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Thermal Scan of Egyptian Pyramids Reveals Mysterious Anomaly in the Great Pyramid

Scientists looking to uncover hidden chambers and other ancient secrets of the Egyptian pyramids for the first time using powerful scanning technology, have detected an ‘impressive’ anomaly within the Great Pyramid of Egypt, which could indicate something hidden behind the ancient walls. The Egyptian Ministry has announced that they have several hypotheses, but will conduct more research before revealing them.

Researchers from Egypt, Canada, France and Japan started scanning the internal workings of four pyramids in Egypt, using advanced infrared technology and cosmic rays as part of an international project named Scan Pyramids, which aims to delve into the deepest recesses of the pyramids. So far, a number of anomalies in the heat signatures of the pyramids have been detected, but the Ministry of Antiquities announced one “particularly impressive one located on the Eastern side of the Khufu (Cheops) pyramid at ground level”.

"There is something like a small passage in the ground that you can see, leading up to the pyramids ground, reaching an area with a different temperature,” Antiquities Minister Mamdouh el-Damaty said in a press statement. “What will be behind it?"

Thermal mapping of the pyramids using infrared thermography is designed to identify any voids behind the pyramid walls, such as cavities, chambers, passages, or different types of construction materials, while cosmic-ray muons radiography detect unknown structures in the ancient monuments.

Discovery News reports that the Great Pyramid showed striking thermal differences. While temperature differences between two adjacent stones from limestone usually ranges from 0.1 to 0.5 degrees, the variation between blocks on the eastern side of the Great Pyramid is 6.0 degrees.

"This anomaly is really quite impressive and it’s just in front of us, at the ground level," said Mehdi Tayoubi, founder of the Paris-based Heritage Innovation Preservation Institute that is conducting the Scan Pyramids experiments.

Several thermal anomalies were observed on all monuments, but one, particularly impressive one, was detected on the eastern side of the Great Pyramid, also known as Khufu or Cheops, at the ground level.

Several thermal anomalies were observed on all monuments, but one, particularly impressive one, was detected on the eastern side of the Great Pyramid, also known as Khufu or Cheops, at the ground level. Credit: Philippe Bourseiller / HIP Institute, Faculty of Engineering, Cairo / Ministry of Antiquities.

At this stage, the research team is not revealing their hypotheses about the anomaly until further research is conducted.

Egyptologist Beth Ann Judas said that the eastern side of the Great Pyramid, where the anomaly was found, was the focal point of the pyramid, with several major temples and tombs located on that side. "The Nile was to the east of the pyramid, and most everyone would have approached from the east," she said [via Huffington Post]. "Pyramids also have a connection to the solar aspect, and the cult of the god Ra, in ancient Egyptian religion."

Tayoubi said that the next stage of investigations will involve building models and thermal simulations to test out different theories. The Scan Pyramids project is scheduled to last over a year, and will involve long term infrared survey of four pyramids – Khufu and Khafre at Giza, and the Bent pyramid and Red pyramid at Dahshur.