Lonely Planet Writer

Researchers have discovered a large void in the Great Pyramid of Giza

Researchers believe that they have found a void of at least a hundred feet in length in the Great Pyramid of Giza in in CairoEgypt, which dates back to 2560 BC. The 140-metre-high tomb of the Egyptian pharaoh, Khufu, is the largest pyramid in Egypt, and it forms part of the Pyramids of Giza, which are a huge public attraction. The tombs date back to the period of the fourth Dynasty (2694-2513 BC).

A void has been discovered in Khufu’s tomb in Giza. Image: ©Kanuman/Shutterstock

The ScanPyramids’ project has been examining the pyramids for the past two years using techniques that won’t harm their ancient structure. These include muography,  a non-invasive technique that uses cosmic rays to detect density changes inside large rock structures. During their research, the team used three different muography technologies, all of which agreed on the position and scale of the void. Researchers are unsure yet whether the void is significant, as it may be one of the pressure-relieving compartments that experts think were incorporated by the builders to protect the structures from collapse.

Khufu has three large interior chambers and a series of passageways, and the newly-discovered void is located above the 47-metres-long and eight-metres-high Grand Gallery and is reckoned to be similar in size. Scientists made the announcement of its discovery in the journal Nature, but are unsure yet if it is horizontal or inclined, or made by one structure or several successive ones. The void is the first large inner structure discovered within the 4500-year-old pyramid since the 1800s, and how it should be investigated further is now being debated.

The Pyramids of Giza, Egypt. Image: Mekhamer Photography

The discovery is likely to stimulate great interest in the pyramids, and it comes in a week where the so-called cursed tombs of the workers who built them were opened to the public.