Archeologists Are Planning to Scan the Great Pyramid of Giza with Cosmic Rays with Such Detail, They Should See Every Hidden Chamber Inside
by Evan Gough | Universe Today
The Great Pyramid of Giza might be the most iconic structure humans ever built. Ancient civilizations constructed archaeological icons that are a testament to their greatness and persistence. But in some respects, the Great Pyramid stands alone. Of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, only the Great Pyramid stands relatively intact.
A team of scientists will use advances in High Energy Physics (HIP) to scan the Great Pyramid of Khufu at Giza with cosmic-ray muons. They want to see deeper into the Great Pyramid than ever before and map its internal structure. The effort is called the Explore the Great Pyramid (EGP) mission.
The Great Pyramid of Giza has stood since the 26th century BC. It’s the tomb of the Pharoah Khufu, also known as Cheops. Construction took about 27 years, and it was built with about 2.3 million blocks of stone—a combination of limestone and granite—weighing in at about 6 million tons. For over 3,800 years, it was the tallest human-made structure in the world. We see now only the underlying core structure of the Great Pyramid. The smooth white limestone casing was removed over time.
The Great Pyramid is well-studied, and over the years, archaeologists have mapped out the interior structure. The pyramid and the ground under it contain different chambers and passageways. Khufu’s (Cheops’) chamber sits roughly in the pyramid’s center.
In recent times, archaeological teams have used some high-tech methods to probe the insides of the pyramids more rigorously. In the late 1960s, American Physicist Luis Alvarez and his team used muon tomography to scan the pyramid’s interior. In 1969, Alvarez reported that they examined 19% of the pyramid and found no new chambers.
In 2016-17, the ScanPyramids team used non-invasive techniques to study the Great Pyramid. Like Alvarez before them, they used muon tomography, along with infrared thermography and other tools. Their most significant discovery is the “Big Void,” a massive void above the Grand Gallery. The discovery was published in the journal Nature and is considered one of the most significant scientific discoveries that year.
Muons are elementary particles similar to electrons but more massive. They’re used in tomography because they penetrate deeply into structures. More deeply than even X-rays can.