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Title: Egypt: Researchers seeking secrets in Great Pyramid of Giza
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Egypt: Researchers seeking secrets in Great Pyramid of Giza

Last week, Egyptian antiquities authorities announced the discovery of a hidden chamber inside the 4,500-year-old Pyramid of Khufu — formerly known as the Pyramid of Cheops — or the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Located just outside Cairo, the Pyramid of Khufu — named after the Fourth Dynasty pharaoh who had it built in the early 26th century BC — is one of the three constructions that make up the Giza pyramid complex.

The recently announced discovery was credited to scientists from the ScanPyramids project. Initiated in 2015, the international project employs — among others — infrared thermography, ultrasound and 3D simulations to study structures in a non-invasive manner. That led them to finding the sealed-off chamber above the main entrance to the pyramid.

The more than 80 researchers of the ScanPyramids team, led by Egyptian antiquities specialist Zahi Hawass, are seeking to unravel further mysteries of the pyramid.

Before the discovery, three main chambers within the pyramid were already known and could be visited: the Subterranean Chamber, the Queen's Chamber and the King's Chamber, containing the king's empty sarcophagus.

Yet it had been suspected since 2017 that there might be two more large cavities inside.

The basis for the new discovery of the hidden chamber was measurements with muon tomography, a 3D-imaging technique of large-volume objects using cosmic rays. But how to get to them.

That's where professor Christian Grosse from the Technical University of Munich — and a leading member of the ScanPyramids project — comes in.

His field of research is so-called nondestructive testing by methods such as radar and ultrasound. "The pyramids are part of the World Cultural Heritage. That's why we have to be particularly careful during research so that no damage occurs," Grosse told DW.

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