Scientists to Scan Ancient Pyramids with Cosmic Rays to Find Hidden Chambers and other Secrets
Scientists are looking to uncover hidden chambers and other ancient secrets of Egyptian pyramids for the first time using powerful scanning technology.
Ahram Online reports that the international project, named Scan Pyramids , is set to delve into the deepest recesses of pyramids of Egypt, according to Antiquities Minister Mamdouh Eldamaty at a news conference yesterday.
Architects from Egypt, Canada, France and Japan will be scanning the internal workings of four pyramids in Egypt, using advanced infrared technology and cosmic rays. These scanning methods are described as “invasive -- though non-destructive” investigation techniques, sparing the ancient sites from damage while still revealing new discoveries.
Eldamaty revealed the ultimate goals of the project, saying
“This special group will study these pyramids to see whether there are still any hidden chambers or other secrets. These engineers and architects will conduct the survey using nondestructive technology that will not harm the pyramids.”
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Pyramids in Egypt are set to be scanned by scientists. (© Ad Meskens / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0 )
Highly Advanced Scanning Technology Will Reveal All
While imaging technology has been used to look inside ancient pyramids in South America, Ahram Online notes this “will be the first time that a cosmic rays laboratory has been established outside Japan and will be only the second one ever.”
Cosmic rays are high-energy radiation that mainly originate outside the solar system. These particle detector systems are currently used in Japan for early detection and warning of earthquakes and erupting volcanoes, and have looked within the nuclear disaster site of the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant in Japan.
A thermal map of the pyramids will be created with infrared thermography, identifying any voids behind the pyramid walls. The cosmic-ray muons radiography will detect unknown structures in the ancient monuments. Drones and laser scanners will also be used to reconstruct the Giza plateau and Dashur in 3D.
Ultimately, the goal of the scanning project is to gather as much information as possible.
Hany Helal, Professor at Cairo University, coordinator of the project and head of mission for the Faculty of Engineering of Cairo noted that the scientists are there on a fact-finding mission. In a press release he said, “Many theories have been proposed, either explaining their construction or their structural anomalies, but we are physicists and engineers, not archaeologists”, he insists. “Our goal is to use techniques to get concrete results. Then the Egyptologists will interpret them.”
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Ancient Monuments Revealed Inside and Out
The unprecedented, large-scale project, described in a ministry press release , will tackle four millennia of secrets.
The team will scan the “South pyramid, called the Bent, and the North pyramid, called the Red, both built by Snefru (2575 - 2551). On the Giza plateau at about twenty kilometers from Cairo, it will study the pyramids of Khufu and Khafre, built by the son and grand-son of Snefru.”
IBTimes reports that “the Bent Pyramid at Dahshur will be the first target, followed by the Red Pyramid and then the two grand Giza pyramids of Cheops and Chephren.”
It is thought the Bent Pyramid, 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of Cairo may potentially be hiding two chambers built by Pharaoh Sneferu.
Mehdi Tayoubi, founder of Paris-based HIP Institute and part of the discovery team said “The idea is to find the solution to the mystery of the pyramids. A similar attempt was made 30 years ago, but this is the first project at a global level using cutting-edge technology to look inside the pyramids.”
Pharaoh Sneferu's Bent Pyramid in Dahshur, Egypt. ( Ivrienen/CC BY 3.0 )
The project is set to start in early November of this year and continue to late 2016. More information can be found at their website www.ScanPyramids.org
It is hoped findings will shed light not just on the mysteries below the sand, but help reveal how the ancient monuments were first built, and their original purpose—something that still puzzles experts to this day.
Featured Image: The Great Pyramid of Giza. Source: BigStockPhoto
By Liz Leafloor