|Photocredit: EGYPTIAN MINISTRY OF ANTIQUITIES, HIP INSTITUTE AND THE FACULTY OF ENGINEERING (CAIRO UNIVERSITY)|
The internal structure of an ancient Egyptian pyramid was revealed for the first time using cosmic particles, a team of international researchers reports.
The innovative technology was applied to the Bent Pyramid, a 4,500-year-old monument so named because of its sloping upper half.
According to the researchers, who presented their results in Cairo on Tuesday to Khaled El-Enany, minister of Antiquities and the former minister Mamdouh El-Damaty, the outcome was “excellent” as it showed the inside of the monument as with an X-ray.
The technology relies on muons, cosmic particles that permanently and naturally rain on Earth, which are able to penetrate any material very deeply.
This is the first of four pyramids to be investigated within the ScanPyramids, a project carried out by a team from Cairo University’s Faculty of Engineering and the Paris-based non-profit organization Heritage, Innovation and Preservation under the authority of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities. The others are the Great Pyramid, Khafre or Chephren at Giza, and the Red pyramid at Dahshur.
Scheduled to last a year, the project uses a mix of innovative technologies such as infrared thermography, muon radiography, and 3-D reconstruction to better understand the monument and possibly identify the presence of unknown internal structures and cavities.