so we will see what we can do, to figure out what we can find out beneath it, or just by the end of this corridor,” Waziri said.
Five rooms that are above the main burial chamber in another section of the pyramid are also thought to have been built to redistribute the weight. Waziri had also added that it is likely that the pharaoh had built more than just one burial chamber.
In 2017, Scan Pyramids officials had previously discovered a “void” at least 30 meters long (approximately 100 feet) inside the Great Pyramid. That marked the first major structure that was discovered inside the pyramids since the 19th century.
Officials also rush to announce discoveries in hopes of attracting more tourists to the area, which is a major source of income for Egypt. The tourism industry has not been as lucrative since 2011, when the uprising in the country had ousted the country’s President Hosni Mubarak. Moreover, the coronavirus in 2020 had further set back the tourism industry in the country.
The Pyramid of Khufu is the oldest, and largest of the pyramids on the plans of Giza. The Pyramid had been 146 meters high (approximately 480 feet) when it was built, which made it the tallest manmade structure on earth until the Eiffel Tower was constructed in 1889. However, the pyramid now stands at 139 meters high (456 feet).