New anomalies have been detected on Egypt’s pyramids by researchers scanning the monuments with innovative technologies, the Ministry of Antiquities said. According to preliminary results, thermal “points of interest” were observed on the northern facade of the Great Pyramid at Giza, known as Khufu or Cheops, and on the west face of Red pyramid in Dahshur.
The announcement comes at the end of a three-month project to scan four pyramids which are more than 4,500 years old. They include the Great Pyramid, Khafre or Chephren at Giza, the Bent pyramid and the Red pyramid at Dahshur.
Scheduled to last one year, the project, called ScanPyramids, uses a mix of innovative technologies such as infrared thermography, muon radiography, and 3-D reconstruction to identify the presence of unknown internal structures and cavities.
It is carried out by a team from Cairo University’s Faculty of Engineering and the Paris-based non-profit organization Heritage, Innovation and Preservation (HIP Institute) under the authority of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities.
Last November the researchers detected a striking thermal anomaly on the eastern side of the Great Pyramid at Giza, which could possibly indicate an unknown cavity or internal structure.
Further analysis of the thermal and infrared survey carried out in November has now revealed a similar anomaly on the northern side of the monument. The goal is to prepare a long term survey measurement so to eliminate natural factors, such as wind and changing seasons. Another intriguing anomaly was detected on some of the limestone blocks that make up the western side of Red Pyramid in Dahshur.
The technology relies on the muons that continually shower the Earth’s surface. They emanate from the upper layers of Earth’s atmosphere, where they are created from collisions between cosmic rays of our galactic environment and the nuclei of atoms in the atmosphere.
Plate detectors placed inside the pyramid allow researchers to discern void areas — these are places where muons cross without problem — from denser areas where some muons are absorbed or deflected.
Last month a team led by specialist Kunihiro Morishima, from the Institute for Advanced Research of Nagoya University, Japan, installed some 40 muon detector plates inside the lower chamber of the Bent pyramid at Dahshur. The plates have now been collected. The next step will be to generate muon radiographies images, potentially revealing hidden chambers in the pyramid. The results are likely to be announced in March.