Ancient Machine Used to Protect Great Pyramid Pharaoh in His Afterlife Revealed
Both in life and the afterlife, protection was essential for the pharaohs. An Egyptologist studying Giza for the last 30 years says that devices were put in place at the Great pyramid in an attempt to protect the tomb of Khufu. The series of grooves and blocks have been described as a “primitive machine”.
This security system is the subject of a special episode of the Science Channel's "Unearthed" program which is airing at 10pm EST on July 12, 2016.
Live Science describes the means of protection as “a series of grooves and blocks that are hidden beneath the walls of the pyramid.” They write that “scholars have known about this system since at least the 19th century, [however] the TV show uses computer animations to present a reconstruction. The animations show how blocks were dropped down grooves near the King's Chamber after the pharaoh' burial.” Egyptologist Mark Lehner leads the Ancient Egypt Research Associates (AERA) and describes the mechanisms in more detail for those who watch the episode.
It has been calculated that the Pyramid of Cheops (commonly known as ‘the Great Pyramid” and also called the Pyramid of Khufu), is comprised of more than 2 million limestone blocks weighing from 2 to 70 tons. It is the only Giza pyramid that has air shafts . This pyramid was built with such precision that it has been said that it would be difficult to replicate it even with today’s technology. Along with the security-enhanced King's Chamber, the Great Pyramid has two other large chambers, which are known as the Queen's Chamber and the Subterranean Chamber.
Inner structure of the Great Pyramid of Khufu. ( Public Domain)
Mainstream archaeology accepts that the pyramid was built around 2500 BC and commissioned by King Khufu for his tomb. However, much controversy surrounds these conclusions. For example, German archaeologists in 2013, argued that the Great Pyramid is much older and served a different purpose .
Returning to the security system, Lehner told Live Science that the contraption was sophisticated for its time and noted how the blocks would have made entrance into the King's Chamber more difficult for would-be thieves. Nonetheless, theft did happen at the site.
- After Decades of Searching, the Causeway for the Great Pyramid of Egypt has been Found
- Star Shaft Pointing - Busted: Debunking the Star Shaft Theory of the Great Pyramid
- Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: The Most Magnificent Monuments of Antiquity
- The Great Pyramid of Giza as a monument of creation - Part 1: Earth
According to Live Science, all that remains of what is generally believed to have been Khufu's burial is a red, granite sarcophagus. The chamber was "probably already robbed of its contents sometime between the end of Khufu's reign and the collapse of the Old Kingdom [around 2134 B.C.]," Lehner wrote in his book "The Complete Pyramids".
However, some researchers would suggest security features at the pyramid were effective. For example, in 2013 Dr. Zahi Hawass, the former head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, announced that he believes the real burial chamber of Pharaoh Khufu (Cheops), the builder of the Great Pyramid, has yet to be found. He said :
"I really believe that Cheops chamber is not discovered yet and all the three chambers were just to deceive the thieves, and the treasures of Khufu [are] still hidden inside the Great Pyramid, and these three doors could be the key to open this burial chamber.” One piece of evidence he believes suggests this is that there are no other pyramids that have been found in Egypt with these types of doors with copper handles.
In 2015, scientists looking to uncover hidden chambers and other ancient secrets of the Egyptian pyramids used powerful scanning technology to detect an ‘impressive’ anomaly within the Great Pyramid of Egypt, which could indicate something hidden behind the ancient walls.
Several thermal anomalies were observed on all monuments, but one particularly impressive one was detected on the eastern side of the Great Pyramid at the ground level. (Credit: Philippe Bourseiller / HIP Institute, Faculty of Engineering, Cairo / Ministry of Antiquities)
The Egyptian Ministry announced that they have several hypotheses, but will conduct more research before revealing them. This project, known as The Scan Pyramids Mission continues, and is expected to last at least until the end of 2016.
Top Image: The Great Pyramid of Giza. Source: BigStockPhoto