An international research team has discovered a previously unknown chamber in the Cheops pyramid of Giza near Cairo, Egypt. Already in 2016, measurements had given reason to suppose the existence of a hidden hollow space above the entrance. Scientists from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have used ultrasound and an endoscope to confirm the hypothesis. The status of the Egyptian pyramid as one of the best-researched structures in the world makes this finding especially important.
The Cheops pyramid is considered the largest and oldest of the pyramids at Giza. As part of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, it has been thoroughly explored; however, the structure still holds many secrets to be discovered. TUM researchers have solved one more of the pyramid’s mysteries.
As part of the international research team known as ScanPyramids, the Munich scientists have demonstrated the existence of an empty chamber that had so far only been posited on the basis of measurement data. The hollow space is located above the original entrance of the pyramid, which is not accessible to the public.
We’re working on the Cheops pyramid with radar and ultrasound measuring devices that can be used on a non-destructive basis.Christian Grosse, TUM Chair of Non-Destructive Testing
In 2016 several measurements by Japanese and French researchers provided evidence for the existence of the chamber. The TUM research group has been on board since 2019, helping to explore the pyramid for hidden structures. They use various non-destructive testing methods that allow them to look inside the stone blocks and the areas behind them.
The initial measuring devices provided a good first impression of the situation. With an endoscope, the team found an opening between the stones of the chevron, a massive stone construction, through which they were able to insert a tube into the chamber. They then used this tube as a guide for the lens of an endoscopic camera. The camera confirmed the existence of the hollow space.
The fact that this chamber is large enough to accommodate several people makes the discovery even more important.Christian Grosse, TUM Chair of Non-Destructive Testing
The chamber is larger than the researchers had assumed in the past. The originally measured data pointed to the existence of a corridor at least five meters long; however, according to initial estimates, the length of the chamber far exceeds this length. No footprints or other signs of human activity were observed inside the chamber. Researchers assume that no one has seen this chamber in the last 4,500 years or so.
Determining the former purpose of the newly discovered chamber and what is hidden behind the back wall will require further investigation. The confirmed findings highlight the need for further investigation of the Egyptian pyramids and, in particular, the value of the new approach using a combination of various technologies and testing procedures.