Analysis Begins on Cosmic Particles in the Egyptian Bent Pyramid – Will This Help Explain How the Pyramids Were Built?
Researchers have begun analyzing cosmic particles, called muons, which were collected within the Egyptian Bent Pyramid. The international team of scientists hopes that their ambitious project will help unravel the mystery of how the pyramids were constructed. Currently there is not concrete explanation for the construction of the pyramids – as Hany Helal, the Heritage Innovation Preservation institute’s vice president says, “For the construction of the pyramids, there is no single theory that is 100% proven or checked; They are all theories and hypotheses.”
The muon radiography analysis is the latest work of the Scan Pyramids Mission , which was launched in October 2015. The mission is a collaboration of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, the Faculty of Engineering of Cairo and the French HIP Institute (Heritage, Innovation and Preservation), with aid from researchers of the Université Laval of Quebec and Nagoya University of Japan.
The website of the mission states that their goal is to “probe the heart of the largest pyramids of Egypt, without drilling the slightest opening.” To do so, the researchers are using a variety of cutting edge technology on four ancient pyramids: The Bent and the Red pyramids in Dahshur, followed by Khufu’s Pyramid (also known as the Great pyramid and Cheops), and Khafre’s Pyramid in Giza.
Map of the four pyramids being studied by the Scan Pyramids Mission. ( Scan Pyramids Mission )
The investigations have begun with two infrared thermography missions to establish a thermal map of the pyramids. The purpose of these studies is to reveal differences in density and check for any voids behind the faces of the pyramids. (One of these is a year-long project).
The first results of the thermographic scans are already providing some interesting details. Matthieu Klein of Canada’s Laval University told a news conference that “There is a clear separation of temperature on the west face of Red pyramid. The bottom is colder than the top. It’s interesting. We have no answers yet ... Could it be because of the wind? Maybe, but it’s interesting” he said, adding that the difference in temperature was of three to six degrees Celsius.
Klein also said that the scans have shown two anomalies located on the northern flank of Khufu’s Pyramid, where experts have found similar “ points of interest ” on the monument’s eastern face in the past. Colder spots on the map could also indicate a draft from beneath the face – and may even lead to hidden chambers, reports Tech Times .
A thermal anomaly detected on the eastern side of the Great Pyramid, also known as Khufu or Cheops, at the ground level. Credit: Philippe Bourseiller / HIP Institute, Faculty of Engineering, Cairo / Ministry of Antiquities.
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The Scan Pyramids Mission also contains two missions using muons radiography. They explain on their website that these studies will be used to “verify and accurately visualize the presence of unknown structures within the monuments.” This is part of the current research at the Bent Pyramid.
Mehdi Tayoubi, president of the Heritage Innovation Preservation Institute said that:
“Plates planted inside the pyramid last month have collected data on radiographic particles known as muons that rain down from the earth's atmosphere. The particles pass through empty spaces but can be absorbed or deflected by harder surfaces. Even if we find one square meter void somewhere, it will bring new questions and hypotheses and maybe it will help solve the definitive questions.”
Visual explanation of muons detection. ( Scan Pyramids Mission )
The researchers will analyze the particle accumulations in an attempt to learn more about the construction of the Bent Pyramid, which was ordered to be built by the Pharaoh Snefru around 2,600 BC. The Bent Pyramid is located 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of Cairo, and it may potentially be hiding two chambers . It is also “believed to have been ancient Egypt’s first attempt to build a smooth-sided pyramid.” [Via The Guardian ]
Finally, the Scan Pyramids Mission includes a photogrammetry campaign using drones. The images taken will be used to “rebuild the Giza plateau and the site of Dahshur with all their monuments in 3D, with a unique centimeter precision,” according to the Scan Pyramids Mission site. They also write that “These models will be made available to researchers and the public in open data by the HIP Institute.”
Muon research at the Bent Pyramid will be followed by an analysis of the Red Pyramid and then the two grand Giza pyramids - Cheops and Khafre’s Pyramid. The Scan Pyramids Mission site says that altogether the project should last at least until the end of 2016. They offer the tantalizing question: “Will the millennium mystery that intrigues archaeologists and Egyptology lovers then be solved?”
“The key is to move forward by implementing new approaches”, Mehdi Tayoubi says. So, even if the great mystery is not solved, it should help enhance understanding of the sites. “Many previous missions have attempted to unravel the mysteries of the pyramids and even if they were unsuccessful, they were helping advance knowledge.”
Featured Image: The Bent Pyramid. Source: Christopher Rose/ CC BY NC 2.0
By: Alicia McDermott