Scientists plan to uncover the secrets of the ancient pyramids in Egypt with new scanning technology, the country’s antiquities minister said Sunday at a news conference.
The study, known as Scan Pyramids, will employ cosmic rays and thermal imaging to look at the insides of four pyramids in Egypt, which are more than 4,500 years old. Such techniques have been used by scientists to look inside ancient pyramids in Mexico and Belize.
The Bent Pyramid at Dahshur will be the first target, followed by the Red Pyramid and then the two grand Giza pyramids of Cheops and Chephren, the Associated Press reported. The Bent Pyramid, which is located it Dahshur some 25 miles south of Cairo and is suspected of containing at least two chambers, is 344 feet high and was built by the Pharaoh Sneferu.
Mamdouh Eldamaty, the country’s minister of antiquities, told Ahram Online that the Bent Pyramid is first thanks to “its distinguished and unique architectural design and because it is the first attempt at pyramid construction that has not been carefully studied.”
The technique will be implemented by architects and scientists from Egypt, France, Canada and Japan, who will use modern infrared technology and other advanced detectors, Agence France-Press reported.
"This special group will study these pyramids to see whether there are still any hidden chambers or other secrets" inside, Eldamaty said. "These engineers and architects will conduct the survey using nondestructive technology that will not harm the pyramids.”
The project, which is expected to continue through 2016, will also help scientists understand how the ancient monuments were built in the first place, one of science’s great mysteries.
“The idea is to find the solution to the mystery of the pyramids," said Mehdi Tayoubi, founder of an organization in Paris that's part of the discovery team. "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.”