Egypt’s Pyramids

Photo: An aerial view of the bent pyramid of Dahshur, just south of Cairo. (AFP: Patrick Baz). A group of Egyptian and foreign experts have launched a new bid to unravel the “secrets” of the pyramids, including a search for hidden chambers inside four ancient monuments. Architects and scientists from Egypt, France, Canada and Japan will use modern infra-red technology and advanced detectors to map two pyramids at Giza and the two Dahshur pyramids, south of Cairo.

“This special group will study these pyramids to see whether there are still any hidden chambers or other secrets” inside them, minister of antiquities Mamduh al-Damati announced at a news conference.

He said engineers and architects would conduct the survey using non-destructive technology that will not harm the pyramids.

Experts said the study, known as Scan Pyramids, will also be a fresh attempt to understand how the monuments were built in the first place.

Many previous missions have attempted to unravel the mysteries of the pyramids, but archaeologists and scientists have yet to come up with a concrete theory explaining how the structures were built.

Khufu’s pyramid, also known as the Great pyramid of Giza — the tallest of all the pyramids — was built by the son of Snefru, founder of the fourth dynasty (2,575-2,465 BC), while the Khafre’s pyramid or Chephren was built by the son of Khufu.

The two pyramids at Dahshur were built by Snefru.

“The idea is to find the solution to the mystery of the pyramids,” said Mehdi Tayoubi, founder of Paris-based HIP Institute that is participating in the project.

Mr Tayoubi said 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”.

The project is expected to last until the end of 2016.

Mr Damati said the “infra-red and muon” technologies that would be used to search the four pyramids could also be useful to look for a possible hidden chamber in King Tutankhamun’s tomb, which may be the burial place of Queen Nefertiti.

Archaeologists have never discovered the mummy of the legendary beauty.

British archaeologist Nicholas Reeves said in a recent study that Nefertiti may be buried in a secret chamber adjoining Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Valley of Kings at Luxor, southern Egypt.

Egypt has already approved using radars to search the boy king’s tomb, which was found by British Egyptologist Howard Carter in 1922.