Scientists have discovered a massive empty chamber inside the Pyramid of Giza
The pyramids of Giza have long been monuments to both human achievement and the mysteries of human experience. In the midst of the desert, in the nest of Egyptian civilization, these three massive triangular structures have opened the floodgates of conspiracy theories, ancient aliens and alternative history. Egypt is the source of much of our symbolic and pagan mystical history, as well as the foundations of society and its mythological basis, though to the popular imagination Egypt is known for mummies and political upheaval.
Now, using techniques derived from contemporary particle physics, a new space within the Great Pyramid of Giza, the most famous of the three, has been uncovered. Scientists knew of a room in the pyramid called the Grand Gallery, which is about 150 feet long. The new chamber is located directly above it, and is almost as large as the Gallery, at 100 feet.
An Egyptologist at Harvard University, Peter Der Manuelian, offered words of caution: "The romantic interpretation and what everyone wants to hear is that this is a hidden room and the king's body is inside or there's grave goods we didn't know about or we're going to learn more about history ... and none of that is responsible speculation at the moment."
"All we know is that we have a void, we have a cavity, and it's huge, which means possibly intentional and certainly worthy of further exploration."
The discovery is quite large, as the last major room discovered inside the pyramid was way back in the 19th century. The trick with investigating pyramids is that it's not responsible to cause any destruction or changes, so any technique used has to be utterly harmless. This has led to the usage of particle physics techniques in pyramid exploration.
"What is strange, for me, is to use those very, very small particles for a huge monument like the pyramid," noted Mehdi Tayoubi, who works with the HIP Institute in Paris. Basically, here's how it works:
There is a particle called a muon, which is produced when radiation from the depths of outer space reaches our atmosphere. Muons pour down from the spot where the radiation hits the atmosphere, and by measuring the falling muons, one can tell how dense the space they are moving through is. You can tell if the muons are trickling through open air or thick material substance.
Using muon-detecting technology inside the Queen's Chamber of the pyramid, scientists were able to discover that there was an empty space inside the pyramid where previously they thought it was solid.
Tayoubi continued: "The good news is the void is there. Now we are sure that there is a void. We know that this void is big. I don't know what it could be. I think it's now time for Egyptologists and specialists in ancient Egypt architecture to collaborate with us, to provide us with some hypotheses."
So, we could find anything from an additional burial room, tons of jewels, or just an architectural accident. Nobody but the Egyptologists who studied ancient Egyptian culture would know, and even they would have to speculate.
So, for the time being, we'll just have to wrestle with the unknown.
The Great Pyramid of Giza, alongside the Nile River, represents the duality of human consciousness according to art historian Camille Paglia. The banks of the nile, with their sand and water, are the unformed and chaotic elements of our murky, half-formed thoughts. The pyramids, rising above with pointed ambition, are our organized achievements and architectural structures that we have wrestled out of the chaos and made into our legacy.
Egypt is an amazing place indeed.