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New Chambers May Have Been Found In Great Pyramid Of Giza, Some Scientists Skeptical

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Scientists claim to have discovered two previously unknown cavities within the Great Pyramid of Giza, the largest and most famous among Egypt’s pyramids.

These voids are usually signs of hidden tombs or secret rooms, and the find has since made headlines across media outlets all over the world. According to Live Science, however, the situation is an example of jumping to hasty conclusions.

Experts in charge of overseeing the team that broke the news of the cavities, including Egypt’s antiquities minister Zahi Hawass, said they are not entirely convinced that these voids exist at all.

The Great Pyramid was built by the Pharaoh Khufu over 4,500 years ago, and is the largest of the three pyramids built at Giza. It was originally 481 feet tall, but the loss of stones from quarrying and weathering has whittled it down to around 455 feet today. It was heralded as a “wonder of the world,” and was the tallest structure until the Lincoln Cathedral’s erection in England in the 14th century. It remains a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is one of the most famous and most-visited tourist sites ever.

A press release issued by the Scan Pyramids Project reported Saturday on the unearthing of the cavities by an international team of scientists. One void was said to be on the north face of the pyramid and the other on the northeast corner some 344 feet above the ground. The scientists used muography, a method that measures muons – subatomic particles that make up cosmic rays beaming down on Earth.

According to the researchers, muons can “go through hundreds of meters of stone before being absorbed.” These particles can cross voids, but are sometimes absorbed when they hit denser material. By noting changes in muon particles, the team was able to explore deeper and search for hidden cavities.

But others have cautioned the world not to get too excited. Hawass and other Egyptologists were part of a team sent by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities to oversee the Scan Pyramids Project, and countered the press release by saying that more work needs to be done to verify if these voids indeed exist.

Hawass says that the muography results may come from different-sized stones used in the pyramid construction, not necessarily indicating sizable voids. They asked the Scan Pyramids team for more data to “know the size and the function” of what the overseeing team calls “anomalies.”

Egypt’s antiquities ministry began delegating teams to oversee other projects after a fiasco involving Tutankhamun’s tomb last year, when an Egyptologist named Nicholas Reeve claimed to have discovered Queen Nefertiti’s resting place in a hidden doorway. The news made an international splash, but was later revealed to be false, as further scans proved that such a tomb did not exist. The ministry had to backpedal on its original statement endorsing the find, and has since exercised much more caution towards sudden discoveries in its pyramids.

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