CAIRO: A previously unknown, sealed chamber has been discovered inside the Great Pyramid of Giza.
Revealed by modern scanning technology, the corridor is on the northern side of the structure, which was the tomb of the Fourth Dynasty pharaoh Khufu. Nine meters long and 2 meters wide, it is perched above the main entrance to the pyramid and is not accessible from outside. Archaeologists do not know what its function was.
The discovery was announced on Thursday by Ahmed Issa, Egypt’s minister of tourism and antiquities, and renowned Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass during a ceremony at the pyramid.
The ScanPyramids project, an international initiative that uses scanning technology to investigate unexplored sections of the ancient structure, was credited with the discovery. In 2017, researchers found another sealed-off, 30-meter chamber inside the Great Pyramid.
Hany Helal, the supervisor of the research project and a former minister of higher education and scientific research, said that five complementary, non-invasive techniques are used to scan the pyramids. Hawass explained the pyramid has many openings for ventilation that were used to uncover new secrets of the pyramids and ancient Egyptian civilization.
Mohamed Mohi, the deputy coordinator of the project, said the discovery was made with the help of experts from France, Japan, Germany and Canada.
Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said Egyptian authorities are working to discover more about King Khufu, who reigned from 2509 to 2483 B.C.
The Great Pyramid, part of the Giza pyramid complex south of Cairo on the west bank of the Nile, is about 4,600 years old and is the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World that survives. Originally 481 feet in height, it is believed to have taken about 20 years to build and it was the tallest building in the world for more than 3,800 years.
The project to investigate the pyramids was launched in 2015 by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, in cooperation with the Faculty of Engineering at Cairo University and the Institute for Heritage Preservation and Innovation in Paris.